Evidence Suggests Soy is Not Ideal to Consume

advertisement - learn more

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.




'Wim Hof Method' Free Video Class

At Last, The health & physical performance secrets of multiple guinness world record holder Wim Hof AKA “The Iceman” are revealed for the first time”

In this course you will learn to do more pushups with a breathing technique, boost your immune system and increase your physical performance.

This will truly unlock your full physical potential.

Click Here

'Wim Hof Method' Free Video Class

Truly unlock your full physical potential with this breathing technique. Click Here

advertisement - learn more

More From 'Health'

CE provides a space for free thinkers to explore and discuss new, alternative information and ideas. The goal? Question everything, think differently, spread love and live a joy filled life.

  1. freddy

    So, is better the cow milk? which one to drink if only have this two? Soy or Cow milk?

    • Aluv

      Hemp milk is the best alternative to me , my experience with soy milk , is that it cause male breast tissue to grow , seen a lot of adolescent boys develop like girls … I’d stay away from any form of soy.. Try hemp milk , i use vanilla flavor for smoothies , cereal , just about any recipe

    • Rozanna

      Almond Milk rules!

      • Spyder Seven

        I can vouch for almond milk. Unobtrusive taste, smooth texture, and it lasts a long time before spoiling. I mostly don’t consume dairy but I still needed a cow milk substitute for things like cereal, baking, macaroni and cheese, that sort of thing. I can drink it straight and I can’t stand the taste of soy milk. If you really can’t find anything besides soy and dairy I’d stick with dairy and try to consume it in moderation.

  2. - Collective Evolution

    Freddy, better to not drink either! Do you really need milk? There are some great alternatives such as coconut, almond and rice, and you can easily make your own!

  3. Tiffany

    I drink Rockin Wellness with almond milk, and bummed to see it has lecithin (soy) in it.. I have ten bags total which cost a lot of money and I was wondering how bad that kind of soy is?

  4. De Landtsheer

    Being a researcher in molecular biology and also a vegan I got interested in this story. I spent the weekend doing research, and here are my comment about each of these articles:
    1) obscure japanese journal (in japanese) : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1868922 no detail on the protocol, cannot comment on this one, appart that the abstract is badly written.
    2) http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/60/3/333.full.pdf+html their analysis is an affront to statistics (no multiple-test corrections were applied). Anyway, their conclusion is that “a diet rich in dietary estrogens may be protective against breast cancer”.
    3) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7892295 could not access the full article. Seems to care only about the molecular target of phytoestrogens, to understand the “chemoprotective action of Asian diets, possibly mediated by phytoestrogens in soya products”.
    4) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1469901/pdf/envhper00328-0081.pdf in vitro study with only one cell line. The MCF7 are derived from an aggressive breast cancer and their relevance in cancer studies has been challenged since 1997. Special mention for testing hormones in the uM range while in vivo estradiol concentrations are in the pM range (a million times lower).
    5) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11573864 single-author review (no experiments). Opinion article from a researcher out of his field of expertise.
    6) http://ebm.rsmjournals.com/content/235/5/590.full.pdf+html Finally a high-profile article. Unfortunately the authors think that injecting 10mg/kg (!) of purified genestein to castrated old rats is a good model of oral soy consumption in humans. I calculated from this article http://lib3.dss.go.th/fulltext/Journal/Journal%20of%20food%20science/2000%20v.65/no.3/jfsv65n3p0399-0402ms19990632%5B1%5D.pdf that this is equivalent to about 40 kilos of soy for a 75-kg man (per day).
    7) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7508622 Another review article. Could not access the full text. Nor the abstract neither the substance list mention phytoestrogens, soy, or food at all. Concerning prostate cancer and soy, read this article http://www.oncoveterinaria.com.ar/contenidos/archivos/file/Julio/Role%20of%20estrogens%20in%20development%20of%20prostate%20cancer%5B1%5D..pdf and the point 4.2 of their discussion, detailing the protective effects of phytoestrogens on prostate cancer.
    8) http://toxsci.oxfordjournals.org/content/51/2/236.long only found significant effects when rats were fed 0.1% genistein (a full gram of pure hormone per kilo of feed). They conclude phytoestrogens have no effects at normal dietary doses.
    9) http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/16/4/829.full.pdf+html one of the 12 subjects had a very high testosterone level prior to the study, the others had fairly constant levels (see the figure 1). Totally biased analysis, as they should have removed that sample from the analysis (you’re not a healthy subject for a study on testosterone levels if your testosterone is 50% above the reference range).
    10) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3226509/pdf/ehp.1104018.pdf another good article, but again neonate mice subjected to huge doses of pure genistein by subcutaneous injection. If the model holds, shows indeed effects on oviduct morphology and gene expression. Biological relevance of the findings is not adressed. A case for breastfeeding!

