The Soy Debate – Is It Good For You Or Not?
The soy controversy is highly debated these days among nutritionists. On the one hand, soy has become extremely popular, and on the other hand, the potential health risks have also become widely recognized. So, is it healthy or not so healthy to consume soy products?
The known benefits to soy:
- It can be prepared in many different ways as an alternative to meat products.
- It’s a source of protein for vegans and vegetarians.
- Soy milk is a common alternative to cow’s milk for people who are lactose sensitive or lactose intolerant.
- Some studies have shown that consuming soy is helpful in increasing HDL (our good cholesterol) and possibly it has antioxidants that protect an increase in our LDL levels (the bad cholesterol).
- Even more recently, there have been some studies done on the isoflavones found in soy. Their estrogen like properties can support bone strength and improve the symptoms of women going through menopause.
The potential health risks to soy:
- Soy that is grown in America is genetically modified and usually not labeled as such.
- There are recent studies showing that soy contains phytoestrogens. If you consume too much soy in your diet you can actually produce too much estrogen in the body, which is especially unhealthy for young children and males. In women, this can lead to an increased chance of developing breast cancer or uterine fibroids.
- Soy phytoestrogens can also cause thyroid disease and an increased risk of autoimmune disease, especially in babies or young children. It’s a very popular alternative formula for infants when they can’t tolerate regular cow’s milk products.
- Many of the meat replacement soy products, such as soy burgers, are highly processed containing unnatural toxins and can contain high levels of unhealthy preservatives and high levels of sodium.
- Some people have an allergic reaction to soy and don’t feel well after consuming it or even develop hives or general itching. You may not realize it is the culprit because soy is hidden in a lot of processed foods.
The best you can do is educate yourself so you can make your own informed decision on whether or not soy is good for you and your family. If you do choose to consume soy, edamame is a good choice because it is not processed, as well as fermented tofu.
This was a concept that took me a moment to wrap my head around. I grew up with Sally Struthers in the 80’s educating the world about African children who were starving and suffering and she brought amazing awareness and compassion to this fact. However, fast forward several decades and now we are seeing the paradox of more people dying across the world from obesity than starvation. There are more than 1.5 billion people across the world that are dangerously overweight and dying from its complications….AND they are also malnourished.
So the world can produce enough food to feed those in need yet they are malnourished and obese. How do those two go together? It is a strange concept but many obesity sufferers are just as nutrient deficient (malnourished) as those people without enough food to eat (starvation). This is because the food that is being fed to the hungry and starved in many Third World countries is plentiful enough but not protein or nutrient based, because it is typically a corn or soy mixture with a sugar content. They are eating, but not with any true nourishing content. Many researchers believe that by 2015 undernourished obesity will be the leading cause of death in low income communities, not starvation.
Obesity leads to the obvious diet-related illnesses such as hypertension, heart disease and of course, diabetes. These are serious illnesses that can’t always be treated in challenged parts of the world, let alone the less serious diet-related illnesses such as vitamin deficiency, gout, mental disorders, skin conditions, poor vision, failure to thrive in infants and children and even cancer.
This isn’t just an issue in Third World countries. It is directly linked to poverty and also poor choices, which is evident in the U.S. as well as many other countries. In America, there is a dangerous trend of families substituting whole foods for their families with fast foods, processed foods and frozen foods that are not any different than the soy or corn products fed across the world to struggling families. The body stores much of this useless stuff we are supposed to call “food” as fat in the body (GMO’s, refined sugars and flour, soda products, processed sugar and high fructose corn syrup plus a plethora of trans fats). Our bodies honestly don’t know what else to do with it. Yet, the crazy part is…..we are still hungry! It’s because our body has not received the protein and nutrition that it needs so it keeps asking for more….and we keep eating more. The vicious cycle continues and the fat stores get larger and larger, causing obesity, disease and death.
The important thing is to recognize this cycle and break it. Break out of feeding yourself and your families empty garbage and instead eating whole food nutritious meals filled with healthy protein and vitamins, that will prevent obesity and permanent debilitating health issues.
These are hard topics but hugely important and have been a true awakening and eye opener for me. Wishing you all well in your new awareness of this subject and the learning curve that goes with it. Make those amazing new dietary choices today! ( :