What do you put on your cereal in the morning? If you’re concerned about lowering your cholesterol level, the milk you choose may be important. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology, when it comes to cow’s milk vs. soy milk, soy milk beats the competition every time.
Cow’s Milk vs. Soy Milk to Lower Cholesterol Levels
According to this new study, drinking soy milk gives you the advantage when it comes to lowering cholesterol levels. This randomized, controlled trial found that drinking soy milk reduced total cholesterol by an average of 7.4% while drinking cow’s milk only lowered it by 3.6%.
This is consistent with a 2007 study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition that showed that soy milk lowered cholesterol levels 5% more, on average, than cow’s milk. In this study, participants got 25 grams of soy protein a day by drinking soy milk three times a day, and it was enough to lower their cholesterol. Good news for soy milk lovers!
Cow’s Milk vs. Soy Milk: Other Benefits of Drinking Soy Milk
Soy milk is an alternative for people who are sensitive to lactose and can’t tolerate cow’s milk. Soy milk contains more protein and fiber than cow’s milk since it’s made from fiber-rich soybeans. It also contains isoflavones, compounds which have weak estrogen-like properties.
There’s been concern that the isoflavones in soy might be harmful to women who have a history of breast cancer, but an encouraging new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal showed that soy foods may actually reduce the risk of a breast cancer recurrence – not increase it.
There are some drawbacks to drinking soy milk. Soy milk isn’t as high in calcium as cow’s milk, and it has more fat than cow’s milk. Some experts are concerned that drinking soy milk adversely affects thyroid function although studies don’t bear this out. Some people are intolerant to soy milk and experience gas and indigestion when they drink it. According to a study published in the journal Thyroid, people with normal thyroids aren’t at increased risk for problems if they eat or drink soy foods as long as they get enough iodine in their diet.
Milk vs. Soy Milk to Lower Cholesterol: The Bottom Line?
Drinking soy milk has modest advantages over cow’s milk for lowering cholesterol levels. If you have a high cholesterol level, ask your doctor if drinking soy milk is right for you.
CMAJ • November 23, 2010; 182 (17).
Throid. 2006 Mar;16(3):249-58.
J. Amer. Coll. Nutrition. 2007 Dec;26(6):669-77.