There are many reasons that adults can benefit from including soy in their diet that range from improving basic nutrition to contributing to optimal health.

Reason#1: Soy foods are diverse and versatile

A healthy diet is anchored in moderation and variety. Soy foods provide a perfect opportunity to add dietary variety since they come in many different forms and they are versatile from a culinary perspective. Incorporating traditional soy foods like soy milk, tofu, edamame, soy nuts, natto, or tempeh into your meals and snacks can add variety to your diet, and there are countless recipes to try (thesoyfoodscouncil,com). Soy is also available in many plant-based meat alternative products that are only increasing as the marketplace continues to advance and innovate to meet consumer demands1. These products come in many varieties and appeal to consumers2.

Reason#2: Soy foods are nutritious and affordable

A healthy diet is also anchored in nutrient density. Soy can help since soy foods contain many nutrients. It is also relevant to consider the affordability of many soy foods relative to the nutrition they provide3. Soy protein is one of the few plant proteins that is considered a “complete” protein in that it contains all the essential amino acids4. This explains why soy protein measures up to animal protein when it comes to the protein quality metric that considers amino acid content and digestibility (called the protein digestibility corrected amino acid score or PDCAAS)4. Soy foods also contain heart healthy unsaturated fats, they can provide dietary fiber, and many are sources of micronutrients including B-vitamins, calcium, iron, potassium, and zinc5,6. Finally, as a plant, soybeans contain phytochemicals, most predominantly isoflavones, that not only help the soybean to survive, but can also contribute to human health5

Reason #3: Soy can help build and maintain muscle mass

Muscle mass maintenance is a major determinant of health, yet it is well documented that it involuntarily decreases after age 30 years, and even faster after age 60 years, which can lead to sarcopenia7. Fortunately, this loss can be combatted through physical activity, and eating soy can support this. For example, a recent human study demonstrated that consumption of soy protein supported increases in strength and muscle growth from 12 weeks of resistance training, and these increases were on par with whey protein8

Reason #4: Soy can reduce risk of chronic diseases

Beyond its core nutritional attributes, soy can help reduce risk of chronic diseases. For example, there are government-approved health claims for foods that relate soy protein9 and soy oil10 to heart disease risk reduction. Moreover, many studies over the past 30 years have examined soy consumption in relation to multiple health areas including but not limited to bone health, cancer risk, hypertension, cognitive function and even skin health6,11.


There are many reasons why adults can benefit from including soy in their diet. Whether you choose soy foods because of their diversity and versatility, their nutrient content and affordability, or their ability to support muscle mass maintenance and chronic disease risk reduction, there is a soy food to fit your needs and dietary preferences.


  1. Mark Messina M, Sievenpiper JL, Williamson P, Kiel J, Erdman JW Jr. Perspective: Soy-based meat and dairy alternatives, despite classification as ultra-processed foods, deliver high-quality nutrition on par with unprocessed or minimally processed animal-based counterparts. Adv Nutr 2022;13:726-8.
  1. Sogari G, Caputo V, Petterson AJ, Mora C, Boukid F. A sensory study on consumer valuation for plant-based meat alternatives: What is liked and disliked the most? Food Res Int. 2023;169:112813.
  1. Messina M. Perspective: Soybeans can help address the caloric and protein needs of a growing global population. Front. Nutr. 2002;9:2022.
  1. Hughes GJ, Ryan DJ, Mukherjea R, Schasteen CS. Protein digestibility-corrected amino acid scores (PDCAAS) for soy protein isolates and concentrate: criteria for evaluation. J Agric Food Chem. 2011;59:12707-12.
  1. Rizzo G and Baroni L. Soy, soy foods and their role in vegetarian diets. Nutrients 2018;10:43.
  1. Messina M. Soy and health update: Evaluation of the clinical and epidemiologic literature. Nutrients. 2016;8:754.
  1. Volpi E, Nazemi R, Fujita S. Muscle tissue changes with aging. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2004;7:405-10.
  1. Lynch HM, Buman MP, Dickinson JM, Ransdell LB, Johnston CS, Wharton CM. No significant differences in muscle growth and strength development when consuming soy and whey protein supplements matched for leucine following a 12 week resistance training program in men and women: A randomized trial. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17:3871.
  1. Food and Drug Administration. Department of Health and Human Services.  Food Labeling: Health Claims; Soy Protein and Coronary Heart Disease. Federal Register. Vol. 64, No. 206. Tuesday, October 26, 1999.
  1. Food and Drug Administration. Qualified Health Claims: Letters of Enforcement Discretion. Unsaturated fatty acids: Soybean oil and reduced risk of coronary heart disease, July 31, 2017.
  1. Messina M, Duncan A, Messina V, Lynch H, Kiel J, Erdman JW Jr. The health effects of soy: A reference guide for health professionals. Front Nutr. 2022;9:970364.