Many women still have a negative attitude toward the taste of soy and are not including soy products as a part of their diet, according to a recent University of Illinois study. The study involved asking 205 women questions about soy. Less than 10% said they ate soy products daily or weekly, and most did not plan on buying soy foods in the next month.

“Although our sample was not large enough to generalize, it does show that many women’s soy consumption is still low,” said Karen Chapman-Novakofski,Ph.D.,associate professor and nutritionist at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL. “Our results on intake were much lower than other studies have reported.”

A majority of women in the University of Illinois study said they believed soy products had an unpleasant taste and texture, Dr. Chapman-Novakofski noted. “An important key is the word ‘perceived,’” she said.“Nearly half of the women we surveyed hadn’t even tried soy products.

“They probably aren’t likely to, either, if their perception is that they taste bad,” she continued. “And of the half who had tried soy foods, when asked about specific health benefits of soy foods, more than two-thirds responded with ‘don’t know.’ That tells me that there is a big need for additional education about the nutritional benefits of soy.”

Studies have found that daily intake of soy protein may improve women’s health by reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, osteoporosis and menopausal symptoms.