Is Soy Healthy or Harmful? - Paula Owens

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Is Soy Healthy or Harmful?

Soy has many potent hormones that can wreak havoc with your health. Before you mix up a soy protein shake, snack on a soy protein bar, drink a glass of soy milk, feed your baby soy formula or take fish oil that contains soybean oil, it’s important to question whether soy is healthy or harmful. When it comes to soy, much of what we read and hear about comes from those who market it and have a financial interest in it.

Did you know that…

  1. 93-95% of all soy in the U.S is used to make soybean oil, which is genetically engineered. The waste product is then used to feed livestock or processed to produce soy protein. Whole soybeans are rarely consumed.
  2. soy inhibits the thyroid
  3. soy is an anti-nutrient
  4. soy is deficient in amino acids
  5. soy is estrogenic
  6. soy contains aluminum
  7. soy is toxic to infants
  8. soy shrinks the brain
  9. soy causes digestive distress and immune system breakdown
  10. soy disrupts mineral absorption and is linked to malnutrition

Is Soy Healthy or Harmful?

You decide. Before you consume soy or feed it to your children, consider the following:

  • Soy contains isoflavones and phytoestrogens that are similar to and mimic estrogen.
  • Soy may shrink the brain and increase risk of dementia. In a major ongoing study involving 3,734 men, those who ate the most soy during midlife had up to 2.4 times the risk of later developing Alzheimer’s disease.
  • For women with breast cancer or estrogen dominance, consuming soy can be dangerous! A Sloan Kettering study claims that soy increases the growth of potentially deadly breast tumors and increases the expression of a gene associated with cancer growth.
  • Soy foods contain high levels of aluminum, a neurotoxin and kidney toxin.
  • Soy foods increase the body’s requirement for vitamin D and calcium. Consumption of soy is not ideal for bone health.
  • The processing of soy protein results in the formation of toxins and carcinogenic nitrosamines.
  • Soy inhibits the thyroid causing increased thyroid damage and risk of thyroid disorders, especially in women. Soy phytoestrogens are potent anti-thyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism and may cause thyroid cancer. Intake of soy blocks the uptake of minerals especially iodine, which is especially important for a healthy functioning thyroid. In infants, consumption of soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.
  • Processed soy is an anti-nutrient with high levels of phytic acid, which reduces assimilation of minerals including calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. High-phytate diets can cause growth problems in children.
  • Soy is deficient in amino acids.
  • Soy phytoestrogens disrupt endocrine function and contribute to weight gain, fatigue and infertility. In Japan, when housewives want to decrease the virility of their husbands they give them soy products.
  • Drinking 2 cups of soy milk daily for one month negatively alters women’s menstrual cycle and lowers testosterone in men.
  • Trypsin inhibitors, found in soy interfere with protein digestion and may trigger pancreatic disorders.
  • Soy containing trypsin inhibitors can stunt growth.
  • Soy plays havoc on your immune system causing immune dysfunction.
  • Consuming soy increases your body’s requirement for B12.
  • Fragile proteins are denatured during high temperature processing to make soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein.
  • MSG, a potent neurotoxin is formed during soy food processing and additional amounts of MSG are added to many soy foods. Neurotoxins such as MSG and aspartame prematurely kill brain cells according to Russell Blaylock, M.D.
  • Soy is poisonous to infants. Ideally, infants should be breast fed their first year of life. The best substitute after breast milk is raw goat’s milk. Soy formula should never be considered because soy-based formulas are high in phytoestrogens and other anti-nutrients. Feeding an infant soy formula is comparable to giving the baby five birth control pills worth of estrogen every day! If you’re unable to breastfeed, try this homemade infant formula.
  • Soy infant formula may have 200 times the manganese level as compared to the amount of manganese found in breast milk, which can lead to brain damage in infants and behavioral changes in adolescents, according to Dr. Francis Crinella, clinical professor of pediatrics at UC-Irvine, and Trinh Tran, a graduate researcher at the UC-Davis Department of Animal Studies.
  • For girls, consumption of soy can cause premature development such as breast buds, pubic hair and even menstruation before age eight. In boys, soy can retard sexual development and even result in learning disabilities.
  • Many individuals are allergic, sensitive or intolerant to soy. It’s best to avoid any items that contain any of the following ingredients, especially if you are allergic or intolerant to soy: soy flour, tofu, miso, tempeh, soy milk, soy sprouts, soy sauce, soy protein, textured vegetable protein and soybean oil. Other possible sources of soy or soy products include flavorings, hydrolyzed plant protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, natural flavoring, vegetable broth, vegetable gum and vegetable starch.
  • Over 90 percent of all soy in the U.S. is genetically engineered. This includes soy protein isolate and concentrates, genetically engineered soy foods, supplements containing soy and soybean oil, soy milk, soy protein powder and soy junk foods such as soy cheese, soy protein bars, soy ice cream, soybean oil and soy burgers.
  • Thousands of studies link unfermented soy to immune-system dysfunction, cognitive decline, malnutrition, digestive distress, reproductive disorders, heart disease and cancer.
  • Hidden sources of soy-based ingredients and soybean oil are often found in bread, ice cream, margarine, chips, poor quality vitamins and fish oil, pet food, and processed, packaged and fast foods. Sadly, ninety-eight percent of soybean production in the U.S. is used for livestock feed and as an ingredient in the majority of pet foods. Buyer Beware!!!

Soy is one of the most controversial foods out there, and phytoestrogen biochemistry is complicated. According to a few studies, there are some redeeming qualities to soy, however these are found primarily in only organic, non-GMO and fermented soy products like tempeh, miso and natto. The fermentation process neutralizes the natural occurring high level of toxins (phytic acid and other digestive inhibitors) found in soy, but not the phytoestrogens.

There are some studies showing that phytoestrogens decrease estrogen activity, and then there are other studies that have shown that they increase estrogen activity. This varies widely by the population studied too. Questions that come to mind: What were the women’s estrogen levels previously? Were these women from a culture that grew up eating soy? Were these women regularly exposed to xenoestrogens? Some clinical studies suggest that fermented soy may help reduce menopausal symptoms, and lower the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis for those of Asian descent.

There may be some favorable qualities to soy, however these are found primarily in fermented soy products only. If you want to reap some of the health benefits from soy, do so in moderation and stick with non-GMO, organic, fermented forms only. Pass on all processed forms of soy including soy milk, soy burgers, soybean oil, soy protein powder, soy ice cream, soy cheese, and other soy junk foods that are disguised as health foods.

Always read the list of ingredients found in microscopic print on every single product. Eliminate all processed soy and avoid any product with genetically-modified soybean oil. Better yet, stick with REAL FOOD!

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