Soy is Not a Health Food
For years we have heard about how healthy soy is, but this is not actually true. To begin with, over 95% of the soybeans grown in the US are genetically engineered. They are full of toxins such as glyphosate, a chemical herbicide among other things that are terribly bad for you.
Even organically grown soy is full of saponins, soyatoxin, phytates, trypsin inhibitors, goitrogens and phytoestrogens. Traditional fermentation destroys these making the soy safe to eat, but most soy in the US is not fermented. Unfermented products include soy baby formula, tofu, soy milk, and TVP.
Saponins are naturally occurring steroids. They are bitter and foam up like soap suds in water. Soyatoxin causes clotting and has proven lethal in large doses in lab mice. Phytates are anti-nutrients that block the proper absorption of minerals. They are found in beans, grains, and other seeds. Trypsin inhibitors inhibit the enzymes that help digest protein. While found in many beans, grains, and vegetables, they are mostly deactivated by cooking. The Trypsin in soybeans is more abundant than in other foods and more resistant to deactivation by processing. Goitrogens suppress thyroid function. Phytoestrogens mimic human estrogen and are believed to block normal estrogen and endrocine function. Babies fed soy formula can have extremely high amounts of estrogen in their bodies compared to babies fed other formulas.
While unfermented soy products are full of things you do not want to eat, fermented products from organic soybeans in small amounts such as miso, tempeh, natto, and traditionally fermented soy sauce can be an excellent source of vitamin K2. K2 when combined with vitamin D is helpful in preventing osteoporosis, dementia, cardiovascular disease, and some types of cancer.
Many vegans and vegetarians use soy as a source of protein. Many of these products such as meat substitutes contain preservatives and MSG as a flavor enhancer. While a vegan diet can be healthy, caution must be used with some products and it is very important to read labels. MSG is a neurotoxin that causes reactions in many people including headaches, flushing, heart palpitations, nausea, weakness and other symptoms. Other terms for MSG that may be found on food labels are textured protein, autolyzed plant protein, yeast extract, and even natural flavorings.
While soy has been a part of a healthy Asian diet for a very long time, until recent times it has been fermented and used more as a condiment such as miso and soy sauce. Even tofu is fermented and eaten as a treat often called “stinky” tofu. Soy milk and unfermented tofu are more recent additions since foods have become more processed.