Soy Connection Annual Survey Suggests Support of Soy’s Role in Health and Nutrition
For Immediate ReleaseFriday, January 26, 2024
What health professionals say about soy:
- 82% agree that soy is a nutritious food
- 78% agree that soy offers important health benefits
- 76% rate soy as a healthy, nutritious choice for their clients
- 3 in 4 believe soy is safe and nutritious for men and women.
- 92% recommend soy to those they advise at some frequency, with 32% often or always recommending soy foods and/or beverages.
Health professionals agree: soy is a nutritious food that offers important health benefits. In a 2023 survey of nearly 800 health professionals, ranging from registered dietitians to nurse practitioners, three in four respondents agree that soy is a safe and nutritious choice for their clients.
Health care professionals are recommending soy on a more frequent basis than in previous years. Of those polled, 92% recommend soy to those they advise at some frequency, with 32% often or always recommending soy foods and/or beverages. Survey responses show a steady decline in the number of health professionals who indicated that they “never” recommend soy. In 2015, that was 15% of respondents; in 2023, that was just 8%.
Though three in four indicated they believe soy is a safe, nutritious food for men and women, fewer (69%) indicated that they believe soy is safe and nutritious for children, and 49% view soy as safe and nutritious for infants. However, scientific research shows that soy is safe for children without a soy allergy and may even reduce the risk of breast cancer later in life if consumed during adolescence.1 Additionally, soy can provide vital nutrients for growing bodies and is a complete plant-based protein that provides the nine amino acids needed by the body.
Nearly 80% agree that soy offers important health benefits; however, half of these health professionals were approached by their patients or clients about concerns related to soy. The most common concerns expressed by patients and clients were related to breast cancer, hormonal effects in males, and allergies. Despite these concerns expressed by consumers, clinical studies have shown that neither soy nor isoflavones negatively affect markers of breast cancer risk and breast cancer patients can safely consume soy foods.
Additionally, extensive clinical trial data show neither soy nor isoflavones effect male hormones, fertility, or lead to gynecomastia. Though soy is listed as one of the major food allergens, only 3 out of every 1,000 adults is allergic to soy, and there is a relatively low potency of soy protein for triggering an allergic response, especially a severe one.2
Health professionals indicated that their favorite soy foods are tofu and soymilk, and 63% believe that soy foods classified as “processed” or “ultra-processed”, such as soy milk and soy-based meat alternatives, can be part of a healthy dietary pattern. Additionally, respondents rank the nutritional attributes of soybean oil and high oleic oils more favorably than coconut and palm oils.
Soy Connection provides evidence-based information and resources about soy foods and isoflavones, as well as a newsletter and free continuing education credits to registered dietitians, dietary managers and nurse practitioners.