Soy is high in isoflavones, which have antioxidant properties. They are chemically similar to estrogen, and are referred to as phytoestrogens or plant estrogens. Isoflavones have been praised as a protector from many cancers, strokes, asthma, and osteoporosis and many other ailments.
While soy offers benefits, the proven risks far outweigh the benefits. There is hard evidence linking soy to bladder cancer, digestive problems, heart disease, accelerated aging of the brain, thyroid damage, fertility issues, PMS, endometriosis, immune system issues, and breast cancer.
So which is it- a preventative of cancer or a cause for cancer? Well, it may be both. Soy has two ways of being consumed, either in an unfermented or fermented state. Almost all of the products marketed to us in the United States are in an unfermented state. This is the dangerous type of soy that acts like estrogen in the body and wreaks havoc on our systems. Fermented soy is what is in soy sauce, tempeh, and miso, and consumed in small amounts may be of benefit. In Asia, soy is consumed in a fermented state as a condiment, and in small amounts daily, not as a replacement of other foods, such as animal meat.
Soy is also high in phytic acid, which binds to minerals such as zinc, copper, iron, magnesium and calcium, pulling them from the body when consumed. All beans contain phytic acid, but soaking beans is usually enough to break down the phytic acid for consumption. This does not work with soy beans, which require the fermentation process to lower the phytic acid content.
As for soy formula for your baby, DON’T USE IT!!! There is much evidence that soy formula can harm a child’s endocrine system, be a contributing factor to ADHD, affect intelligence, and cause early puberty in girls. According to the Mercola website, a daily dose of soy formula has the hormonal equivalent of 4-5 birth control pills!!! Yikes! Soy formula is banned or restricted in the UK, Israel, France and New Zealand. Here is another great post about the dangers of soy formula.
Boys exposed to soy were reserached and shown to have smaller testes than normal and a reduction in testosterone levels up to 70%. Girls exposed to soy are showing early signs of puberty such as breast development and pubic hair at age 8 down to as young as age 3.
A mother eating high levels of soy during pregnancy can effect her fetus, including the timing of puberty later in life. One of my sons was born with an undescended testicle. Could that have been related to my soy intake? I’m not sure. I did not know the dangers of soy when my boys were babies, and I used the soy formula given to me at the hospital when I wasn’t there to breastfeed. I regret that now, and am thankful I have this knowledge so that I can keep soy out of their diets from now on.
If this is news to you, do your research, and start reading labels. Almost EVERY product you find in a box has soy protein or soy lecithin or some other form of soy in it. Check your pantry. Do you have cooking spray? Soy lecithin. Gum? Soy lecithin. I’ve even seen it in drinks. Seriously. You will be disturbed.
UPDATE: After writing this article, a good friend recently diagnosed with breast cancer who drinks soy milk daily inquired about this topic. I mentioned that soy should be avoided with certain breast cancer medications. She had just started her medication the week before, and contacted her doctor’s office to ask if she should avoid soy. They said yes, that if you are taking Tamoxifen, you should avoid soy. She has since switched to Almond Milk.
Shared at: Simple Lives Thursday