The Ploy of Soy

   By estherblum  Oct 21, 2009

The ploy of soy is a big one. There are so many claims that it has health benefits and is the perfect substitute for animal protein. I used to eat a lot of soy myself, but over the years I have unearthed some hard truths that now make me think twice about consuming soy. 

It’s true, many studies have shown traditionally fermented soy--which is the form that is very popular in many Asian cultures--aids in preventing and reducing a variety of diseases including certain forms of heart disease and cancers.  But just to be safe, I recommend using these products as a condiment, and not the mainstay of your meals.

I’ve come to believe through my years of research and practice, that soy is not the wonder food product makers claim it to be. Let’s delve deeper into some of the bigger problems with soy:



·     Soy lacks methionine?an essential amino acid required to build muscle. I guess that’s why you don’t see a lot of vegetarian body builders.

·     Soy suppresses thyroid function because it contains phytoestrogens that can disrupt hormonal balance.

·     Soybeans are high in phytic acid, which, in large amounts, can block the uptake of essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc in the intestinal tract.

·     Soybeans are very new to the food chain of modern man, since it was never used for food in paleolithic times.  Many people are not only allergic to soy, but suffer with extreme gas and bloating from it.  If you have any type of autoimmune condition, especially colitis or celiac disease, you should remove soy from your diet immediately.

·     Soy is very high in arginine, and can exacerbate cold sores and herpes outbreaks.

If you’re trying to get soy out of your diet, you should know that soy is often a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and can have many aliases: Food processors are less likely to list the three letter word "soy" than a technical term such as "textured vegetable protein" (TVP), "textured plant protein", "hydrolyzed vegetable protein" (HVP), "vegetable oil" or "MSG" (monosodium glutamate). Ingredient lists also include words such as "vegetable oil", "vegetable broth", "boullion", "natural flavor" or "mono-diglyceride" that do not necessarily come from soy, but are likely to. Soy is found in everything from Pizza Hut to Baskin Robbins to vitamins and, yes?even asthma inhalers..

If you do consume soy, I suggest you use it judiciously and only in its fermented form: miso, natto, tempeh, soy sauces, and fermented tofu.  The fermentation process stops the effect of phytic acid and increases the availability of isoflavones. The fermentation also creates the probiotics--the "good" bacteria that increase the quantity, availability, digestibility and assimilation of nutrients in the body.

What’s your take on soy?  







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bensmom09 by bensmom09 | South Jordan, UT
Nov 07, 2009

I don't eat a lot of soy products, but have always viewed it as a healthful substitute for meat. It's interesting to know that it suppresses thyroid function since I have hypothyroidism and was not aware that there was a connection.

mystigal by mystigal | Downey, CA
Nov 02, 2009

I've read a lot of bad things about soy products. It's espcially bad for children and people with thyroid problems. I even found out that some vitamin companies as well as frozen foods have soy products in them.

mantra by mantra | cary, NC
Nov 02, 2009

extremely very interesting article..its like an eyeopener for those who rely on soy products..for the so much told high nutrition..thanks for sharing the knowledge with us

joy9281 by joy9281 | TOLEDO, OH
Nov 01, 2009

I do not care for the taste so moderation is no problem for me. If there was a pill with the same benefits I would much rather take this than eat anything with soy. Besides w/ all the4 uncertainty on soy I am not sure we should use much!

sakana by sakana | Seattle, WA
Oct 31, 2009

I agree with posts saying that moderation is key. The problem is that it's hard to be moderate when it's hidden in so many foods (if you use vegetable oil or see it in an ingredient list, odds are it's soybean oil) - just like corn and HFCS. Cheap, overproduced, and added to everything.

estherblum by estherblum | weston, CT
Oct 31, 2009

Sorry-- my comment didn't post properly. For every published study ever done on soy, read The Whole Soy Story ( Extremely informational. Soy is estrogenic and can cause early onset of puberty for girls and delayed sexual development in boys. In both sexes, soy can cause fertility issues later on in life. Be extremely judicious when consuming soy: consume it only in fermented forms, and in very small amounts.

estherblum by estherblum | weston, CT
Oct 31, 2009

Live Gorgeously! Esther

ballerine_avec_ardeur by ballerine_avec_ardeur | SHIPPENSBURG, PA
Oct 31, 2009

Soy should only be used in the purest form. That is where the media decieves you. Look for Organic, not genaric or natural. Also, if you have thyroid issues... DO NOT use soy. It can create a problem.

mommyof3ree by mommyof3ree | Las Vegas, NV
Oct 31, 2009

WOW! I have thyroid problems and I drink soy milk instead of regualar milk and so does my mom. I'm throwing it all away!!!

gardengirl10 by gardengirl10 | VIRGINIA BCH, VA
Oct 31, 2009

I eat more soy products now because I am just starting menopause, I don't go overboard. I like tofu stir fried with some bok choy, I make tofu "crab cake" a great recipe I got from the giant book of tofu. ---- ------ I also pack some soy beans in a container for a snack or toss them in my salad. I started eating tofu when my son became a vegetarian a few year back, even though he has started eating chicken I still continue to buy it.

redrach by redrach | Bloomsburg, PA
Oct 30, 2009

Broccoli and tofu stir fry is pretty delicious... over brown rice. Yum.

caryn8 by caryn8 | LAKE GENEVA, WI
Oct 30, 2009

No food is perfect. Don't be so critical, soy has a lot to offer. Who promised you it would take the place of every other food we should be eating? I can not stand it when people do not understand that nothing is healthy enough to replace everything else. The rest of us understand that it is a great food to add to our already healthy diet. In my house, we eat tofu once a week. We are not vegans and love a good steak and we still eat our fruits and vegetables too. Do not make it out to be evil.

andysbabycakes by andysbabycakes | BLAND, MO
Oct 30, 2009

I read so much in magazines and online about how good soy is for you...then I SOMETIMES read the negative issues about soy. It is not published/talked about near as much. I eat soy very I don't feel so bad about not eating what I thought I should have been eating a lot of!! I have thyroid issues and two teen we are definetly not going to be eating it alot!

littleneko by littleneko | NORWICH, CT
Oct 30, 2009

That is scary kathi22! I'm sorry to hear about your daughter. Lisaberger, my mother is a cancer survivor and she read that women who have had estrogen mediated cancer should avoid soy as well. Her opinion was that soy is safe for those who haven't had that type of cancer. I didn't know that soy could have effects on healthy people. Moderation is good advise, but this is a topic that I should definitely read up on.

lisaberger by lisaberger | New York, NY
Oct 29, 2009

As a recent cancer survivor (endometrial - an estrogen mediated cancer), I was advised to avoid soy if possible. Okay to have some, like soy sauce, but don't eat a lot. I believe this is because of it's association with estrogen. Anyone else heard this?