Everyone from health magazines to your doctor have been saying to eat more soy foods. The idea that soy is good for you has become part of popular culture. It is declared to be a complete protein and a source of vitamin B12 that we can substitute for that evil red meat. We are also told Asians eat lots of soy, which is the reason for their good health, and that it is a source of beneficial phytoestrogens that will help women going through menopause and make you smarter. So gee, what’s not to like?
For starters, soybeans naturally contain high levels of phytic acid. All grains and legumes contain some phytic acid, but in soy it is much higher. Phytic acid interferes with absorption of calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc, causing deficiencies of these minerals in the body. Ancient processing methods for soy involved long soaking that neutralized this acid. Modern methods are production oriented and do not include this long soaking.
Soy foods are also high in aluminum, which is toxic to the nervous system and kidneys. Contrary to popular belief, soy is not a complete protein, but is deficient in methionine and cysteine. Soy is processed at high temperatures, which damages the protein lysine. If this were not bad enough, soy also contains trypsin inhibitors that interfere with protein digestion and cause stunted growth in animals.
Vitamin B12 is essential for life and without it we develop neurological disorders. The B12 found in soy is not true B12, but an analog, which inhibits the absorption of actual B12.
Asians actually consume about 2 teaspoons of soy per day as condiments in the form of fermented soy sauce, miso and natto. Soy is not used as a replacement for animal foods. Small amounts of tofu are usually consumed with broths that are rich in minerals to compensate for soy’s mineral depleting effects.
Soy phytoestrogens are not at all beneficial but are, in fact, thyroid suppressive, and are linked to hypothyroidism and thyroid cancer. They can also prevent ovulation and stimulate the growth of cancer cells, including those involved in breast cancer
Soy is popular in protein shakes, both as meal replacers and for body builders. But soy isoflavones and soy protein isolate do not have GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status with the FDA due to the presence of carcinogens and toxins.
And of course everyone has heard of soy formula, however, the phytoestrogens in soy are powerful endocrine disruptors. Feeding soy to infants, floods their system with female hormones that suppress testosterone. Babies fed soy-based formula have 13,000 to 22,000 times more estrogen compounds in their blood than do breast-fed babies. This is the equivalent of five birth control pills per day. And soy infant formula inhibits the absorption of nutrients needed for healthy growth and maturity. These include: both vitamin D and calcium, as well as iron, zinc, copper and magnesium. Soy also lacks cholesterol, which is necessary for healthy brain function and development.
Soy formulas often contain additives of questionable safety including: carageenan, guar gum, sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), potassium citrate monohydrate, dibasic magnesium phosphate trihydrate, BHA and BHT.
Now fermented soy, as in soy sauce, miso, and natto are fine and highly beneficial. Fermentation breaks down indigestible compounds, and in any case, these foods are condiments, eaten only in small amounts.
So don’t be fooled by advertising – or anyone else – and avoid this faux food.