Is Soy OK or Not?

Article by Angela Haldane

If you keep to the traditional forms of eating soy, the research states that it will reduce cardiovascular disease, and cholesterol. It may also prevent colorectal cancers as well as reproductive and prostate cancers. Whilst some reports state that phyto-oestrogens lower the risk of developing breast cancer, others suggest that soy may stimulate the progression of the disease. Soy will increase bone density owing to the calcium and phyto-oestrogen content and it can also help with oestrogen when it is lacking in menopause.
Soy can also be of benefit when there is a 'relative oestrogen excess' causing problems such as endometriosis, fibroids and heavy periods. The soy plant oestrogen (isoflavones) bind to the oestrogen receptor instead of our own 'endogenous' oestrogen. The plant oestrogen is 80 times weaker. If this occupies the oestrogen receptor, the stronger endogenous oestrogen is sent off to the liver to be broken down and excreted. Thereby, we have the positive effect of weakening the overall oestrogen effect, which then reduces tissue build up such as fibroids, endometriosis and heavy periods.
Traditionally prepared soy that Asian people have used for centuries is made from whole soy beans (that have not been genetically modified). They ferment the bean and cook it, .ie. miso, soy sauce, tempeh.
Tofu is a curdled soybean preparation, which has been traditionally used for centuries.
HOWEVER… in modern technology of food, there are so many soybeans which are cheap to produce. They contain protein and the produce has a longer shelf life with soy flour in it, e.g. it makes the bread more springy and it lasts longer!
Then there are soy yoghurts, soy cheeses and protein bars with soy protein isolates in them.
None of these forms of soy are fermented, nor are they made from whole soybeans unless stated on the label.
How do they make "Soy Protein" or "Soy Protein Isolates"?
They soak the beans in a large aluminium container in acid to soften the bean, so they can extract the protein out. This is where the bad reports have been found – such as goitre and high aluminium levels (leaking out into the acid from the container).
Interference with Medication by Soy
Soy should be taken 2 hours away from certain medications (read the leaflet in your pharmaceutical package to see if this affects you).
For example a menopausal woman was making soy milk smoothies in the mornings to help boost her oestrogen levels. She took her thyroxine at this time also. After a few weeks she complained of tiredness and feeling cold. I told her to take it 2 hours later and the symptoms of her hypothyroidism reversed.
Will Soy Affect the Fertility of Future Generations?
As a baby you cannot convert the soy to oestrogen until about 2 years old when the gut flora changes. Studies have shown that babies reared on soy based formulae do not suffer ill consequences in fertility when they are an adult (note that often it is the second ingredient in milk formula after cows milk/whey).
Once a child is over 2 years old, one must reduce the soy intake owing to their small body weight in relation to plant oestrogens. Soy can interfere with testosterone and thereby may affect fertility. Soy protein isolates are found in commercial breads, muesli bars and soy milk.
READ LABELS AVIDLY
KEEP TO THE HUNTER GATHERER PRINCIPLES
(Can you make it in a kitchen? Or does it require manipulation in a factory?)
Reference: "The Truth about Soya" The Guardian, July 25 2006