Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. However, because of health issues, I will not be able to do so in the future.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

Otherwise, this blog is now a legacy site, meaning that I am not updating it any longer. The basic information about LI is still sound. However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.

In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on or Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Soy Milk to Lower Cholesterol?

General Mills, the food giant, and Medialink, a PR service, are joining together to push the idea of substituting soy milk for cow's milk. The goal is to lower cholesterol, since plant sources of protein typically contain less fat than animal sources.

The logic is somewhat dubious, since skim milk has gained popularly as whole milk sales have plummeted, and most soy milks are not fat free. Still, those of us with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies would do well to avoid large quantities of liquid milk. While traveling over the last week (that's why no entries - I couldn't make a connection through my in-law's computers) I had a peppermint hot chocolate with soy milk at a Starbucks. Very good.

There's a propaganda video, excuse me, a promotional video at The video features representatives from 8th Continent Soymilk, not the most objective of sources. I also had trouble with the audio for unexplained reasons.

The 8th Continent website does give a long list of useful tips for substituting soymilk for cow's milk.

8th Continent Original Soymilk

    Replace dairy milk for:

    • Scratch or biscuit mix biscuits

    • Potato casseroles

    • Corn bread recipes or mix

    • Mashed potatoes-instant or homemade

    • Cream sauces and soups

    • Condensed soups (tomato is especially tasty!)

    • Macaroni and cheese (mixes or from scratch)

    • Scrambled eggs or baked egg dish

    • Creamy salad dressings or dips

8th Continent Vanilla Soymilk

    Replace dairy milk or water for:

    • French toast

    • Pancakes and waffles

    • Shortcake biscuits (think summertime strawberry shortcake!)

    • Chai, lattes and other milk-based coffee drinks

    • Homemade muffins, scones and other quick breads

    • Convenience baking mixes - cheesecakes, cookies, bars, muffins ...

    • Homemade cookies, bars, quick breads and cakes

A word of warning they won't give you: not all soy milk is alike. There are dozens of soy milk types, varieties, and brands, all different. You can find low fat and high fat, low calcium and high calcium, sweetened and unsweetened, and every other possible distinction. You need to find the soy milk that is best for you, with the right health benefits and the right taste.

One more warning: There are anti-soy nuts, just as there are anti-milk nuts. No good evidence exists yet to show that soy is dangerous to the average person, although some people can have soy allergies in addition to or instead of milk allergies. Enjoy your soy, and don't worry.

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Anonymous said...

I've drank many of the major brands of soy milk including 8th Continent. Most of the other brands of soy milk use organic soy in their products. Those brands are USDA and/or QAI certified organic. 8th Continent is not. The only possible concern for some may be that 8th Continent is made with Solae brand soy. Solae is a partnership between DuPony and Bunge Limited. It would seem that this type of soy is a product of biotechnology.

That may not be a big deal. There's no research to conclude that Solae soy is harmful. But why not buy soy milk that is organic instead of engineered when the organic brands outnumber 8th Continent? Also, 8th Continent has more sugars than brands such as Silk or Vitasoy (comparing vanilla flavors).

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve,

I am curious on this study, though it is obviously funded with a biased. When I cut out milk, my cholesterol dropped 100 points. I still ate meat and fish, and made no other changes to my diet or exercise. Since cholesterol is "hereditary" in my family, I had my sister and dad do the same thing. They both received the same results, a huge drop in cholesterol almost immediately.

My cholesterol had been 240 (200 LDL) for all the years I had been testing it (first test at 20), but since cutting out milk several years ago it dropped to 140 (now with HDL of 60!)by the first test following the milk cut. It has never gone back up.

I have a dairy allergy (casein), so I can't say for sure if this is the reason, or if there is actually something to a milk-cholesterol connection. Though I did utilize soymilk in place of the milk, it was only about 1/2 cup to 1 cup per day. Not enough to really give the soy credit.

Just catching up on your blog in the new year!

Steve Carper said...

Anonymous, I'm not sure what you mean by "biotechnology."

Solae brand protein is non-genetically-modified soy. Instead, it is a soy protein refined from soy. See the FAQs here.

(Yeah, I know that the vegan chatrooms all say that Solae must be genetically modified. After all, it's from evil Du Pont! *gasp* They're still wrong.

("The company also announced that the sausages, which are made using non-genetically modified Solae® brand soy protein, would be stocked at Whole Foods Market®, the world’s leading natural and organic foods supermarket."

(No matter how evil DuPont may be, it's not going to slip a GM food into the market while saying the opposite.)

Anyway, while this might count as biotechnology, it is probably no more so than fortifying foods with added protein, calcium, or vitamins, which is a standard practice in the industry and can be found in any number of organic foods.

As far as I can tell, 8th Continent does not purchase organic soybeans, and that alone is the reason it does not claim organic status. The Solae soy protein is not the distinctive factor.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the correct information on Solae soy. My assumption was in error. It might be nice if 8th Continent used certified organic soy, but it's not a big deal. I've tasted some brands of soy milk made with organic soy that tasted so bad, I poured them down the drain. If you're going to drink soy milk, drink the brand that tastes the best to you. I think is a good idea to read the nutrition facts for different brands and flavors if the amount of sugar is of concern.