Clearing Up Soy Confusion by Charlene Day

I 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 hidden hazard”.

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.

Why dispel the rumours around soy?

Soy products 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.

Returning to 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.

Commercially 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.

The other 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 prevent cancer.

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 (GMO).

I know 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.

Women who 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.

The bottom 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.

This claim 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 manufacturer:

1.    The beans must be organically grown.

2.    The beans must NOT be genetically engineered.

3.    Each batch must be checked to confirm that it contains the 9 essential amino acids.

4.    In the manufacturing process to produce the soy isolate, the crushed soy flakes must be water washed (not alcohol washed).

5.    The anti-thyroid/anti-growth substance MUST be removed.

6.    The 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 again).

Read more here.

How does the soy in Juice Plus+ Complete stack up to Charlene's checklist? Here's the answer from the Juice Plus+ 'oracle':

1. We are not organic, but we know our farmer, and we know what he puts on his fields and that is even better in my book!

2. We are most certainly non-GMO from seed to finished product.

3. Unless genetically modified, all soybeans contain the 9 essential amino acids so we are good there (we do check annually though)

4. We are one of the first to get water washed protein, so check!

5. I believe that she is either talking about trypsin inhibitors or phytic acid here.  Some of both are removed during processing, but neither really has anything to do with thyroid or growth issues.  This is one of those myths that got propagated from faulty science, mostly in animal or petri dish studies.  We rely on the human data, just like with Juice Plus+.

6. There is some heat, but it is minimal.  By the way, the only ways to remove the trypsin inibitors and phytic acid are with heat or solvent (alcohol).

7. All soy protein is neutralized during processing.  We do use calcium.

Liza Pepple

Director, Strategic Projects

The Juice Plus+ Company


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