Health Watch — Food Choices: Soy Milk

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about making good food choices. Soy milk has become a popular alternative to cow’s milk for those who avoid eating animal products or who can’t digest dairy. You can even get soy milk added to your beverages at the coffee shop. But is soy milk nutritionally equal to cow’s milk?

Dr. Scott Grundy, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says it depends on the product. Unfortified soy milk may have only 10 milligrams of calcium per serving, compared to 300 milligrams in cow’s milk. Be sure to choose a fortified variety of soy milk if you’re using it as a primary source of calcium in your diet. Read the nutrition label to be sure of the nutrients you’re getting. If you’re avoiding animal products, you may also need to be sure about getting enough iron. Iron from plant sources is better absorbed if you have a high-acid food such as orange juice along with it.


March 2007

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