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THE DANGERS OF SOY: Searching for a Soy-free Baby Formula

Updated on June 23, 2011

The latter half of the 20th century could possibly be renamed the Age of Soy, as the American diet (and Western diet in general) became inundated with processed soy. In fact, one would be hard-pressed to find an item in the grocery store that does not have some form of soy or soy by-product listed among its ingredients. From 1992 to 2006 soy profits skyrocketed from $300 million to almost $4 billion per year.

However, over the past decade, there have been more and more reports regarding soy not only failing to support the health benefits its proponents claim, but in fact, actually being harmful to human health.

And, as these reports become more widespread, the demand by parents for a soy-free baby formula increases. Google "soy-free formula;" however, and one sees the sometimes desperation of these parents who are unable to find such a product. It's actually quite puzzling how large and small infant formula producers alike seem deaf to the rising concern regarding processed soy in an infant's diet. This is especially odd when one considers that there is money to be made (every businesses' only purpose for existence) from such an item and that there is a lengthy list of far healthier and safer alternative ingredients in which to make the formula.

There are are soy alternative solutions for infant formula (and yes, you can buy soy-less formula!); though, which will be discussed later in the article.

(Note: Breast feeding is the healthiest option for feeding infants. The nutrition and immunity boosting factors provided by breast milk are unparalleled. But, breast milk may not always be an option due to adoption, previous mother illness, or an inability to produce enough milk, etc.)

The Soy Misconception

The soy industry would lead us to believe that soy is a great way to lower cholesterol and the chance for heart disease. New findings are proving this to be false. What is coming to the forefront in new studies is the horrible effects that processed and non-fermented soy consumption has on human health:






-NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES (soy may actually prevent our stomachs from absorbing the nutrition we need by creating "anti-nutrients")


How could soy possibly be bad for human consumption, when countless millions of Asians eat it as one of their staples every day? The facts say otherwise. Asians eat very little soy. The soy industry's own findings show that soy consumption in China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Indonesia range from 9.3 to 36 grams per day. Compare this with a cup of tofu (252 grams) or soy milk (240 grams). Asians consider soy to be more of a garnish, rather than a dietary staple. And, when they do eat soy, it is almost always fermented soy (the only safe soy), such as miso soup, and not the processed soy of Western diets.

To say current human soy consumption is at a historical high may be a gross understatement.



Soy & Infants

Both in quantity and body weight proportion, infants on a soy formula diet have a greater soy intake than adults. Still developing infants are especially at risk due to soy's hormone-mimicking effects. Increased estrogen is a known symptom of soy consumption.

A Lancet study showed that "daily exposure to estrogen-imitating chemicals for infants who consume soy formulas was 6-11 times higher than adults consuming soy foods." And the blood concentration of these hormones was 13,000 to 22,000 times higher than estrogen in the blood. An infant exclusively fed soy formula receives the estrogenic equivalent (based on body weight) of up to five birth control pills per day. Soy formula also contains aluminum at a 1,000% increase than what is found in conventional milk-based formulas and 80 times more manganese than in human breast milk.

As if soy in its natural state weren't harmful enough, most of the soy used for processing is also genetically modified (GMO). The cry and hue against GMO foods and the vast potential they have for harming human life and the ecosystem is beginning to sound across the globe (but this is for another article).

In Israel (where some of the first reporting was documented regarding soy's ill effects) it is illegal to feed soy to a child under two years of age.


So, what are the options for parents where breast feeding is not an option and who do not want their children subjected to soy?

An Australian company called Hollle has a soy-free, organic formula on the market, which can be purchased for shipment to the US. Follow the links below to read more and purchase.

(I have not personally used this formulas yet; although, my wife and I have ordered it. I will update this article once we've had personal experience with it.)

International shipping will apply.


Making your own formula may not be the best option for everyone, and this is understandable. While, not extremely time consuming, it does take a few minutes to prepare. Depending on parents' life-style, this may not be a viable option.

Below are options on homemade formulas. I do not recommend using homemade formula unless you have consulted your pediatrician first.

We started our daughter in the hospital on Similac Organic, which yes, does contain soy. Since then, we have slowly adjusted her to a homemade recipe and she seems to be doing very well on it.


