Say it with me…”Soy is not a health food, soy is not a health food…” Soy has been touted as a health food for many years and has taken the vegan population by storm. Proclaimed a healthy alternative for protein and a delicious alternative to milk, soy is being over-consumed, and as a result, has created dangerous health consequences for people.
Historically one of the reasons soy was used was because it was known as a cheap source of protein for people….and animals. Remember when we were in high school and those flat, curd-like burgers were thrown on our trays in school? Soy. After the bad rap of cheapness made it unappealing to Americans they used the genius marketing tool of soy being healthy for you to sell more and more of it. It worked…because now we have; soy milk, soy creamer, soy beans, tofu, etc. and it’s flying off the shelves. So I am here to bring you the dark side of soy. Since there are others more elegant with words and explanations I am going to copy and paste from the “Food Renegade” (with some italicized input of my own) the top reasons why soy is not a health food.
“Soy is higher in phytoestrogens than just about any other food source. Phytoestrogens are plant-based estrogens that mimic estrogen in our bodies. In recent years, you may have read about studies which indicate phytoestrogens are good for you. But ask yourself, who funded those studies? The soy industry, that’s who. Independent research has clearly shown that consuming phytoestrogens is downright dangerous for the human body.
It’s only common sense. No one argues, for example, that a leading cause of breast cancer, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, infertility, and low libido is unopposed estrogen, or estrogen dominance. (Carmen insert: I personally am experienced this and most of my female clients have as well: Estrogen Dominance. Is it from eating soy? Probably not all of it is from soy, but I would venture a guess it didn’t help to eat it in salad dressings, sauces, seasonings, etc. Trust me once you are estrogen dominant at any age it is not fun! Weight gain in the tummy, hot flashes, irritable, thyroid issues, etc.)
Why, then, would anyone argue that we should consume more of a food high in these compounds? An infant taking the recommended amount of soy formula is consuming a hormone load equivalent of 4 birth control pills a day! Is it any wonder we’ve seen such a dramatic rise in precocious puberty with young girls starting their periods at 6 and 7?” (Carmen Insert: Have you noticed how early girls are growing breasts?)
Soy will destroy your thyroid. Many foods are goitrogenic (thyroid suppressing), but soy is king of them all. Goitrogens work by preventing your thyroid from getting the necessary amount of iodine. Friends, I believe this is what happened to Oprah’s thyroid. She pushed soy for years, featured it in everyone one of her “healthy” diets, and it destroyed her thyroid. If your thyroid fails, what happens? You gain weight. You have a harder time regulating your moods. You get colder more easily. You’re more easily fatigued. You demonstrate an inability to concentrate and remember details. The list goes on. You simply don’t want to mess with your thyroid.
Phytates are enzyme-inhibitors that block mineral absorption in human digestive tract. They are naturally present in all grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes (which is why everyone should read this primer on how to eat grains, if you eat them at all.) But soy is so high in phytates that it’s almost impossible to get rid of them. Simply soaking soy overnight in an acidic medium won’t do the trick. Soy must be fermented in order to be digestible to humans. That means that if you eat soy at all, you should stick to fermented soy products like miso, tempeh, natto, or a naturally fermented soy sauce (tamari).
Finally soy is rich in trypsin inhibitors. Trypsin is a digestive enzyme we need to properly digest protein. Without enough trypsin, you’ll experience many digestive problems including stomach cramps, diarrhea, and bleeding. You’ll also be leaving yourself open to future problems with your pancreas.
” So there you have it…the briefest description I could find from a reputable source on why unfermented soy is bad news. There is no “But….I’m vegan!” or “But…I love tofu! There are too many alternatives to soy…you’d be better off chewing on a piece of shoe leather than eating soy. Here’s the last piece I am going to post from “Food Renegade” and it’s a piece of an article from Nina Planck. I am not afraid to speak the truth about food if it helps people make better decisions for themselves and their families and friends.
“Let’s take this industrial waste product full of toxins and carcinogens — isolated soy protein — and turn it into food that people will eat! Soy foods were born. From Nina Planck’s article:
The FDA refused to approve isolated soy protein as a safe food additive with the designation “Generally Recognized as Safe.”
Agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland withdrew its application for the coveted GRAS status for soy protein, after an outcry from scientists about the toxins and carcinogens that come with it. They can still put soy protein in your food, but they have to get pre-market approval for every product.
Isolated soy protein is no health food. But we don’t eat soy protein with a spoon. How do we eat it? It is the main ingredient in soy burgers, ice cream, milk shakes, and fake cheese. These soy protein products are phony foods — but they must look like the real foods they imitate. So the soy industry transforms a small yellow soy bean into something resembling a hamburger. They make soy “milk” and “ice cream” white and creamy.
The other ingredients in these foods are no better for you than the soy protein that goes into them. Soy milk, for example, is simply a cocktail of soy protein, sugar, and vegetable oil. The “natural” MSG formed in soy processing is already bad for you, but even more MSG, and more flavorings, are added. Imitation foods need a lot of help to be tasty. Many savory soy foods are loaded with additives to give them the flavor of the real foods they mimic. Most imitation meat, for example, contains man-made MSG, which causes migraines and is associated with brain cancer.
Shoot…say “brain cancer” in the same sentence as food and I am outta here. Make good choices and remember soy is not one of them. “Soy is not a health food…soy is not a health food….”
Carmen Hunter CHC