I am struck by how many people believe Soy is good for them. One person I know had a Soy dinner party. It might as well have been a “fill yourself full of toxic, cancer causing, hormone changing, poison” party. Some members of a group to which I belong regularly consume soy products. A mom at one of Colson’s activities has her family consuming soy due to allergies to dairy, but she is quitting. A dear friend in Florida finally kicked the soy habit. It is everywhere…as additives to “food”, as tofu, as a replacement for milk, in an ice cream-like dessert, and more. The soy industry is as happy as it can be.
Many who believe soy is healthy respond to the criticisms that soy can cause many illnesses by saying that Asian people have been eating soy for thousands of years, it is a staple in their diets, and they are healthy. A quick search of the Internet will reveal warning after warning about the dangerous effects of soy on health. Here are a few of the myths and facts addressed on the Weston A. Price Foundation’s (WAP) website http://www.westonaprice.org/mythstruths/mtsoy.html:
Myth: Use of soy as a food dates back many thousands of years.
Truth: Soy was first used as a food during the late Chou dynasty (1134-246 BC), only after the Chinese learned to ferment soy beans to make foods like tempeh, natto and tamari.
Myth: Asians consume large amounts of soy foods.
Truth: Average consumption of soy foods in Japan and China is 10 grams (about 2 teaspoons) per day. Asians consume soy foods in small amounts as a condiment, and not as a replacement for animal foods.
Myth: Modern soy foods confer the same health benefits as traditionally fermented soy foods.
Truth: Most modern soy foods are not fermented to neutralize toxins in soybeans, and are processed in a way that denatures proteins and increases levels of carcinogens.
A succinct list of the dangers of soy is also found on the WAP website (the WAP website also has many other articles on soy): http://www.westonaprice.org/soy/index.html. Here are the top four:
- High levels of phytic acid in soy reduce assimilation of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. Phytic acid in soy is not neutralized by ordinary preparation methods such as soaking, sprouting and long, slow cooking. High phytate diets have caused growth problems in children.
- Trypsin inhibitors in soy interfere with protein digestion and may cause pancreatic disorders. In test animals soy containing trypsin inhibitors caused stunted growth.
- Soy phytoestrogens disrupt endocrine function and have the potential to cause infertility and to promote breast cancer in adult women.
- Soy phytoestrogens are potent antithyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism and may cause thyroid cancer. In infants, consumption of soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.
With the exception of properly fermented soy, described in Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions, soy should be avoided.