Today, almost every packaged and processed food has some form of soy in it. Soy protein, soy lecithin or soy oil (which counts for a whopping 79% of the edible fats used annually in the US). We eat soy burgers, soy cheese, soy nuts, tofu, soy ice cream, we drink soy milk and we give babies soy formula.
Contrary to popular belief that soy is a healthy food, there are numerous cases and disorders linked with soy consumption:
Type I Diabetes
Soy can be a:
The history of soy dates back to the Chinese Chou Dynasty when ancient farmers planted soybeans in order to infuse their soil with nutrients such as nitrogen. This period of time also confirmed that soy was traditionally not used as food but as a crop-rotating plant that replenished the soil with nutrients. Throughout the centuries, soy gained popularity in various fermented forms.
Only recently has corporate soy production become common place, followed by hoards of misinformation claiming it a “health” food in all of its processed forms. Soybeans naturally contain a host of anti-nutrients and toxins including, Phytoestrogens, phytic acid or phytates, tripsin inhibitors and hemaglutinin.
New research and studies have raised very important questions over the health benefits of soy. Soybeans contain a natural chemical that mimics the female hormone, estrogen. Studies have shown that this chemical might increase the risk of breast cancer in some women, affect brain function in men and lead to hidden developmental abnormalities in infants. Moms eating soy during pregnancy are putting their babies at risk because its phytoestrogens (weak plant source estrogens), pass right through the placenta. This can disturb hormonal balance, especially in the first 3 months of pregnancy, when male fetuses are in a crucial developmental stage and absolutely must have adequate testosterone. ( A Harvard study revealed a definite correlation between soy consumption and low sperm count indicating that high soy consumption can instigate reproductive harm.) Boy babies that get plant estrogens instead of mom’s testosterone are at risk for penal birth defects like undescended testicles and hypospadias, ( a birth defect of male urethra and penis ).
Despite soy industry health claims, (which never define the proper type of soy to consume), soy is a potent endocrine disrupter and an enzyme and mineral inhibitor. One of the key problems is that soy can cause thyroid damage, leading to weight gain, fatigue and depression. Scientists have known for years that isoflavones in soy products can depress thyroid function and cause goiters in otherwise healthy children and adults ( Immune Perspectives 2008 Center For Advancement In Cancer Education ). Many babies who are allergic to cow’s milk are fed soy -based formulas which contain isoflavones. Isoflavones can act like estrogen, a natural hormone important in the development of both male and female humans. A baby, fed soy, will receive, through the phytoestrogens, the equivalent of approximately 5 birth control pills per day. Nutrition expert Dr. Joseph Mercola says, “soy formula is one of the worst foods that you could feed your child. Not only does it have profoundly adverse hormonal effects, but it also has over 100% more aluminum than conventional milk-based formulas”. Aluminum is toxic to the nervous system and the kidneys. (FYI – Aluminum is used in many vaccines).
Soy phytoestrogens disrupt endocrine function, and have the potential to cause infertility, and to promote breast cancer in women. They are potent anti-thyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism, and possibly even thyroid cancer. In infants, consumption of soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.
High levels of phytic acid or phytates, another nutrient absorption inhibitor in soy, deters the uptake of essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. High phytate diets have caused growth problems in children. Zinc, the intelligence mineral, is the one most completely blocked by soy. Soy has been shown to have the highest phytic acid content of any other grain or legume ever studied. Soy foods also increase the bodies requirement for vitamin D and B-12.\
Trypsin inhibitors in soy interfere with protein absorption and digestion, causing abdominal distress due to hampered absorption of crucial nutrients and amino acids. Animals fed diets that contained large amounts of trypsin inhibitors developed pancreatic problems, including cancer, and is known to cause stunted growth.
Hemaglutinin is a substance in soy that is responsible for causing red blood cells to clump together and form clots. It also inhibits oxygen take-up and growth. Both trypsin and hemaglutinin have been deemed “growth depressant substances” for their contributions in stunting essential bodily functions. Although the act of fermenting soybeans does de-activate both hemaglutinin and trypsin inhibitors, cooking and precipitation do not.
Another reason why soy is so harmful, is the fact that over 90% of soy crops in the US are Genetically Modified (GMO). Genetic engineering is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted, and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or humans. GMO’s continually show in independent studies, to cause serious harm in the human body. This is frightening considering that soy derivatives are found in virtually every processed food product. Fragile proteins are denatured during high temperature processing to make soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein. The processing of soy protein results in the formation of toxic lysinoalanine and highly carcinogenic nitrosamines . Also during processing, MSG or glutamic acid is formed and additional amounts are added to many soy foods.
Asians do not eat as much soy as we think. The highest intake of soy in Japan is among the Monks. They eat it to turn off sexual desire. The Japanese, the highest of the soy-consuming countries in Asia, use soy as a condiment (approx. 8 grams a day) China eats far less. The US consumption is three times that of Japan’s. The FDA has encouraged Americans to eat 25 grams of soy protein a day as a way to prevent heart disease. The American Heart Association has changed its position on soy, saying that it does not lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease. Soy industry giants like Monsanto, Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill and Dupont, were all behind a campaign and formal endorsement to influence the FDA.
Soy products like miso, tamari, tempeh, and shoyu that have been properly fermented are delicious and healthy when used in various food preparations. Fermentation eliminates virtually all of the anti-nutrients and toxins present in raw soybeans. If you are going to consume soy, I would suggest that you eat it:
Would love to have your comments – let’s keep up the dialogue – Rodi. Also, have any personal questions you may wish to ask me? Just drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org