picked up a copy of a magazine in a waiting room the
other day. I saw an article on soy and decide to read it. This article said it was going to dispel the rumours around soy. It started off saying, ”Soy. One minute it’s the answer to all our health problems, the next it’s a
The author, Anna Cipollone, pored over the latest research
to clear up the controversy. Unfortunately not all the research was
accurate. In this article, I’ll discuss Anna’s findings and offer a quality
control soy checklist to ensure you are purchasing the best quality product.
the rumours around soy?
come from the soybean, a legume native to northern China. The protein in soy
is a ”complete” protein – the most complete you can get from vegetable
sources – and just as good nutritionally as animal protein. In fact, with
animal protein there is usually more fat and water content. For example a
T-bone steak is 19% protein, 43% fat, and 36% water. When you heat animal
protein to temperature of 110 degrees over 50% of the bioactivity is lost
and you can destroy over 50% of some of the amino acids. Soy is also easier
on kidneys than animal protein.
the article, here are the points that Anna challenged.
1. Soy causes cancer specifically
in the breast and prostate.
The part she
had right here was to avoid heavily processed soy foods. What she didn’t
find in her research was that not all soy foods are created equal.
Processing makes a big difference; whenever you cook a food you de-nature it
and make it into something different. Depending on the processing, some soy
products have lots of isoflavones, some none at all. Isoflavones are the
phytoestrogen compounds that are considered antioxidants and prevent cancer.
processed soy is alcohol-washed leaving little nutrient value. For
instance, soy sauce and soy oil have no isoflavones left at all. In order
to make “textured vegetable protein – TVP for short”, it is put through a
high temperature, high pressure steam process that causes the soy to become
carcinogenic or cancer-causing. TVP is what is used in soy meat substitutes
and should be avoided. Commercial soymilk, soy flour and soy cheese should
also be avoided. So if you are ingesting “overcooked” commercial soy, yes
it will contribute to cancer cells being formed in the body.
soy is cold water washed and very few companies use this method as it is
more expensive but leaves the nutrients intact. If you are ingesting a soy
product that was processed through a cold water extraction technique, you
get the very best of the soybean and all of the positive things like the
phytoestrogens which inhibit breast cancer and prostate cancer. The
phytoestrogens in soy protect the cell receptor sites from the xenoestrogens
and any unwanted estrogenic compounds. So the bottom line is, it is
important to ask how soy is processed before ingesting it if you want to
2. Soy is not heart healthy.
Soy has been
proven to reduce high cholesterol levels – often around 10 % – in many
studies. Controlled clinical trials have found that 25 grams of soy in the
diet daily can reduce levels of LDL cholesterol while maintaining HDL
cholesterol. It also prevents plaque formation, slows growth of existing
plaque, reduces risk of blood clot formation, lowers blood pressure, and
increases elasticity of vessels. In November 2000, the American Heart
Association recommended that soy protein be added to our daily diets to help
reduce cholesterol and as part of a heart-healthy lifestyle.
3. Soy is genetically modified
companies that are very picky about their soy protein. They will not use
any ingredients that are genetically engineered, though it would cost them
less to do so. Call the company to verify if you do not see “non GMO” listed
on the label.
4. Soy makes menopause worse.
consume soy foods over a lifetime have fewer symptoms of menopause, such as
hot flashes, according to studies published in Lancet (1997) and Obstetrics
and Gynecology (1998). In preliminary clinical studies, soy increased or
maintained bone density in postmenopausal women and alleviated mood swings,
reduced hot flashes, sleep problems, etc.
5 & 6. Soy makes you fat and
makes your man infertile and busty.
line here again, is the quality of the soy products you are ingesting. If
you are ingesting commercial soy, then you run the risk of the health
challenges listed above.
7. Fermented soy is best.
is comparing fermented soy with commercially unfermented soy products. Here
is a quality
control soy checklist that
ensures you have a good quality soy product that will give you the same
benefits and more of unfermented soy.
Do not purchase soy products and
expect them to produce positive health results unless you know that the
following “ESSENTIAL SEVEN” quality controls have been met by the
beans must be organically grown.
beans must NOT be genetically engineered.
batch must be checked to confirm that it contains the 9 essential amino
4. In the
manufacturing process to produce the soy isolate, the crushed soy flakes
must be water washed (not alcohol washed).
anti-thyroid/anti-growth substance MUST be removed.
process must be without heat.
7. The soy
isolate in protein powders must have calcium added (when the oil is removed
it becomes an acidic food - when calcium is added it makes it neutral