Research Reveals Concerns About Eating Too Much Soy
In spite of all its benefits, new evidence shows that eating too much soy can have some drawbacks. Most of the problems occur for vegetarians who rely too heavily on soy for their protein, eating large servings of soy foods (especially non-cultured soy foods) many times a day.
Potential Problems With Soy You’ll Want To Avoid
—Soy foods are hard to digest for a lot of people. The tummy upsetting culprits? Heavy processing, and enzyme (trypsin) inhibitors, that are present in all beans. I always prefer cultured soy foods like tempeh, miso, tofu, soy milk and soy sauce in a healing diet because their healthy bacteria improves their digestibility. —Phytates in soybeans can bind to minerals like zinc, calcium and iron in the digestive tract and prevent their absorption. Note: Fermented soy foods have the least phytates. Soaking soy beans for 12-24 hours before cooking reduces phytate levels. —Soy foods are routinely genetically engineered, posing a problem for many people ethically and health wise. People with food sensitivities are especially affected. —A Hawaiian study suggests that eating a lot of tofu may speed up the aging process, even affect your brain. Researchers speculate that soy’s plant hormones act as an anti-estrogen in the brain, but more research needs to be done to determine if this is true. (Note: The normal aging process itself, a history of stroke and a good education play a much more significant role in the risk for mental decline than soy intake.) —One study has shown that genistein may increase the growth of estrogen-dependent breast cancer cells in vitro. Other studies dispute this finding, but it’s possible that very high doses of soy isoflavones can aggravate some types of breast cancer. — Some research shows that 40mg of soy isoflavones a day can slow down the production of thyroid hormone. I’ve heard often from menopausal women who eat a lot of soy that their metabolism has drastically slowed, leading to weight gain, bloat, and the fatigue that they dread! A Japanese study show that eating a lot of soy may trigger hypothyroidism and goiter, which I have seen even in younger women. (Note that isoflavone supplements usually contain 40mg. One tablespoon of soy powder contains about 25mg. of isoflavones.) Cooking your soy foods helps deactivate these properties. —Animal studies suggest that a soy-based diet may lead to infertility problems. However, soy’s long history of moderate consumption in the Japanese and American cultures does not confirm this risk. —Soy may not be the best choice for infant formulas. A study by Maryland Nutritionists says babies on soy-based formulas receive the equivalent of 5-6 birth control pills daily from soy’s plant estrogens! Because of the potential impact on hormone health, experts advise caution when considering soy based infant formulas, unless there is a clear allergy to cow’s milk.
My Final Word On Soy?
Eat soy in moderation. Soy foods (especially cultured soy foods) have confirmed benefits for our health. Enjoy soy foods in a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, sea foods and seaweeds. Soy overload (4-5 servings a day) and high doses of isolated soy isoflavones may potentially lead to problems for some people. Whenever possible, choose organic, fermented soy products that are less affected by genetic engineering.
To Life-long health,