Actor Rick Moranis once summed up most people's relationship to soybeans when he said: "I have 68 takeout menus from four restaurants, [and] 116 soy sauce packets."
But soy shows up on your plate more often than Chinese takeout.
It's the most commonly consumed cooking oil in the U.S., and soybean oil accounts for around 7% of Americans' total calorie intake.
It's also used as emulsifiers (monoglycerides and diglycerides) in peanut butter, mayonnaise, and thousands of other packaged foods that need to keep ingredients well-blended.
Other foods that contain soy include baked goods and processed meats, tofu, edamame, tempeh, and miso.
Nonetheless, soy is on many people's "do not consume" list.
They think it's a potential hormone disruptor because it contains plant-based estrogens called isoflavones, and because they worry it fuels everything from breast cancer to thyroid dysfunction.
The evidence says otherwise.
A new study in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition looked at 417 reports based on human data and found that isoflavones and soy foods don't have adverse effects on breast or endometrial tissue or estrogen levels in women, or testosterone levels, sperm, or semen in men.
In fact, soy products may actually be associated with reduced risk of breast and prostate cancer. And they deliver good doses of vitamins K, B1, and B9.
So as you eliminate red and processed meats from your diet (those are foods that do measurable harm to your health), enjoy soy-based meat substitutes for burgers, yogurts, and cheeses, as well as miso soup.