There are many places where one can find milk banks, in which mothers who have an excess of milk donate their milk. There are usually strict donor screening and handling practices in place in these facilities. Breast milk from several donors is mixed together and homogenized (unfortunately homogenization may destroy many of the useful microbes in breast milk). Prices may vary.

Facebook has also created numerous pages in which mothers may share milk with one another. This is neither promotion nor condemnation of this practice; it is merely meant to be informative. Parents must decide for themselves what they are comfortable with in terms of feeding their infants. It should be noted, however, that the breast milk provided by a mother who has a two-week-old baby is different in its nutritional content than that of a mother with a six-month-old baby. Breast milk is always the best option, so a newborn eating the milk intended for an older child is still better than formula.

FACEBOOK: type "Human Milk for Human Babies" in the Facebook search to find various chapters of milk sharing in the US and internationally.


If you would like more information regarding the detrimental effects of soy, I've provided links for further reading.


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    • Farmer Ted profile imageAUTHOR

      Farmer Ted 

      7 years ago from US

      Jared, if you're not vegan, then whey is probably a better option. It's practically impossible to find something that doesn't have at least trace amounts of soy (like soy lecithin, which is a bonding agent -- that someone told me -- was originally designed for use in cardboard manufacturing) in it, so you just have to do the best that you can.

    • jaredbangerter profile image


      7 years ago from New York City

      I wasn't aware of all of the other health problems linked to soy, but I stayed clear of it simply because of the 'reproductive disorders' I heard on the news about it. Something about it decreasing testosterone. Had no idea about the brain damage and thyroid problems.

      What alternative would you recommend for a vegetarian bodybuilder, aside from soy?

    • Farmer Ted profile imageAUTHOR

      Farmer Ted 

      7 years ago from US

      Tracy, I couldn't agree more with your comments! Breast milk is the best thing for a baby. Formula is big business, with all the evils that entails. (Don't even get me started...!) Our daughter is adopted, so formula is our best option. But, you did make me realize that I had given breast milk short change in this hub. You inspired me to go back and amend it. I now have info regarding milk banks and milk sharing. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your comments, because of the benefit it could possibly have for others who read this hub.

    • Farmer Ted profile imageAUTHOR

      Farmer Ted 

      7 years ago from US

      Vision, thanks for the comment. I have to admit, it is VERY surprising how poorly informed parents are about what's in baby formula. But, then again, most adults fail to read and understand the labels on the food they eat. I, too, was appalled to find corn syrup so prevalent in formula, but I chose to stay on target and focus on soy and not get into everything else that is damnable in these products.

    • Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

      Tracy Lynn Conway 

      7 years ago from Virginia, USA

      I have to say first that there is nothing better than breast milk for infants. I breast feed my children and hated the idea of giving them anything else, it just seemed so unnatural to try and recreate something that is already perfect and feed this processed product to them through a plastic nipple. I haven't read labels recently, but when I have I noticed that baby formulas have corn syrup as a main ingredient which is now being considered unhealthy for anything but occasional consumption.

      Feeding babies formula was a business proposition to make money for corporations. Corporations also bottle water and sell that too. I realize that in some circumstances formula is necessary but this is the exception and not the the rule.

      I think your article is well written and is very informative on both the risks of soy for use in formula and general consumption. Rated up and useful.

    • visionandfocus profile image


      7 years ago from North York, Canada

      I'm a big fan of Weston Price and Dr Mercola, so I already know about this, yet am still shocked when I read the labels of infant formula in the supermarket. I'm really shocked at the number of parents who still are clueless about this. Everyone needs to be more informed. Great hub--useful and voted up!

    • Farmer Ted profile imageAUTHOR

      Farmer Ted 

      7 years ago from US

      Thanks DX. I know, I was as shocked as anyone when I first started hearing that soy wasn't all it was cracked up to be. I had just become a vegetarian and soy and tofu had pretty much become a main component of my diet.

    • DXElliott profile image


      7 years ago from Central Texas

      Tofu bad. I had no idea. In fact, the entire article deflates conventional wisdom. Nice job.


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