Because of soy’s health claims, I spent years believing that soy was good for me, and have eaten countless cartons of tofu, edamame, soy burgers, soy protein shakes, soy sausages and processed foods with soy derivatives. Afterall, everyone knows that the Asian population has been eating soy for centuries. However, what you might not know is that the Asian population consumes fermented soy.
75% of all processed foods (breads, salad dressings, canned soups, chips, to name a few) contain soy. Soy is the U.S.’s 2nd largest crop in cash sales, accounting for $4.5 billion in sales in 2009 (soy was a $1billion industry in 1996).
Here’s a challenge – go to your cupboard and look for ONE processed food item without an unfermented soy derivative. Soy’s names come in many different forms including, “soy lecithin, isolated soy protein, soybean vegetable oil, etc.” The soy list goes on and on. If it says soy sauce, you’re ok. But chances are, all other types of soy are unfermented, and thus, dangerous.
So now you’re probably wondering what on earth could be so dangerous about soy? Soy has been linked to the following health effects:
- Breast cancer
- Impaired fertility
- Thyroid disorders
- Kidney stones
- Severe food allergies
- Brain damage
- Immune system impairment
Dr. Joseph Mercola has done extensive research on the dangers of soy. He has been interviewed by numerous national and local news shows, including the Today Show, CNN, ABC’s World News Tonight (with Peter Jennings), Dr. Oz, The Doctors TV Show, CBS, NBC and ABC local news. He has also written two NY Times best seller books. In his article “This ‘Miracle Health Food’ Has Been Linked to Brain Damage and Breast Cancer,” he discusses the “The Truth About Soy Foods.” Below is an excerpt from his research:
“What Makes Soy Such a Risky Food to Eat?
Here is a summary of soy’s most glaring problems.
1. 91 percent of soy grown in the US is genetically modified (GM). The genetic modification is done to impart resistance to the toxic herbicide Roundup. While this is meant to increase farming efficiency and provide you with less expensive soy, the downside is that your soy is loaded with this toxic pesticide. The plants also contain genes from bacteria that produce a protein that has never been part of the human food supply.
GM soy has been linked to an increase in allergies. Disturbingly, the only published human feeding study on GM foods ever conducted verified that the gene inserted into GM soy transfers into the DNA of our gut bacteria and continues to function. This means that years after you stop eating GM soy, you may still have a potentially allergenic protein continuously being produced in your intestines.
Even more frightening is the potential for GM soy to cause infertility in future generations, which has been evidenced by recent Russian research.
2. Soy contains natural toxins known as “anti-nutrients.”
Soy foods contain anti-nutritional factors such as saponins, soyatoxin, phytates, protease inhibitors, oxalates, goitrogens and estrogens. Some of these factors interfere with the enzymes you need to digest protein. While a small amount of anti-nutrients would not likely cause a problem, the amount of soy that many Americans are now eating is extremely high.
3. Soy contains hemagglutinin.
Hemagglutinin is a clot-promoting substance that causes your red blood cells to clump together. These clumped cells are unable to properly absorb and distribute oxygen to your tissues.
4. Soy contains goitrogens.
Goitrogens are substances that block the synthesis of thyroid hormones and interfere with iodine metabolism, thereby interfering with your thyroid function.
5. Soy contains phytates.
Phytates (phytic acid) bind to metal ions, preventing the absorption of certain minerals, including calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc — all of which are co-factors for optimal biochemistry in your body. This is particularly problematic for vegetarians, because eating meat reduces the mineral-blocking effects of these phytates (so it is helpful—if you do eat soy—to also eat meat).
6. Soy is loaded with the isoflavones genistein and daidzein.
Isoflavones are a type of phytoestrogen, which is a plant compound resembling human estrogen. These compounds mimic and sometimes block the hormone estrogen, and have been found to have adverse effects on various human tissues. Soy phytoestrogens are known to disrupt endocrine function, may cause infertility, and may promote breast cancer in women.
Drinking even two glasses of soymilk daily for one month provides enough of these compounds to alter your menstrual cycle. Although the FDA regulates estrogen-containing products, no warnings exist on soy.
7. Soy has toxic levels of aluminum and manganese
Soybeans are processed (by acid washing) in aluminum tanks, which can leach high levels of aluminum into the final soy product. Soy formula has up to 80 times higher manganese than is found in human breast milk.
8. Soy infant formula puts your baby’s health at risk.
Nearly 20 percent of U.S. infants are now fed soy formula, but the estrogens in soy can irreversibly harm your baby’s sexual development and reproductive health. Infants fed soy formula take in an estimated five birth control pills’ worth of estrogen every day.
Infants fed soy formula have up to 20,000 times the amount of estrogen in circulation as those fed other formulas!”
If you’re wondering why we have all been duped by the ‘health claims’ of soy, all you have to do is look at soy’s sales and trends over the last 15 years. That’s why good marketers get paid the big bucks. Their job is to sell products to you, me and even our little ones (if you have a package of pop tarts or a box of cereal in your cupboard, I’d be willing to guess that those have a soy derivative in them, too).
What really makes me gag when I see edamame and tofu these days are knowing what has happened to lab animals. When genetically modified, unfermented soy has been fed to hamsters, the third generation of hamster babies have been STERILE, or unable to produce any future offspring.
How many people do you know who have had issues conceiving? (Please don’t answer that question here, just think about it).
We’d love to hear your thoughts regarding soy.
Huffington Post: GM Soy Linked to Sterility, Infant Mortality in Hamsters
And another study:
GM Soy Diet Leads to Ovary And Uterus Changes in Rats
“The Unhealthy Truth” by Robyn O’Brien (available to buy at most book stores or check out at the public library)
Note: There is no differentiation between either GM/regular soy or unfermented/fermented soy in this article – both of those can really determine the outcome of soy safety/health: article
American Academy of Pediatrics
Note: This is one of their references – a study about soy – which resulted in major changes in the female rat’s reproductive system, yet AAP hasn’t changed their position on soy….yet: article
The full AAP article: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/121/5/1062
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