The Weston A. Price Way

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Eye-Opener Thursday: SOY, BABIES & BEYOND

Soy has been touted as a great American food. Supposedly good for menopause, babies and those attempting to avoid meat in their diet, soy is the soapbox tonic for just about everything.

Or is it?

1-Soy and Corn are the two largest industrialized products of America. We grow a lot and most is genetically modified. It's good for business to find many uses for it. Soybeans are used as a base for a great deal of food products, including everyday condiments such as salad dressings and mayonnaise, (one of the reasons I make my own mayo now. See, "Busy Days and Mayonnaise"), and the unsuspecting baby formula.

2-We have been lead to believe that the use of soy as a food dates back several thousand years, but the truth is, it wasn't used until the Chinese figured out how to use it to make soaked/fermented products: tempeh, natto, and tamari, (late Chou dynasty, 1134-246 BC). To this day, these are among the limited ways in which soybeans can truly be safely used. Although Asians are often considered to be huge consumers of soy, the fact is that the Chinese average about two teaspoons soy intake a day and the Japanese, only one to two. Even then, it's not consumed as a meat substitute, as western civilization has tried to use it, but rather, as a condiment.

3-The idea that the soy foods in general use today produce the same benefits as fermented soy foods of  the past, is fallacy. The majority of modern processed soy products comes from non-soaked, non-fermented soybeans. This fact is of utmost importance. Soybeans cannot deliver nutrients without proper preparation, and they contain toxins that cannot be neutralized without these traditional methods of preparation. Furthermore, the methods used to soak/ferment other beans/legumes/grains, aren't effective for soybeans. They require longer, more aggressive efforts for neutralization. In addition, modern methods used to process soybeans over-processes their proteins and even increase carcinogenic levels.

4-Without getting into the nitty-gritty, scientific wording about types of amino acids, (you are welcome to get into it at "Soy Alert!"), know this: Contrary to popular belief, soybeans are NOT a complete protein.

5-The vegetarian diet needs sources of vitamin B-12, and many believe they can be obtained from soybean products. Not so. Although there is a compound in soybeans that is similar to B-12, it is not B-12 and the human body cannot use is. The real truth here is that the intake of soy products causes a greater need for B-12.
6-One of the greatest concerns I have in regard to soy is my new found awareness of its dangers when given to infants, although much of what I am sharing here also pertains to the health of adults.
Soy contains 'trypsin inhibitors'. These interfere with the work of the pancreas and inhibit the digestion of proteins. Tests have shown that this can cause stunted growth and pancreatic disorders.
7-Just as we have learned that more B-12 is needed when soy is ingested, so it is with vitamin D...without which, we have disruption of normal growth and development of strong bones.
Phytic acid is a huge problem with soy products. It interferes with assimilation of iron and zinc. Both of these are essential ingredients for the development of the brain as well as the nervous system. The brain and nervous system also are in need of cholesterol, which is not supplied by soy products.
8-In addition, another serious area of concern is the megadose level of phytoestrogens in soy formula. This has been scientifically implicated in the 'epidemic' of premature sexual development in girls and delayed or retarded sexual development in boys.
~~~It is important to understand that there is a short span of time in a male infant's life, the first six months, when he experiences a natural 'testosterone tide'. At this time, the infant is 'flooded' with testosterone hormone at about the level of the male adult. At this time, the infant's brain, reproductive system and other organs are being 'programmed for maleness' which is to later manifest during puberty. Consider then, what the consequences might be when a male infant's body at this stage is also being bombarded by concentrations of estrogen at levels 13,000 to 22,000 times higher than infants on milk-based formula or breast milk.~~~ 
9-Some believe that the phytoestrogens in soy enhance mental capabilities, but a recent study showed that women having the highest levels of estrogen in their blood had the lowest levels of cognitive function. Also, a study of Japanese Americans who consume tofu in mid-life showed and association with Alzheimer's in later life.

10-Once again, the estrogen-factor of soy comes in to play regarding postmenopausal women. It's been believed for decades that soy will help a woman through the menopause and postmenopausal stages. However estrogen-dependent tumors can be stimulated by soy, and thyroid work is inhibited by soy. The latter problem  causes menopause difficulties. Therefore, the use of soy to relieve menopause and postmenopausal symptoms doesn't help, but rather, hinders.

11-Yet, some insist that soy estrogen (isoflavones) is good for us. However, these are what is called 'phyto-endocrine disrupters'. They can stimulate the growth of cancer cells, prevent ovulation, and cause hypothyroidism. Just four tablespoons of soy/day can cause hypothyroidism. Some of the symptoms: lethargy, constipation, weight gain and fatigue.

12-Many believe that soy has GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe), status, however, recently Archer Daniels Midland withdrew its application to the FDA for this status. This move was in response to a huge protest-not from consumers-but from the scientific community. The FDA never approved GRAS status for soy protein isolate because of the presence of toxins and carcinogens in modern processed soy.

13-Soy has also been touted as a preventive measure against several types of cancer, but the truth is that there is little evidence that soy protects from breast or any other cancer. The greater, sadder truth is that it can even increase the risk of cancer.

14-What about heart disease? Isn't soy good for that? Well, it can lower cholesterol. (It doesn't always.) However, as yet, there isn't any evidence that lowering cholesterol via soy intake lowers the risk of heart disease.

15-And then there are the libido claims of soy. (If that won't make it sell, what will?) Let's please get this straight...SOY CONSUMPTION LOWERS TESTOSTERONE levels in men. (See #7.) Here's a fun fact for you: Buddhist monks consumed tofu in order to reduce libido. Animal studies have shown that soy foods make animals infertile.

16-Then there is the 'Let's-get-the-Greenies-on-our-side' approach...with claims that soybeans are good for the environment. Yep, good, alright. Think: Genetically Modified=large amounts of herbicides= toxic run-off.
-'Nough said.

17-And finally, let's talk about this matter from a global standpoint. Soybeans replace traditional crops in third world countries. The processing of the beans is moved from that country and its local population to multinational corporations instead...that would be the guys getting the biggest cut. Don't believe the claims that soybeans are good for developing nations. Like all these other claims about the greatness of soybeans, it's balderdash.

All information contained in today's 'Eye-Opener' came from information obtained through "Soy Alert", a division of the Weston A. Price Foundation, and Nourishing Traditions, side-bar, p. 603. If you'd like to go deeper, please check these resources. 

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