Soy protein is everywhere. And so is soy propaganda. We’re all being told how healthy and wonderful soy is in so many places that most people don’t stop to ask if any of it is true. And sadly, it’s not.
You don’t have to look very far to see that soy is not the joyous substance that you’ve been lead to believe. There are many reasons to avoid soy – here are just a few to get the discussion started:
– Soy negatively effects thyroid function
– Soy has estrogen-mimicking effects on the body (especially bad for males)
– Soy blocks the uptake of minerals
(You can learn more about soy’s myriad risks here: www.westonaprice.org/The-Dark-Side-of-Americas-Favorite-Health-Food –Link now dead)
Before we go too far down the road of unmasking soy’s true evil nature, it’s important to delineate between the two different types of soy products – those that have been fermented and those that haven’t. Fermented soy products (which basically come down to four things: soy sauce, miso, natto, and tempeh), don’t seem to pose any health risks, although there’s no reason to go out of your way to eat them. Non fermented soy products on the other hand, should be avoided as keenly as one would avoid kissing a leper with open sores on his face. This includes all of the soy proteins found in protein shakes, tofu, protein bars, soy meat replacements and any other “diet” foods rich in soy.
There is still controversy on the issue of soy’s negative effects and not everyone agrees on its dangers but one thing is certain – not even its strongest proponents claim that it actually improves thyroid function. So if you’re concerned about your thyroid function and keeping your hormone levels from going out of whack, it’s best to steer clear of any products that contain soy.
Soy contains goitrogens – substances that have been shown time and time again to depress thyroid function. If there’s one thing you don’t want to do in your quest to stay lean, it’s to downgrade your thyroid gland’s functioning. Goitrogens do this by interfering with your thyroid’s iodine uptake, which can, if left unchecked, lead to an enlargement of the thyroid called goiter.
Soy also contains phyto-estrogens (plant estrogens) that mimic the effects of the female hormone estrogen. This is bad news for everyone as it can wreak havoc on the body’s natural hormonal balance but it’s especially bad for males. Higher estrogen levels can lead to fat accumulation, lowered sperm counts and enlargement of breast tissue. Not exactly the things most men are after.
Soy protein isolate isn’t even a good protein anyway. While it does have all of the amino acids, it’s very low in some of them (methionine for one), which makes it a barely complete protein.
So why is soy used so frequently in so many products? Because it’s a very cheap protein source. That’s the only reason companies put up with the bad taste and terrible aftertaste that lingers and lingers.