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Thread: Is soya bad for our health - and do we actually need soya?

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    I eve's Avatar
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    Default Is soya bad for our health - and do we actually need soya?

    There are some controversies surrounding soy products, and some people (like me) avoid soy protein in various products. So this week when our national broadcaster, ABC radio national, had an interview on the Health Report on this subject, I listened and found it very instructive. The abc keeps its interviews on the website for a month - here's the interview:
    http://www.abc.net.au/rn/talks/8.30/...s/s1150263.htm

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    john robbins (aka the guy who wrote diet for a new america) wrote an article about soy & he addresses pretty much every point that's been brought up about how soy might be bad. i found it quite informative and balanced:

    http://www.foodrevolution.org/what_about_soy.htm

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    I've been doing what I think John Robbins (or maybe it was someone else) recommends, which means avoiding soy "isolates" and other highly-processed soy products and extracts, while still eating (moderate amounts of) more traditional versions such as tofu and tempeh. That seems to be roughly what the ABC guy suggests too? Will remember to check my soy milk cartons more carefully though. Thanks for the link.

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    Default Anti-Soy?

    I wonder if anyone is familiar with the anti-soy movement. Are these people for real or is this some kind of anti-vegetarian sneakiness?

    If soy is so bad, why does the traditional Japanese diet produce such long lives? Is it the processing?

    Any info?

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    I was looking at a thread on raw foods and there was a link to a site that linked to anti-soy sources. I'll do a quick search. Someone will find something wrong with just about everything.

    I was reading through the site and I find it hard to take something seriously when it's seriously lacking in references/actual research. It listed a lot of comments that alluded to high doses. Well, I don't think most people take high doses of such and such so it doesn't exactly apply (a kind of what's the point). The structure of the material looked rather poor too.

    I don't know that I'd make much of it. I guess it could be a start. Perhaps others will have more respectable sources.

    It sounded like the equivalent one of the vegan arguments against milk to some degree. It's a high allergen and most people lack the ability to digest it, to paraphrase. I don't think the site was anti-veg, but I wouldn't doubt it as an argument from the non-veg side of the table.

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    Anti Soy movement. As a soy supporter I am going to say thats just sad, just sad...
    "Its bad karma to fuck with the stoned"- Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Comentary (found on criterion collection)

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    I forgot about this thread: Soy Products

    Other than that... I can't find the links I was looking at yesterday. That's a start though. The articles that are linked to are more neutral, which is nice.

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    Once it was established that soy was a good source of protein, the animal slavery industry in general lost it's last (false) claim to nutritional necessity. Now that it's common knowledge that dead animals are not the only source of protein, they have put a lot of effort in to swaying consumers from soy by paying ethically challenged writers with official sounding titles to do some dirty PR work. One of the more famouse being sally fallon who's current front is the weston price organization (you will find this mentioned by animal slavery industry lobbyists a lot right now).

  9. #9
    ConsciousCuisine
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    There is much controversy surrounding soy and its effects on humans. (Go figure?) I personally know people who avoid it and believe that it is toxic and others who eat is everyday and feel great about doing so. Some peole feel that it is only un-processed soy that carries risks.

    A few things are clear- soy protein has been proven to help reduce the risks and incidnece of cardiovascular disease, has been credited for lowering cholesterol, prevention of osteoporosis, reducing the risk of developing breast and prostate cancer, and fermented soy products especially provide vital b-12 and other nutrients necessary for vegans health.

    Also, many people who have eaten the S.A.D are accustomed to consuming more protein and concentrated protein than a simple "whole foods" vegan diet supplies. The use of tofu and tempeh along with other concentrated nutrient/protein foods is often a big part of a healthy transition towards a more unprocessed, cruelty-free diet.

    That being said, I do know that after becoming vegetarian or vegan many people over-consume soy and other foods that the S.A.D. is lacking in and can develop food sensitivities that usually resolve if one takes a brief break from soy and then reintroduces it inot the diet slowly and as a supplemental food. Most of the cases I know of occured in people who were eating soy analogues, (milk, meat substitutes, soy cream etc.) that made up 50% of their caloric intake. Note that this "sensitivity reaction" can occur when over-consuming any food. I have seen it happen with corn, wheat, avocadoes and tomatoes as well.

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    Thanks. I looked around on this forum but I guess I overlooked that other thread. Reading the John Robbins article made me feel a lot better. It's good to hear something from our side on the topic.

    What I got from the article was that eating soy in the traditional manner is fine. And that's the way I eat it (tofu, tempeh, soymilk, etc.). However, the anti-soy people say that even that way is bad, since the companies don't use ancient, time-consuming methods to extract toxins.

