To Soy or Not to Soy (Part 2) - PCOS Diva

To Soy or Not to Soy (Part 2)

What About the Benefits?

Continued from PART 1

Studies have shown that Asians, particularly in Japan and China, have a lower incidence of breast and prostate cancer than people in the United States. Many of these studies credit a traditional diet that includes soy. But Asian diets include small amounts — about nine grams a day — of primarily fermented soy products, such as miso, natto, and tempeh, and some tofu. Fermenting soy creates health-promoting probiotics, the good bacteria our bodies need to maintain digestive and overall wellness. By contrast, in the United States, processed soy food snacks or shakes can contain over 20 grams of nonfermented soy protein in one serving. The lower risk of certain cancers among Asian populations might be due to other factors – their high consumption of fish, for example.

To Soy or Not To Soy.  Here is my Answer….

If you are going to consume soy make sure you buy organic soy products  and make sure the label lists that is is nonGMO. If you chose to eat non-fermented soy like tofu  or edamame eat it in small quantities . I think it is best to avoid soy milk.

Small amounts of fermented soy like miso and soy sauce as a condiment can be beneficial.  Here is a list of fermented soy options-

  • Tempeh a fermented soybean cake with a firm texture and nutty, mushroom-like flavor.
  • Miso, a fermented soybean paste with a salty, buttery texture (commonly used in miso soup).
  • Natto, fermented soybeans with a sticky texture and strong, cheese-like flavor.
  • Soy sauce, which is traditionally made by fermenting soybeans, salt and enzymes; be wary because many varieties on the market today are made artificially using a chemical process.


Don’t eat foods containing highly processed soy like soy protein isolate and concentrates, hydrolyzed or textured vegetable protein, soy supplements and protein poweders and soy junk foods like soy cheese, soy ice cream, soy hot dogs and soy burgers.

Finally, try to avoid soybean oil and switch to healthier oils like olive oil.

1 ^ Padgette SR, Kolacz KH, Delannay X, Re DB, LaVallee BJ, Tinius CN, Rhodes WK, Otero YI, Barry GF, Eichholz DA, Peschke VM, Nida DL, Taylor NB, Kishore GM (1995). “Development, identification, and characterization of a glyphosate-tolerant soybean line”. Crop Sci 35: 1451–61. doi:10.2135/cropsci1995.0011183X003500050032x.

2 ^ Acreage NASS National Agricultural Statistics Board annual report, June 30, 2010. Retrieved July 23, 2010.





Amy Medling, PCOS Diva founder and PCOS Health Coach

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  1. Definitely beware and take in small amounts if you really like it in your diet. Soy milk made my symptoms so much worse. Due to the severe effects of the symptoms on my life Ive had to cut out soy completely. 🙁 Bye bye yummy vanilla soy milk.

  2. Hi, if I may share a few insights with regards to an Asian person’s soy intake. You’ve definitely hit it on the nail on a couple of points.

    I’m Asian and in my formative years, soy was naturally in my diet in the forms of soy sauce and tofu. And if I do drink soy milk, it’s always fresh soy milk that’s readily available and not packaged. So I’m thinking, since I grew up with soy in my diet that perhaps might made me more susceptible as opposed to a Caucasian, adding soy to their diets later in life. And of course, I’m lactose intolerant and the more dairy I ate, the sicker I became and heavier too!

    However, I need to stress that I didn’t and still don’t eat frozen soy products or any of the soy substitution meals available at your local Whole Foods. I also don’t eat tofu everyday and it’s usually a few times a month. I do consume soy sauce everyday but with that, it’s more about the salt intake (high blood pressure).

    I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 18, completely devastated and now it still hits me when I deviate from the Clean Eating. I wished I found this site when I started my own clean eating 7 years ago. I turned almost vegan (small amounts of butter and eggs in desserts) , lost a lot of weight but have gained a few since then. I love breads and french fries! It’s really hard and frustrating cause I feel with PCOS, there is no break! It’s like my body won’t let me be “bad” when it comes to food. It shows in weight gain immediately.

    This PCOS thing is a real journey. Although I’ve gotten a handle of it, I still need to tweak my diet. Thank you for creating this site and you can be sure, you’ve got another friend in this journey. 🙂

  3. Hi Amy,

    I love your blog. Very helpful. I too have a blog that is more focused on high fiber and protein gluten free baked goods, traveling gluten free, and PCOS. Have you read anything about Asian women having trouble with PCOS as well? I read something about how American and Asian women have the highest rates of PCOS, but the diets are very different. I’d say having experience with both cultures there is a tremendous amount of sugar in both cultural diets and maybe that’s what causes it…but who knows. I agree about soy. I thought for a time that maybe estrogen would help PCOS women, but it leaves me with rashes mostly. I also think it’s very dangerous for men to eat high soy diets. I have known two men who switched to all soy replacements for their normal dairy products. Both told me that they started to feel more feminine and attracted to men. When they returned to their normal diets, they resumed to their normal testosterone selves. Of course that is just their accounts, but I thought it was very interesting. Have any thoughts on either of these?

  4. Hi Amy,

    I just found your blog and love it. I’m constantly struggling with eating clean and then finding myself on the floor surrounded by chocolate wrappers.

    I can’t find a search option on your site….can you point me in the right direction please. I’m after your post about Milk and why it’s bad for pcos. Also, do you have a post about wine/alcohol?


  5. If milk and soy are not “good for you” (which makes me sad, because I love dairy and eat alot of it (milk, yogurt, etc) what is a good substitution to get the recommended calcium that is so beneficial to women?

    1. Carla-
      Eat lots of dark greens, drink soups made with bone broth, beans and non-dairy alternatives like coconut milk are all good sources

  6. A multi-vitamin I’m interested in taking (New Chapter Organics Every Woman’s) has fermented soy in it. Do you think this small amount would be enough to cause problems?

    1. I think New Chapter Vitamins are great (they just got bought by P&G so I hope they remain great!) Fermented soy isn’t a problem in small amounts.

  7. Thanks for your reply! They are actually my hometown vitamin, we’re all nervous about the buy out too, worried that P&G will take the jobs elsewhere.

  8. Soy is in everything! Absolutely everything! It’s so frustrating trying to avoid going absolutely no soy!