Why Soy is Bad or Good for You
Today, the soy industry has become a multi-billion dollar business. It attributes its huge success mainly to the anti-cholesterol and anti-meat gospels of current nutritional thought. It took a long time for soybeans to gain acceptance in the West as they were probably seen as conventional beans, and therefore cooked in the same way. However, today we see soy products proliferating in the North American market. While the traditionally fermented soy products of miso, shoyu, tempeh and natto are known to provide bounty of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and fiber, the hyper-processed soy “foods” has no nutritional values at all. There are many type of soy products on the market these days from soybeans (also called edamame), as well as products, like soy meats, tofu, soy cheese, tempeh, soy milk, vegetarian meat and even miso. Research studies have shown eating soy products can help with cancer prevention and various other health concerns. However, are soy products really healthy for you or why soy is bad according to some research?
Why Soy is Bad or Good? – Fermented vs. Non-fermented Products
Non-fermented soybeans products such as tofu are anti-nutrients. They contain extremely high amounts of phytic acid. This acid is an anti-nutrient that binds to minerals in the digestive tract and carries them out of the body. As such, vegetarians have high rates of iron and zinc deficiencies.
Soybeans also inhibit protein digestion as they contain trypsin inhibitors. Fragmented foods such as textured vegetable protein (TVP), soy “milk” and soy protein powders, vegetarian meat and milk substitutes are made by heating the soybeans and washing them with alkaline water. The purpose is to remove the fats and neutralize their potent enzyme inhibitors. Today, scientist tells us that these processes denature the bean’s protein content, making them very hard to digest. Another compound called MSG, a neurotoxin added to TVP to make it taste like the various foods it imitates is harmful.
Soybeans are deficient in cysteine, methionine and vital sulphur-containing amino acids. They are also lacking in tryptophan, another essential amino acid. Soybeans also contain no vitamins A or D that are required by the body to assimilate and utilize the bean’s protein. For these reasons, the The Chinese usually do not consume soybeans alone. They usually combine them with fish or fish broths and other forms of proteins.
With so much being said against the benefits of soy, the New Zealand government is considering removing soy formula from the market and making it available only by prescription.
The final conclusion has yet to be drawn. Research is still ongoing. However, some recent studies have said that soy’s phyto-estrogens, which are supposed to help alleviate the effects of low estrogen production in the body, is now believed to be a causative factor in breast cancer and infantile leukemia. These phyto-estrogens or isoflavones are also believed to depress thyroid functions in some animals.
Why Soy is Bad for You and Your Body
Within in our bodies there is a system that helps maintain stress, this is the Neuroendometabolic Stress Response. This stress response system starts in your pituitary gland and then goes on into your adrenal gland. On of the main things that your adrenal gland does is produce cortisol. Cortisol usually stimulates your thyroid gland to go to work. Soy takes away some of the iodine needed in the thyroid to make thyroid hormone. This can cause your thyroid to be overwork and may lead to thyroid disorders. The thyroid and the adrenal gland are very interconnected, once the thyroid has been overworked it can cause the adrenal gland to be overworked. This can lead to Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. Putting foods into our bodies that can have a negative impact on our hormones and glands should be taken out, or limited to small numbers, especially if you have symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome has many symptoms from poor sleep patterns to lack of energy and even chronic pain. This condition can be very debilitating. It can be even more harmful if you consume large amounts of unfermented soy.
Overall there has not been enough studies done yet to know the full effect that soy has on our bodies, whether good or bad. So it’s very important to limit it or cut it out of your diet completely until we learn why soy is bad.
Dr. Lam’s Key Question
I love to drink soy and almond milk. However, I see that it contains carrageenan as an ingredient. What are the implications of carrageenan and can it negatively impact my health?
Carrageenan is extracted from seaweeds that have no nutritional value or digestible. It is often used to thicken or emulsify products. Research has shown that eating too much of it may cause inflammation in the digestive tracts.