    I liked how Robbins pointed out that plenty of vegetables contain toxins and carcinogens in small quantities. I guess those vegetables really don't like to be eaten after all.

    Now that I think about it, I wonder where these anti-soy groups and scientists are getting their funding. . . I suppose that human demand for soy doesn't do much for cheap soy-based livestock feed either. There I go again with my over-active imagination.

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    My dad used to be perfectly fine with buying me soy milk when I first discovered I was lactose-intolerant (about 5 years ago), but as I became vegetarian/vegan and the soy milk became a "vegan issue" rather than just a digestion issue, he got pretty stubborn about it and makes it into a big argument whenever I put it on my shopping list.

    It doesn't help that his Atkins-worshipping girlfriend, who's also a nurse, thinks veg[etari]anism is idiocy and starvation and has fed him a bunch of anti-soy propaganda, which he blindly buys into because she works in the medical field and is therefore an automatic infallible authority on the situation. She claims that the increased use of soy in processed foods since the 70s or so has thrown children's growth patterns terribly out of whack due to the hormones in it.

    It's gotten to the point where I'm not allowed to give my little cousins chocolate soy milk or soy ice cream, hot dogs etc when we babysit them because apparently one little bit of soy-based food is going to harm them significantly and send them headlong into puberty at ages 4 and 6. Their mother has made it abundantly clear that she doesn't want them eating "that hippie garbage," though she's always having Boca burgers. I guess it doesn't matter that all the junk food and "normal" foods the kids usually eat have soy in them. *rolls eyes*

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    Slinky, I'm sorry to hear that you have to deal with such attitudes from your family. Of course, you have to respect the mother's wishes when it comes to feeding the children - however - it really makes me wonder how some people thrive on such paranoia about things. They are obviously not making an informed decision, rather they are making a biased decision based on propaganda given to them by a nurse - not a nutritionist.

    Good to see you sticking to your guns!

    Roxy

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    Quote slinkyvagabond
    It doesn't help that his Atkins-worshipping girlfriend, who's also a nurse, thinks veg[etari]anism is idiocy and starvation and has fed him a bunch of anti-soy propaganda, which he blindly buys into because she works in the medical field and is therefore an automatic infallible authority on the situation. She claims that the increased use of soy in processed foods since the 70s or so has thrown children's growth patterns terribly out of whack due to the hormones in it.
    Ridiculous! Atkins people put massive ammounts of soy in their products. Just check www.atkins.com and their line of Atkins own brand food. Soy lecithin, soy protein isolate and so on.

    FAQ on their webiste stated (I couldn't find that one today, maybe it's gone) that you CAN be vegetarian and still follow Atkins, but you would have to eat lots of high protein foods such as dairy, eggs and... soy-based products such as tofu!

    Nurses should stay out of nutrition. lol

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    ConsciousCuisine
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    Quote slinkyvagabond
    She claims that the increased use of soy in processed foods since the 70s or so has thrown children's growth patterns terribly out of whack due to the hormones in it.

    It's gotten to the point where I'm not allowed to give my little cousins chocolate soy milk or soy ice cream, hot dogs etc when we babysit them because apparently one little bit of soy-based food is going to harm them significantly and send them headlong into puberty at ages 4 and 6. *
    I have seen dairy do this exact thing. Early puberty is often stimulated by hormones in milk and other animal products. Once adopting a vegan diet, the progression slows down to a "normal" rate for the children in every case I have seen.

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    Quote ConsciousCuisine
    I have seen dairy do this exact thing. Early puberty is often stimulated by hormones in milk and other animal products. Once adopting a vegan diet, the progression slows down to a "normal" rate for the children in every case I have seen.
    That's so interesting, because their mother constantly gives them dairy milk! She thinks it's very healthy for them, and from the discussions we've had I sense it's her way of sort of extending breastfeeding, if that makes any sense, though they were of course weaned long ago. She's a big proponent of breastfeeding and understandably feels she's much closer to her kids because of it, but can't grasp that the dairy industry robs cows and their calves of that same vital bond.

    But I digress. I should probably bring up that the four year-old, who drinks more milk than her sister, has been lately getting frequent short stints of flu-like sickness--sometimes with such high fevers that she has to go to the emergency room once or twice per bout--and losing weight at a time when kids should still probably have a little chub on them. The doctors say it's possibly a metabolic disorder (though no bloodwork has been done yet to determine this)...could it be caused by all the milk?

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    ConsciousCuisine
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    Well, I can tell you that dairy sensitivities are common and can cause just the type of symptoms you are describing. Drinking milk interferes with the absorbtion of many vital nutrients and actually leaches calcium form your system...Dairy is a terrible thing to give to any living, growing creature except for the one it was intended for...the baby of the one producing the dairy!

