From the April 2006 Idaho Observer:
Revealing the myths and truths about soy
by the Weston A. Price Foundation
Due to the acceleration of the adulteration of animal sources of protein, including those labeled "organic," it is important to make sure our readers know that soybeans, which are listed as an ingredient on a variety of processed food product labels, are not a viable source of protein. It is interesting to note that the famous vegan herbalists and naturopaths in recent history never advocated the use of soybeans as a source of dietary protein. Since we have had many requests for a lucid dissertation on soy and its known risks while witnessing many of our associates using soy products, we felt this information is extremely timely. Many people do not do well on a strictly vegan vegetarian diet and need access to unadulterated sources of animal protein. The Weston A. Price Foundation is an invaluable source of accurate information and is a credible advocacy organization for the health benefits of raw, unadulterated dairy products, grass fed beef and natural husbandry practices.
Myth: Use of soy as a food dates back many thousands of years.
Truth: Soy was first used as a food during the late Chou dynasty (1134-246 BC), only after the Chinese learned to ferment soy beans to make foods like tempeh, natto and tamari.
Myth: Asians consume large amounts of soy foods.
Truth: Average consumption of soy foods in Japan and China is 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.
Myth: Modern soy foods confer the same health benefits as traditionally fermented soy foods.
Truth: Most modern soy foods are not fermented to neutralize toxins in soybeans, and are processed in a way that denatures proteins and increases levels of carcinogens.
Myth: Soy foods provide complete protein.
Truth: Like all legumes, soy beans are deficient in the sulfur-containing amino acids methionine and cystine. In addition, modern processing denatures fragile lysine.
Myth: Fermented soy foods can provide vitamin B12 in vegetarian diets.
Truth: The compound that resembles vitamin B12 in soy cannot be used by the human body; in fact, soy foods cause the body to require more B12
Myth: Soy formula is safe for infants.
Truth: Soy foods contain trypsin inhibitors that inhibit protein digestion and affect pancreatic function. In test animals, diets high in trypsin inhibitors led to stunted growth and pancreatic disorders. Soy foods increase the body’s requirement for vitamin D, needed for strong bones and normal growth. Phytic acid in soy foods results in reduced bioavailabilty of iron and zinc which are required for the health and development of the brain and nervous system. Soy also lacks cholesterol, likewise essential for the development of the brain and nervous system. Megadoses of phytoestrogens in soy formula have been implicated in the current trend toward increasingly premature sexual development in girls and delayed or retarded sexual development in boys.
Myth: Soy foods can prevent osteoporosis.
Truth: Soy foods can cause deficiencies in calcium and vitamin D, both needed for healthy bones. Calcium from bone broths and vitamin D from seafood, lard and organ meats prevent osteoporosis in Asian countries—not soy foods.
Myth: Modern soy foods protect against many types of cancer.
Truth: A British government report concluded that there is little evidence that soy foods protect against breast cancer or any other forms of cancer. In fact, soy foods may result in an increased risk of cancer.
Myth: Soy foods protect against heart disease.
Truth: In some people, consumption of soy foods will lower cholesterol, but there is no evidence that lowering cholesterol improves one’s risk of having heart disease.
Myth: Soy estrogens (isoflavones) are good for you.
Truth: Soy isoflavones are phyto-endocrine disrupters. At dietary levels, they can prevent ovulation and stimulate the growth of cancer cells. Eating as little as 30 grams (about 4 tablespoons) of soy per day can result in hypothyroidism with symptoms of lethargy, constipation, weight gain and fatigue.
Myth: Soy foods are safe and beneficial for women to use in their postmenopausal years.
Truth: Soy foods can stimulate the growth of estrogen-dependent tumors and cause thyroid problems. Low thyroid function is associated with difficulties in menopause.
Myth: Phytoestrogens in soy foods can enhance mental ability.
Truth: A recent study found that women with the highest levels of estrogen in their blood had the lowest levels of cognitive function; in Japanese Americans tofu consumption in mid-life is associated with the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease in later life.
Myth: Soy isoflavones and soy protein isolate have GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status.
Truth: Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) recently withdrew its application to the FDA for GRAS status for soy isoflavones following an outpouring of protest from the scientific community. The FDA never approved GRAS status for soy protein isolate because of concern regarding the presence of toxins and carcinogens in processed soy.
Myth: Soy foods are good for your sex life.
Truth: Numerous animal studies show that soy foods cause infertility in animals. Soy consumption enhances hair growth in middle-aged men, indicating lowered testosterone levels. Japanese housewives feed tofu to their husbands frequently when they want to reduce their virility.
Myth: Soy beans are good for the environment.
Truth: Most soy beans grown in the U.S. are genetically engineered to allow farmers to use large amounts of herbicides.
Myth: Soy beans are good for developing nations.
Truth: In third world countries, soybeans replace traditional crops and transfer the value-added of processing from the local population to multinational corporations.
Soy Dangers Summarized
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.
Soy phytoestrogens are potent antithyroid 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. Toxic synthetic vitamin D is added to soy milk.
Fragile proteins are over-denatured during high temperature processing to make soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein.
Processing of soy protein results in the formation of toxic lysinoalanine and highly carcinogenic nitrosamines.
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.
© 1999 Weston A. Price Foundation. All Rights Reserved.
Support the Weston A. Price Foundation by becoming a member. A one year membership is only $40 a year; $25 for students and seniors; Canadian and overseas memberships $50.
Members receive Wise Traditions, a quarterly journal featuring:
*Timely articles by popular nutrition writers including Sally Fallon, Mary Enig, Tom Cowan, Stephen Byrnes, and Sally Eauclaire Osborne
*Regular columns on dietary fats, soy foods, holistic therapies and farming
*Book reviews and health updates
*"The Shop Heard Round the World" Sources for Organic and Biodynamic produce, meat and dairy products.
In addition, your membership helps put in motion the goals of the Weston A. Price Foundation:
*To return nutrient-dense foods to American tables
*To provide accurate nutrition information to the public and government officials
*To perform much needed independent research on the nutrient qualities of foods grown and prepared by various methods
*To reach future parents with the information they need to have healthy babies
*To advocate legislation that will provide more accurate labeling and allow farmers to receive a fair price for providing nutrient-dense organic food
*To continue in our efforts to legalize clean, certified raw milk in all states
*To alert the public and government officials about the dangers of soy infant formula
Send check or money order in U.S. funds to:
The Weston A. Price Foundation
4200 Wisconsin Ave., NW, PMB 106-380
Washington DC 20016 (202) 363-4394
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