Ever since I became vegan, people in my inner circle have made comments about how they won't eat soy products because they “don’t want to be a soyboy and grow man-tits.” I wanted to do more research and provide valuable facts to those out there who might have heard similar disinformation about soy products.
Soy contains phytoestrogen - which is the plant form of what we know as estrogen - but so does a lot of the other food we eat! Everyday foods, like fruits and vegetables, also contain this misunderstood hormone. It is often said that you should not consume products that contain phytoestrogen due to the belief that it can abnormally increase estrogen in the body. Human beings are animals, not plants, and due to this distinct difference, phytoestrogen can not negatively affect our mammalian hormones. In truth, it can actually block steroidal estrogen (which has cancer-causing properties), which helps balance non-steroidal estrogen (the naturally-occurring type).
Do you happen to know what does increase steroidal estrogen? That would be mammalian estrogen, which is only found in meat and dairy products. When these foods are regularly consumed, our mammalian estrogen levels increase disproportionately, leading to breast cancer, hair loss, sexual side effects, and other symptoms depending on one's gender. Quick fact, it is recommended that people at risk for breast cancer eat soy. So if this is something you were worried about on a vegan diet, you can rest easy now that you know this distinction.
Controversial Youtuber Richard Burgess, aka VeganGains, has seemingly dedicated his life to the research and practice of an alternative lifestyle that puts emphasis on nutrition and ethics. After watching him for several years, I have learned valuable information that I have been able to successfully incorporate into my life, and for the better. For those that would prefer a research paper over a personal piece, may I suggest the study below, which covers Asian and Western soy consumption; it seems to echo the findings that I have described, above.
The second major concern that always tends to come up is “Where do you get your protein from?” It is a common misconception that animal meat is the only source of protein in the world. I did a study and created the infograph below for your viewing pleasure. It provides a comparison of protein sources and highlights key data that shows plant protein is just as good, and sometimes even better, then animal protein.
Here are the actual metrics used for the graphs. The data from the analysis was gathered using Cronometer. The samples were taken comparing one serving size of each food. The type of food chosen had to meet the criteria of being organic and pure form, being without additives and just the main substance. I really want to point out the examples used below are the BEST quality of protein source for each category. This means that if comparing non-organic or lower quality versions of each product, the sources would not contain as much of each nutrient.
Here is more detailed breakdown of each source:
In conclusion, don’t let the fear of man-tits stop you from being vegan. There is a world of information out there and I highly encourage you to do your own research of your diet to see how your sources stack up to plants. Even if you are still are against soy due to an allergy or other factors, there are plenty of other places you can get vegan protein from without it. The image below reflects other sources. For reference, it is recommended that men have 56g and women have 46g of protein daily. I hope you learned something and thanks so much for reading.
You can find Chronometer here: https://cronometer.com/
Banner Art by: @roninyeti