Controversial Subject - Soy – The hidden danger in food!

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Controversial Subject - Soy – The hidden danger in food!

Is soy (soya) bad for you? Is it dangerous to your health? The simple answer is yes and this is a very controversial answer as there appear to be very strong arguments in favour and apposed to this viewpoint. So let's play on the side of 'bad for you' and explore that a little here. As you know by now, if you have read my about us page, we have a few soya allergies in our family, so forgive my bias in this blog.


There are some things you need to know about soy and how it impacts your health and longevity. Firstly, 99% of the soy you are ingesting is most probably genetically modified and highly processed. As a matter of fact, 95% of soy produced in the US – one of the largest soy producers in the world – is genetically modified! Now you may think you don’t eat soy, but you will be surprised! Virtually all commercial bread, rolls, buns, bagels, cakes and pastries contain soy. Breakfast cereals, hot chocolate, snacks - like crisps – many different kinds of dips, meat patties, boerewors, sosaties and battered meat and fish products. Also instant soup and pasta sauces, marinades and mayonnaise products. So many of these contain soy in some form or another.


The vegan food industry is saturated with soy products as it is such a popular alternative protein source, but ironically this attempt to live ‘healthy’ could be the root of many long term health issues. Soy is not only present in food, but even in make-up, shampoos, lip balms, sunscreen, hand and body creams, medications – including some anaesthetics, IV’s, tablets and capsules. Ointments and creams, it is really quite astonishing how widespread this legume is used in some form or another. Soy contains something known as phyto-estrogens which are oestrogen mimickers in the body. If you’re a male consuming extra oestrogen, it’s going to give you more feminine characteristics like ‘man boobs’ as it has been named in the media, weight gain in awkward places because it suppresses testosterone. As a woman it’s going to increase your risk of breast cancer, cervical cancer, PCOS (poly-cystic ovary syndrome) and other hormone imbalance-related disorders if you are consuming foods that increase oestrogen levels.


The same danger exists for men with hormonal cancers like prostate and testicular cancer. Foods and beverages, like soy and alcohol, that increase oestrogen levels in men and women significantly increase risk of these dreaded conditions. Soybeans contain high concentrations of phytic acid. Studies show that soybeans have a higher phytate content than any other grain or legume. Phytic acid is an anti-nutrient which binds itself to vital minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc resulting in limited absorption. Deficiencies in these minerals leads to all kinds of physical and emotional health issues.


Traditional phytate-reducing techniques like cooking, soaking, and sprouting (which is very successful with other legumes and whole grains that also contain phytates) does not work well with soybeans. The only apparent way to significantly reduce the phytates in soybeans is through fermentation. Soy is packed with lean protein but unfortunately it’s also packed with trypsin and protease inhibitors—these are enzymes that make the digestion of protein very, very difficult. It can lead to gastric distress coupled with a shortfall in amino acid uptake when soy is consumed excessively. Soy can seriously damage your thyroid. Although there are many foods that are goitrogenic (thyroid suppressing), soy tops the list. How do these goitrogens work? Well it does so by preventing your thyroid from getting the right amount of iodine that it needs. If your thyroid fails to function properly you will gain weight and you will also have a hard time regulating your moods. You feel temperature changes much quicker get tired a lot quicker. You struggle to concentrate and remember details. The bottom line is, you want to keep your thyroid healthy!


Conclusion: There is much more to be said on this topic, but as always the wisdom holds true that prevention is better than cure. Avoiding soy will lower your risk of hormonal cancers and protect your hormone health. It will lower your risk of thyroid problems and lower your risk of health issues related to limited mineral, amino acid and protein absorption. Whether you are allergic to it or not, this is worth your consideration. The good news is that if you read labels and choose wisely what you consume, soy can be avoided. Martinnaise products do not contain soy (soya) in any form. Whether you are following a responsible eating lifestyle or even vegan, Martinnaise food products are packed with goodness for you and your family.

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