Is Soy Healthy?

To soy or not to soy, this has been a question deliberating in my mind for quite some time and while waiting in line at a neighborhood bakery the answer became very clear.  And that answer is a resounding NOT.  Looking at the baked goods at this particular bakery I was taken aback their pictures showing soy as an ingredient in cupcakes, cakes, muffins even croissants.  When did this switch from butter to soy happen everywhere?  And why?

Going into a grocery store these days you would be hard pressed to find something that didn’t have soy in it.  Soybean based items are everywhere and items that use to have real butter or oils like olive oil are now laden with soybean oil.  If you look at the ingredients of some of your favorite packaged food items I guarantee you will find some type of soy.  There’s also a great influx of people eating soy based cheeses, milks and meats due to believing that it’s healthier than eating regular meat and dairy.  Now personally I’m not a big advocate for eating lots of meat and dairy and if it’s eaten it should be grass fed (no soy based feed) and locally and holistically farmed.  I’m all for eating more plants and steering away from eating a lot of animal products but is soy really the best and most healthy way to go?

Just recently it was reported that the FDA wanted to pull it’s support of soybeans being healthy for the heart due to evidence showing inconsistent finds that soy protein is beneficial for reducing heart disease.  And an article on the Harvard Health Publishing website stated that some soy products contain estrogen like chemicals that could cause adverse effects.  The article suggested to stay away from soy protein isolate and foods made with textured vegetable protein .  But the most thorough research on soy came from Dr. Mercola’s website courtesy of the Weston Price Foundation.  Some of the troubling information found concerning unfermented soy is in bullets below:

  • Over 90% of soy grown in America is genetically modified.
  • Unfermented soy contains anti-nutrients that causes health problems.
  • Soy phytoestrogens found in soy has the potential to cause breast cancer and infertility in women.
  • Soy phytoestrogen can also cause hypothyroidism.
  • Infants drinking soy formula:  The soy floods the bloodstream with female hormones that inhibit testosterone and is a possible cause of disrupted development patterns in boys, including learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder.
  • Male children exposed to the estrogen in the soy have testes smaller than normal at maturation. And a study done with infant monkeys fed soy isoflavones had a 70% reduction of testosterone compared to the infant monkeys fed milk.
  • For girls fed soy formula 15 percent of white girls and 50% of black girls show signs of early puberty growth before the age of 8.
Horrifying right?  Now let’s say you decide not to consume soy and stay away from anything with ingredients like soy lecithin, soy oil and soy protein.  You also have to watch out for these soy items; MSG, Guar Gum, Gum Arabic, Natural Flavoring, Stabilizer, Thickener and Mixed Tocopherols.  A lot of restaurants, especially fast food establishments use soy protein fillers in their meat and soy flour for bread, rolls and hamburger buns.  And we haven’t even touched on medications, make up, skincare items and hair products, these items can also contain soy.  So the question is if it’s been documented the toxicity and the dangers of soy, why is it still being produced for consumption? The answer is; Soy is cheap.  It’s grown in abundance and because it is genetically modified it can withstand insects and challenging weather patterns.  
There are still many products that don’t contain soy and their are many substitutions for meat and dairy if one has decided to be 100% plant based.  Some of them are good old fashioned vegetables, hemp based items, mushrooms, certain types of nuts, chickpeas and ancient grains.
Unfortunately we live in a time where food quality (among other things) is lacking and our job as human beings is to make informed decisions on the food we feed our families as well as ourselves.  
Knowledge is powerful.
For more information about soy please check out this articles.
Peace, Good Health and Much Wellness!