The Truth About Soy
Are you still eating and drinking soy products? You may want to rethink that one. Soy is in almost everything and anything these days and even worse- it's promoted as a healthy source of protein and nutrition. This couldn't be further from the truth.
Because soy is so cheap, it's in almost everything at the grocery store. This is one of the main reasons I stopped eating processed food. One ingredient you probably see a lot is Soy Lecithin. This ruins a lot of good foods that I want to buy at the grocery store, and sadly have to put back on the shelf- even organic foods. Soy Lecithin acts as an emulsifier (combining water and oil) so water doesn't separate from oil. Lecithin is also present in egg yolks, peanuts, wheat germ, canola oil, and liver. When a lecithin is needed, it could easily be made from an alternative but the reason it's most commonly made from soy because it's inexpensive. The problem is that it's almost always made from genetically modified soy.
Genetically Modified Soy
Soy is one of the most commonly genetically modified crops. Because of Monsanto's tight grip on soy, 91% of soy beans grown in the United States are genetically modified. If the soy in your food isn't organic, it's safe to say its a GMO. GMOs are full of pesticides, herbicides, unnatural DNA, linked to many many diseases and it is not something we want in our bodies. (Read more about GMOs here)
What If I Only Eat Organic Soy?
The logical response after learning the above information is, "well, I will just choose organic soy from now on." Sadly, although choosing organic or non-GMO soy is definitely the better option, we should really avoid soy all together. Even organic soy can be detrimental to our health.Whether the soy is organic or not, it naturally contains plant estrogens, toxins, phytic acid/anti-nutrients. These are things that cannot be removed from soy unless it is fermented. But almost all of the soy that we eat and is put into our food is unfermented, making it toxic.
Because of the naturally occurring plant estrogens, soy is highly linked to endocrine disruption. A larger percent of today's population have irregular hormones, and a lot of today's health problems are caused by hormonal imbalances. Soy is a huge contributing factor to this. Soy is linked to infertility, breast cancer, hyperthyroidism, and thyroid cancer- all illnesses related to imbalanced hormones!
The Phytic acid in soy is linked to many diseases and cancer. Yes Phytate is found in other seeds, nuts and beans, but the amount of soy we are consuming is far greater, therefore making it more dangerous. Not to mention the combination of Phytic acid with estrogen raising the danger of cancer even further, especially in children. (Source)
Anti-nutrients in soy block enzymes needed for digestion. Soy is so prominent in all our food, and digestion issues are so prominent in our population today. Coincidence? I think not. Soy also blocks our body from absorbing many essential nutrients and minerals such as zinc. Makes you wonder why so many people these days have a vitamin/mineral deficiency...
You may be wondering why Asians—particularly in Japan and China—have such low rates of cancer than the US if they eat so much soy. It's actually portrayed that Asians eat way more soy than they actually do. In reality, the average amount they eat each day is less than two teaspoons, and it's almost always fermented. By fermenting soy, it "deactivates the harmful constituents and creates health-promoting probiotics, the good bacteria our bodies need to maintain digestive and overall wellness." (Ecology Center)
Soy is one of the most common allergens right next to wheat, corn, eggs, milk, and nuts. Much like milk, many people are so intolerant to soy because we simply just shouldn't be eating it. Soy actually used to be considered a toxin until people realized they could make some big bucks out of it. Convenient right?
Soy Can Be Found In:
Soy bean oil and partially hydrogenated soybean oil
Soy nuts and soy sprouts
Soy sauce and shoyu sauce
Textured vegetable protein (TVP)
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
Canned chicken broth
Tocopherol (Vitamin E)
Eggs (if chickens are fed soy feed)
Not only is soy bad for us, but it's also bad for the environment. It's safe to say that soy farming is becoming just as damaging to our earth as animal agriculture. This of course is not very well known and considering vegans and vegetarians seem to be the biggest consumers of soy, I find this very hypocritical.
Now, I'm not going to get into the whole global warming/climate change debate but there's no doubt that rainforests are being destroyed simply to grow more of a crop that is ruining our health. No rainforests=no habitat for the creatures God created. Not to mention the impacts of the tons and tons of pesticide runoffs from soy crops and the glyphosate from GMO soy beans infecting the soil, water, and air. Although arguments like this can be made for any other crop such as palm oil, the combination of soy being bad for the environment and bad for my health is enough for me to stay away from it.
I highly recommend cutting out soy in your diet, even if you are vegan. It is possible to be plant based/vegan AND be soy free. Not only is it possible but it's necessary. I rarely eat soy other than fermented organic soy sauce or the occasional organic processed food.
Soy is just another thing the food industry has snuck in our food and convinced us is healthy. Please check out the sources below for further in-depth reading :)
Sources and Further Reading: