Benefits of Soy Milk -
Liquid Smoothie Ingredients
Part 3

Learn all about the benefits of soy milk – my favorite liquid base smoothie ingredient for making healthy dessert smoothie recipes!

Healthy dessert? That must be an oxymoron, right?

I know it sounds too good to be true, but a healthy dessert is possible.

How? You guessed it…with smoothies, of course!

I’ll talk more about these frozen dessert smoothies later. They are, after all, my favorite healthy eating strategy :)

But first, let’s continue our discussion on the different types of smoothie ingredients to use as the liquid base for your smoothie, by talking about the benefits of soy milk...

Liquid Smoothie Ingredients Options

Remember, a liquid base is the foundation of any good smoothie recipe.

Get this right and you have the makings for a great smoothie. It’s important to keep in mind while there’s no absolutely wrong answer, certain liquid bases are better for certain types of smoothies.

Here’s a summary of your options:

This page is all about one type of plant milk, the benefits of soy milk...


What Is Soy Milk?

Soy milk is made from soybeans.

These are the same beans used to make tofu, and they come from China and Japan.

Soybeans are also very popular in other Asian countries such as Malaysia and Korea.

Soy milk, the drink form of soybeans, has grown incredibly popular in recent years.

For example, when I lived in Spain, I noticed that soy milk was the one health food that was incredibly easy to find there. Unlike the US, special health foods and vegetarian foods are not common there, but you could always find lots of different soymilk varieties, right alongside the dairy milk.

Soy milk is especially popular amongst people who follow a vegetarian diet or who are lactose intolerant.

You can find soy milk in several different types, including chocolate or regular, unsweetened or sweetened.

I don’t have a favorite brand of soy milk, but silk soy milk is pretty good. What about you?


What are the Benefits of Soy Milk?

There are many important health benefits of soy milk, including:

  • Good source of protein - Same amount as dairy milk, a different type of protein but still a complete source
  • Low fat - Less fat than whole milk, with little saturated fat and no cholesterol (but it does still have more fat than fat free milk – about 2%)
  • Low calories - Less calories than cow milk
  • Good source of other vital nutrients - Including iron, calcium, riboflavin and others
  • You can buy enhanced soymilk to add even more of those nutrients plus others such as Vitamin A, D and B12

Soy milk can be a healthy alternative to dairy milk for people who are lactose-intolerant or vegan, because it is lactose free and generally contains no animal products.

But soy milk is not just good for your waistline. There are also benefits of soy milk for the environment, because growing soybeans uses fewer resources than raising cows for milk.


What About the Risks?

The benefits of soy milk do not come without some risks worth mentioning:

  • Often high in sugar, even the “plain” varieties (read the label carefully!)
  • Soybeans are often genetically modified
  • There is ongoing controversy about the dangers of getting too much soy
  • Many people are allergic to soy. It’s on Mayo health clinic’s list of top 8 food allergies, after such popular allergies as milk, eggs and nuts.

Finally, soy production causes its own harm to the environment, as more and more deforestation is happening in the Amazon rainforest to make space to grow more soybeans.

Why are they growing so many soybeans there?  Because soybeans makes great cheap food for livestock. So ultimately, this deforestation happens to feed livestock for beef and pork production, not to feed humans directly.

Since soy milk is a useful tool in helping people follow vegetarian and vegan diets, shifting away from meat consumption, it may actually offset some of that activity. So it seems like the overall effect on the environment of drinking soy milk might actually be positive.


Why Use Soy Milk for Making Smoothies?

The conclusion of the above discussion? There are many benefits of soy milk, but it's not a magic drink. It is slightly healthier than dairy milk, especially whole milk, and even more so if you buy lite soy milk.

The bottom line is that soy milk is a pretty good ALTERNATIVE to cow milk for those who do not drink or cannot drink dairy.

That includes people who are lactose intolerant, vegan, some vegetarians, or anyone who ever has an upset stomach after drinking dairy milk.

I find soy milk to be the best in the following two types of smoothies:


Vegetarian and Vegan Smoothies

Vegans don’t consume any animal products at all, including dairy products such as milk.