  17. #17

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    i just read up about it & i have to say that i'm still very skeptical about it all.

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    ConsciousCuisine
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    Korova, which part of the issue are you skeptical about? Are you pro or anti soy?

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    The more I think about it the sillier the charges seem. Not to mention based on very flimsy evidence. I'm going to stick with soy. It kind of sucks that meat-eaters are dissing tofu through pseudo-science now.

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    gorillagorilla Gorilla's Avatar
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    this is an interesting article on soya from my local newspaper:

    http://www.thisisbrightonandhove.co....HOUGHT161.html

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    Quote Gorilla
    this is an interesting article on soya from my local newspaper:

    www.thisisbrightonandhove.co.uk/brighton__hove/health/FOOD_FOR_THOUGHT161.html
    "Vegetarians should eat a mixture of cereals and pulses, as plant proteins have insufficient amounts of the essential amino acids necessary for growth and maintenance of healthy muscles and organs"

    I hate it when a persuasive article is saying the right things, then dumps this absurdity on the reader. Pulses and cerials are 100% unnecesary for optimum protein intake. To see a supposed nutritionist say they are in an article is disturbing. It means I have to read the rest of the article as 'probably not true' and then do research to find out the truth.

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    http://act.greenpeace.org/ams/e?a=1439&s=ensoya - this is a Greenpeace website regarding soya - it starts by saying Greenpeace is campaigning globally against genetically engineered (GE) soya and determined to protect China, the homeland of soya, from contamination by GE soya. Take action, be part of our global effort to build the Cyber Great Wall and keep GE soya away from the world, especially from China , the homeland of soya!

    Every grain of GE soya imported into China is a potential source of contamination. To protect the homeland of soya, we demand that companies stop importing GE soya into China.
    Eve

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    As in all things - soy in moderation. Also t is probably wise to avoid excessive processed soy products like soy burgers, suy nuggets, soy bacon, soy cheese, soy ice cream and dairy substitutes as many have high fat levels. I think it is important to include some soy in the diet - I use tofu but not excessive amounts. Soy may have many health benefits but I am sure there is no need to consume all soy to get those benefits and by having other things as well you get the benefits of other foods (such as beans, lentils etc). Soy is shown to lower cholestherol but there is no reason for a vegan to have high cholestherol anyway so there is no reason to consume soy products for that...

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    Default Soy beans

    I've read a report by conservationists that the spiralling foreign demand for soya beans could mean the loss of millions of hectares of forest and savannah in South America. A WWF report, Managing The Soy Boom: Two Scenarios Of Soy Production Expansion In South America, says the area cultivated for soya in countries like Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay has more than doubled since 1994.

    Soya accounts for about 70% of oil meals used in animal feed in Europe. As soya is one of the most sought-after crops in the world, it is crucial that consumers can eventually buy a product that does not contribute to the destruction of South America's natural wealth.
    Eve

  25. #25

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    Maybe they should stop using soy in icky processed foods. Most soy-fans, like us, won't touch that crap, and most people who live on a processed diet, like omnis, are soy-phobic otherwise. And they could stop raising animals for slaughter on soy based foods. Or stop raising them for slaughter, period.

    Just a thought.

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    gorillagorilla Gorilla's Avatar
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    true slinkyvagabond, soya is in so many processed foods these days surely that would help if they removed it. i expect they feed animals on soy and pad out processed foods with it to keep costs down.

    i make my own soya milk and buy only UK-grown organic beans as they're certified non-GM and will obviously never be planted in a former rainforest! i buy tofu from a company who say they don't use beans from vulnerable areas, although i have a tofu making kit so when i get round to it i'll try making my own with my UK beans.

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    Quote slinkyvagabond
    Maybe they should stop using soy in icky processed foods. Most soy-fans, like us, won't touch that crap, and most people who live on a processed diet, like omnis, are soy-phobic otherwise. And they could stop raising animals for slaughter on soy based foods. Or stop raising them for slaughter, period. Just a thought.
    Rather judgmental today aren't you? What sort of soy do you buy that has not been processed? Just the raw soybeans? Don't most people live on a mainly processed diet? Apart from fruit, vegetables, and nuts, most foods have been processed in one way or another, including soymilk. Who are the soy-phobics? Most soy grown for human consumption finds its way into all sorts of foods, including bread, and of course bread is also processed. But I do agree that it would be good to stop raising animals for slaughter.
    Eve

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    gorillagorilla Gorilla's Avatar
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    i can't speak for slinkyvagabond, but i'm not slagging off processed foods as i eat a fair amount of them. what i thought was that it's usually the really cheap, highly-processed foods that are filled out with soya to keep costs down (in the UK at least), and these are the foods people should probably eat less of as they're usually also high in fat, sugar and salt, with little nutritonal value.

    just a suggestion

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    Default Guardian article on Soy(a) being bad for your health

    I really hope this isn't all true. Isoflavones acting like oestrogen and slowing sperm in men? Is it true Vegan men have a harder time getting their women pregnant? It doesn't focus solely on slow sperm in men, but also on how soy is eating away at the forests of the world.

