The Health Dangers of Today's Soy
Food manufacturers are making many claims about the health benefits of soy. The magical properties of soy to supposedly alleviate symptoms of menopause, lower cholesterol, reduce cancer risk, and be "heart healthy" are plastered all over food products. Studies done are typically biased and conducted by the soy industry itself. The lack of any independent clinical studies to support these claims is typical of attempts by food manufacturers to skyrocket profits from the newest "miracle food" on the market. Even the American Heart Association has stated that soy does NOT lower cholesterol, nor does it prevent heart disease.
The image to the right is a picture of textured soy protein (what we call "soy meat") - the highly processed stuff found in most soy products and processed foods today, especially processed vegetarian and vegan foods.
American Heart Assoc.
Today's highly processed soy in thousands of food products in the supermarkets has been linked to very serious health concerns, especially thyroid disease, due to its naturally occurring isoflavones which can suppress thyroid function. How soy is processed affects its level of phytoestrogens. Traditional fermentation reduces the levels of isoflavones (a type of phytoestrogen) significantly, whereas modern processing does not.
Modern American soybeans are hybridized and genetically modified, and have a much higher level of isoflavones than Japanese or Chinese soybeans because they have been "designed" to be more resistant to insects.
Let's take a look at some of the health concerns of eating today's processed soy:
Study on the Health Impact of Soy
When breeding exotic birds, Richard and Valerie James discovered that soybeans were killing their rare birds. They discovered that changing the chick's diet from their regular one to a soy-based feed produced shocking results. Some birds were infertile, while others died. Male birds also became sexually mature earlier. They consulted Dr. Mike Fitzpatrick, a consultant toxicologist in New Zealand. As a result of this discovery, Dr. Fitzpatrick carried out an exhaustive study of soybeans and their health effects. He discovered that the toxins and plant estrogens in soybeans were powerful enough to disrupt menstrual cycles in women, as well as appearing to damage the thyroid.(5)
His findings led to the British government's expert committee on the toxicity of food (CoT) concluding that, in general, the health benefits claimed for soya were NOT supported by clear evidence and judged that there could be health risks arising from high levels of soybean consumption for certain age groups.
In the US, soy-based feed is routinely fed to factory-farmed animals.
Genetically Modified Soy & the Environment
Most soybeans grown throughout the world are now genetically engineered, which alters their protein structure. GMOs also require very large amounts of toxic pesticides that not only contaminate the soybeans, but also contaminate the soil and creates toxic runoff.
- What are processed and refined foods
- The Dirty Dozen: What they are & why you should avoid them
- Additives & chemicals in our food
- Get off the diet merry-go-round
- Healthy food choices for children
- Healthy food choices for pets
- The FDA: Failure to protect our food on a mass scale
- Food pyramids & food politics
View Sources & References
- (1) The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of Soy, by author Kaayla Daniel, PhD, CCN
- (2) National Association for Child Development
- (3) Health committee warns of potential dangers of soya. BMJ, 2005, July 30, 331, 7511, 254.
- (4) Pediatric group position statement on the use of soya protein for infants. J Fam Health Care, 2003, 13, 4, 93.
- (5) Soy Formulas and the Effect on the Thyroid, New Zealand Medical Journal, Feb 2000.
- (6) Weston: Price Soy Alert & The role of oxalates in autism & chronic disorders
- (7) Brain aging & mid-life tofu consumption. J Am Coll Nutr. 2000 Apr;19(2):242-55.
- (8) Journal of the American Geriatric Society (1998) 46:816-21