Is Soy Bad for You?
We live in the age of soy today. Soy boys and soy food everywhere…It’s ubiquitous as a vegetarian staple and a filler for many health products.
Soy has been marketed a health food for years – tofu, soy-milk, soybean oil, edamame. But is it actually any good for you? Or does it just “feel” like a health-food because it’s bland, expensive and highly marketed?
Let me give it to you straight: if good health is what you’re after, stop eating soy. I didn’t want to lose the main point of this article by burying it way at the end. Now that you know, please read on to learn why.
The elevation of soy as a health food
When the USDA erroneously decided all animal fat and meat were poison, Americans were told to eat more plant foods, like soy. Soy was touted as a perfect protein and source of fat to replace meat, lard and butter. Soybean oil was marketed as a versatile cooking oil that wouldn’t increase your cholesterol, textured protein crumbles made in a lab were smashed together and dyed to look like hamburger patties and soybean oil was hydrogenated to be solid at room temperature. “Eat margarine,” they said, “it’s better than butter,” they said.
Well folks, it turns out hydrogenated vegetable oil is a source of trans fat. And eating trans fat not only increases your risk of heart disease but the Food and Drug Administration now prohibits food manufacturers from adding the major source of artificial trans fat to foods and beverages (*).
But, I digress, let’s get back to the soyification of the world. So the government declares all animal meat and fat bad, processed plant foods are better. AKA “we know better than nature what is healthy”. So, cheap soy floods the market. And now you can pick up 80% of the items in the grocery store and see soy in the ingredient list. Soybean oil, lecithin from soy, soy protein, textured vegetable protein (also soy), vegetable gum, vegetable broth, vegetable starch, this list goes on.
The organization food allergy and research education lists nearly all processed foods and even some personal care products as having a soy component:
- Baked goods
- Canned broths and soups
- Canned tuna and meat
- High-protein energy bars and snacks
- Infant formulas
- Low-fat peanut butter
- Pet food
- Processed meats
- Soaps and moisturizers
Americans have not improved their health as a result of these recommendations, in fact as a nation we have become more sick (*).
But it’s just a plant right? How bad could it be? Well, that depends, how much poison is acceptable in your food?
Is Soy Bad For You? The 4 Dangers of Eating It?
#1 Weed-killer in Soy
Soy is a leading food source of glyphosate (the weed-killer Roundup). Oats, wheat and corn are up there as well and you’ll notice I don’t recommend eating those either.
Glyphosate is a synthetic herbicide patented by the Monsanto Company and now manufactured and sold by many companies in hundreds of products. Glyphosate has been associated with (*):
- Liver damage
- Reproductive and developmental issues
According to the Environmental Workgroup (EWG) genetically engineered soy has the highest levels of Roundup:
“Crop scientists have genetically engineered soy to survive blasts of Roundup so farmers can spray this chemical near crops to get rid of weeds. But some so-called “super weeds” resistant to Roundup have developed. In turn, some farmers use yet more Roundup to try to kill those hardy weeds. This leads to more Roundup chemicals being found on soybeans and ultimately in the food supply.”
How much poison is acceptable?
The company that owns Roundup (Monsanto) defined an extreme level of this herbicide as 5.6 milligrams per kilogram of plant weight. A Norwegian study comparing the accumulation of pesticides and herbicides on 31 different soybean plants found an average of 9 milligrams of Roundup per kilogram. The study found high levels of Roundup in 70 percent of genetically engineered soy plants (*).
#2 Soy is a Goitrogen
Goitrogens are foods that interfere with normal, healthy thyroid function and cause goiter — or swelling of the thyroid.
Goitrogens do this by interfering with iodine absorption in the thyroid. Iodine is required for healthy levels of thyroid hormone production. Without it, the thyroid cannot produce the T4 and T3 hormones.
In response to deficient T4 and T3 levels, your pituitary gland produces more of a compound known as Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (i’ll give you one guess what it does). The TSH is meant to signal to your thyroid to produce more T4. But, the excess TSH causes swelling of the gland known as goiter.
Goitrogens can also interfere with healthy thyroid function through interfering with TPO: Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO) enzyme is like the assembly line that constructs Thyroid hormones. If it’s damaged, thyroid hormone production is impaired.
Symptoms of Thyroid Issues: Side Effects Include
The thyroid plays an important role in all metabolism. So, when you have low circulating thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) you’d expect everything to get sluggish – your brain, your energy levels, even digestion!
Common symptoms of hypothyroid include (*):
- Weight gain
- Trouble sleeping
- Dry skin
- Sensitivity to the cold
- Dry, thinning hair
- Joint and muscle pain
- Fertility problems
- Decreased heart rate
Sounds like a blast, right?
#3 Soy and your Sex Hormones
Soy is an endocrine disrupter – that is to say it interferes with hormones. I’ve detailed its action on thyroid hormone above but healthy function of the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone can also be disrupted.
Soy is a natural source of phytoestrogens, a compound that mimics human estrogen but is thousands of times weaker. Researchers have found that the impact of soy phytoestrogens on individuals depends largely on their age, gender and menopausal status and the issue is complex. However, aside from the phytoestrogens in soy, the glyphosate (Roundup weedkiller) on soy can contribute to estrogenic activity on its own (*)
Phytoestrogens have demonstrated the ability to(*):
- Disrupt of normal sex hormone levels and the female ovulation cycle
- Decrease sexual behavior in animal research
- Increase social, aggressive, and anxiety-related behaviors in animal research
#4 Soy is a Source of Lectins
Soybeans, like all beans, area a source of lectins. Lectins are carbohydrate binding proteins designed to damage cellular communication.
These sticky, carbohydrate-binding proteins function as a defense mechanism for plants. They are designed (by evolution) to cause a severe immune response in the animals that eat them (including humans) which ultimately results in paralysis.
Lectins are associated with both mental and physical health problems. They bind nerve endings, cause blood cells to clump and also attach to viruses and bacteria. In some cases people with lectin sensitivity are more likely to get sick because of this.
Health problems associated with lectins include:
- Leaky gut (intestinal permeability)
- Brain fog
This just keeps getting better, am I right? As I said in the beginning, if you care about your health, don’t eat soy.
The Bottom Line on Soy
Yes, it turns out that many ancient, healthy cultures did eat soy. But they went through an extensive fermentation process to neutralize the toxins that no longer exists today (same with many other plants we eat).
Whatever chance soy had at being even an option for food has been completely destroyed by large scale agriculture and corporate greed. The soy in our world is nothing but a delivery mechanism for glyphosate. In addition to toxic weed killer, soy is a food that can interfere with your thyroid hormones, sex hormones and gut health.
At this point you may be wondering, what do I eat? If you recognize some of the symptoms in this article or are seeking to improve your health consider a way of eating free from the aforementioned toxins, sign up for my 14 day carnivore diet meal plan below