Many vegetarians also limit consumption of dairy products. For example, I’m vegetarian, not vegan, but I avoid dairy milk and other dairy milk products whenever possible.

Soy milk can be a good substitute for cow milk in your smoothies if you are looking to give your smoothie a creamy consistency, similar to a milkshake.

I especially like soy milk in dessert smoothies. These are a special occasion for me, not my everyday smoothie.

Be careful if you’re strict vegan - some soymilk varieties have added dairy or fortified vitamins derived from animal proteins.


Healthy Dessert Smoothies

The other type of smoothie that is good with soy milk is healthy frozen dessert smoothies!

For these smoothies, I recommend soy milk over dairy milk for just about anyone, not just vegans.

Chocolate soy milk works best in these smoothies. It gives the smoothie such a rich flavor and consistency, without all the drawbacks of dairy milk.

This homemade fruit smoothie is an example of a dessert smoothie recipe using soy milk.


How Much Soy Milk?

I resisted the soy milk trend for a long time. I didn’t like the taste, and was stuck in my old habits of drinking dairy milk, even though I had heard about the benefits of soy milk.

Finally I gave it a try. Now I actually prefer the taste of chocolate soy milk to dairy milk, and it doesn’t upset my stomach like dairy milk and other dairy products often do.

I don’t necessarily believe all the scares about the danger of soy. I think soy can fit into a balanced healthy diet.

Like anything, though, moderation is key. It is possible to have too much of a good thing. I wouldn't be surprised if it is in fact dangerous to drink it in excessive quantities.

I personally don’t drink soy milk very often, and almost never drink it straight.

I only have it on special occasions when I’m craving a little treat, usually by adding some to my healthy milk shakes and chocolate smoothies instead of regular chocolate milk.

I don’t use soy milk as a substitute for “normal” milk consumption. I know we have all seen the Got Milk ads and have been told to drink 3 glasses a day to ensure enough calcium. I don't drink 3 glasses of soy milk to substitute for those 3 glasses of dairy milk.

So how do I get my calcium? Mostly by eating an abundance of leafy green vegetables like spinach in my delicious green smoothies.


Is soy milk the best alternative to dairy milk?

Soy milk is only one type of plant milk. It’s a good alternative to dairy milk because it is better for the environment, and high in protein and other nutrients such as iron.

Plus it makes some delicious dessert smoothies!

But soy milk is only ONE alternative to dairy milk. Now you know the benefits of soy milk, and you also know the risks.

And there may even be a better answer…

Which brings me to my next part in the Liquid Smoothie Ingredients Series:


Liquid Smoothie Ingredients Part 4 - Almond Milk


But wait! Before you leave, do you have an opinion about this soy milk?

Soy milk can be a controversial issue, especially the whole soy milk vs. dairy milk debate and the debate about the dangers of soy.

So have your say! Join the friendly discussion today...


What do you think about the benefits of soy milk?

Tell everyone your opinions about soy milk!

Maybe you love soy milk, and have switched over from dairy milk?

Or perhaps you prefer another type of milk, like almond milk?

Or do you agree with my dad, who claims that the only “true” milk is the kind that comes from cows?

What do you think about the benefits vs. risks of soy milk?

It’s a pretty controversial topic, so have your say today!

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Related Links

If you like soy milk, you’ll love this yummy homemade fruit smoothie recipe that uses chocolate soy milk and is sooo easy to make.

Or try these other healthy dessert smoothies:

Simple Blackberry Smoothie Recipe

Healthy Dessert Milkshake with Cherry

High Protein Healthy Milk Shake


Jump to other parts in the Liquid Smoothie Ingredients Series:
Part 1 Water | Part 2 Dairy Milk | Part 3 Soy Milk | Part 4 Almond Milk | Part 5 Coconut Milk |


Sources referenced in researching the benefits of soy milk:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2006/apr/06/brazil.food

http://www.soyinfocenter.com/HSS/soymilk1.php

http://www.naturalnews.com/021986.html


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