Evidence Suggests Soy is Not Ideal to Consume

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There has been a lot of hype around Soy in the recent years, especially within the Vegetarian and Vegan communities. It is praised because it is believed to be a complete protein, which is great for vegetarians because obviously they don’t get enough protein, right? Wrong. Many vegetables contain even more protein than meat. Soy has become a staple in many Vegetarian diets because of things like imitation meat products made from tofu, which is made from soy, Veggie burgers, veggie hot dogs, bacon and so on. Soy milk is another huge product that people consume that obviously is based highly around soy. The important thing to look at here in regards to soy is the difference between the fermented and non-fermented states and how that effects health.

The big reason behind the increased sales of soy is advertising and propaganda. It’s especially interesting when you look at the fact that only a few decades ago, the soybean was considered unfit to eat – even in Asia. Why don’t we go into some history of the soy bean. It was during the Chou Dynasty (1134-246 BC) that the soybean was designated as one of the five sacred grains, along with barley, wheat, millet and rice. What’s interesting is this: “the pictograph for the soybean, which dates from earlier times, indicates that it was not first used as a food; for whereas the pictographs for the other four grains show the seed and stem structure of the plant, the pictograph for the soybean emphasizes the root structure. Agricultural literature of the period speaks frequently of the soybean and its use in crop rotation. Apparently the soy plant was initially used as a method of fixing nitrogen.” (Mercola.com)

We often associate Asian culture with Soy and believe that if they have been eating it for so long we should too. But what we don’t often know is that when they were eating soy, they were not eating it in the state the North American culture does now. Back then, the soybean was not even consumed until the discovery of fermentation techniques. This happened at some later time during the Chou Dynasty. The first soy foods were fermented products like tempeh, natto, miso and soy sauce. So right away we are seeing that soy and the way it is used traditionally has nothing to do with the way we currently eat it today.

Later on Chinese scientists discovered that “a purée of cooked soybeans could be precipitated with calcium sulfate or magnesium sulfate (plaster of Paris or Epsom salts) to make a smooth, pale curd – tofu or bean curd. The use of fermented and precipitated soy products soon spread to other parts of the Orient, notably Japan and Indonesia.” (Mercola.com)
So again we are seeing that the benefits of soy are still coming from the process of fermentation, not from simply eating it. In fact, it was not even eaten in its natural state, only in fermented state.

At that time, the Chinese culture were not eating unfermented soybeans due to the fact that the soybean contains large quantities of natural toxins or “antinutrients”. Some of the most important to avoid are potent enzyme inhibitors that block the action of trypsin and other enzymes needed for protein digestion.What these inhibitors are is tightly folded proteins that do not deactivate during the cooking process. With them not being deactivated, when they are consumed, they have the ability to produce serious gastric distress, reduced protein digestion and chronic deficiencies in amino acid uptake. Several tests were done on animals that showed diets high in trypsin inhibitors cause enlargement and pathological conditions of the pancreas, including cancer. If the above isn’t reason enough, Soybeans also contain haemagglutinin, a clot-promoting substance that causes red blood cells to clump together.

Both Trypsin inhibitors and haemagglutinin are growth inhibitors, this means the body may not grow and function properly while they are being consumed. Again in tests conducted on Weanling rats (wish they would stop testing on animals) that were fed soy containing these anti nutrients failed to grow as they normally would. Since growth-depressant compounds are deactivated during the process of fermentation, the soybean is fit for dietary use. But can i stress again, only when fermented. If the soybean is not fermented it is not fit to eat or drink.

Here are a few more cited facts about soy.

 A 1991 study found that eating only 2 TBL/day of roasted and pickled soybeans for 3 months to healthy adults who were receiving adequate iodine in their diet caused thyroid suppression with symptoms of malaise, constipation, sleepiness, and goiters (Nippon Naibunpi Gakkai Zasshi 1991, 767: 622-629)!

Six premenopausal women with normal menstrual cycles were given 45 mg of soy isoflavones per day.  This is equivalent to only 1-2 cups of soy milk or 1/2 cup of soy flour!   After only one month, all of the women experienced delayed menstruation with the effects similar to tamoxifen, the anti-estrogen drug given to women with breast cancer (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1994 Sep;60(3):333-340).

Dietary estrogens in the form of soy foods were found to have the potential to disrupt the endocrine system with the effects in women similar to taking the breast cancer drug tamoxifen (Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine 1995 Jan;208(1):51-9).

Estrogens consumed in the diet at low concentrations were found to stimulate breast cells much like DDT to increase enzymatic activity which leads to breast cancer (Environmental Health Perspectives 1997 Apr;105 (Suppl 3):633-636).

The soy isoflavones genistein and daidzein appear to stimulate existing breast cancer growth indicating risk in consuming soy products if a woman has breast cancer. (Annals of Pharmacotherapy 2001 Sep;35(9):118-21).

Direct evidence that soy isoflavones genistein and daidzein suppress the pituitary-thyroid axis in middle-aged rats fed 10 mg soy isoflavones per kilo after only 3 weeks as compared with rats eating regular rat chow (Experimental Biology and Medicine 2010 May;235(5):590-8).

Scientific research has shown that the developing male fetus which is exposed to soy phytoestrogens may suffer from higher susceptibility to prostate cancer later in life (Prostate 1994;24(2):67-78).

Dietary genistein (soy phytoestrogen) in developing female rats had the effect of significantly accelerated puberty (Toxicol Sci 1999 Oct;51(2):236-44).

A study of 12 men aged 18 years and older experienced a 19% drop in serum testosterone in only 28 days when supplemented with 56 grams of soy protein powder over that same time period (Prev 2007;16:829–33).

