Soy became somewhat of a fad starting in the late ’70s. With the alarming rise in the numbers of people manifesting wheat sensitivities, soy was a versatile, prolific, and inexpensive substitute.
It’s also grown in popularity in the health and wellness market as an alternative source of protein and fats. Also, soy is used in processed foods as a filler (adding weight to meat and other products) and emulsifier.
“Unlike in Asia where people eat small amounts of whole soybean products, western food processors separate the soybean into two golden commodities–protein and oil. There’s nothing safe or natural about this,” explains Dr. Kaayla Daniel, author of the book The Whole Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favourite Health Food (1).
“Today’s high-tech processing methods not only fail to remove the anti-nutrients and toxins that are naturally present in soybeans but leave toxic and carcinogenic residues created by the high temperatures, high pressure, alkali and acid baths and petroleum solvents,” she continues.
The promoters of soy as a staple missed a few important facts about soy, however, that are now becoming apparent in the development of soy sensitivities.
What they missed was that in the countries in which soy is a regular part of the diet, it comes in the form of fermented soy, not the forms of soy that are presented to us in North America. This is especially true when it comes to soy products that are isolated and manufactured, such as soy protein isolate and hydrolyzed plant protein.
Additionally, the amounts we eat (specifically and generally) are much greater than in other cultures.
The Problem with Soy
All processed soy contains compounds called phytates. These compounds block mineral absorption, while other compounds in soy called trypsin inhibitors block proper digestion.
- Thyroid problems, including weight gain, lethargy, malaise, fatigue, hair loss, and loss of libido
- Premature puberty and other developmental problems in babies and children.
- Brain damage
- Reproductive disorders
- Soy allergies
Plus, Dr. Daniel warns that soy can raise homocysteine levels, which in turn increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and birth defects.
Many experts have since petitioned the FDA to retract the 1999 claims that “soy prevents heart disease” (6).
Babies and children are at a higher risk, since soy can mimic estrogen and throw off hormone balance. In fact, a Lancet study showed that the daily exposure to estrogen-imitating chemicals for infants who consume soy formulas was 6-11 times higher than adults consuming soy foods (7). What’s more, the blood concentration of these hormones was 13,000 to 22,000 times higher than natural estrogen. For an infant fed exclusively on soy-based formula, that’s equivalent to 5 birth control pills a day (8).
Infants should not be fed soy-based formula and pregnant or breastfeeding mothers should avoid soy at all costs. What’s more, soybeans contain hemagglutinins, which cause red blood cells to clump together (9).
1. Genetic Modification
Over ninety percent of the soy produced in the U.S. is genetically modified (GM). These GM crops are sprayed with chemical herbicides and pesticides that they’ve been developed to resist. These chemicals (such as glyphosate) have been found to be toxic to humans.
2. Increased Risk of Breast Cancer
Soy contains high levels of phytoestrogens, chemicals found in plants that are similar to mammalian estrogen.
Since eating soy increases the amount of estrogen in the body, there is concern that large amounts can promote breast cancer.
A condition of estrogen dominance–in which there exists an overabundance of estrogen in the body consistently over time–can lead to a host of health issues including mood swings, insomnia, weight gain, infertility, and osteoporosis–for both women and men.
3. Phytoestrogens Can be Harmful
The result of regular increased levels of estrogen in males can contribute to lowered production of testosterone.
The imbalance of these hormones has been associated with erectile dysfunction, decreased libido, and gynecomastia, a condition of swollen breast tissue in men (10).
There is also evidence that high (unfermented) soy intake is directly related to low sperm count (11).
4. Preventing Nutrient Absorption
Phytic acid in soy inhibits the ability of the body to absorb minerals like iron, magnesium, calcium, copper, and zinc from the foods you eat (not just the soy).
This form of phosphorus arrests the activities of digestive enzymes like pepsin and trypsin. That is why soy affects some people by causing gas and bloating.
Many processed foods that contain soy include aluminum, a metal toxic to humans that affects kidney function.
Soy is a goitrogenic food that has consequences for thyroid function; it prevents the absorption of iodine, a necessary mineral for cellular metabolism and activation of the thyroid.
Problems with thyroid function have become increasingly prevalent in North America as the result of our diets and sedentary tendencies. The hormones produced by the thyroid control how your body uses food for energy.
Soy can be the healthy nutrient source it was purported to be–it’s the form it takes that makes the difference. Opt for the organic fermented kind.
The Fermentation Difference
The fermentation process for soy serves to break down the enzymes that not only negatively affect absorption of its considerable nutrients but can actually be potentially harmful to our bodies in significant amounts.
Tofu, edamame, soy milk, and the soy (including that in infant formula) and soy oils used in processed foods are not fermented; below are some reasons why you may want to rethink these forms of soy in favor of the fermented kind.
- Here’s What Happens To Your Body When You Eat MORE of This Cancer-Fighting Veggie
Cauliflower is an underrated food item that is now gaining traction in the world of healthy food trends. That’s right: the food …
- Chocolate Treats Without the Guilt
Chocolate is a guilty obsession for millions of people. But what if you could have your chocolate without the remorse? …
- 10 Best Foods To Eat To Stop Hair Loss
The sad fact of it is that once you leave your teen years behind, your hair is inevitably going to …
- 12 Common Health Foods You Should Eat More Often
Here are 12 foods that, pound for pound, offer more benefits than most other foods on the planet. These foods …
- Top 5 Alkaline Foods That You Should Be Eating
Increasing your consumption of alkaline foods can help protect your bones from degeneration and ward off the osteoporosis that tends …
- Here’s The Surprising Reason Why Eating Bananas With Brown Spots Is Better
When it comes to produce, most people believe that the fresher, the better. Especially when it comes to bananas. Bananas …
- Sauerkraut Lab Results Reveal Shocking Probiotic Count…It’s Even Better Than Yogurt!
“Probiotics” (meaning “for life”) is the name given to microorganisms that live in our bodies—primarily in the intestines—keeping balance, cleaning …
- Little Known Chinese Herb & Iron Kill 98% of Cancer Cells in 16 Hours
According to studies that were published in an issue of Life Sciences, artemisinin – a derivative of the wormwood plant used in …
- Powerful Bacteria-Killing Spice With 4X The Concentration of Antioxidants as Blueberries!
When we hear of antioxidant foods, we often hear of berries. Blueberries in particular are touted for their rich antioxidant …
- 5 Creative Culinary Uses of Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt packs protein and probiotic power in one super-healthy combination, which is why it has taken over grocery stores …
- Lower Your Cancer Risk With These Herbs and Super-Foods
By now, most of us have heard that eating lots of blueberries and cranberries can help reduce the risk of …
- Beer: a Magical Mixture of Hops, Barley, and Tiny Pieces of Plastic?!
Okay, so the German beer purity law is five hundred years old–it was time for a review anyway. A recent …
- A Green Smoothie That Doesn’t Taste Like Grass!
If you’re looking for a super-clean, super-tasty start to the day when you wake up in the morning, be sure …
- Eating Grapefruit Can Help Treat Diabetes And Keep Cholesterol in Check (Do NOT Eat It With Meds!)
Eating more grapefruit might be the best natural way to keep your kidneys healthy and free of dangerous cysts. Additionally, …
- USDA Goes Forward with Herbicide-Resistant GMO seeds
The commercial use of new herbicide-resistant, genetically modified corn and soybean seeds moved one step closer to reality on Friday …