Is Soy Healthy?


Why soy is not part of a healthy diet
Why soy is not part of a healthy diet
Soy dairy (and specifically soy milk) has been proposed, in the last few decades, as the “healthy” alternative to commercial pasteurised milk, based on the false logic that because it comes from a plant source rather than an animal one it must be healthier

Soy comes to us from ancient China during the Chou Dynasty (1134 – 246 BC) where it was used in crop rotation for its ability to fix nitrogen in the soil. Soy was not consumed as a food until the discovery of fermentation techniques, (sometime during the Chou Dynasty).

More and more articles linking the consumption of milk to a list of serious health issues are populating the web. Go-vegan campaigns generally depicts that milk is not animal/environmentally friendly nor healthy for human consumption. What is not made clear is that they are referring to conventionally produced, pasteurised milk which is probably something you should eliminate from your diet if you care about the environment’s, animal’s and your own health.

As explained in previous article The safety and many health benefits of unpasteurized Milk, pasteurised milk is a product manufactured by the food processing industry that has very little to do with the perfect raw milk nature provides us with. Pasteurisation and denaturisation of milk is what is causing allergic reactions, intolerances etc.

What is the best Milk?

Grass-fed cows produce nutrient-dense raw milk, one of nature’s perfect foods which alone could sustain life and promote growth. So, the logical thing to do in this case, where pasteurised milk is causing all these health issues, would be to blame the processed form and go back to the natural one: raw milk! Instead, we are being offered the solution by those who created the problem in the first place (the food processing industry) who suggest we should replace pasteurised milk with another of their products. One that has been linked with even more health issues and conditions: Soy milk!

Soy Milk Is Healthy Right?

Soy dairy (and specifically soy milk) has been proposed, in the last few decades, as the “healthy” alternative to commercial pasteurised milk, based on the false logic that because it comes from a plant source rather than an animal one it must be healthier. However, plenty of studies link modern processed soy consumption to a wide array of diseases and health conditions. Just to list a few: endocrine disruption (1), malnutrition, digestive problems, thyroid dysfunction (2) (3) (4) (5), reproductive disorders (6) (7) (8), cognitive decline, immune system breakdown, and even heart disease and cancer (9).

Soy comes to us from ancient China during the Chou Dynasty (1134 – 246 BC) where it was used in crop rotation for its ability to fix nitrogen in the soil (10). Soy was not consumed as a food until the discovery of fermentation techniques, (sometime during the Chou Dynasty). Thus, the first soy foods were fermented products like tempeh, natto, miso and shoyu. The reason why the Chinese did not eat the soybean as they did other legumes is found in its large quantities of antinutrients, harmful substances that cannot be completely deactivated by ordinary cooking and can lead to serious health problems. Antinutrients are:

  • potent enzyme inhibitors which block the action of trypsin and other enzymes needed for protein digestion. They can produce serious gastric distress, reduced protein digestion and chronic deficiencies in amino acid uptake. They are deactivated during the process of fermentation but in tofu and curds are only reduced
  • hemagglutinin, a clot promoting substance that causes red blood cells to clump together. Trypsin (enzyme) inhibitors and hemagglutinin have been rightly labelled “growth depressant substances.”
  • phytic acid (phytates), which is an organic acid, present in the bran or hulls of all seeds, which blocks the uptake of essential minerals-calcium, magnesium, iron and especially zinc-in the intestinal tract. The soybean has a higher phytate content than any other grain or legume that has been studied (11) and it is more resistant to phytate reducing techniques (like soaking and slow cooking) (12). Only a long period of fermentation will significantly reduce soy bean phytate content (like in tempeh, miso and natto). Many scientists agree on linking a diet high in grain and legumes (high in phytates) to general mineral deficiencies in third world countries (13). The detrimental effects of phytic acid are mitigated when consumed together with meat (14) or fish broth as they are in Japan but when used as a substitute for animal products, as we are pushed to do, can lead to serious damages to health
  • • hormone disrupting isoflavones (phytoestrogens) (15). These are oestrogen mimickers which are reported to impact fertility, sexual development and behaviour (16) in animals. Soy milk is widely used in baby formulas!

IS there any side effects to regular consumption of soy milk?

