From faux milk to fake meat, soy is an easy, cheap and protein-packed alternative to animal products. Unfortunately, your skin might not find soy to be quite as appetizing.
While we’ve yet to see definitive science one way or another, there's growing evidence that there may be a connection between eating soy and acne breakouts. If you’re an adult with acne, you might want to think twice before ordering that daily (pumpkin) latte. Here’s some soy for thought.
Soy is packed with isoflavonoids, little compounds that may affect your hormones, including suppressing estrogen and boosting androgen. Overproduction of male hormones is a huge culprit of breakouts. Soy, like most legumes and grains, also contains phytates that bind minerals in the digestive track and prevent absorption. Minerals like zinc have positive effects on acne—but not if soy is blocking absorption.
Beyond the potentially detrimental effects of soy, there are some benefits, too. Soy’s antioxidant capacity is comparable to fruits, it stabilizes blood sugar, contains omega-three fatty acids, and it’s a high-quality digestible protein.
Cut out the soy? Maybe. Cut back? It's worth a shot. Since there’s no official test to check whether or not you’re affected by soy, you’ll have to track the results for yourself. Give yourself a month sans soy-treats, then reevaluate. When in doubt, consume in moderation. If you do the soy pumpkin latte, skip the tofurky at the dinner table.
Soy-free protein-packed alternatives are aplenty! Try a latte with almond milk or a straight espresso. For food, black bean burgers, seitan stir-fry, chickpea fritters, vegan sausages are great meat-free options.