Is Soy A Health Food?

It seems that people everywhere are forming their opinion about soy and soy products. While some people find it to be beneficial, others have a completely different outlook about it. It’s earned the reputation of being beneficial to your health by helping to lower cholesterol, being an excellent source of protein, and even protecting against certain medical conditions such as heart disease and cancer. It can even help women experience a decrease in symptoms associated with menopause. Is it really a good thing, or not?


Soy was once listed as being a health food, but in today’s society it’s earned a spot in the US Department of Agriculture as being an industrial product as opposed to a food. Take a closer look at the history of soy, along with the negative effects that it can have on the human body.


The History of Soy


Soy has been around for 5,000 years, having originated in China. It’s used in a number of Chinese cuisine items, such as tofu and edamame beans. The Chinese also use it in their medicines at times. It is also used in a number of processed foods and dairy products. Soy is huge in areas such as the US, Brazil, China, India, and Argentina.


According to lipid specialist and nutritionist Mary Enig, PhD, “The reason there’s so much soy in America is because the soy industry started to plant soy to extract the oil from it and soy oil becme a very large industry.”


What Makes Soy Foods Unhealthy?


Soy comes in two forms; fermented and unfermented. In addition, there are two subgroups: genetically modified (GM) and organic. The GM version shouldn’t be consumed for any reason, as it contains numerous hazards that are harmful to both animals and humans. This is from crosswind factors that contaminate it and turn it into something else.


Unfermented soy is what you find in foods nowadays. You find it in tofu, veggie burgers, soy powder, sausages, soy infant food, soy milk, and so much more. But why is this so unhealthy for our bodies?


Soy and the Impact on Your Health


Soy has been linked to a number of negative aspects. One of the biggest trends seen is with allergies. This can start as early as the infant or toddler years, and it’s being seen in adults nowadays as well. While the symptoms with it are typically mild, some cases are more severe. This means that these allergic reactions can go past the typical rash or hives. They can include wheezing; lightheadedness; swelling of lips, face, or tongue; and even trouble breathing.


In addition, some studies have shown soy products might just be a contributing factor to certain types of cancer. This might include breast cancer, ovarian, or even uterine. Some of the potentially harmful chemicals that are found in soy include isoflavones, which happen to be similar to estrogen. This can lead to an abnormal development of estrogen, as well as cells that respond to certain types of cancer.


“Though studies on the harmful effects of soy isoflavones in people have been limited and
inconclusive, there’s strong evidence from animal studies that genistein alters reproduction and embryonic development,” states Retha Newbold of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.


Gout is another area for concern when it comes to soy. Gout is a medical condition that is similar to arthritis but it is caused from the formation of acid crystals in the joints such as the toes, knees, elbows, and shoulders. It can be extremely painful, and patients have even reported an excruciating amount of pain in their big toes. This type of condition is triggered when a sufferer eats foods containing soy or purines, since the body turns these purines into acid.


Soy and the Effects on the Thyroid


While it’s an issue that is long from being solved, a number of studies show that soy can have a negative impact on the thyroid. For those who suffer with thyroid disease, this is something that can be toxic.


According to M. Messina from Loma Linda University, “despite the possible benefits, concerns have been expressed that soy may be contraindicated for some subsets of the population. One concern is that soy may adversely affect thyroid function and interfere with the absorption of synthetic thyroid hormone.”


If you are someone who suffers with a low thyroid issue, you might find that you will benefit from cutting soy out of your diet. Foods that contain soy can actually reduce the amount of thyroid hormones that are released in the body to help speed up your thyroid. It’s seen that people who suffer with low thyroid function can withstand about one cup a day of soy and that’s about it before they start seeing negative signs. If you have any questions at all, you might want to get contact your doctor.


Soy is found in foods that are considered goitrogens. Some of the foods include:

  • Grains
  • Foods that promote goiter formation
  • Vegetables


The FDA raised a lot of concern over evidence that suggests that soy can slow down the function of the thyroid in some people. There are also some cases where certain foods that contain soy can actually lead to thyroid disease. With this in mind, more and more people are avoiding soy.


Is Overconsumption an Issue?


When it comes to soy, having too much of it can have negative repercussions. While some soy is not harmful for the diet, a number of people eat too much of it, and this can lead to health concerns over time.


Overall, soy has been studied in a number of ways. Quite a few people are allergic to it and therefore find themselves looking at every label when they go grocery shopping. While there can be good aspects so eating the right kind of soy, it can ultimately be a bad thing for the body.



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