Can Drinking Soy Milk Help You Lose Weight?

Research shows that consuming milk and dairy products helps with weight loss. In one study, dairy lovers who ate at least 12 ounces of dairy foods including milk a day lost 40% more weight over a 2-year period compared to a second group that avoided dairy products. No one knows exactly why dairy foods promote weight loss, but calcium and vitamin D seem to play a role. But what if you don’t drink dairy milk because you’re lactose intolerant or eat a vegan diet and drink soy milk instead? Does soy milk boost weight loss too?

Soy Milk and Weight LossThere’s good news if soy milk is your main sip. According to a study carried out at Northern Illinois State University, soy milk boosts weight loss too. When a group of women drank either soy milk or fat-free dairy milk for 2 months and ate a low-calorie diet, both groups lost an average of 8.5 pounds, regardless of which type of milk they drank. Good news for soy milk drinkers!

Researchers speculate that it’s the calcium in milk that stimulates greater fat loss, although the role of vitamin D can’t be discounted. Dietary calcium boosts fat loss by reducing the activity of calcitriol, a hormone that boosts fat storage by increasing the size and number of fat cells. Getting enough calcium through dairy foods helps to suppress calcitriol’s influence on fat cell growth, and that’s a good thing if you’re watching your waistline.

Soy Milk and Weight Loss: Is It a Good Source of Calcium?

Soy milk isn’t naturally high in calcium because most of the calcium is bound to the indigestible pulp. But manufacturers generally fortify it with additional calcium before packaging it into bottles and delivering it to supermarkets. A cup of soy milk contains about 300 milligrams of calcium. Women need between 1,000 and 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day, depending on their age. If you make your own soy milk at home, you won’t get the additional calcium since homemade soy milk isn’t fortified. You may not get the weight loss benefits either.

Soy milk is also a good source of muscle-building protein with around 8 grams per cup, similar to the protein content of dairy milk. Most research suggests that drinking 2 to 3 glasses of soy milk a day lowers LDL-cholesterol, the form of cholesterol linked with heart disease. That’s a benefit you won’t get when you drink dairy milk.

The Bottom Line

If you can’t drink dairy milk due to a milk allergy, lactose intolerance or because you eat a vegan diet, you can still get the weight loss benefits of dairy by sipping soy milk. If you don’t like the taste of soy milk, look for flavored soy milk in flavors like vanilla, chocolate and peppermint. You can also use natural extracts and flavored syrups to give soy milk a whole new flavor.However you choose to do it, get enough dietary calcium to fortify your bones. Who wants to experience a fracture or walk hunched over? Dairy milk and fortified soy milk can help you avoid that – and keep your waistline trim as well.


J Am Diet Assoc. 2007 Oct;107(10):1811-4.
WebMD. “Milk Drinkers May Lose More Weight” “Is Calcium the New Magic Bullet”


  1. Lactose Intolerance has been my life long difficulty… Could never digest that 'white' stuff … Soy milk does sound promising. Interesting article!

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  2. I have heard somewhere that Soy Milk is more suited towards women's needs like forming estrogen in the body. That's why I never considered it adding to my diet. Though I'm severely Lactose intolerant .. any thoughts on that..? Shouls I still add it in my diet?

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  3. Amanda Rutten says:

    Hmm that's interesting I never heard that milk and dairy products help you lose weight. I always thought it was the opposite lol! Thought that news kind of sucked for me because I have been a vegan since high school. Never been big on soy but going to try this out. Thanks!

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