Soy – the silent infiltrator – can now be found in countless products at the grocery store and is touted to be the ultimate health food. Used as a meat replacer and a milk replacer without the ‘so-called’ negative aspects of meat and milk. Soy is everywhere and even jnfants may be exposed to soy through soy formulas, whereas adults ingest soy milk or take soy isoflavone supplements. In addition, there is no shortage of other soy items—soy milk, soy cheese, soy hot dogs, soy meats, soy energy bars— as well as many other food sources. Many processed foods contain soy in the form of soy oil (rancid and toxic) or soy protein isolate (which is a highly processed, devitalized, and toxic food source that needs to be avoided). Deceptive advertising has allowed the soy industry to change the perception of soy in order for soy to be considered a health food. The soy industry has managed to stake their claim that soy can help nearly every condition and more and more people are being brain washed into associating good health with high soy intake.
In fact, non-fermented soy is not a health food despite the many claims about soy stating that it offers many health benefits. These statements claim that soy is a good source of protein but low in saturated fats and cholesterol. Other claims state that soy ingestion promotes lower rates of heart disease, as well as breast and other cancers, fewer menopause symptoms, and healthier bones. However, there are many other studies supporting the fact that soy may not be the “health food” it has been proclaimed to be and may actually contain many harmful components. Soy, in fact, is listed as poisonous in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Poisonous Plant Database.[i]
There are many potential problems with soy. You can learn more in my book co-authored with Dr. David Brownstein (www.drbrownstein.com) called The Soy Deception. Just some of the potential adverse effects of soy include:
- Soy causes many thyroid problems. It is a known goitrogen—it promotes goiter or swelling of the thyroid gland. (More about this in Chapter 5.)
- Soy inhibits the uptake of iodine, which is used by the thyroid gland in the production of thyroid hormones. (More about this in Chapter 5.)
- Soy contains phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) which may disrupt endocrine function. (More about this in Chapter 4.)
- Soy contains large amounts of phytates (including phytic acid). Phytic acid is the storage form of phosphate in plants. Research has shown that phytic acid has been found to reduce the assimilation of minerals including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, and zinc. The fermentation process helps in neutralizing phytic acid, which is one reason why fermented soy is healthier for you.
- Soy has also been shown to increase the body’s requirements for vitamin D.
- It has long been recognized that soy consumption can cause vitamin B12 deficiency.
- During the processing of soy, highly carcinogenic nitrates and a toxin called lysinoalanine are formed. Also, many soy foods often contain MSG and aluminum.
- Most soy in the United States is genetically modified (GM). It is estimated that about half of the American soybean crop planted in 1999 carries a gene that makes it resistant to an herbicide (Roundup®) used to control weeds. Therefore, these GM soy plants are continually sprayed with large amounts of Roundup®. (More about GM soy can be found in Chapter 8.)
- Soy has one of the highest percentages of pesticide contamination of any food.
- Soy is highly allergenic and is in fact one of the top eight food allergens. It is found as filler in so many foods that people with allergies may be at risk. (More about soy and allergies can be found in Chapter 7.)
- Soy contains saponins which have been show to damage the mucosal lining of the intestine or cause leaky gut. (More about leaky gut can be found in Chapter 7.)
- Soy contains oxalates which can prevent calcium absorption and have been linked to the development of kidney stones.
Just one of these reasons is enough to rethink the intake of soy on a regular basis. Learn more and get some healthy soy-free recipes in my book The Soy Deception.
[i] U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/plantox/detail.cfm?id=16372