The Great Soy Myth (and The Truth About Soy in Eastern Asia)
There's a secret side of soy that most of us have never heard.
You see, we've all been brought up to believe soy is a "super healthy" food.
Heck, at one point, soy was so "good for you" that doctors were recommending 25 to 50 grams of soy protein per day, based on consumption in Japan.
And from what I recall, the U.S. government still recommends 10 grams per day, because soy is "proven to be heart-healthy".
But what if that's all a lie?
What if, the U.S. government recommendations are based on research that is funded by a food engineering company who first imported mass-produced soy to the American Market? (And even worse, what if the U.S. government knew about this??)
What if consumption in Asia is 1/20th the amount that some doctors recommend to us?
And what if this consumption in Asia is from soy of a completely different chemical/molecular makeup?
Well, my friend, it's unfortunately all true. The healthfulness of soy is limited at best, and
potentially dangerous at the levels many of us are eating.
From a nutritional (and cultural) standpoint, research shows that soy is simply not as good as it seems. Especially not in mass quantity.
Instead, it could be causing us large amounts of undue harm.
Essentially, we're going to dig deeper into a question that's only recently finding its way to the mainstream health media: "Is Soy Actually Bad For You?
Let's start with the nutritional issues with soy:
1. Soy has too many phytoestrogens
a. Phytoestrogens are the leading cause of breast cancers, infertility, low libido, and more
2. Soy is a goitrogenic (thyroid suppressing) foods.
a. Goitrogenic foods are known to prevent the thyroid from getting enough iodine.
b. This can lead to weight gain, inability to regulate mood, and trouble with concentration and memory for starters
3. Soy is abundant in trypsin inhibitors.
a. This stops trypsin's vital function of helping the body digest protein.
b. This can lead to many digestive issues, including stomach cramps and diarrhea (as well as possible internal bleeding).
4. The hemagglutinin in soy causes red blood cells to clump together.
a. These clumped cells are then unable to properly absorb oxygen, and distribute it to your tissues.
5. Over 80% percent of soy is GMO/genetically modified.
a. GMO foods are notoriously loaded with pesticides that your body can NOT handle without sickness and internal health problems.
6. Soy has incredibly high levels of phytates.
a. Phytates/phytic acid block mineral absorption during digestion, and are found in grains, legumes and more.
b. We can generally avoid these via soaking overnight (with grains, legumes, etc.), but soy is so high in phytic acid that only fermentation can reduce phytate content (and even then, it is only a partial reduction in phytates)
Yep, you read that right.
6 MAJOR issues with soy, which the government and doctors either don't know about or
You see, soy is not intended to be eaten in the manner and quantity we eat it in. Instead, if we do have it, it must be eaten in a very select manner and in a very select quantity...
How To Eat Soy "Correctly"
The main truth around eating soy, is that it MUST be fermented so most of the anti-nutrient toxins are dispersed, and so your body actually has a fighting chance to properly absorb it.
The good thing is, as long as you know what you're looking for, you can pick up the "healthy" fermented soy products in your local supermarket.
Here are the "good" fermented soy products:
- I would advise against getting miso soup with your Chinese food because it's made of "miso". The stuff they use is likely to be highly processed miso, that is probably made of fake ingredients (like most Tofu on the market, for example)
- Buy the real stuff in the store. Make sure it's just miso and make the soup yourself.
- If you want soy sauce, just get tamari.
- It's naturally fermented soy sauce, and it tastes just as good, if not better than the wheat-based, unfermented soy that you would buy otherwise
- Make sure it says "wheat-free" on the ingredients panel!
- This stuff is not very tasty...
- I had it once at a Japanese restaurant once...and it is very unpleasant to say the least. If you can stomach it, you deserve a medal.
- Some Japanese centenarians have attributed their longevity to frequent consumption of natto, so if you can handle it, go for it!
- This food can be a very healthy part of a vegetarian's diet.
- As always, if you decide to eat it, make sure it is the natural fermented kind, and that it is made from whole, preferably organic soybeans.
- Whole, unprocessed soybeans and edamame (in the shell) can be enjoyed every once in a while
Personal note: Unless it's a special occasion (or fancy restaurant for that matter), I almost always pass because of the phytates, phytoestrogens and more. Soy is not an essential food, and we can get more than enough essential nutrients from other foods. I do keep fermented Tamari in the house, though, in case I make some rice noodles and want the taste of soy sauce.
The Shocking Truth About Soy Consumption in Asia
A big one I hear these days is, "if soy is so bad for you, why do Asian cultures eat it all the time?"
I love this one. It's a "throw around" statement by those who simply have not done their research and are using statements based on faulty methodologies, faulty observations, and cult-like followings. (It doesn't help that major companies have jumped on the bandwagon too, with Soy Milk available at Starbucks and just about everywhere else.)
Soy fanboys/fangirls love to mention that traditional Asian diets consume lots of soy, and "look how healthy they are!"
But here's the truth:
- Traditional Asian diets include just 2 teaspoons of soy a day, and it is highly fermented.
- They would never think of consuming even 10 grams of soy protein, not to mention the 50+ that some 'doctors' promote.
- The soy found in non-fermented foods such as Soy Milk, Soy Burgers, regular Soy Sauce, and the myriad of soy products out there is all industrialized, mass-produced junk.
- This processed soy is of course made possible by highly subsidized, government-backed soy production (thanks for nothing!)
- Even Tofu, which is a whole soy food (and therefore a tiny bit better than isolated soy protein and soybean oils), is still highly processed and filled with all the anti-nutrients, GMO and other toxins mentioned above.
In one sentence, here's the "soy strategy" : Avoid any and all soy, except for a select few fermented, whole soybean products, in very limited quantities.
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Moving forward, there are several other articles/topics I'll share so you can lose weight even faster, and feel great doing it.
Below is a list of these topics and you can use this Table of Contents to jump to the part that interests you the most.