Based on soy's extensive history of consumption in the Asian diet and the long lifespan of Asians as a group, soy industry has been successfully promoted soy as a family tradition and key to longevity and good health. However, careful scrutiny shows that the Asian diet is not one that is focused on soy at all. In fact 65% of the calories from a Japanese diet comes from fish. In China, 65% of calories come from pork. The total caloric intake from soy in the Chinese diet is only 1.5%. The amount of soy consumed in Asia averages only 2 teaspoons a day and up to ¼ cup in some parts of Japan. This is certainly not the large amount that we were led to believe. Furthermore, the modern processed soy protein food in the form of soy burgers and soy drinks found in supermarkets in no way resembles the traditional Asian soy. Soy consists of complex chemical and structural components. The main components are protein, essential fatty acids, as well as a class of compounds known as isoflavones. Isoflavones as a family include compounds such as genistein, daidzein, equol, and glycitein. These are also called phytoestrogens in that they have properties that are estrogen like but are derived from plants. The amount of genistein per day consumed in the average Japanese is only 10mg. Mega consumption of isoflavones such as soy burgers can bring the total daily genistein intake to over 200mg. Genistein is particularly harmful for people who have preexisting low or marginally low thyroid function. It's antagonism to the thyroid hormone is well established. A daily dose of genistein as low as 30mg can affect normal thyroid function.
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