Is it safe to eat soy foods if I have diabetes?

Toby Smithson
Nutrition & Dietetics
It is absolutely safe to eat soy foods if you have diabetes. Soy foods can be used in the diet as a protein and carbohydrate source. Soy is a heart healthy food which is an additional benefit for people with diabetes since there risk for heart disease is 2-4 times more someone without diabetes. In fact, there is a study that found when soy foods replaced high saturated fat foods like red meat, cholesterol and inflammation were decreased and insulin sensitivity was increased. Check the nutrition facts label of the various soy foods so you know how to fit it into your meal plan. Some soy foods will contain more carbohydrate than others, but all of these foods can fit into a healthy diabetes meal plan.
Soy contains isoflavones, which are natural compounds with very weak estrogenic activity -- that is, they mimic the effect of the female hormone estrogen. This has made scientists wonder if soy could promote tumor growth, because some cancerous tumors are known to grow in the presence of estrogen.

The conclusion that experts have come to, however, is that natural, food sources of soy are absolutely safe. And soy is a healthy, nutrient-filled source of protein that's low-carb, too.

Continue Learning about Diabetes


Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.