There is a debate regarding if soy is good or bad for you. Anything in excess is not healthy, however, with soy products there is a lot more to consider. Some opinions vary in the risks of soy and soy products today. The first concern is that soy usually creates a food intolerance or allergy in some people. Another concern is that as a goitrogen, soy can slow down the function of your thyroid. The third and most disconcerting issue is that soy here in the United States is usually processed. Whether it is soy or other foods, processed products are not healthy for our bodies. Soy-based foods often contain SPI (soy protein isolate), which is heavily processed soy products. This process of the soybean completely takes away the nutrients in the soy totally. The bean is washed in water or alcohol to remove dietary fibers and sugar as part of the process. Some studies have shown that soy isolate has been linked to brain damage in animals. Most process foods have chemicals and are not what we would call healthy for us, yet we still buy and consume them daily. Mostly it is not the actual food or soybean that is not healthy for us, but the process that is used to get the sell able product to our grocery shelves and on our dinner tables.
Some of the processed foods that soy isolates are found in are:
Many weight and muscle gain products
Bottled fruit drinks
Just two servings a week of tofu in one study showed an increased risk of late-life cognitive impairment and dementia. Soy has been found to lower testosterone in some men and affect ovulation in women. Soy has been linked to child development being stymied.
Evidence and studies regarding the consumption of soy and breast cancer are mixed at best. Researches compares Americans to Japanese regarding the way soy is consumed in each nationality and found loser rates of breast and other cancer in the group that ate a lot of soy. However, in test tube studies it was found that the soy plants estrogen had accelerated all cancer cells growth.
Health Benefits of Soy Products
Pure soy without any processing has many benefits. This does not mean that eating pure soy all the time would be healthy without other nutrients for a well-balanced diet. Just 25 grams of soy a day can lower LDL by
about 10% with a beginning level above 160.
Studies have shown that just two servings of soy can reduce the frequency of hot flashed during menopause.
Soy can be considered a healthy meat substitute when the soy is pure and non-GMO. It is recommended consuming soy in moderation of just two – three meals per week.
Pure Soy Foods
Tofu can be seasoned and cooked just like you would red meat. With a good cook your Tofu can actually taste as good as the red meat you are used to.
Soy Key Points
Although soy is a protein, there are still attributes that we need to keep in mind.
Soy is rich in phytic acid which will block your body from absorbing necessary minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc. Our bodies require these minerals for a stabilized health. There tends to be more pancreatic, stomach, and thyroid cancers in areas that are higher in soy consumption.
With soy being a complete protein still only has two essential amino acids and these are very low amounts. Meaning soy should not be considered a quality protein source.
Soy also has another amino acid immune-boosting cysteine; however the same issues of inhibiting absorption exist.
With very little research done in regards to the effects of GM (Genetically Modified) in our food in general, the majority of soybeans are genetically modified now.
With the GM of the soybean makes the soy modified to resist certain chemicals. With this modification done the soybean is then sprayed with pesticides and herbicides believing that they would not be as harmful to the soybean.
Soy does contain Phytoestrogens which may not be a bad thing, but these Phytoestrogens mimic hormones and that may cause more issues than it cures. An imbalance of hormones can throw our whole bodies out of whack and cause many health issues.
Fermented soy increases the soy’s digestibility while adding good bacteria and reduces the plant estrogen that is in soy foods. When you are considering adding soy to your diet it is best to stay with the fermented soy.
Some fermented soy includes:
Miso – Natto – Tempeh
The best way to purchase soy or soy food products is to buy organic whenever possible. The fat part of soy seems to absorb any pesticides that are used while farming. The farmers can testify to the non-use of pesticides or herbicides, however, he cannot know for sure if his soybeans were genetically modified or not. There are no guidelines or laws at this point to make us aware of what food or seeds are Genetically Modified.
There are experts are on both sides of the fence regarding soy consumption. If you have no health issues as mention above, then deciding about the type and amount of soy products to have in your diet is totally yours.
The healthiest diet is one with a variance of supplements combined and alternating. Abuse of any certain type food or drink is unhealthy, including vitamin supplements. So combining soy with other protein foods and fruits and vegetables is the best way to a balanced healthy diet.
You know your body better than anyone, when you are trying a healthier diet be aware of your body and how it is reacting to the foods in your diet. If any serious health issues arise be sure to consult with your doctor regarding any changes in your diet and exercise.