Soy is a tricky subject. This short video above does a great job of summarizing some of the major points about why soy is not actually a health food. It has been marketed that way for years because it is a relatively complete protein and because it is low in fat. The fact that it is low in fat is not debatable – it is. However, a food low in fat is not necessarily healthy based on that one quality. The fact that it’s a relatively complete protein is debatable. While it may have a full compliment of amino acids in it, they are not in sufficient levels that could sustain human life if that were the only food you consumed. Like all legumes, soy beans are deficient in sulfur-containing amino acids methionine and cysteine. In addition, modern processing denatures fragile lysine.
Soy has been touted as the “healthy alternative” to meat, the “non-allergenic” dairy, the “low-cost” protein that will feed the millions, the infant formula that is “better than breastmilk,” and the “wonder food” for the New Age. Unfortunately, none of this is true.
Here are some quick FAQs about soy:
- 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.
- Free glutamic acid or MSG, a potent neurotoxin, is formed during soy food processing and additional amounts are added to many soy foods.
- Processing of soy protein results in the formation of toxic lysinoalanine and highly carcinogenic nitrosamines.
- Average consumption of soy foods in Japan and China is just 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. The argument that soy is good because Asian populations consume tons of it and have lower rates of cancer and heart disease doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.
- Most soy beans grown in the US are genetically engineered to allow farmers to use large amounts of herbicides.
- Soy foods contain high levels of aluminum which is toxic to the nervous system and the kidneys.