    Guardian article

  30. #30

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    Soy isn't eating away at the forests; mankind and his destructive mind is!

    I wouldn't be concerned about consuming soy in moderation, like tofu twice a week or something.

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    Wow, soy makes it harder to get a woman pregnant? Another reason to eat more soy!

    Seriously, to use the example of forest destruction in this context is disingenuous. Almost all of this soy is grown as feed for livestock.

    BTW, you can save Korn work by posting in already-existing threads such as Anti-Soy?.

  32. #32

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    I'm just passing through most of the posts on this topic, but I wanted to chime in really quick. I've been digging around a lot lately about the pros and cons of soy. From everything I've found (from both veggie and non-veggie sources) soy in its raw form (bean, tofu, temphe, milk) are not as bad as soy protein isolates. I ditched all the fake meat foods about six months ago after learning that the protein isolates could possibly be more harmful than beneficial to your health. Processed foods, in general, are not good for you.

    Arguments that Asian cultures use soy all the time and they are "okay" are not a valid in my opinion. They don't use soy as their main source of protein like many western vegans do.

    I contacted a few of the fake meat companies this past summer and most of them would not comment on the use of protein isolates. The makers of Tofurkey sent me a great response stating they don't and won't use soy protein isolates because of the risks it make carry. They said it was just their opinion and not proven one way or another. So I'll still use their products. It was pretty cool too .. when I sent the emails out I didn't want to come across like I was interrogating anyone .. just casually asked if they used them in their products .. so it was funny that I got the "no way" response.

    I know this belongs on another thread, but it scares me to hear about parents feeding their infants soy as much as they do. I hope research is done thoroughly someday to prove pros and cons one way or the other. I make sure I balance my kids diets out w/soy and other non-soy (veggie) protein sources until they are older and more developed.

    Don't be fooled by the research too ... soy has its lobbyists just the same a meat does. It's big business for both worlds.

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    well soy hasnt killed anyone yet so im not giving it up LOL.
    "you dont have to be tall to see the moon" - african proverb

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    famous last words?
    Eve

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    Quote Finch
    I really hope this isn't all true. Isoflavones acting like oestrogen and slowing sperm in men? Is it true Vegan men have a harder time getting their women pregnant?
    If it is true, how come China and Japan are so highly populated?
    From my own personal experience, I have 3 vegan soy-consuming children by my vegan soy-consuming partner, and we're all fine.

    I used to worry a lot more about diet when I first became a vegan, and I do think it's important to be aware of all the issues, but I also think that people can become obsessed with potential problems, when we can see every day the negative health and environmental consequences of animal based diets.

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    I do agree that it's probably better to avoid industrial highly-processed soy products, though...although I do use TVP sometimes, mostly we eat soy in the form of tofu and soymilk, and I agree that it's a good idea to get protein from a variety of sources and not totally rely on soy products.

    In any case, the whole protein issue tends to be overplayed...actually it'd probably be quite hard NOT to get enough protein.

  37. #37

    Default SOYA is bad for you - yeah right...

    This makes me so mad when people slag off Soya and make is sound like it is really bad for you! Like dead animals are good for you right?

    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/life/...359663,00.html

    If this article has got you confused I recomend watching the video lectures by some great doctors at....

    http://www.vegsource.com/

    and...

    http://www.drgreger.org/talks/

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    Hey Trendygirl - there is so much propaganda within the industry - both dairy/meat as well as soya. I don't know what to believe so I just eat what I want coz I like it or I don't (as long as it is vegan coz I don't believe in factory farming). I personally don't eat soy coz I don't like it (besides tempeh)

  39. #39
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    HeHe, as Bender says (Futurama) - "Kiss my shiny metal ass!".
    Just eat/drink it if it's Vegan and it feels good to you, I say!

  40. #40

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    I love Soy but it took me a while to really appreciate it!

