Continuing the theme this week of health foods that aren’t, let’s consider soy. For years we’ve been told to give up the beef and even milk, and eat soy products instead. But is soy really the great health food it’s promoted to be?
Actually, it seems like it’s more a case of good marketing than good science. When you consider soybean producers pay a mandatory assessment on the net market price of soybeans that totals millions annually to support the United Soybean’s program to “strengthen the position of soybeans in the marketplace”, and state soybean councils and private companies also spend millions in advertising, it’s easy to see how soy got it’s great reputation.
But while big guns like Monsanto, Cargill Foods and SoyLife promote soy as superb nutrition, soy as a health food is becoming more and more controversial, with other scientists, doctors and researchers pointing out soy’s potential dangers.
It’s true soy has protein and other nutrients, but so does cow manure, and I don’t think many people are ready to add that to their diet. Facts are that soy contains a lot of unhealthy components. Some of these include:
- Phytic acid – This substance blocks the body’s uptake of essential minerals like magnesium, calcium, iron and especially zinc.
- Hemagglutinin – a clot-promoting substance which causes red blood cells to clump together.
- Phytoestrogens – These chemicals mimic estrogen and disrupt endocrine function and have the potential to cause infertility and to promote breast cancer in adult women. They are also anti-thyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism and may even cause thyroid cancer.
- Trypsin inhibits – These interfere with protein digestion.
- Aluminum – Soy foods contain high levels of this metal known to be toxic to the nervous system and kidneys.
The processing to make soy foods also causes the formation of toxic lysinoalanine, carcinogenic nitrosamines, and free glutamic acid (a neurotoxin).
Also consider that a very large percentage of soy – over 90% – is genetically modified. It also has one of the highest percentages of contamination by pesticides of any of the foods we eat.
Does this really sound like a health food?
If you want to add soy to your diet, do yourself a favor and do some research first. Dig past the marketing hype and look for scientific studies not funded by people with a vested interest in promoting soy products.
I think you’ll find soy as a health food is a case of good marketing, not truly good food.