Forgot Password?
Written by Blair Berson   
Share |
Thursday, 17 November 2011

Soy Uses

Soy is a plant native to Southeast Asia and, perhaps surprisingly, is a member of the pea family, Fabaceae. The soy plant can grow from one to five-feet tall and grows in clusters of pods. Through fermentation techniques, soy can be made into other forms that you may encounter in restaurants more often, such as tempeh, miso, tofu, and of course, soy sauce!1

What are Soy’s Health Benefits?
The soybean is a great source of protein and contains essential amino acids. Soy protein may also provide major health benefits such as reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, improving arthritis, improving brain functioning and helping to decrease the risk of breast and prostate cancer.2 In addition, research has shown that soy contains isoflavones, a class of organic compounds that proves to be similar to the female hormone estrogen. Consequently, research shows that daily intake of soy protein may in fact reduce levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), which is commonly referred to as the “bad” kind of cholesterol.3

What is Soy Used For?
Food: The soybean can be used for many different food and beverage products. First of all, soybean oil has become a popular product for baking and making salad dressings and mayonnaise due to its neutral flavoring, absence of transfats, and healthy balance of fatty acids.4 Other more popular products containing high protein soy include tofu, soynuts, and edamame. Replacements for meat products include soy burgers such as the brand Boca Burgers, Tofurkey, Tofu Dogs, etc. Soy can also be used to make milk, cheese, pastas, and cereals. Soy products for food have become very important in nutrition for children. Soy provides a good source of protein for children while lowering the saturated fat and caloric intake, therefore combating childhood obesity and diabetes. In addition, soy provides many nutrients such as zinc, iron, and calcium, as well as high amounts of fiber that children often miss in their diets.5 So to all parents out there, soy is great for you as well as your children, not to mention a very cost-effective way of staying healthy. There of course has been controversy as well, mainly that it provides too much estrogen for boys, and may be affecting their natural body and hormone development. So of course consult your pediatrician to find out what the appropriate soy intake is for your children.

Ink and Toner: Soy is now being adopted by the printer cartridge industry as a way to be more environmentally friendly. Traditional printer ink is petroleum based (as are most products we encounter day-to-day), combined with other man made chemicals such as pigments, waxes and resins, thus proving hazardous to our health and harmful to the environment.6 In contrast, soy ink is comprised of 35% soybean and 65% petroleum compounds.7 Even though it is not 100% soy, it’s a start! In addition, using soy in ink products results in lower levels of Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions, which contain toxins and increase air pollution.8 Another plus of using soy in the printer cartridge industry is that toner can be made using soy byproducts, therefore you can use the same amount of soy for one product to create two products!9 The use of soy in ink started in the United States, yet the benefits have been so great that it is catching on overseas. Now many countries in Asia and Europe as well as Australia are beginning to use the eco-friendly process of soy in their printer and cartridge industry as well.10

Clothing: Not only can soy be used for food, nutrition, and to print out your term papers and business proposals, but it can also be a great fashion statement! The process of making clothing out of soy fiber is very friendly to the environment. The soy is grown organically, thus using little to no pesticides, while the fiber is produced using a wet-spinning process, then the liquid soy is solidified to make this sustainable fiber.11 In addition, clothes made from soy fiber are recyclable and biodegradable. Soy fibers are extremely durable, strong, and absorbent due to soy’s natural wicking properties. Soy-based clothing will also dry quickly, is resistant to shrinking and wrinkling, and insulates heat better than cotton or wool.12 In addition, soy fibers are smooth, sheer and light, therefore providing a beautiful and elegant effect. Clothes made from soy fiber are resistant to sunlight, therefore protecting the skin from harsh rays. Some even argue that the amino acids present in soy provide health and nutrition to the skin too.13 Therefore, clothing made from soy is fashionable, durable, environmentally friendly, and potentially beneficial for your health!

What are the Environmental Benefits to Using Soy?
Growing soy for food consumption is much kinder on the environment than raising meat products. Meat accounts for about 20% of all greenhouse gasses—so even if you substitute soy for meat only once or twice a week, you will still be lowering your carbon footprint.14 A meat eater’s diet is responsible for seven times the amount of greenhouse gas emissions of a vegan’s (no animal products) diet.15 Even drinking soymilk is better for the environment when compared to drinking cow’s milk. Producing soy protein is about 13 times more energy-efficient than producing dairy protein. Studies in Ireland show that it takes 3.59-6.7 kWh of electricity per week to milk each cow for dairy production, which accounts for about 1% of the world’s energy consumption. Needless to say, eating soy products is an incredibly eco-friendly alternative to eating meat, even if just once and a while! Even drinking soymilk is better for the environment in comparison to cow’s milk. Using soy protein is about 13 times more energy-efficient than producing dairy protein. Therefore, it is not only arguably advantageous to consume products made of soy for one’s overall physical health it is also beneficial to the environment!

