What is Soy Yogurt? History and Basic Facts

Soy yogurt, or Soygurt and Yofu (a portmanteau word of yogurt and tofu) to some, is yogurt that is prepared by using soy milk, yogurt bacteria (Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus salivarius subsp. thermophilus), and at times, additional sweeteners like glucose, fructose or sugar. This yogurt is preferable to vegetarians and ovo-vegetarians (reason for it to be called sometimes as vegan soy yogurt), Jewish people, and for those who have a Phenylketonuria (PKU) or other hazardous diseases. Also, soy yogurt may be eaten and enjoyed by people with lactose intolerance or milk allergy, since the bacteria for soy yogurt in shops are not grown on a dairy base.

Soy yogurt is prepared by fermenting soy milk with the bacteria mentioned. The process is somehow similar still to the production of yogurt from cow milk. The production of yogurt started thousands of years ago. You may well be surprised that yogurt was discovered not because it was necessary during the time, but because the Balkan tribes luckily created it through accident. Yogurt then became a food in Eastern Europe until the 1900s when biologist Mechnikov developed a theory that the lactobacillus bacteria in yogurt are accountable for the remarkably long lifespan of people in Bulgaria. Since then Mechnikov propagated yogurt as a food all over Europe.

The sugars are fermented by the bacteria used. Later on, the process will yield lactic acid, which then causes the creation of the characteristic curd. The acid minimizes the pH of the yogurt to about 4.0 and also hampers the growth of food poisoning bacteria. The two ingredient bacteria produce lactase. Lactase breaks down the lactose in dairy milk. However, soy yogurt does not have lactose but other sugars like raffinose and stachyose. Today, different types of soy yogurt products may be bought from the market. These products include plain soy yogurt and organic soy yogurt.

soy yogurt with kiwiThis yogurt is very nutritious. One of the soy yogurt benefits is its ability to make our gut function better. This kind of yogurt contains live bacteria that improve our immune system, while the enzymes help in our food digestion. Sometimes, some manufacturers add other probiotic bateria, or good bacteria, to enhance our digestive system even more. A soy yogurt with probiotics also contains inuline, an additional ingredient that promotes the growth of good bacteria. It has natural probiotics as well: the two soy sugars, raffinose and stachyose, which act as probiotics and invigorate the growth of Bifidobacterium in the long intestine.

Soy yogurt contains 59 kcal energy, 4.7 g protein, 2.7 gram fat, and 3.2 carbohydrates per 100 gram serving. Soy beans, from which soy yogurt is made of, contain complete protein and high amounts of dietary fiber, minerals (sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorous), vitamins (thiamine, niacin, folic acid, inositol, choline, riboflavin, vitamin A and E), and phytochemicals that are useful in preventing and treating a lot of chronic diseases.

As compared to yogurt made from milk, soy yogurt contains less fat. Dairy yogurt contains 3.5 percent fat while soy yogurt only has 2.7 percent. That is why, instead of eating milk yogurt, a lot of people who want to reduce their weight prefer enjoying soy yogurt, which aside from being nutritious is also very delicious.