Image courtesy of elgarydaly
I consider both my wife and I to be healthy eaters. Sure, we have a sweet tooth on occasion, but for the most part we stick to whole grains, fresh veggies and lean meats. But one thing that has been a solid staple in our diet for many years has been soy products. From tofu to veggie burgers, Liz and I consume fairly large quantities of soy on a regular basis. But now we are rethinking the WHOLE THING!
Is soy as healthy as people say it is?
A few weeks ago we were at my mom’s wedding reception when we found ourselves talking ‘diet’ with a family friend. When we were asked what kinds of foods we ate, one of my replies was a proud, “Anything with soy”. I had always heard it was the uber healthy, fix-all food and it was easy to turn into a great meal. So of course we ate plenty of it and felt great about our ‘healthy habit’.
But the second I mentioned soy, I was quickly informed that this ‘healthy food’ was not as good for us as many had previously thought. I was blown away. Normally I may have ignored the comment as just a myth, but I trusted the source and decided to do some research and find out the truth.
After googling the phrase, “Is soy good for you?” I was immediately immersed in article after article of the great lie that somehow soy products are ‘God’s gift’ to health nuts. The only places that seemed to speak all positive about this plant were sites that had stake in the sale of soy. This is not to say that I couldn’t easily dig up independent websites that are purely fans of tofu, but I was already sold on the fact that soy may not always be the right food for you diet.
Some of the information shared on these sites were:
- “Infants exclusively fed soy-based formula have 13,000 to 22,000 times more estrogen compounds in their blood than babies fed milk-based formula, the estrogenic equivalent of at least five birth control pills per day. Premature development of girls has been linked to the use of soy formula, as has the underdevelopment of males. Infant soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.”
- “Soybeans also reportedly contain an anti-nutrient called “phytic acid”, which all beans do. However, soybeans have higher levels of phytic acid than any other legume. Phytic acid may block the absorption of certain minerals, including magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc. Epidemiological studies have shown that people in 3rd World Countries who have high consumption of grains and soy also commonly have deficiencies in these minerals. It must also be noted that this may be of particular concern with regard to babies who are using soy-based infant formulas.”
- “The Chinese did not eat unfermented soybeans as they did other legumes such as lentils because the soybean contains large quantities of natural toxins or “antinutrients”. First among them are potent enzyme inhibitors that block the action of trypsin and other enzymes needed for protein digestion.
These are just a few of the many ‘red flags’ raised by numerous sites on the Internet. Much of this information can be found in an article called, “Newest Research On Why You Should Avoid Soy“.
From what I came to understand after reading many different articles with many different opinions is this:
Unfermented soy products contain substances that act like estrogen in the human body. This can cause many issues, different for both male and female. The general consensus seems to be that young, developing children are at the highest risk of these negative effects. From what I could tell, an adult human can eat low amounts of soy products without much need for concern. But the fact that soy is in SO MUCH of what we eat, a higher intake may be occurring than we realize.
Should you stop eating soy?
The answer I can give you is this: I have NO idea.
I’m still ingesting all of this ‘new to me’ information and trying to figure out my new plan of attack. But the fact is, if even SOME of this were true, cutting back on soy might not be a bad idea.
Either way, if you are a constant consumer of this versatile vine-seed, you should take a look for yourself. Do some research and make sure you are really ingesting the best for you body. And if you are already informed in this area of question, please share you thoughts and understanding with us. I’d love to hear some more perspectives/opinions on the subject so we can be sure to provide our families with a healthy diet.