Is Soy a Health Food?  
by Carol Chuang
because it causes health problems in animals, they had to create another market to
maximize their profits. They sold it to the humans through shrew advertising and
intense lobbying with the Food and Drug Administration.

Is Soy A Health Food?

Brilliant marketing has skyrocketed soy food sales in the U.S. from a fringe market of
$300 million in 1992 to nearly $4 billion in 2007. However, increasing evidence
confirms that soy is NOT the health food that it has been promoted to be. In 2006
the American Heart Association stopped supporting the health claims about soy
endorsed by the U.S. government.

Just because soy is of vegetable origin does not necessarily make it healthy. The
chemical makeup of soy raises many health concerns which I will point out below.

The only exception is fermented soy products:

All other unfermented soy products, including soy formula, soy milk, soy burgers, soy
ice cream, soy snacks, soy cheese, tofu, and edamame, should not be a staple of
your diet.

Potential Health Problems With Soy --

1. GMO Soy

More than 80% of soy plants grown in the U.S. are genetically modified organisms
(GMO) and are grown on farms that use toxic pesticides and herbicides like Roundup.
In fact, soybeans contain one of the highest levels of pesticide contamination of all

2. Soy Allergy

It is a very common type of food allergy which occurs mostly in infants and children
and in some adults. People with asthma and peanut allergy can be very sensitive to
soy. Reactions range from itching and a few hives to abdominal pain, diarrhea,
breathing problems, and swelling of the throat.

3. Trypsin Inhibitors Interfere With Protein Digestion

Normal cooking does not de-activate the trypsin inhibitors in soy. These inhibitors
deter the enzymes needed for protein digestion and can lead to gastric distress and
protein deficiency, resulting in pancreatic impairment.

In precipitated products like tofu, trypsin inhibitors concentrate more in the soaking
liquid than the bean curd. Therefore, tofu poses less digestive problems and can be
consumed occasionally in small quantity.

Edamame beans, the young immature soybeans, also contain less trypsin inhibitors
than the dried, mature soybeans. Hence, edamame causes less digestive disruption
than foods made from soybeans.

4. Hemagglutinin Promotes Blood Clots

Hemagglutinin in soy causes red blood cells to clump together so that they cannot
properly absorb oxygen for distribution to the body's tissues. Therefore, contrary to
popular belief, high soy consumption is not conducive to maintaining good cardiac
health. People with heart disease should avoid eating soy foods.

5. Phytic Acid Blocks Absorption Of Minerals
Soybean has one of the highest phytate levels of any grain or legume. The phytic
acid in soy is also highly resistant to soaking and long, slow cooking.

Phytic acid prevents the absorption of minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper,
iron, and zinc, all of which are co-factors for optimal biochemistry in the body.
Hence, vegetarians who consume mainly tofu and soy foods as a substitute for meat
and dairy products risk severe mineral deficiencies.

However, when precipitated soy products like tofu are consumed with meat, the
mineral-blocking effects of the phytates are reduced. That's why the traditional
Japanese meals which always serve a small amount of tofu as part of a mineral-rich
fish broth, followed by a serving of meat or fish makes a lot of sense.

6. Goitrogens Impair Thyroid Function

Soy contains goitrogens that suppress the function of the thyroid gland by interfering
with iodine uptake. People who have low thyroid function should limit their
consumption of foods made with soy.

7. Phytoestrogens Disturb Hormonal Balance

Phytoestrogens are estrogen hormone-like chemicals found in plants. Soy contains
high levels of isoflavones which are a group of phytoestrogens. Isoflavones mimic
the natural estrogens produced by the human body as well as the synthetic
estrogens found in contraceptive pills. The human body simply mistakes them for

Therefore, never feed your baby a soy formula. Many babies who are allergic to
cow's milk switch to a soy-based formula with isoflavones. A baby fed soy will
receive, through the isoflavones, the equivalent of approximately one to two birth
control pills per day! The result can be very damaging.

Moreover, the same applies to children. Little girls who are overly estrogenized in this
way may go through premature puberty and little boys may experience delayed or
arrested puberty.

Researchers also found that soy may increase the chances of estrogen-dependent
breast cancer in some women.

Soy may also affect a woman's hormonal balance. Drinking even two glasses of soy
milk daily for one month has enough phytoestrogens to alter the menstrual cycle in
certain women.

Lastly, the use of soy for treating menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and
night sweats has been inconclusive. Although Asian cultures have demonstrated
benefit from consuming soy products, most of the soy consumed is fermented (like
tempeh, natto, miso, and soy sauce). Eating highly processed tofu or drinking several
glasses of soy milk a day will not bring the same benefits as the fermented soy foods.

8. Avoid Soy Protein Isolate (SPI) And Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)

SPI and TVP are the key ingredients in most soy foods like imitate meat (such as soy
dogs and soy burgers) and dairy products (such as baby formulas and some brands
of soy milk). These are highly processed foods made in industrial factories.

During the acid washing process which takes place in aluminum tanks, high levels of
aluminum leaches into the final product. As a result, soy-based formula has over 10
times more aluminum than conventional milk-based formulas and 80 times more
manganese than human breast milk. At these potentially toxic levels, no babies
should ever be put on soy formulas.

In addition, nitrites, which are potent carcinogens, and a toxin called lysinoalanine are
formed during the spray-drying and alkaline processing of SPI and TVP.

Finally, numerous artificial flavorings, particularly MSG, are added to SPI and TVP to
mask their strong beany taste and to impart the flavor of meat.

Therefore, avoid all soy foods containing soy protein isolate and textured vegetable

Recommendations For Vegetarians

Instead of relying on soy as a major protein in the diet, vegetarians should eat dairy
products and eggs from free-range or organic chickens. Those who rely on nuts and
beans for protein should be sure to soak them overnight to deactivate the phytates
for easier digestion and assimilation.

The Bottom Line

About The Author

Carol Chuang is a Certified Nutrition Specialist and a Metabolic Typing Advisor. She
has a Masters degree in Nutrition and is the founder of CC Health Counseling, LLC.
Her passion in life is to stay healthy and to help others become healthy. She believes
that a key ingredient to optimal health is to eat a diet that is right for one's specific
body type. Eating organic or eating healthy is not enough to guarantee good health.
The truth is that there is no one diet that is right for everyone. Our metabolisms are
different, so should our diets. Carol specializes in Metabolic Typing, helping her clients
find the right diet for their Metabolic Type. To learn more about Metabolic Typing, her
nutrition counseling practice, and how to get a complimentary phone consultation,
please go to
The Rise Of Soy

In 1913 soy was listed in the U.S.
Department of Agriculture handbook
not as a food but as an industrial

The soy industry started to plant soy
to extract the oil which was used to
replace many of the healthier tropical
oils. After the oil had been extracted
from the bean, the soy industry
ended up with huge surplus of soy

Since they can't feed it to animals
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