    You are right there is lots of propaganda from both the dairy/meat industry as well as the Soy industry after all there are both big business! Thatís why I posted the links by the doctors, the lectures are quite long but well worth a watch. I have seen and read quite a bit about these doctors and the good thing is that they are not tied to any industry. They are all MDís and they make a lot of sense. I always try to have a good dose of scepticism and try think for myself. What they were saying made sense when I thought about what they were saying. I even e-mailed one of them once about linseeds/flax and he got back to me about even though he is extremely busy and there was no propaganda in the e-mail. At the end of the day I am not a scientist or a doctor but from everything I learnt I would say the article slagging of Soy is a lode of crap.

  41. #41

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    This quote is what made me most suspicious about the anti soy article

    ....you need to eat, as the Japanese do, lots of meat or fish with tiny bits of soya.

    Far as I knew everyone should be cutting down on meat consumption and the Japanese eat a lot less of it than people in the west, but this is not what the article suggests!

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    A longetivity study done recently showed that the group of people who live the longest are the Okinawans (Japanese) and they consume some of the highest amounts of soy, in the form of tofu primarily, than most groups in the world.

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    I have read a lot about processed Soy products and health and I don't think that just because it isn't meat you can dismiss the claims that it isn't good for the health. I personnally won't touch soy products, with the exception of organic tofu because that is a fermented soy which hasn't had anything done to it and has been lived on for centuries. I know that there is lots of propaghanda going round about this. But we can't just dismiss it just because we are vegan. The soy milk industry is booming now and no one really knows what too much processed and alteration of soy can do to the body.

    I am just writing this because I am concerned about all health for everyone and its not a good idea for us just to decide what is good and bad for us just because of our feelings. I am sure its a lot better then dairy but just be aware and research and try to see both sides of the equation.
    "Even the bravest of us rarely has the courage for what he really knows" - Nietzsche :rolleyes:

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    I agree with Panda that organic tofu is fine, but I'd certainly never touch soy protein isolates. Just because something is soy, doesn't make it good, especially American soy which is mostly genetically modified.
    Eve

  45. #45

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    I know what you mean about Soy being messed around with too much and I donít think that is a good thing and that could cause some problems. However this article was suggesting that all soy is bad for you and the article seemed like it had been wrote by someone with some sort of affiliation to the meat industry or it wouldnít have told the readers to eat lots of meat.

    I know that just because something is from the plant kingdom doesnít mean that it is healthy. However I as said before I trust what the vegan Doctors have said about it and the fact that millions of people have been eating it for thousands of years. I donít want to sound narrow minded but I think that a lot of this stuff that has been wrote about soy not being good for you is down to the lucrative meat industry getting frightened of itís rise in popularity.

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    Nobody has been eating soy isolates for thousands of years, it is relatively new. And it is still essential for vegans to read the ingredients listing on all labels.
    Eve

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    Probably stupid question but how is soy lecithin derived. It seems to be in everything these days and very hard to avoid.

    Anyone know?

  48. #48

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    Have you read the article? I am not going to dispute soy isolates as I donít know enough about them. The article is talking about soy is not talking about isolates.

    This is an abstract:

    I'm vegetarian and eat loads of tofu and soya milk. Should I stop?

    Soya has become vegetarians' meat and milk, the major source of protein in their diet. But eating soya actually puts vegetarians at severe risk of mineral deficiencies, including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and especially zinc. According to Dr Mike Fitzpatrick, a New Zealand biochemist who runs a soya information website (see below), this is because soya contains high levels of phytic acid, which blocks the absorption of essential minerals in the digestive tract. To reduce the effects of a high-phytate diet, you need to eat, as the Japanese do, lots of meat or fish with tiny bits of soya.

    It is telling veggies to eat meat!

  49. #49

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    Also.....

    Is soya bad for you?

    It contains high quantities of various toxic chemicals, which cannot be fully destroyed even by the long cooking process. These are: phytates, which block the body's uptake of minerals; enzyme inhibitors, which hinder protein digestion; and haemaggluttin, which causes red blood cells to clump together and inhibits oxygen take-up and growth. Most controversially of all, soya contains high levels of the phytoestrogens (also known as isoflavones) genistein and daidzein, which mimic and sometimes block the hormone oestrogen.

    I am sorry but I don't believe that soy is bad for you! If you mess around with it too much like you say with isolates but plain soy no.

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    Quote Trendygirl
    Have you read the article?
    Yes, that's how I formulated my question. I don't blindly post in threads based on an article. The article didn't say and I wasn't clear if soy lecithin is a form of soy isolate or is something completely different.

    Did you somehow get the impression I was implying I agree soy is bad? I certainly don't think it is though I agree about moderation and avoiding highly processed soy products. Which leads me back to my original question regarding soy lecithin, I don't know if that is considered highly processed.

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