If you do a little reading, soy is either the healthiest food in the world (and good for fertility) or the devil itself, and about as helpful for conception as taking a handful of birth control pills.
Could it possibly be that both are right?
When I wrote the article forNatural Healthon fermented foods, I noticed that most cultures eat soy as a fermented product (tempeh, miso, in Korea, doenchang). It appears fermentation helps predigest the soy and also neutralize all sorts of things that are bad for your thyroid, etc. And, not surprisingly, it's the weirdly processed soy (e.g., your soy baloney) that's the worst for you. Make sense? So now that the US is overproducing soy and pushing it on everyone...well...you see where I'm going. Put it this way, eating unfermented soy or taking soy supplements might not be the healthiest thing to do, especially if you have thyroid disease and/or are trying to get pregnant.
Perhaps the most disturbing of soy's ill effects on health has to do with its phytoestrogens, which can mimic the effects of the female hormone, oestrogen. These phytoestrogens have been found to have adverse effects on various human tissues, anddrinking only two glasses ofsoy milkdaily for one month has enough of the chemical to alter a woman's menstrual cycle.
Soy is particularly problematic for infants and it would be very wise to avoid giving them soy-derived products, since it has been estimated that infants who are exclusively fed soy formula receive the equivalent of five birth control pills worth of oestrogen every day . Check out ( www.westonaprice.org ) to find some alarming research and statistics on what can go wrong when infants and children are regularly fed soy formula.
In order to derive some benefit from soy, consuming only fermented soy products - such as organic miso (mugi barley and genmai miso are the best), organic tempeh, soy sauce or tamari and natto - is the way to do it. This is because the phytic acid, which is inherent in soy beans, has been neutralized in the process of fermentation. Consuming fermented soy is very beneficial in recolonizing the friendly bacteria in the large intestine, which neutralizes the 'unfriendly' bacteria and allows for greater general assimilation of foods and nutrients.
Another common fallacy is that soy foods couldn't possibly have a downside because Asian cultures eat large quantities of soy every day and consequently remain free of most western diseases. In reality, the people of China, Japan and other Asian countries eat very little soy. The soy industry's own figures show that soy consumption in China, Indonesia, Korea, Japan and Taiwan ranges from 10 to 90 grams per day. That is grams of soy food, not grams of soy protein alone. Compare this with a cup of tofu (250 grams) or soy milk (240 grams). Many Americans and Australians today would be consuming a cup of tofu and a couple of glasses of soy milk every day. They might also add veggie burgers to this, thinking they are getting their much needed protein intake. Infants on soy formula are probably the most disadvantaged, as that is their main source of nutrition and they ingest large amounts of soy relative to their body weight. Often the side effects are not noticed but, as they are growing up, runny noses, frequent colds, irritability, severe sugar cravings and food intolerance develop.
The summary below outlines the adverse effects of unfermented soy products:
* 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 anti-thyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism and may cause thyroid cancer. In infants, consumption of soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.
Vitamin B12 analogs in soy are not absorbed and actually increase the body's requirement for B12.
Soy foods increase the body's requirement for vitamin D.
* Fragile proteins are denatured during high temperature processing to make soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein.
* Free glutamic acid or MSG, a potent neurotoxin, is formed during soy food processing and additional amounts are added to many soy foods.
* Soy foods contain high levels of aluminum which is toxic to the nervous system and the kidneys.