Processed food is perhaps the most damaging aspect of most people’s diet, contributing to poor health and chronic disease.
One of the primary culprits is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS),and the second culprit is partially hydrogenated soybean oil.
These two ingredients, either alone or in combination, can be found in virtually all processed foods and one can make a compelling argument that the reliance on these two foods is a primary contributing factor for most of the degenerative diseases attacking Americans today.
Part of the problem with partially hydrogenated soybean oil is the trans fat it contains. The other part relates to the health hazards of soy itself. And an added hazard factor is the fact that the majority of both corn and soybeans are genetically engineered.
Because it’s cheap and has certain functional properties, soybean oil and soy protein have found their way into all sorts of processed foods, so most people in the U.S. are consuming significant amounts of soy without even knowing about it.
Soy protein is also the major ingredient in soy-based infant formulas.
After decades of hearing marketing spin about how soy is a wonder food, many people have yet to understand fully the dangers of soy. Really, you’re not going to get the full story unless you research it on your own. And why would you, when soy is “universally” touted as a health food?
Well, it isn’t.
DANGERS OF SOY
Thankfully, more and more research has been done regarding the dangers of soy, and what it’s revealed should scare you.
SOY DANGER #1: PHYTOESTROGENS
Soy is higher in phytoestrogens than just about any other food source. Phytoestrogens are plant-based estrogens that mimic estrogen in our bodies. In recent years, you may have read about studies which indicate phytoestrogens are good for you. But ask yourself, who funded those studies? The soy industry, that’s who. Independent research has clearly shown that consuming phytoestrogens is downright dangerous for the human body.
It’s only common sense. No one argues, for example, that a leading cause of breast cancer, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, infertility, and low libido is unopposed estrogen, or estrogen dominance. Why, then, would anyone argue that we should consume more of a food high in estrogen?
An infant taking the recommended amount of soy formula is consuming a hormone load equivalent of 4 birth control pills a day! Is it any wonder we’ve seen such a dramatic rise in precocious puberty with young girls starting their periods at 6 and 7?
SOY DANGER #2: GOITROGENIC
Soy will destroy your thyroid. Many foods are goitrogenic (thyroid suppressing), but soy is king of them all. Goitrogens work by preventing your thyroid from getting the necessary amount of iodine. Friends, I believe this is what happened to Oprah’s thyroid. She pushed soy for years, featured it in everyone one of her “healthy” diets, and it destroyed her thyroid. If your thyroid fails, what happens? You gain weight. You have a harder time regulating your moods. You get colder more easily. You’re more easily fatigued. You demonstrate an inability to concentrate and remember details. The list goes on. You simply don’t want to mess with your thyroid.
SOY DANGER #3: PHYTATES
Phytates are enzyme-inhibitors that block mineral absorption in human digestive tract. They are naturally present in all grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes (which is why everyone should read this primer on how to eat grains, if you eat them at all.) But soy is so high in phytates that it’s almost impossible to get rid of them. Simply soaking soy overnight in an acidic medium won’t do the trick. Soy must be fermented in order to be digestible to humans. That means that if you eat soy at all, you should stick to fermented soy products like miso, tempeh, natto, or a naturally fermented soy sauce (tamari).
SOY DANGER #4: TRYPSIN INHIBITORS
Finally soy is rich in trypsin inhibitors. Trypsin is a digestive enzyme we need to properly digest protein. Without enough trypsin, you’ll experience many digestive problems including stomach cramps, diarrhea, and bleeding. You’ll also be leaving yourself open to future problems with your pancreas.
DEBUNKING THE ASIAN SOY MYTH
But, people say, what about Asians? They eat soy every day, and they’re so healthy!
“Soy farming started around 1100 BC in China, where it was used to build soil fertility and feed animals. Soy beans were not considered fit for humans until the Chinese learned to ferment them, which makes them digestible. Asian diets now include fermented soy beans in the form of natto, miso, tamari, and tempeh.
Soy producers want you to eat more soy — more than the Asians eat, and more than is good for you. The Japanese and Chinese eat 10 grams of soy per day — about two teaspoons. Yet a soy manufacturer recommends Americans eat ten times what the Japanese eat — 100 grams of soy protein per day. In The Soy Zone, Barry Sears recommends a daily diet of a minimum of 50 grams of soy, and up to 75 grams for women and 100 grams for men.”
It’s like red wine: a glass or two a day may be good for you; a bottle or two every day rots your liver.
Did you catch that? Asians only eat 2 teaspoons of soy a day, usually as a condiment, and it’s highly fermented! Fermentation takes care of many of the dangers of soy. Plus, the typical Asian will also consume soy with mineral-rich and nutrient-dense foods such as fish broth (naturally high in iodine & other minerals which support the thyroid).
SO, IS SOY BAD FOR YOU?
The short answer? YES! Let’s be clear on the recent history of soy. The soybean was a modest and unpopular crop until food manufacturers intent on creating cheap vegetable oils convinced the U.S. government to start subsidizing it. The soy was turned into oil, and the industry was left with an industrial waste product.