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Sense on Soya

Soya has become a staple food in the West. It's found in 80% or more of processed foods. And widely promoted as an acceptable meat alternative for vegetarians and vegans.

In the 1950s, soy bean oil production rocketed. But manufacturers were left with a sludge (literally). What to do with it? Well, first came mass produced animal feeds. Then attention turned to the lucrative food market. Make no mistake, we got here because of a by-product.

Soy has an impact on soil fertility and the majority of this crop is now genetically modified (GM). Some people are happy to eat GM, but it's definitely not for us! And processed soy products have negative affects on human health. Let's take a look.


Poor Protein

Soy is used in countries such as Japan and China, but NOT as a primary source of protein. That would be pork in China and fish in Japan. Soy is used in these countries in modest quantities, primarily as a heavily fermented, probiotic condiment to aid digestion. This fermentation neutralizes soy's high levels of phytic acid and creates potent and useful probiotics.  Fermented foods are so good for you.

The argument for Soya has has always been based on the Eastern model, but again they eat small amounts of fermented, not large amounts of processed!



The Phytoestrogens found in soy are not an issue in the East, where fermented soy is consumed in small amounts. However, they become problematic when consumed in high volumes. Soy phytoestrogens disrupt endocrine function, some even believe they have the potential to affect fertility. And are recommended to be avoided in cases of hormone dependant cancers.  They can act as anti-thyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism. In infants, consumption of soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.


In general this highly processed food can impact on the assimilation of key nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc.  Of particular note, Vitamin B12 analogs in soy are not absorbed and can actually increase the body's requirement for B12. It's a myth that soy products can be a suitable substitute for the B vitamins found in meat.  Additionally soy foods increases the body's requirement for vitamin D. For vegans especially this creates a catch 22, rendering soya a fairly useless food.

Highly Processed

Modern unfermented soy is highly processed to render it palatable. This causes problems, similar to those caused by any processed food. Fragile proteins are denatured during high temperature processing to make soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein. Processing of soy protein results in the formation of toxic lysinoalanine and potentiallly carcinogenic nitrosamines. Free glutamic acid a potent neurotoxin, is formed during soy food processing and additional amounts are added to many soy foods.


Fermented is Fine

So yes to tempeh, miso, natto and soy sauce and proper fermented tofu etc. If you can find organic even better. But processed soya (and of course processed food in general) is to be avoided, far better to choose high quality plant protein in the form of lentils, beans and nuts. Read more about fermented foods here


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