If you follow what the U.S. government and food industry tells you, chances are you probably still believe that soy has some valuable health benefits. After all, what could be so harmful from consuming some soy milk, tasteless tofu, or other soy based “health foods”?
In reality, we’ve all been fed a bunch of lies. You must consider the fact that all that you think you know about soy is the result of careful marketing over years and years that worked so well that everybody is convinced that it’s a super-food that could feed the world and save the environment. If you look on the shelves of your local health food store, you’ll find that almost every packaged product is soy-based.
Many of the other products there are grain-based, which renders most of these “health” foods dangerous to ones health and wellness… But this is a whole other story.
So what exactly make soy so dangerous for the human body?
Soy and Estrogen Levels
Eating soy raises estrogen levels. This is a big problem. Soy contains plant estrogens in the form of isoflavones which effectively raise your estrogen levels and therefore lowers your testosterone levels. Those hormones are in competition so more of one means less of the other.
When you eat large amounts of soy, it has the potential to disrupt estrogen-sensitive systems in your body, including the reproductive system (which includes the brain, the pituitary gland and the reproductive organs), says Patisaul. There have even been cases where women have eaten so much soy (think: 60 grams a day for a month) that they’ve temporarily shut down their menstrual cycle.
The developing human brain is also very sensitive to estrogen, as is the mammary gland and the heart. So the facts clearly show that messing up your estrogen levels has devastating effects for men and women as well as children and newborns.
Improper balance of testosterone to estrogen in men can lead to a lower libido, fat accumulation around the waist and loss of energy, stamina and virility and even man boobs (gynecomastia).
Having abnormally high levels of estrogen doesn’t mean you’ll be more of a woman. It could disrupt your periods, fertility and put you at risk for breast cancer.
It’s the same argument you’ve likely heard against using plastic water bottles containing bisphenol A (BPA), except that soy is even more estrogenic than BPA, according to a review of research on the pros and cons of phytoestrogens by Patisaul and her team. Beyond that, the NIH states that soy’s possible role in breast cancer is “uncertain” and advises that, “women who have or who are at increased risk of developing breast cancer or other hormone-sensitive conditions (such as ovarian or uterine cancer) should be particularly careful about using soy and should discuss it with their health care providers.”
Is Soy Destroying The Planet?
Some vegetarians argue that eating meat destroys the planet and that replacing meat protein with soy is a good alternative. This is complete nonsense. Those who believe in that have absolutely no clue about the way the industrialized system works.
Soy crops are probably the most destructive of all the monocrops. They rob the soil of nutrients without giving back, they’re one of the pesticide laden crops and they are now almost all genetically modified. The major part of it goes to feed livestock, who get sick eating it. Some factory produced cuts of meat are now injected with extra soy. This is yet another reason to stay clear of factory-farmed animals: save yourself and the environment from soy.
Monsanto, the largest soy producer now sues every farmer who gets their soy cross-pollinated by Monsanto’s patented GMO crops. Cross-pollination used to be the way plants reproduced, now it’s illegal! It should actually be the opposite where the farmers sue Monsanto for infecting their crops, but of course Monsanto is now too big to be vulnerable. They have a very strong political power because of the lobbying they do.
So should you give up soy for good? Not necessarily. Eating small amounts of this food can be a healthy way to cut back on meat consumption while still making sure you’re eating enough protein. But eating too much of it has the potential to take its toll on your hormones, estrogen and testosterone levels, and your health. For healthy adults, I think about it the way. I think about soy like I think about things like sugar, alcohol and caffeine. Moderation is the key!
I hope this article gave you reasons compelling enough to stay away from this inferior source of food and that you’ll choose vegetables and fruits instead, which are a far superior source of vitamins and minerals which are essential to proper human nutrition.