Say No to Soy

Soy is a popular food that has become quite prevalent in conversations regarding health and nutrition. Derived from soybeans, it’s commonly consumed in the form of an oil, protein or milk. The entire bean is also served in a dish called edamame.

People are often surprised to come across members of the health-conscious community who don’t eat soy. This is due to the reputation the plant has earned as a mainstream “health” food.

Some believe that soy is a consequence-free alternative to meat. Others are more aware of the complications that can arise with the consumption of soy.

This has led to a large controversy over whether or not soy comes with more health benefits or risks.

Some companies take pride in their products being soy-based. Others do an awesome job creating soy-free alternatives (i.e. Daiya, Kite Hill, and Forager Project)!

So the question is: why are products marketed as “soy-free” if the bean is considered a “health” food?

There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that soy has the potential to compromise the body’s natural balance. Keep reading to learn about all the potential risks involved with soy and products that contain it.

Hormone imbalance
Soy contains large amounts of biologically active compounds called isoflavones1. These are phytoestrogens, or plant-based compounds that can activate estrogen receptors in the human body2.

But what does this mean? Ultimately, these chemicals interfere with the body’s normal production and function of hormones.

Estrogen is more prevalent in female bodies but males have smell levels of it too! So, a male’s regular consumption of soy can cause an increase in these levels, unbalancing the body to a hazardous level.

Soybeans originated in East Asia, but are now produced on a large scale in the United States3. Over 90% of the soy produced on U.S. territory is genetically modified. The crops are sprayed with Roundup4, the infamous herbicide produced by Monsanto.

Most of the soy crops in the U.S. are used to make soybean oil. This oil is extracted from the plants with a chemical called hexane5. Hexane is a neurotoxic and highly-polluting petrochemical compound that also happens to be a significant component of gasoline6.

Interestingly, the FDA doesn’t currently have any regulations to limit the presence of hexane residue in soy foods. However, it does limit how much of the chemical can be left in other food products5.

While soy does appear to have some beneficial nutritional properties, it also contains high levels of phytates—substances that bind minerals and reduce their absorption3.

Scientists have also recently found that processing soy at a high temperature can damage some of the proteins and reduce their quality, lowering the food’s overall protein content3.

The most prevalent fatty acids in soybeans are Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats7. This can be deceiving because most people relate Omega to health! But, Omega-6 acids in particular are not so beneficial. As a matter of fact, too many Omega-6 fatty acids in one’s diet can actually lead to inflammation and all sorts of health issues.đź‘Ž

My Experience with Soy

My personal experiences with soy have had a large effect on my views in regards to the health debate. I have struggled with gut health for most of my life and cut soy out of my diet to see if my health improved.

I began this elimination diet with soy because my digestion issues persisted after I had already cut out gluten and dairy. These issues disappeared soon after I stopped eating soy and haven’t been back since. This is when I began my extensive research and some light was shed on how non-beneficial soy really can be.

For all of these combined reasons, I avoid not only soy-based products; but, those that contain soybean oil and soybean protein.

A lot of self-proclaimed “healthy” foods and not-so-healthy processed foods contain soybean oil. Now, why should natural “healthy” foods contain any of the same ingredients as GMO processed foods?

Remember: every body is different. But, there are so many other more beneficial alternatives to meat protein than soy i.e. beans, lentils, various seeds, quinoa, nutritional yeast and SO many more!

So if you struggle with gut health, consider cutting soy out of your diet. It may benefit you in ways you thought were only imaginable!

[1]”Soy? Sorry..” Men’s Health India (2013): 10. Academic Search Complete. Web. 5 Feb. 2017.

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