Perhaps if you read my blurb on Dairy you would assume the best alternative to reach for is SOY?
Especially if you go to health Food stores or read the labels of any Soy Milk Carton that tells you how healthy Soy Milk is, right?
Well I guess we have to keep reminding ourselves that business is business and because “Health Food” sells then remember my little saying;
‘Food Labels are just shiny brochures used to sell a product.’
It’s a sad fact that the health food industry is actually just another department of the Diet industry so we need to be aware of the marketing pitfalls.
There are a lot of articles about Soy products being evil.
There are also many articles about Soy products being the best dairy alternative by far.
Maybe instead of having an answer to the Soy Products good or bad debate I can just tell you what I have learned and you can make your own mind up!
So the Soy debate goes back well over 10 years so this isn’t a new topic it’s just that it has become a little like politics and religion and people don’t like to talk about it. Particularly if you were like me and actually enjoyed the Soy flavour and really didn’t want to hear that it was bad for me because I might then have to give it up. –
So I understand the dilemma.
Generally speaking the rule of thumb for eating foods is that in it’s truest most natural form it is usually good for you.
This isn’t quite the case with Soy.
Originally it was used in China thousands of years ago as a manure fertilizer because of it’s fermenting aspects and also because apparently it tasted horrible if eaten unfermented causing bloating and cramps. Once Soy was fermented properly it was then used as flavouring within Chinese traditional cooking or in things like Miso soup Tempeh, Natto and sauces but only in very small portions.
Unfermented Soy products are processed in a way that makes the protein impure and carcinogenic (Danile 2005, p156) so this is where the problem lies for us in westernised countries because there are so many foods we are consuming possibly unknowingly that contain by products of the Soy bean in this form.
Soy bi-products are found in the following products:
- Cooking oils,
- Protein powders,
- All types of bread
- Packaged goods,
- Crackers, biscuits
- Shelf items
- Soup mixes
- Energy bars
- Health food bars
- Cake mixes
- Soy Milk
- Soy products
- And Baby formula (scary huh)
The Soy bean is BIG business from .852 billion to $3.2 billion between 1992 – 2002 this means a lot of money on marketing the health benefits of this product to gain our trust. Labels mention the protein content and often Soy products are listed as protein alternatives however the protein is destroyed by the time it is morphed into a usable product. Plus the extreme temperatures used cause much of the by-product to be toxic. Personally this doesn’t sound like the type of food product I want to consume.
Over consumption of soy products can cause the following:
- Decrease Testosterone levels
- Hormone imbalance
- Increase cramping and menstrual problems for women
- Imbalance of reproductive system
- Infertility both men and women
Scariest part of all is that it is in most Infant Formula mixes and figures from the Swiss Federal Health Service indicates that every day an infant fed soy formula receives an amount of estrogen equivalent to that found in three to five birth control pills (Daniel 2005,p 331) so children a more then likely to have puberty issues and reproduction problems when they are adults.
Thyroid effects include symptoms of:
- Low sex drive,
- Hair loss,
- Poor skin,
- Weight gain
All increased if you are consuming high levels of soy or soy isolates found in bars, and milk products.
The interesting part of the argument is that although it is difficult to get the medical industry to completely back up the claims of health risks associated with over consumption of Soy products you WILL find doctors recommending Soy products for women who are starting menopause as a way of alleviating the hormonal imbalance.
So this busts open the whole debate because technically that proves that it has an effect on hormones in the first place.
The reason why they use Soy so much is because it’s the best method of increasing shelf life in products so it means the value of the product is increased.
Another reason to leave as many packaged goods on the shelf where they belong where it could probably live forever if it needed to.
So in summary – small doses of Soy are probably not going to cause too much of an imbalance but it’s the everyday consumption that could cause major long term instabilities in your weight and health no matter what gender you are.
Soy product good or bad? The choice is yours…
Until next time
Charlie G Hunter