Rootstohealth's Blog


Soy Confusing…
July 1, 2009, 11:31 am
Filed under: Organic, Soy

I feel like all I’ve been reading about lately in the health world is soy.  Is it a miracle food? Is it a carcinogen? Is it the answer to all of our biofuel woes?

Soy is confusing because it has an estrogen-like effect on the body.  This means that it’s little particles fit into spots in your body that estrogen would normally inhabit, making your body act and feel like it’s producing more estrogen, even if it’s not.  Now, contrary to popular belief, I find it highly unlikely that ingesting soy will make you turn gay…. but it is being found to have a deleterious effect on women’s bodies, especially those at risk for breast cancer and other diseases that thrive on excess estrogen.

That being said, soy beans have been a major portion of the diets of many Asian countries for hundreds of years, without the bad side effects.  Some purport that this is because traditionally, soy has been eaten as a fermented food, in the form of tofu and tempeh, whereas today, we are feasting on soy milk, soy yogurt, soy ice cream, and soy protein powder.  Not to mention the fact that soy lecithan is found as an ingredient in most processed foods (it acts to emulsify the fats and smooth everything out).  Is it soy in general or the overabundance of soy which is negatively effecting our health?

Another issue with soy – it’s the corn of this generation.  Now with government subsidies, soy is ubiquitously grown, and often is genetically modified.  Oh dear.  We suddenly see why soy is showing up in all of our foods, rather like corn and variations of corn syrups and starches.

My take? Fermented soy products are probably better for your than plain soy (just as any fermented product has positive effects on your body, just read Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions).  And I would be more wary of ingesting soy products throughout the day, especially if you have high estrogen (Moderation is a beautiful thing!!) But with what I am learning about the soy industry, I am especially making sure to eat organic/locally grown soy products so that they’re free of pesticides and not grown from genetically modified seeds (whose safety really haven’t been adequately tested).  If you need to cut down on your soy consumption due to a sensitivity, try hemp or almond milk, delicious alternatives that are a little less politically and socially charged at the current moment.

Let me know if you know of any well-designed, conclusive studies on soy consumption on health! Thus far, I’ve only been finding lots of hearsay, and not a lot of answers.

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