Plant-Based Milks: Soy
A glass goblet of soy milk resting on a wet wooden balcony outside. Credit: Lincoln Zotarelli, UF/IFAS
view on EDIS


milk alternate
soy milk

How to Cite

Goldberg, Jessica, Daniela Rivero-Mendoza, and Wendy Dahl. 2021. “Plant-Based Milks: Soy”. EDIS 2021 (1), 5.


Soy milk is a plant-based milk made from the legume soybean. Unlike some of the recently marketed plant-based milks, soy milk has a long history as a beverage around the world and has been marketed in the United States for more than a century. If you have wondered how it compares to cow’s milk, this new 5-page publication of the UF/IFAS Food Science and Human Nutrition Department describes the composition and nutrient content of soy milk and its potential benefits and risks to health. Written by Jessica Goldberg, Daniela Rivero-Mendoza, and Wendy J. Dahl.
view on EDIS


Anothaisintawee, Thunyarat, Cholatip Wiratkapun, Panuwat Lerdsitthichai, Vijj Kasamesup, Sansanee Wongwaisayawan, Jiraporn Srinakarin, Siriporn Hirunpat, Piyanoot Woodtichartpreecha, Sarawan Boonlikit, and Yot Teerawattananon. 2013. “Risk Factors of Breast Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.” Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health 25 (5): 368–387.

Applegate, Catherine C., Joe L. Rowles, Katherine M. Ranard, Sookyoung Jeon, and John W. Erdman. 2018. “Soy Consumption and the Risk of Prostate Cancer: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.” Nutrients 10 (1): 40.

Bhagwat, S., D. B. Haytowitz, and S. Wasswa-Kintu. 2019. "USDA Special Interest Databases on Flavonoids." Accessed November 6, 2020.

Cambria-Kiely, Josie A. 2002. “Effect of Soy Milk on Warfarin Efficacy.” Annals of Pharmacotherapy 36 (12): 1893–1896.

Chen, Steve. 1989. "Preparation of Fluid Soymilk." In Vegetable Protein Utilization in Human Foods and Animal Feedstuffs, 341–352. Champaign, Illinois: American Oil Chemists' Society.

Cheng, Peng-Fei, Jian-Jun Chen, Xin-Yu Zhou, Yi-Fei Ren, Wen Huang, Jing-Jing Zhou, and Peng Xie. 2015. “Do Soy Isoflavones Improve Cognitive Function in Postmenopausal Women? A Meta-analysis.” Menopause 22 (2): 198–206.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 2018. "Food Allergies: What You Need to Know." Accessed September 30, 2020.

George, Kelli S., Joseph Muñoz, Neda S. Akhavan, Elizabeth M. Foley, Shalom C. Siebert, Gershon Tenenbaum, Dania A. Khalil, Sheau C. Chai, and Bahram H. Arjmandi. 2020. “Is Soy Protein Effective in Reducing Cholesterol and Improving Bone Health?” Food & Function 11 (1): 544–551.

Heaney, R. P., C. M. Weaver, and M. L. Fitzsimmons. 1991. “Soybean Phytate Content: Effect on Calcium Absorption.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 53 (3): 745–7.

Hughes, Glenna J., David J. Ryan, Ratna Mukherjea, and Charles S. Schasteen. 2011. “Protein Digestibility-Corrected Amino Acid Scores (Pdcaas) for Soy Protein Isolates and Concentrate: Criteria for Evaluation.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 59 (23): 12707–12712.

Li, Ni, Xiaoting Wu, Wen Zhuang, Lin Xia, Yi Chen, Rui Zhao, Mengshi Yi, Qianyi Wan, Liang Du, and Yong Zhou. 2020. “Soy and Isoflavone Consumption and Multiple Health Outcomes: Umbrella Review of Systematic Reviews and Meta‐Analyses of Observational Studies and Randomized Trials in Humans.” Molecular Nutrition & Food Research 64 (4): 1900751.

Li, Wenzhen, Wenyu Ruan, Ying Peng, and Dongming Wang. 2018. “Soy and the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Observational Studies.” Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice 137:190–199.

Ma, D. F., L. Q. Qin, P. Y. Wang, and R. Katoh. 2008. “Soy Isoflavone Intake Inhibits Bone Resorption and Stimulates Bone Formation in Menopausal Women: Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 62 (2): 155–161.

Messina, Mark. 2010. "Soybean Isoflavone Exposure Does Not Have Feminizing Effects on Men: A Critical Examination of the Clinical Evidence." Fertility and Sterility 93 (7): 2095–2104.

Qiu, Shumin, and Chongmin Jiang. 2019. “Soy and Isoflavones Consumption and Breast Cancer Survival and Recurrence: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.” European Journal of Nutrition 58 (8): 3079–3090.

Shurtleff, William, and Akiko Aoyagi. 2013. History of Soymilk and Other Non-Dairy Milks (1126 to 2013). Soyinfo Center.

Silk. n.d.-a. "Light Original Soymilk." Accessed November 6, 2020.

Silk. n.d.-b. "Organic Unsweet Soymilk." Accessed November 6, 2020.

Silk. n.d.-c. "Original Soymilk." Accessed November 6, 2020.

Silk. n.d.-d. "Soymilk." Accessed November 6, 2020.

Singhal, Sarita, Robert D. Baker, and Susan S. Baker. 2017. “A Comparison of the Nutritional Value of Cow's Milk and Nondairy Beverages.” Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition 64 (5): 799–805.

Taku, K., M. K. Melby, F. Kronenberg, M. S. Kurzer, and M. Messina. 2012. “Extracted or Synthesized Soybean Isoflavones Reduce Menopausal Hot Flash Frequency and Severity: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” Menopause 19 (7): 776–90.

USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). 2015a. "Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020."

USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). 2015b. "USDA Database for the Isoflavone Content of Selected Foods."

USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). n.d. "Fooddata Central." Accessed September 30, 2020.

Westsoy. n.d. "Non Fat Plain." Accessed November 6, 2020.

World Health Organization. n.d. "Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health: Breastfeeding." Accessed November 6, 2020.

Yu, Yi, Xiaoli Jing, Hui Li, Xiang Zhao, and Dongping Wang. 2016. “Soy Isoflavone Consumption and Colorectal Cancer Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.” Scientific Reports 6 (1): 25939.

Zhao, Ting-Ting, Feng Jin, Ji-Guang Li, Ying-Ying Xu, Hui-Ting Dong, Qun Liu, Peng Xing, Guo-Lian Zhu, Hao Xu, and Zhi-Feng Miao. 2019. “Dietary Isoflavones or Isoflavone-Rich Food Intake and Breast Cancer Risk: A Meta-analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies.” Clinical Nutrition 38 (1): 136–145.

Zhong, Xue-shan, Jing Ge, Shao-wei Chen, Yi-quan Xiong, Shu-juan Ma, and Qing Chen. 2018. “Association between Dietary Isoflavones in Soy and Legumes and Endometrial Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 118 (4): 637–651.

Copyright (c) 2021 UF/IFAS