Soy is not the health food that you think it is.
It seems everywhere you look from the freezer section of your grocery store to the shelves of the local health food store soy products are everywhere. Tofu hot dogs and burgers are found in the “healthy eating” section of the grocery store. Many babies are downing soy-based formulas in place of breast milk. Soy products have swept the nation as a healthy source of protein, with a perception as being all natural and good for you. So what are the facts concerning soy?
Independent research has raised many questions concerning the relationship between soy and breast cancer. Decreased brain function in men has been linked to soy, and now scientists are questioning soy and its relationship to developmental abnormalities in infants.
There are a few issues with soy, which in our opinion, make it a food that has a far greater downside then upside.
Soy contains natural chemicals that mimic estrogen called isoflavones. Animal studies show that this chemical can alter sexual development. Worse Japanese researchers found that as little as 2 tablespoons a day of soy powder had a dramatic effect of thyroid function creating a state of hypothyroidism with early goiter changes in spite of adequate iodine intake. They also found that the effect lasted for 3 months after soy consumption was discontinued.
Soybeans contain an anti-nutrient called phytic acid. All beans do. However, soybeans have the highest levels of phytic acid compared to other beans. Adding to the high phytate problem, soybeans are highly resistant to phytate-reducing techniques, such as long, slow cooking used with other beans. Phytic acid blocks the absorption of certain minerals, including magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc. This is of particular interest when it comes to soy-based infant formulas and the nutrient deficiencies created in the name of health.
Soybeans also contain enzyme inhibitors that decrease protein digestion, create bloating, and eventually lead to amino acid deficiencies. Lastly, soybeans contain hemagglutinin, a clot-promoting substance which causes red blood cells to clump together. These clumped blood cells cannot properly transport oxygen to the body’s tissues leading to cardiac difficulties.
Soy straight from the ground is not suitable for human consumption.
Only after fermentation for an extended period of time as seen with miso and tempeh production, or through extensive processing such as chemical extractions and high temperatures, are the beans, or the soy protein isolate, suitable for digestion when eaten.
You would think that anything that caused your thyroid to slow down, your hormones to be depressed, your digestion to be shut down, your blood to clot, and nutrients to be leached from your body would be illegal to sell. It probably would be if you or I were selling it, but when the monsters of agribusiness can pay for research studies and manipulate the findings to their liking it creates a multibillion dollar industry from a bean that was waste and animal feed as recently as 100 years ago. Genetic modification has meant that all seeds are purchased from one supplier. Big business at its worst.
Does that mean that soy has absolutely no redeeming qualities?
The process of fermentation reduces the phytic acid, trypsin inhibitors, and hemagglutinin. Reduces but does not eliminate so we recommend that you eat only small amounts of soy. Be certain that it is not genetically modified and make sure it is in a fermented form such as miso, or tempeh. Stay clear of soy protein powders, foods and supplements that are not fermented and GMO free.