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The Dirty Little Secrets Of Soy

People often ask me opinion about whether or not soy products are a good way to get protein.

While I’ve never been a really big fan of soy, the more research I do, the more I’m against it. There’s a lot of hype and promotion for soy products all which usually comes with an agenda or some type of personal bias based on beliefs about not eating animal proteins.

Truth be told, I’m not interested in either as my focus is on how much a particular food source or supplement would benefit the human body. I tell you this up front so you’re clear on the fact that I’m indifferent on the idea of vegetarianism.

My opinion of soy has nothing to do with judging vegetarianism

I have nothing against being a vegetarian and more power to you if that’s the case. I believe that although it will take considerably more work to meet your protein needs for maintaining and building lean muscle, it can certainly be done.

The problem is soy based products are usually at the center of protein sources for people who prefer not to eat animal products…and yes I do have a problem with soy.

But wait a minute, I thought soy was ”healthy.”

You’ll be surprised to hear that soy may not be as “healthy” as you’ve been led to believe. An interesting fact I discovered in my research was that soy has NEVER been given the FDA’s GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status as a food product.

Contrary to the health benefits of soy being promoted today, it contains many naturally occurring compounds that can be toxic to our bodies. Several of these compounds are carcinogenic, DNA damaging, teratogenic (meaning they cause birth defects), and harmful to our immune systems.

Soy is a staple in the Asian diet, right?

Many proponents of soy would like you to believe that soy has a long history of use as a food source in Asia, but quite simply, they are wrong. Prior to the 1930s, soy was used ONLY by the very poorest people throughout Asia, and ONLY in times of extreme famine.

When those hard times did come, the Asian people would only consume soy after a very long fermentation process. The fermentation time ranged from days to weeks, or longer, depending on the final product.

Soy has never been a main source of protein for the Asian people, and when it’s used in traditional meals even today you’ll find it in small portions, usually to compliment the main dish.

The time and money dilemma with soy food manufacturers

It is this long fermentation process that is missing in the modern soy products available today. The reason is simple, soy manufacturers don’t want to spend the time and money to process the soy properly to remove all its harmful toxins. The long fermentation time means longer product turn around time.

Another big problem is that the soy industry is poorly regulated with little quality control, leaving the consumer vulnerable to the toxic agents left intact during processing.

But that’s just the beginning of the reasons why I would minimize soy products in your diet.

Here are some other interesting points about soy to consider:

• As little as 30mg of soy isoflavones (a 5-8 oz. glass of soy milk) has been shown to suppress thyroid function.

• Phytoestrogens in soy can lead to endocrine disruptions in both men and women.

• The genistein in soy inhibits thyroid peroxidase (TPO) in the body which is an essential enzyme responsible for maintaining normal thyroid function.

• There is research showing a link between soy baby formula and the later development of Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

• Soy consumption can lead to a decreased fertility in men. Studies posted on Originelle have shown 22mg or less of soy isoflavones can lead to fertility problems. Just so you know, 2 glasses of soy milk has 80-100mg of soy isoflavones.

• Studies have shown that mother’s who consumed soy during pregnancy and nursing have increased chances of miscarriages and premature births.

• Soy has been linked to decreased prostate weight in men and testicular cell death.

• The phytates in soy and soy baby formula bind to the iron and zinc in an infants body, making them less available for the body to use. Iron & zinc are critical to infant cognitive development

• Soy contains high levels of aluminum. 30%-60% is excreted in the urine, but the rest gets stored in the tissues of the body, and most importantly the brain. Aluminum has been linked to many cognitive disorders.

• In women, 45mg per day for just 30 days can lead to menstral cycle disruption. This puts you at higher risk for breast cancer.

The bottom line on my opinion of soy products

Based on the following problems linked to soy I would have to recommend you minimize the consumption in your diet, and eliminate it completely during pregnancy. There are plenty of other ways to meet your protein requirements without using soy products.

Even with milk products, I’d have to say you’re better off with 1% than using soy milk. At the end of the day I’m more concerned about the hormonal disruptions that can result with soy use.

I’m all about eating “primal” and plant foods certainly make up a very large portion of this kind of diet, soy just wouldn’t be in that list for me.

I encourage you to do some research on your end and make your own conclusion. This is certainly not the end of the discussion on soy. I just wanted to reveal my findings and provide you with my stance on using soy products in your diet.

For additional reading I would recommend “The Whole Soy Story” by Dr. Kaayla Daniel. She did her Ph.D. research on the dangers of soy infant formula and other health risks of soy consumption, which eventually resulted in the writing of this book.

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts Personal Training Studios. You can receive a FREE no-obligations trial of his Charleston personal training programs and experience the Shaping Concepts difference for yourself.

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Category: Nutrition.