Regular consumption of soy milk, or soya, exposes a person to what’s known as Soy Originated Disease and Disorders or SODD (17) which include:

  • • thyroid damage
  • • soy allergies
  • • immune system breakdown
  • • reproductive disorders (including infertility)
  • • ADD/ADHD and other behavioural and learning disabilities
  • • depression
  • • violent tendencies
  • • anxiety
  • • other mental health issues

Soy is worryingly present in many processed foods in different forms: i.e. Isolate soy Protein, soy lecithin, soy flour, soybean oil etc. plus the soybeans are fed to conventional raised animals, this is one more reason why you should check all the labels and reduce processed foods to the minimum. If you suffer from a mild lactose intolerance try to replace pasteurised milk with grass-fed raw milk or fermented live dairy like kefir and yoghurt which have been reportedly shown to help the condition.

If you think pasteurised milk is not healthy you are right! But soy doesn’t seem any healthier

Sources

(1) Freni-Titulaer LW, Cordero JF, Haddock L, Lebron G, Martinez R, Mills JL. Am J Dis Child 1986 Dec;140(12):1263-1267.

(2) Chorazy PA, Himelhoch S, Hopwood NJ, Greger NG, Postellon DC. Persistent hypothyroidism in an infant receiving a soy formula: case report and review of the literature. Pediatrics 1995 Jul;96(1 Pt 1):148-50.

(3) Fort P, Moses N, Fasano M, Goldberg T, Lifshitz F. Breast and soy-formula feedings in early infance and the prevalence of autoimmune thyroid disease in children. J Am Coll Nutr 1990;9:164-167.

(4) Ikeda T, Nishikawa A, Imazawa T, Kimura S, Hirose M. Dramatic synergism between excess soybean intake and iodine deficiency on the development of rat thyroid hyperplasia. Carcinogenesis 2000 Apr;21(4):707-13.

(5) Ishizuki Y, Hirooka Y, Murata T, Togashi K. [The effects on the thyroid gland of soybeans administered experimentally in healthy subjects]. [Article in Japanese] Nippon Naibunpi Gakkai Zasshi. 1991 May 20;67(5):622-9.

(6) Flynn KM, Ferguson SA, Delclos KB, Newbold RR. Effects of genistein exposure on sexually dimorphic behaviors in rats. Toxicol Sci 2000 Jun;55(2):311-319.

(7) Anderson D, Dobrzyska MM, Bassaran N. Effect of various genotoxins and reproductive toxins in human lymphocytes and sperm in the Comet assay. Teratog Carcinog Mutagen 1997;17(1):29-43.

(8) North K, Golding J. A maternal vegetarian diet in pregnancy is associated with hypospadias. The ALSPAC Study Team. Avon Longitudinal Study of Pregnancy and Childhood. BJU Int 2000 Jan;85(1):107-113.

(9) Hilakivi-Clarke L, Cho E, Clarke R. Maternal genistein exposure mimics the effects of estrogen on mammary gland development in female mouse offspring. Oncol Rep 1998 May-Jun;5(3):609-16.

(10) Katz Solomon H., “Food and Biocultural Evolution: A Model for the Investigation of Modern Nutritional Problems”, Nutritional Anthropology, Alan R. Liss Inc., 1987

(11) El Tiney, A.H., “Proximate Composition and Mineral and Phytate Contents of Legumes Grown in Sudan”, Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, v. 2, 1989, pp. 67-78.

(12) Ologhobo, A.D., et. al., “Distribution of phosphorus and phytate in some Nigerian varieties of legumes and some effects of processing”, J-Food-Sci, v.49 (1), Jan/Feb 1984, pp. 199-201.

(13) Van-Rensburg, et. al. “Nutritional status of African populations predisposed to esophageal cancer”, Nutr-Cancer, V.4, 1983, pp. 206-216; Moser, P.B. et. al., “Copper, iron, zinc and selenium dietary intake and status of Nepalese lactating women and their breast-fed infants”, Am-J-Clin-Nutr, v.47, Apr 1988, pp.729-734; Harland, B.F., et. al., “Nutritional status and phytate: zinc and phytate X calcium: zinc dietary molar ratios of lacto-ovo-vegetarian Trappist monks: 10 years later”, J-Am-Diet-Assoc., v. 88, Dec 1988, pp. 1562-1566.

(14) Sandstrom, B. et. al., “Effect of protein level and protein source on zinc absorption in humans”, J-Nutr, v. 119 (1), Jan 1989, pp. 48-53; Tait, Susan, et. al., “The availability of minerals in food, with particular reference to iron”, J-R-Soc-Health, v. 103 (2), April 1983, pp. 74-77.

(15) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15454683

(16) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4270274/

(17) Kaayla T. Daniel The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America's Favorite Health Food

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