AskNadia: Is Soy Bad for Me?

Dear Nadia,

I have decided to start replacing some of my protein meals with soy. Is soy bad for me?



Dear Janet:

Soy is a high protein alternative that vegetarians and vegans use to substitute meat and dairy products—the origins of soy date back thousands of years from the Asian culture.

Plant-based foods are considered suitable for lowering your cholesterol and believe in having some benefits to a healthy heart in addition to strengthening bones. This is good news for people with osteoporosis.

Soy is also believed to lower blood sugars.

The two most common concerns with consuming soy products are the possible link to breast cancer and thyroid.

The Breast Cancer Link:

The research is mixed about breast cancer. Some say if you have a genetic disposition for breast cancer, you should err on the conservative side and not use soy in your diet.

Others argue that soy’s benefit for strengthening bones and a healthy heart outweighs the concern because the increased probability of getting a tumor is insignificant.

The Thyroid Link:

Many soy studies are based on consumption amounts that are unrealistic for the average person. There is no real evidence that soy benefits your thyroid or adversely impacts your thyroid. However, for people with iodine deficiency, soy can add to your deficit. If you have hypothyroidism, soy may interfere with the medication that treats it.

Another well-designed study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition studied the effect of realistic amounts of soy protein on hormones, including thyroid hormone. It found that soy had no significant impact on these hormones.

Soy and Your Blood Sugars:

The Mayo Clinic reports that soy can decrease blood sugars. Caution is necessary for people who take oral medication or injectable medication to lower their blood sugars.

Reach out to your healthcare professional to discuss your soy consumption and how it may impact your medications. Other considerations for soy include adverse reactions to certain medicines, including over-the-counter products like ibuprofen.

You might also be interested in reading our article on how other foods can adversely impact your medications-

Drug And Food Interactions: More Common Than You Think


Mayo Clinic

Effects of soy protein

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Nadia’s feedback on your question is in no way intended to initiate or replace your healthcare professional’s therapy or advice. Please check in with your medical team to discuss your diabetes management concerns.

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About Nadia:

AskNadia (ranked #1 by Google), named “Best Diabetes Blog for 2019 & 2017 by Healthline. With 24 nominations, Nadia Al-Samarrie’s efforts have made her stand out as a pioneer and leading patient advocate in the diabetes community.

Nadia was not only born into a family with diabetes but also married into one. She was propelled at a young age into “caretaker mode,” and with her knowledge of the scarcity of resources, support, and understanding for people with diabetes, co-founded Diabetes Interview, now Diabetes Health magazine.

Under her reign- Diabetes Health magazine was named one of the top 10 magazines to follow in the world for 2018 by Feedspot Blog Reader.

Nadia has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, and other major cable networks. Her publications, medical supply business, and website have been cited, recognized, and published in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Wall Street Journal, Ann Landers advice column, former Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca, Entrepreneur magazine, Houston News,, Brand Week, Drug Topics, and many other media outlets.

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