Soy is Not a Healthy Alternative

“Soy is bad for me? No way!” For years, the food industry has marketed soybeans as a healthy vegetarian/vegan alternative to milk and other animal protein. Unfortunately, this “miracle food” has recently been found to be detrimental to your health. 

Mounting research points to a link between soy and many health problems, including infertility, cognitive decline, low birth weight, growth problems, thyroid imbalances, malnutrition, ADHD, heart disease, food allergies and even cancer.

Don't Asian cultures eat a lot of soy and have a low incidence of heart disease and other ailments?

Although this is a very popular myth, and it has been used to "sell" soy products to millions of consumers, the reality is that Asians don't actually eat a lot of soy.  When they do, it's typically as a side dish or a condiment, and most importantly it is the fermented variety, which is much healthier and does not cause the health problems associated with soy.

Westerners on the other hand consume large amounts of unfermented soy, primarily soymilk, edamame and tofu, and most disturbingly, baby formula.

This is an important distinction: unfermented versus fermented.

Why is unfermented soy not good for you?

● More than 90% of the soy products grown in the United States are genetically modified. The long-term health effects of consuming genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) is not known.

● Chemical herbicides applied to soybean crops are directly linked to cancer.

● Consuming two glasses of soy milk a day will unbalance a woman’s system enough to alter her menstrual cycle and cause reproductive problems.

● Soy-based baby formulas increase the estrogen levels in a baby’s body more than 20,000 times.

● Unfermented soy:

○ reduces the body’s ability to absorb calcium and other minerals

○ contributes to vitamin B12 deficiency

○ disrupts estrogen production 

○ blocks the synthesis of thyroid hormones (leading to hypothyroidism)

○ interferes with digestion of proteins

○ causes blood clotting

○ is a source of high levels of aluminum (a neurotoxin)

○ causes imbalances due to processing, including the addition of toxic forms of vitamins (unfermented soy throws the entire digestive system out of order)

○ is a source of MSG (monosodium glutamate), a neurotoxin and potent allergen 

So should we not eat soy?

As with most things, soy is OK in moderation.  The occasional edamame appetizer or tofu terriyaki is probably not going to kill you.  But if you can, opt for the fermented varieties and see if you can substitute them for the unfermented ones in your diet.

The problem really lies with regular consumption, which is the case if you drink soymilk or if your baby is on soy formula.  Many babies are on formula for a full year.  So imagine the effects of the typical 25-30 oz. of soy formula every day for an entire year.  That's almost 11,000 ounces of potentially life threatening liquid that your baby is consuming.  Scary isn't it?

So if you must eat soy, do so sparingly.  And try to get into the fermented varieties that do not harm, but actually contribute to your general health and wellness.

More on our medicinal herbs page or return to the HSG home


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