There is a growing number of people choosing to avoid soybeans and soy products, but why? Isn’t soy a great protein alternative and source of a variety of nutrients? Yes, but like any food, there can be a downside and consuming too much can result in negative consequences to your health. If you’re thinking of reducing your soy intake or maintain a high-soy diet, here are some things you should know.
One of the biggest (if not the biggest) concerns with soy is almost all of it is genetically modified; it’s estimated that 99% of the world’s soy contains GMO’s, which also means it’s very likely to contain pesticides. We won’t get into the GMO debate here (you can click here to see why people are concerned) but if you’re trying to eat organic and avoid GMO’s, you might want to think about cutting soy out of your diet.
Whether it be due to too much soy in people’s diets, the presence of GMO’s or pesticides, or due to lack of fermentation, there have been some links between soy consumption and increased health risks. You’ll find an abundance of articles and personal theories on the correlation between soy and a variety of health concerns that include:
One of the biggest arguments you’ll find against soy is that most soy products are so processed that few of the original nutrients remain. Not only that, but it’s a fair argument that many soy milk products contain a fair amount of added sugar and other potentially harmful additives.
Unfermented soybeans contain enzyme inhibiters that block the enzymes needed for protein digestion which has been shown to cause gastric distress and contribute to increased rates of cancer. Unprocessed soy also contains goitrogens, phytates, and phytoestrogens which can be harmful to your thyroid and hormone levels.
There are also an abundance of articles on research that shows the benefits of consuming natural soy protein. If you are concerned with possible health risks of soy, look for organic products and spend some time doing some research to decide what’s best for you.
The consensus in the health community seems to be that fermented soy products offer a wide range of health benefits and are recognized as nutrient dense plant-based food, so why not try some miso or tempeh in your next meal?
Looking for more article on healthy eating? Then read our article ‘Easing Anxiety with Nutrition’.