Female newborns who are orally exposed to genisin, the glycosylated form of genistein (soy phytoestrogen) experienced harm to the reproductive system in the form of “delayed vaginal opening… abnormal estrous cycles, decreased fertility, and delayed parturition.” (Environmental Health Perspective 2009 Dec;117(12):1883-9).

Some great alternatives to soy products are beans, lentils, mushrooms, almond, rice and coconut milks and just a lot more dark leafy greens! Also, fermented soy products like tempeh and miso are not bad for you, but should still be eaten in moderation.

Check out ‘The Protein Myth’ HERE


Katz, Solomon H., “Food and Biocultural Evolution: A Model for the Investigation of Modern Nutritional Problems”, Nutritional Anthropology, Alan R. Liss Inc., 1987, p. 50.

Rackis, Joseph J. et al., “The USDA trypsin inhibitor study. I. Background, objectives and procedural details”, Qualification of Plant Foods in Human Nutrition, vol. 35, 1985.




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  1. Mari

    There is a big difference between processed soy stuff and the real thing. I think too many people are consuming the wrong type thinking it’s good for them. Miso is consumed every day in Japan.

  2. Mari

    Lecithin is actually good for you. Soy has its’ benefits and drawbacks. Just be an advocate for your own body, use common sense, don’t panic, and enjoy soy every once in a while. I like almond milk as well.

  3. Lua Valentine

    John Mayer

    February 19, 2013 at 5:36 am
    @ Joe Martino – What hogwash! You might want to consider taking a course or too in microbiology before making nonsensical claims about soy being inedible because “It is a fact that soy proteins are folded and cannot be broken down by the body.” Almost ALL active proteins are folded: “A protein molecule folds spontaneously during or after biosynthesis.”

    February 19, 2013 at 5:48 am
    Marco Bouchard sez: “There can’t be any substitutes for meat. Meat enabled us to have bigger brains.” And did you know the moon is made of green cheese. Cheese is very much LIKE meat, so no doubt the moon people have very large brains, as shown in old sci-fi comics.

    See, anyone can make wacky, unfounded comments without a trace of scientific foundation. I’m betting that you, Marco, are a meat-eater. QED.

    Poor Albert Einstein; as a firm vegetarian he starved his brain of meat’s critical Big Brain factor. No WONDER he was so poor at math as a lad. If there was the least basis for your claim (there isn’t) we might assume that the creatures who eat the most meat would be the most intelligent. And yet the shark is NOT more intelligent than the elephant. In fact, of the six known self-aware animals, only two are by nature carnivores or omnivores, the jackdaw and the dolphin.””””


    Bravo to this person. The writer of the article poofed away after this. It’s funny that people that say something new doesn’t work for them the majority of times is because they abuse of it and don’t know how to create the balance necessary. The best things of this article is the people that comment. The full vegetarians have never suffered from any problems. It’s funny, makes me think. Besides in the end it’s just going to be the decision of the person. I chose to eat healthy, organic (most of the times when I can) and vegetarian.

    Come on have common sense. If you ingest too much of something your body is most likely to be unbalanced. My mother has been a vegetarian for more than 40 years and has been great but she makes the balance by eating different legumes and vegetables and other stuff LIKE Tofu (all her life). My dad has been almost vegetarian and has been great eating what my mother cooks. I have been almost vegetarian for all my life and lately have been quitting fish and white meat intake (I never wanted to eat red meat) and have been great. Those are my personal experiences.. and we are still alive and healthy. My mom and dad appears younger than the average people their age. So … what’s the real problem?

    We live in a world that is consumed by media and by powerful entities that BUY people and companies OFF for money. Take for example Monsanto, bribing farmers and doing unscrupulous acts just to have the power they want. Come on advertising and publicity is meant to wash your brain with beautiful people, eating “delicious” things and being all happy. That’s what publicity is for!

  4. martina

    Fantastic article, thanks. To add a few more things: Cows fed on soybeans could not reproduce offspring after a short period. When the body is toxic, the reproductive system stops working! My clinical experience as a Complimentary Health practioner: many vegans (using soy products) have reproductive problems and 2nd generation even worth.
    Indeed ONLY FERMENTED soy can benefit you. Thanks

    • bigger brain

      how much is the meat industry paying for lying to the public? save a life!

  5. At the end of the day…why even bother with soy!! It’s obvious there is somethings bad about it. There are better alternatives!! http://www.westonaprice.org/soy-alert/studies-showing-adverse-effects-of-soy

    • bigger brain

      better than mad cow disease? not for you.

    • bigger brain

      Don’t waste your time reading johnntysteelhn link. Propaganda for the dairy industry. With all the research going on, if you can only list one study every few years… not impressive to people who know there are literally thousands of other studies that state the opposite. You can manipulate statistics to conclude whatever you want. No food is perfect, but if I have to chose between the hormone and antibiotic residues (and inhumane production) of milk or soy… I’ll pick soy. Raising 2 children on soy (as part of a varied diet) – 90%+ on growth charts and no health problems.

  6. Marco Bouchard

    There can’t be any substitutes for meat. Meat enabled us to have bigger brains.

    • bigger brain

      bigger and dumber

    • Luca

      LMAO what kind of info is that hahaha!

  7. lizdancey

    I developed a soy allergy from eating/drinking too much when I was vegetarian and vegan. It also messed up my hormones, spiking my estrogen levels. Lots of bad things came from that…

    • bigger brain

      just cos it doesn’t work for you doesn’t make it a bad thing. get real!

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