A common phrase in advertising is a food product is “packed with nutrients.” But even when something has vitamins and minerals, it can also contain substances called antinutrients, which prevent your body from absorbing nutrients (via Harvard). Additionally, antinutrients, like the kind found in soy milk, can interfere with how your body digests carbs and protein, per Medical News Today.
Soymilk comes from soybeans, and these little legumes have more than one kind of antinutrient. For instance, soy has phytates or phytic acid, as well as lectins. Both are antinutrients that can make it harder for your body to absorb minerals like calcium, iron, and zinc, according to Harvard. Plus, phytates can interfere with how much magnesium your body takes in, and lectins can impact your body’s ability to absorb phosphorus. Also, research in the journal Nutrients found that lectins can interfere with how your body digests carbs. In addition, another antinutrient found in soy, trypsin inhibitors, can disrupt your body’s ability to process protein. And that’s still not all the antinutrients in soy that can cause digestive issues: A compound known as oligosaccharides can lead to gas.
Fortunately, there’s some good news here if you really like soy milk. As Medical News Today notes, there are ways to process soybeans to reduce their antinutrient content. So, you might need to do a little extra research to find the best brand for your health concerns and goals.