Friday, October 23, 2009

The Problems (and there's many) With Soy

Soy field encroaching on tropical rain forest in Brazil.

Soy is ubiquitous in our food supply. Processed foods are cooked in, made of, and plumped up with soy. If you think soy is a health food staple, you've been misled, along with millions of other people, by the soy marketing machine.

Soy is not a healthy food. It contains phytoestrogens that disrupt our hormonal systems. Soy lowers sperm counts in males and contains potent enzyme inhibitors prevent crucial enzymatic functions such as digestion and mineral absorption. Trypsin inhibitors in soy have been tied to pancreatic disorders and stunted growth. Soy consumption in pregnancy increases breast cancer risks in female offspring. The phytoestrogens in soy have also been shown to contribute to hypothyroidism and thyroid cancer and to inhibit iron absorption.

Soy is a cheap food that was never even considered edible until recently. Years ago, soy was only grown as crop cover, but now the soy industry is trying to convince us that it's some sort of wonder-food. The soy industry is a massive conglomerate with deep pockets. If you're curious as to how soy became so entrenched in our food supply, this article is well worth the read.

What about the argument regarding high soy consumption in Asian countries? Soy consumed in Asia is in much smaller quantities than you've been led to believe. And the soy that is eaten is typically fermented (miso, natto etc.). Fermentation breaks down many of the anti-nutrients inherent in soy.

Soy devastates our health and our land. Millions of acres of land have been mono-cropped to feed the soy machine. Farmers lose their livelihoods and the Earth forever loses fragile pieces of herself. That means millions of acres of diverse ecosystems, full of wildlife, plant species, and organisms are destroyed to make room for fields of soy. 91% of the soy planted in the US is genetically modified and that number is growing astronomically around the world.

Soy is commonly used in animal feed as a protein source (see, I told you it was ubiquitous)! This is just another reason to get to know your farmer. Find out if they're using soy in their feed. In the region I'm living in, soy is bountiful. I've been lucky to find an egg farmer open-minded enough to be willing to learn about soy. While her eggs were certified organic and pasture-raised, the organic feed the chickens were receiving had soy as the protein source. Our farmer has since switched to another formulation that is soy-free. Commercially produced animal products are all given soy in their feed ration because it's cheap. That alone should tell you something.

Happy, little soy-free egg.

The Weston A. Price Foundation has a very comprehensive page on their site with links to studies, articles, books, and other resources with factual information about soy. Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, Ph.D., have also written a thorough article siting independent scientific studies to bring you accurate information that counters the pervasive claims made by the soy industry, "The Newest Research on Why You Should Avoid Soy".

What can you do? Read labels, avoid food products and just stick with real food. Make your own snacks and treats and trust that anything you make with your own hands is bound to be infinitely better for you and your family. Most of all, arm yourself with knowledge.


  1. Excellent post. I think it's unfortunate how the industry pushes the idea that an Asian diet is traditionally soy-rich. It's not - not even close. Soy is in virtually every processed food now, and I think it's seriously hurting public health.

  2. Hi Jenny,

    Thank you! I agree wholeheartedly. Thanks for stopping in.

  3. Thanks for this really important post! I hope this gets on the MSM's radar soon.

  4. I agree. Every time I see a woman buying a case of soy infant formula my heart goes "balump".