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.


1 comment:

  1. I am definitely an advocate for a little bit of everything is how to eat and I know I probably eat soy on a fairly regular basis. People who are misinformed seem to decide one ingredient such as soy or gluten is just bad and should be completely eliminated from the diet. I find their reasoning for doing so is typically flawed by the misconception that this one ingredient alone can cause cancer when in reality it is usually a multitude of things that must occur before cancer just happens. Eating a balanced diet with a little bit of everything is just the way I find works for me. I read a paper recently on how our American eating habits of three large meals a day may actually lead to many diseases and cancer. The authors concluded that eating less frequently so our bodies rely more on ketone breakdown than glucose breakdown for energy helps our body naturally fight off disease and cancer causing agents. It's funny because I don't see people cutting back on their food intake or regarding these findings as highly as they do other food trends. I guess eating less food really isn't the American way.