The Truth About Soy

In reality, soy isn’t a “health” food, it’s a disease food.

Why? Because it contains a lot of really nasty stuff. Like huge amounts of phytoestrogens (which increase fat production and cause hormonal imbalances in both men and women), enzyme inhibitors (which interfere with protein digestion), haemagluttin (which causes red blood cells to clump together, hindering oxygen up-take) and compounds that disrupt thyroid function and metabolism.

To top it all off, soy protein isn’t even well-utilized by the body because its amino acid structure is so imbalanced.

While the soy industry doesn’t want you to know this, we’re going to tell you anyway: ALL soybeans—organically-grown or not—are processed with hexane, a neurotoxic petrochemical. Yikes!

Concerned about the environment? You should know that widespread soy cultivation now ranks among the leading causes of rainforest destruction in the Amazon.

One of the biggest misconceptions about soy that persists even today is that it’s a health food. While that statement may be partially correct (more about that in just a bit), for the most part, it’s a misleading and dangerous myth, and may be causing disastrous effects on the health of millions of unsuspecting consumers.

For decades, soy has been promoted as a healthy protein food. In response to heavy pressure from the soybean industry, the FDA approved a health claim for soy in 1999 that literally opened the floodgates for soy products.

“Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 25 grams of soy protein a day may reduce the risk of heart disease.”

This only fueled consumers’ beliefs about soy’s potential health benefits. Consequently, soy has been added to many products for both marketing purposes and to boost protein content of foods. Because it’s an inexpensive food, soy is truly a food manufacturer’s dream. While the industry’s promises are endless in regard to soy’s purported health benefits, unfortunately, for the most part, they are not true.

How did soy get such a stellar reputation in the first place?

It could at least be partly due to Asians’ reputation for leading long, healthy lives. We’ve been led to believe that these populations consume large amounts of soy, and that accounts for their longevity. In truth, the Japanese eat less soy than Americans do. A 1998 study found that a Japanese man typically eats about two teaspoons, or eight grams, of soy a day. This is in stark contrast to recent figures for Americans. One soy burger alone provides nine grams of soy, and soy can now be found in some form in nearly every processed food.

When you look back at the history of soy consumption in Asian cultures, you see a much different type of soy. The Japanese have traditionally eaten fermented soy, which is much different from the unfermented soy most Americans eat today.

Fermented soy products are healthy protein foods. But what exactly is fermented soy? It’s a form of soy that has gone through a lengthy fermentation process that makes it digestion-friendly. The top three fermented soy foods are:

Natto – Fermented soybeans that become sticky and gooey with a strong, distinctive taste.

Tempeh – A fermented soybean cake with a firm texture and nutty, mushroom-like flavor.

Miso – A fermented soybean paste with a salty, buttery texture that’s commonly used in making miso soup.

In both Japan and China, the average person eats about an ounce of fermented soy each day, a far cry from the much larger amounts of unfermented soy in American diets. These relatively small amounts of fermented soy vs. unfermented soy offer much value to health.

The friendly bacteria or probiotics found in fermented soy help nourish the gut and digestive flora, boosting digestion and the absorption of nutrients. Because the majority of the immune system resides in the intestinal tract, these beneficial soy products aid immune function, too. In fact, soy that has gone through this fermentation process is:

• Lower in “anti-nutrient” substances that act as toxins in your body

• Easier to digest and less likely to cause gastric distress

• Lower in phytates that prevent the absorption of minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc

• High in vitamin K2, an important nutrient for supporting bone and cardiovascular health.

So with so many other options so readily available, there’s really no reason to eat or drink soy. When it comes to protein powders, choose rice, hemp, sunflower, pumpkin or pea.

Need a non-dairy milk? Opt for almond, cashew, hemp, macadamia or coconut instead.