There are 10 health reasons to avoid soy foods and I am excited to share them with you. Soy products have flooded the market since the vegetarian craze of the 1970’s. It has been touted as a way to save the earth and our own health. I believed this hype and and dove head first into eating loads of soy when I was on a low fat diet from about 2000-2008. The peak of my soy over consumption was during 2009. I ate a large serving of tofu everyday because I was trying to be a vegetarian to save the animals/earth. I still ate fish but the majority of my meals had a soy products like tofu or veggie burgers. During this time I was running a lot and and training for a half marathon. After a year of this soy-centric diet I started to feel terrible. I wanted to sleep all the time, and along with gaining weight, I had terrible constipation. I went to the doctor and found out my thyroid was out of balance and I had an autoimmune thyroid problem.
I believe this was brought on by a perfect storm of factors such as a soy based diet, gluten consumption, excessive cardio and stress. Over the past two years I have seen many doctors, tried countless supplements, eaten a healing diet, and spent thousands of dollars to feel somewhat normal again. I want to share my story with other people who may think that eating a soy based vegetarian diet is the key to performance and longevity. I hope this message reaches other health conscious people before they experience the problems I have had trying to rebuild my health.
10 health reasons to avoid soy foods
1. Soybeans contain anti-nutrients that block the digestive enzyme trypsin and inhibit stomachs ability to digest protein which can lead to amino acid deficiencies and hinder muscle growth.
2. Soybeans are high in phytates which protect the seed from consumption by humans and animals. Present in all nuts and seeds phytic acids block the body from absorbing essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. In many studies high grain and legume diets have been shown to cause nutrient deficiencies in less developed countries. Processed soy foods can also cause an increased risk of fatty liver.
3. Soy foods contain endocrine disruptors which can inhibit the synthesis of important thyroid hormones including T4 and T3 which can contribute to to low thyroid and autoimmune thyroid conditions.
4. MSG, a neurotoxin that kills brain cells is added to most soy foods during processing to make them taste more palatable. Other names for MSG include hydrolyzed vegetable proteins, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed yeast, yeast extract, soy extracts, and protein isolate.
5. Vitamin D, provided by animal foods and sunlight is needed for preventing cancer and bone health. Our need for increased by the consumption of soy foods.Vitamin D-3 deficiency is extremely common among Americans. An optimal Vitamin D Level according to Dr. Mercola is 60 ng/ml.
6. Soy foods do not contain Vitamin A which is vital for fighting infections, bone growth, healthy reproduction, and normal eyesight. This activator vitamin is found in animals foods such as grass fed meat, eggs, butter, fish, and unpasteurized full fat milk. It is the popular belief that adequate Vitamin A can be obtained from carrots or other colorful vegetables. But in reality low thyroid, diabetes, low fat diets, heavy alcohol consumption, diets high in vegetables oils, and being a young child can all hinder the conversion of Beta Carotene’s from vegetables into Vitamin A. This means that almost no one is able to convert enough Carotenoids to usable Vitamin A in the body. A great way to get vitamin A is with Fermented COD Liver Oil.
7. Soy is not a complete protein because it lacks the essential amino acids cysteine and methionine. Also soy cannot be relied on as a source of B-12, which is vital for a functional nervous system.
8. Soy is a new food and did not appear on the scene until The Chou Dyansty 1143 BC. At that time it was fermented and eaten as a small part of the diet along with rice, fish, meat, and vegetables. Fermented products made from organic soybeans like miso, tempeh and natto in small amounts are safe when eaten with bone broths, sea veggies, and organ meats(Wapf,1995). This is not the way soy foods are usually consumed in the U.S. where people eat highly processed soy milk and Boca burgers.
9. Soy protein isolate used to make baby formula is high in aluminum which can be toxic in high amounts and cause memory problems. Babies need cholesterol (found in mother’s milk) to form healthy brains which is absent from soy milk formula.
10. The Omega 3’s and Isoflavones in soy that are cancer preventative are altered and destroyed by high heat processing methods to make soy milk and tofu.
Sources: Articles about Soy from the Weston A Price Foundation, Wikepedia, Mark’s Daily Apple, Dr. Mercola
Recommended reading about the dangers of soy:
If you are looking for a healing diet after vegetarianism Click Here!
Over-eating any thing can lead to health issues. Most vegetarians/vegans I know generally rely on very little soy in their diets.
allison burgueno says
Please don't get me wrong, i believe that over-consumption of processed goods is dangerous to our health. Soy is also in the GMO realm and therefore dangerous from that perspective.
I believe that minor consumption of fermented soy is okay, even fresh organic tofu is okay – but not as a staple. I also agree that the modern food manufacturing methods have completely corrupted the whole nature of soy.
I suggest you look up soy and/or phyto-estorogens on PubMed to read scientific studies on the matter. Apparently there is some conclusive evidence (in the positive and in the negative) in a lab type setting, however, most findings are still inconclusive and the board generalizations of WAPF are "logical" but not necessarily factual.
If your thyroid issue is automimmune, soy has nothing to do that. Thyroid suppression from overdosing on loads of soy is reversible. And ODing on anything (including, gasp, grass fed meat) is no good. Weston Price Foundation is hardly a credible source of info.
what is your thoughts on Non GMO soy?
Dana Seilhan says
Autoimmune disorders don't come out of nowhere. There's no way we could have survived for three million years as a species if our own immune systems killed us on a regular basis.
If you don't like WAPF as a source of info then go to the site and look at THEIR sources. They footnote a *lot* of the information they provide. Quit expecting everyone else to do your thinking for you and do your own research. It's your body. You should care about what you put into it.
I used to cure menstrual cramps by drinking soymilk. Which tells me that all the pooh-poohing that "soy only contains minute amounts of hormone" is misguided at best and deliberately dishonest at worst.
I prevent menstrual cramps now with vitamin A–a known use in the third world, incidentally. Medics in those countries know that if a woman's having problems with pain and heavy bleeding in her monthly cycle, she's probably short on A. So that's how they treat it. It works. It worked for me, and it worked for a friend of mine on FB who messaged me privately to let me know. I didn't even know she had a problem.
I eat a small amount of soy, mostly in the form of tamari, which is fermented. I do NOT make it a staple. If I want a milk alternative (I use dairy cream, but straight milk is too high in lactose for me), I use almond milk or coconut milk. Those work just fine and I'm not drinking hormones all day long.
No need to shoot the messenger. None of you need to be eating soy anyway. It's not like she's warning you to stop drinking water.
P.S. If you made bone broth, ate liver and were willing to eat raw adrenals for the vitamin C, you *could* eat nothing but grass-fed meat all day and you would be fine. Believe it or not.