Soy – Not A Health Food

Soy – Not A Health Food

Only Certain Types Of Soy Are Beneficial To Your Health

Over the decades, many health conscious individuals, particularly Americans, have been consuming various unfermented soy products such as soy cheese, milk, ice cream and burgers convinced by a  vague belief that soy is a better alternative above others.

Protein-rich, vegetarian, cheap… Those are just among the reasons why most people choose to switch to soybean products. It has been proven and tested for centuries mostly by Asians in the form of fermented ones. Natto, soy sauce and tempeh belong to the fermented soy group which are believed to promote  good health.

However, scientific studies published about soy, including mostly those from the unfermented group, contradict the popular beliefs. Their main difference lies between the members of the fermented group which do not cause much destruction to the body than those of the unfermented set.

In conclusion, the risks for consuming unfermented soybean outweighs far more the assumed benefits, to be discussed further on this article.

dangers of soy

Soy Popularity

Regarded as the “Miracle Health Food” of the 21st century, soybean-based foods had conquered the market from 1992 to 2006 based on the surveys. A massive increase starting from $300 million to almost $4 billion worth of products were sold during the period as deliberated by the Soyfoods Association of North America. The rapid growth was the product of a successful soy advertising campaign from the manufacturers.

If you think that the soy industry is small-time, take a look at this survey led by Consumer Attitudes About Nutrition in 2008. Over 2,700 new soy-based products were made available in the global market through U.S. food manufacturers from the year 2000 to 2007.

In 2007, 85% of consumers believed that soy foods bring goodness to their health wherein 33% consume soy no less than once per month. Among them, 70% solemnly agree that soybean oil is good for their health approving the 84% of users who are aware of the reduced risk of heart diseases as claimed by FDA.

Just read the back of many packaged foods and you will discover that soy based products are in almost everything!

As you can see, the public perceived soy as wholly beneficial resulting to increased productions and profits from the manufacturers while masking the true aspect of soy. Many who were deceived on consuming unfermented soy experienced health complications in the long run.

Harsh Reality

Varieties of soy foods are presently available in the market nowadays. These can be classified to fermented, unfermented and GMO soy. Among the three, GMO soy is considered as the worst of them for being recently discovered with harmful contaminants like pesticide residues.

Western soy manufacturers differ from Asians as the soybean is being processed for two commodities: oil and protein. Based on The Whole Soy Story, a book written by Dr. Kaayla Daniel, various grave diseases are linked to long-term soy consumption including infant or reproductive abnormalities, kidney stones, brain damage, breast carcinoma, thyroid dysfunction, immune system deficiency and cardio diseases.

One case recognized is that of a 55 year-old man who retired as US Army intelligence officer. He experienced slight breast enlargement, reduced hair growth on his face, chest and legs, loss of sexual desire and a big shift in emotions after consuming probably around 3 quarts of soy milk every day for the past few years. He found soy as a great solution for his lactose intolerance problem, not knowing that the effects would be not-so-great for his health.

Risks

Infants

Babies in the US who are bottle-fed normally consume high volumes of soy milk products. A reproductive biologist from University of Illinois, Paul Cooke, Ph. D., conducted a research using mice with blood composition similar to that of human infants who constantly drink soy milk. The results were bothersome as he discovered the shrinkage of the thymus gland, where white blood cells undergo maturation, an important factor to immunity.

Teens and Young Adults

For those who aim to gain muscles, a rich protein diet and supplements are required to consume in order to attain cope up with the muscle tear and repair. Commonly found protein supplements in health-food stores worldwide are those with whey, casein and soy contents. Each brand brags different muscle-building properties wherein whey and casein originate from animal sources, and soy supplements come cheaper than the former.

The Journal of Nutrition published in 2005 came into conclusion that the biological value casein protein in humans is significantly higher than that of soy whereas a large portion of soy is degraded into body’s waste product urea. Furthermore, it doesn’t contribute much to the body’s protein synthesis.

Middle Age

A study printed in the journal Human Reproduction from Harvard, led by Jorge E. Chavarro, M.D., Sc.D., found a very strong association with soy and decreased sperm counts in men. After consuming 15 different types of soy-based products daily, 99 participants noted a decrease of 32% in their respective sperm counts. This result could be the onset of other reproductive diseases that may arise in the long run.

Elderly

Eef Hogervorst, Ph.D. and his team from England’s Loughborough University studied the possible relationship of dementia and soy-based foods. The choice of population involved the elderly Indonesians who had been consuming tofu for the longest time due to their dietary cultural beliefs. Results showed natives more than 68 years of age are most likely to develop dementia and memory loss. Tofu was once admired for its phytoestrogen content that works similar to that of estrogen in protecting the brain. Clearly, the results opposed to the function of tofu’s phytoestrogens.

Recommended Soy Products

Organic and fermented soy products are recommended to consume due to their reduced phytate levels that hinder the absorption of nutrients in the digestive tract. These fermented products include tempeh (firm and nutty soybean mushroom-like flavor cake), natto (sticky soy with cheese-like flavor), soy sauce (processed by fermenting soybeans with enzymes and salt), and miso (buttery soybean paste used in miso soups).

Soy Products to Avoid

The unfermented group includes the following: tofu, soymilk, soybean oil, soy protein and soy meat or texturized vegetable protein (contains high amounts of msg not advisable for consumption). Though there are many other types of soy, just bear in mind its recommended fermented products and avoid anything else that falls outside the category.

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