Thursday, December 4, 2014

Soy is bad?

Not many people understand what the food they eat every day is made up of. This is typically not a problem, but the general public is often misinformed on what they are consuming every day.  Soy is one of those products that a good portion of people say they refuse to eat because of reasons like "it affects your hormone levels" and also "it causes various cancer".  Being misinformed or uneducated can make claims like that very unnerving.
Soy is used in making many different food products and just because you won't drink soy milk, doesn't mean your not still consuming it.  There are two kinds of soy that is used in production, fermented and non-fermented soy.  Fermented soy foods include miso, soy sauce, and pickled tofu.  Non-fermented soy includes soy milk, tofu, soy ice cream, and soy chips.  Soy is also a component in many commercially available foods, so there is a chance that you are consuming soy even if it isn't a direct product.
A major component of soy is call isoflavones.  These are plant estrogens, named as such because they can attach to estrogen receptors in cells.  Soy also contains phytates that bind to minerals in foods and can lower their absorption.  These kinds of things are what started the claim that consuming soy can interrupt your hormone levels.  I have also heard claims that soy will disrupt your thyroid levels.  Any healthy person who has a reliable source of iodine can consume soy without it causing a thyroid problem.  There have been studies and trials done to observe the affect of eating soy on your thyroid.  Most studies done have shown that soy doesn't affect your thyroid.

I swear every time I turn around something new is causing cancer, so it wasn't surprising to me when I heard someone say that soy causes cancer.  After reading through a few articles I found that a lot of research points to the complete opposite.  A 2009 study on prostate cancer found a statistically significant reduction in risk for those who consumed around one serving of soy per day.  Due to the isoflavones in soy and binding to estrogen, there was a concern with soy and breast cancer.  The majority of evidence (based on two servings per day) has concluded that soy is either neutral or protective against breast cancer.

Soy isn't the only food product that is regularly criticized due to misinformation.  There are a lot of different types of foods and ingredients that will continue to be left of the shelf because one person said it's bad.  My hope is that some of the rumors about foods will be disrupted because of the public wanting to be informed and wanting to know exactly what they are consuming.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Grass fed what?

We've all heard rumors about grass fed beef.  It's organic, the cows are happier, it's better for you, and the list goes on.  There is certain truth in some of those, but they are not entirely truthful.  

I personally know a lot of people who eat grass fed beef because they are on the huge "I only eat organic things" kick.  Although I agree that eating organic can be good for you, it really depends on what you consider to be organic.  The standard of what is considered organic also varies depending on where you are at.  Essentially, to be considered organic, foods must be free of any synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and are also not processed using industrial solvents or synthetic food additives.  In the case of grass fed beef, most people would consider them to be organic because they are not fed grain like feedlot beef.  There is actually a difference between grass fed beef and organic beef.  Grass fed beef just means that the cattle foraged and grazed for their own food, except for during the winter they may be given a close substitute.  Being told that a steak or something is considered organic beef doesn't do much to tell you how the cow was raised.  It basically lets you know that the cow wasn't confined in a feedlot for it's entire life, wasn't in an overcrowded or unsanitary place, and wasn't exposed to artificial pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, hormones, GMO's or any other synthetic contaminants.  Essentially, my point being, just because you are eating grass fed beef doesn't necessarily mean you are eating organic beef.
Another thing that people like to say is that grass fed cattle are happier than cows in a feedlot situation.  I couldn't find much on wether or not cows are actually happier, except for all the animal rights websites telling me how happy a cow can be when it is allowed to be on a range and eat all the grass it's little cow heart desires.  Looking at pictures and comparing what it looks like to me it does appear that the grass fed cattle are happier.  The thing that makes me think is the feedlot cattle don't know anything different than a feedlot.  If something, like a cow, doesn't know that there is a better option, would it really be unhappy?  Or even know that it was unhappy?  Do grass fed cattle appreciate the fact that they spend a lot of time outside when they don't know any better?  It is really hard to put emotions, like happiness, on an animal because we don't know how their brain processes emotions, or if they even have emotions the same way that humans do.
Grass fed beef is better for you!  I can't even put a number on the amount of times I have heard someone say that.  This is true and yes, there are differences between the nutritional value of grass fed and feedlot beef. Grass fed beef has been proven to be leaner than feedlot beef.  It is also a lot higher in CLA's and Omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for growth.  This kind of beef can help lower cholesterol as well as lower your risk of developing heart problems and some cancers.  People can go around and say that grass fed is better for you every day of the week, but that wouldn't change the fact that it is expensive and can be hard to find sometimes.  The truth is some people aren't willing to spend the extra money to buy something even it is healthier for you.

So there you have it! A little bit of partially true rumors on grass fed beef