Consumer Q&A

We know it’s easy to think edamame or milk when you think soy, but animal agriculture is the number one customer for U.S. soybeans.

Feeding the World

In other words, we feed the animals that feed the world—from cattle to catfish, including chickens, hogs, and other animals requiring high-quality protein in their diets.

ASA focuses on issues and efforts that allow American soybean farmers to bring a consistent, reliable source of protein to animal ag and that support soy markets like biodiesel, but we understand you may be looking for answers to questions on anything from those topics to yes, edamame and milk.

See below frequently asked questions and links to reliable sources on soybean topics of interest.

That’s correct—soy byproducts (the stuff that is left after the whole bean is processed, including oil and meal) are used in fuel, adhesives, ink, paint, pavement, paper, drinking straws, gluten-free flour, potting mixes, turf, heating oil, tires, and more. Read more on our biobased page. In addition, United Soybean Board offers a fascinating sample product round-up, and a quick browser search will lead to even more surprise uses of soy!

High oleic soybean oil is developed through biotechnology to meet the increasing demands for functional, partially hydrogenated oil alternatives for the food industry. In the past, food companies used partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) for food preparation, namely frying, and production to keep food shelf-stable and preserve flavor. In 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that all partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) would be required to be removed from the food supply by 2018, so companies switched to high oleic oils for cooking and processing their food for customers. High oleic soybean oil has 20 to 60 percent less saturated fat than conventional soybean oil and 75 percent less than palm oil. For the foodservice industry—restaurants, caterers, etc.—it offers extended fry life compared to conventional soybean oil and increased functionality for food manufacturers, including keeping food shelf stable and preserving flavor. High oleic soybean oil was commercialized in 2011 and is currently available for foodservice and food manufacturers. To build and meet growing demand, the soybean industry has set a goal of 16 million planted acres by 2026. Visit the QUALISOY high oleic soybean oil page for more information on this trait-enhanced soybean oil.

There are myriad places to find soy recipes and ideas—all at your fingertips with a quick web search! But, here are a few we know and recommend, including ideas for grilling, blending, dipping, baking, adding to soup, or enjoying the latest trends like soy in the Instantpot!

More amazing soy recipes:

The Soyfoods Council



The Cooking Channel

There is plenty of space in the market for all of these products to be consumed as part of a healthy, nutritious diet, so we’ll stay away from a direct comparison! What we will share is that soymilk is naturally free of cholesterol, low in saturated fat, and contains no lactose. Soymilk is a good source of protein, calcium and potassium—and weighs in at 7 grams of protein per 8 oz. serving! Here is an excellent resource for more on the benefits of soymilk and soy protein.

Soy has been proven over the years to have multiple health and wellness benefits, and science continues to support those health claims. Our friends at Soy Nutrition Institute, The Soyfoods Council, and  U.S. Soy offer a wealth of credible information, from men’s health to heart claims, backed by scientifically-sound, peer-reviewed research studies. We encourage you to take a look at these researched-backed health and nutrition resources, including the topics below and a general round-up here. Here is just a partial list of health and wellness concerns in which soy has been proven beneficial: Breast Cancer research information is available here. Prostate Cancer research information, with more on Men’s Health here and here. Plus, click here to scroll to our Men’s Health Myth FAQ with more on the feminization myth, specifically. Women’s Health including Post-Menopause. And, more Women’s Health info here. Soyfoods through a Healthy Lifespan, including Children’s Health. Heart Health and other benefits of Eating Healthy Fats. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Blood Pressure Liver Disease Skin Health For more on health concerns affecting both men and women and ranging from allergin questions to infant formula, take a look at this Soy Myths & Facts sheet on soy health and nutrition. Find additional recent and ongoing studies here: 

Soy protein is one of the eight major food allergens, along with proteins from milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, and wheat. However, only an estimated 0.1% of Americans are allergic to soy. Although an individual could be allergic to any food, such as fruits, vegetables, and meats, the previously listed eight foods account for 90 percent of all food-allergic reactions. Keep Reading

Women who eat more soyfoods have actually been shown to have a lower risk of developing breast cancer, compared to those who eat fewer soyfoods. Eating soyfoods at any age, especially when soy is consumed during childhood and adolescence, as part of a healthy diet appears to protect against developing breast cancer. In a study…Keep Reading And, research shows that soyfoods are safe and may possibly even be beneficial for breast cancer survivors and for those at high risk for breast cancer. A study following more than 9,500 women in the U.S. and China who had been diagnosed with breast cancer and found that those who consumed at least 10 milligrams of soy isoflavones per day (the amount in a half cup of soymilk) had a 25 percent lower chance of breast cancer recurrence than those who consumed less than 4 mg of isoflavones. Both the American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) have concluded that soyfoods are safe for breast cancer patients. Read more on this topic and women’s health from the Soy Nutrition Institute.

Soyfoods do not contain estrogen, and clinical evidence indicates that soyfoods do not feminize men and do not impair fertility: Soy does not lower testosterone levels or lower sperm concentration. The myth may have its roots in the fact that naturally-present isoflavones in soyfoods are commonly referred to as plant estrogens, or phytoestrogens. Soyfoods may in fact offer several health benefits for men: Keep Reading Because soyfoods do not contain estrogen, and thus do not provide the body with “too much estrogen,” including women. There are many reliable, research-based sources for checking this and other soy rumors against “SOYReality.”

Whether you are a vegetarian, flexitarian, trying the Mediterranean Diet or another popular plan, there is a satisfying way for soy to fit your food and nutrition choices. Here are  5 tips for boosting soyfoods in your diet, and more helpful links, below: Incorporating Soyfoods into Your Diet

All soybeans used to make soyfoods undergo some type of processing and a number of different processes are used, both traditional and modern. Traditional methods include germination, cooking, roasting, and fermenting. More modern processing methods remove undesirable constituents through fractionation or extraction. Both traditional and modern processing can increase the digestibility of soy proteins.

Our colleagues at The Soyfoods Council shared this helpful information: More than 20 clinical studies have shown that neither eating soyfoods nor using soybean extracts cause thyroid problems. This myth is based on the results from studies in which the effects of isolated soybean components (not soyfoods) on individual thyroid cells in test tubes have been evaluated. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: