If you’re anything like me, you’ve been pigging out nightly on vanilla, chocolate and strawberry soy milk ice cream and feeling very positive about it! (Also, if you’re anything like me, your clothes don’t fit you anymore! Stupid clothes!) Oh! As I was saying, walk through your health food store and notice how laden it is with soy products: soy milk, soy yogurt, soy nuts, “Not Dogs”, “Fakin’ Bacon”, the hot meal is probably soy-based, there’s tofu at the salad bar, and there’s probably a soy dip set out for you with crackers or tortilla chips at the check-out aisle. What would we health nuts do without soy? Well, I think we better find out soon because as I scanned through the May/June issue of Mothering magazine (which has been very kind to homeopathy, by the way), I was jolted by an expose on America’s favorite health food!
It turns out that Asians eat very little of this wonder-food because, well, it’s actually not very good for you!
There are anti-nutrients in soy:
Protease inhibitors interfere with protein digestion.
Phytates block mineral absorption.
Lectins and saponins cause leaky gut and other gastro-intestinal and immune problems.
Oxalates are high and can cause kidney stones.
Oligosaccharides cause gas.
Who could ask for more? So, to minimize the explosive quality of this “food”, monster high-tech industrial processing is called for. The levels of heat and pressure required to remove the protease inhibitors alone, make the soy hard to digest. Moreover, to make this product palatable, food additives are a must: sugar and other sweeteners, salt, artificial flavorings, colorings and MSG are added. There’s more: Soy is hidden in products where you’d never expect it, like Bumble Bee Tuna and fast-food hamburgers; and finally, to texturize soy protein, defatted soy flour is forced through an extruder with such extreme heat and pressure that the soy protein structure itself is altered!
Old fashioned soy products such as miso, shoyu and tamari should be eaten in the quantities eaten in Asia–about 1/4 cup or less per day. (Oooh. That’s not very much, is it?)
“As a clinical nutritionist, I see many clients suffering negative consequences from using soy as their main protein source in vegetarian and vegan diets. I see many mid-life women who trace their low thyroid function, fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, and cognitive decline to daily consumption of soy milk, soy shakes and soy ‘energy bars’. I believe that soy consumption by babies, children, and teenagers could adversely affect their bone development and future reproductive health. Finally, pregnant women should eat minimal amounts of soy. The evidence is mounting that greater numbers of boys with birth defects such as hypospadias are born to soy-eating vegetarian moms.”
Now listen, if you know anything bad about peanuts, keep it to yourself!