Browse all Greeniacs Articles Browse all Greeniacs Guides        Browse all Greeniacs Articles


2 Id.
7 Id.
8 Id.
9 Id.
12 Id.
13 Id.


Add your comment
RSS comments

Only registered users can write comments.
Please login or register.

Click here to Register.  Click here to login.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 17 November 2011 )


Green Facts

  • Glass can be recycled over and over again without ever wearing down.

  • Recycling 100 million cell phones can save enough energy to power 18,500 homes in the U.S. for a year.

  • Every week about 20 species of plants and animals become extinct.

  • Recycling 1 million laptop computers can save the amount of energy used by 3,657 homes in the U.S. over the course of a year.

  • Due to tiger poaching, habitat destruction, and other human-tiger conflicts, tigers now number around 3,200—a decrease in population by about 70% from 100 years ago.

  • For every 38,000 bills consumers pay online instead of by mail, 5,058 pounds of greenhouse gases are avoided and two tons of trees are preserved.

  • One recycled aluminum can will save enough energy to run a 100-watt bulb for 20 hours, a computer for 3 hours, or a TV for 2 hours.

  • Rainforests are being cut down at the rate of 100 acres per minute.

  • Current sea ice levels are at least 47% lower than they were in 1979.

  • You will save 100 pounds of carbon for each incandescent bulb that you replace with a compact fluorescent bulb (CFL), over the life of the bulb.

  • 77% of people who commute to work by car drive alone.

  • It takes 6,000,000 trees to make 1 year's worth of tissues for the world.

  • Recycling for one year at Stanford University saved the equivalent of 33,913 trees and the need for 636 tons of iron ore, coal, and limestone.

  • A tree that provides a home with shade from the sun can reduce the energy required to run the air conditioner and save an additional 200 to 2,000 pounds of carbon over its lifetime.

  • You will save 300 pounds of carbon dioxide for every 10,000 miles you drive if you always keep your car’s tires fully inflated.

  • Plastic bags and other plastic garbage thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1,000,000 sea creatures every year.

  • 82 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. come from burning fossil fuels.

  • If every U.S. household turned the thermostat down by 10 degrees for seven hours each night during the cold months, and seven hours each weekday, it would prevent nearly gas emissions.

  • In California homes, about 10% of energy usage is related to TVs, DVRs, cable and satellite boxes, and DVD players.

  • Americans throw away more than 120 million cell phones each year, which contribute 60,000 tons of waste to landfills annually.

  • You’ll save two pounds of carbon for every 20 glass bottles that you recycle.

  • States with bottle deposit laws have 35-40% less litter by volume.

  • Americans use 100 million tin and steel cans every day.

  • Nudge your thermostat up two degrees in the summer and down two degrees in the winter to prevent 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

  • The World Health Organization estimates that 2 million people die prematurely worldwide every year due to air pollution.

  • Turning off the tap when brushing your teeth can save as much as 10 gallons a day per person.

  • Washing your clothes in cold or warm instead of hot water saves 500 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, and drying your clothes on a clothesline six months out of the year would save another 700 pounds.

  • Americans throw away enough aluminum to rebuild our entire commercial fleet of airplanes every 3 months

  • American workers spend an average of 47 hours per year commuting through rush hour traffic. This adds up to 23 billion gallons of gas wasted in traffic each year.

  • Shaving 10 miles off of your weekly driving pattern can eliminate about 500 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year.

  • A steel mill using recycled scrap reduces related water pollution, air pollution, and mining wastes by about 70%.

  • Bamboo absorbs 35% more carbon dioxide than equivalent stands of trees.

  • A laptop consumes five times less electricity than a desktop computer.

  • Less than 1% of electricity in the United States is generated from solar power.

  • Recycling aluminum saves 95% of the energy used to make the material from scratch.

  • Refrigerators built in 1975 used 4 times more energy than current models.

  • An aluminum can that is thrown away instead of recycled will still be a can 500 years from now!

  • In the United States, automobiles produce over 20 percent of total carbon emissions. Walk or bike and you'll save one pound of carbon for every mile you travel.

  • A single quart of motor oil, if disposed of improperly, can contaminate up to 2,000,000 gallons of fresh water.