    Most of the articles listed are bad ones, published in low-profile journals. After having read these articles (and many others) I am still eating soy products. First, soy is not the only source of phytoestrogens and all vegetarians/vegans eat a lot of beans, peas and other legumes. Second, dietary doses of phytoestrogens have the effect of lowering circulating sexual hormones levels, which should be a good thing when it comes to cancer prevention. Remember (from The China Study for example) that there is a dichotomy between 1) immune function and cancer arrest and 2) metabolic rate and reproduction. In other words, if you are big, strong, and very fertile (like you are when eating red meat or drinking cow milk full of hormones) you increase your lifetime exposure to sexual hormones and increase your risk of sexual (breast, uterine, prostate) cancers. All epidemiological studies I have seen during this weekend-investigation agree for a protective effect of soy products.

    I would not recommend taking soy pills for menopause, and I would not recomment eating soy (or anything else) three times a day. Fake-burgers probably pose other problems (high salt, industrial transformations, etc…) that are more relevant. But I would not argue for the avoidance of such a good, natural source of proteins. About the last article (Jefferson et al.), this reinforces my belief that a baby’s mother milk cannot be safely substituted to anything else.

    Eating (non-GMO) soy is good for you!

    • Cheryl

      Your response to this article is GREAT! Thanks. I take soy supplements for hot flashes and have for a year. They really help ALOT. Black Cohosh gives me headaches or I would take it. Do you have a recommendation for annoying, embarassing, inappropriate hot flashes. I won’t take hormone therapy treatments.

    • - Collective Evolution

      Thanks for taking the time to do your own research, that is always great to see! However I still do believe your end conclusions are missing out on looking at various points that are incredibly important.

      It is a fact that soy proteins are folded and cannot be broken down by the body. This means that the body has a very tough time knowing what to do with the soy as it is being taken into the body. Soy started out as a way for nitrogen to be added back into soils. It was never consumed because back then they knew it was not safe to consume. Even as little as a few decades ago it was factually known that it was unsafe to consume in it’s unfermented state. When the Chinese discovered that fermentation would allow the proteins to be broken down in soy, the began consuming it. Again, prior to that, they did not touch it in their diet.

      Along with these facts, soy also is a growth inhibitor and and blocks the proper production of amino acids. This leads to the inability for soy to be easily broken down in the human body. I would highly recommend checking out the following insanely well researched link on soy. WHile some of the links you presented above are decent, this provides a much different look at things.



  5. U Fujii

    As a person who when newborn could not tolerate anything but soy and stayed on soy for over 6 years as my main food source. I grew up normally and had no fertility issues at all. I am from a culture where soy is a basic food and cow’s milk is used far less. I have had healthy pregnancies and 8 healthy babies, 5 of which were girls who did not have any problems with accelerated puberty. Cultures which use soy as a basic food have longer lives and less heart disease. I am not vegetarian but I do eat soy as a good food source along with fish and minimal red meat. If what you say is true, I should be childless with breast cancer and severe hormonal issues. Sorry, it just doesn’t happen.

    • Abbie

      No breast milk available?

  6. Nalani Shintani

    Highly unlikely that Soy is as harmful as you’re claiming it is when Asian countries, particularly Japan, have had soy as a stable for centuries and has one of the healthiest and long-lived populations in the world over the course of history. I say soy is bad in high concentrations, especially if you’re a vegetarian who’s consuming soy milk and tofu and TVP constantly, but 2-3 servings a day, which is average for Japanese people, shouldn’t be harmful.

    GMO soy should be avoided if possible however. Especially in America.

    • threenorns

      “GMO soy should be avoided if possible however. Especially in America.”

      LMAO!!!! yeah – good luck with that.

    • - Collective Evolution

      Soy in Chinese cultures back in the day was not consumed ever until they figured out fermentation processes. They knew that soy was undigestible by the body and didn’t allow the body to create amino acids to break down the proteins. The traditional use of soy in chinese cultures uses fermented soy only, not regular soybean like we use today. It is a fact that an unfermented soybean contains inhibitors that do not allow the folded proteins to be broken down by the body. this is not speculation but simply the biological make up of the soy bean. Given that fact, eating unfermented soy can create a lot of problems within the body related to gastric distress, reduced protein digestion and chronic deficiencies in amino acid uptake.

      I would highly recommend reading the sourced article from mercola.com that can be seen above.

  7. avegan

    you should post the sources of these studies first and the people who ordered those studies. I eat soy for 10 years now and I am healthier than ever. Never been to doctor in last ten years. Only minor cold that I didn’t even felt it.

  8. I’m afraid I’m pro-soy as well (non-gmo). It is one of the few legumes/beans that I tolerate really well and eating soy products has helped me immensely during my pre-menopause. I am an avid researcher on the net and am impressed by my findings about Eastern cultures that eat a lot of soy not suffering any menopause symptoms. Those same cultures don’t suffer much cancer, either. I do try my best to stay with organic sources, though, as we all have our own personal relationship with the GMO issues. I also try keep processed soy products to a minimum because whole, natural foods are best for me and mine. Humans can’t help themselves when it comes to manipulating and altering and tempering with food, but healthy humans can choose not to eat it. Actions speak louder than words (or lab studies) and I’m more convinced of soy’s safety by looking at the cultures that have enjoyed it for centuries without concern or ill effects. I feel you are way off on this one.

    • - Collective Evolution

      Hey Shadoe, check into the newly updated information about how non fermented soy is troublesome for the body. The research strongly suggests that the growth inhibitors along with the bodies inability to break down the folded protein of non-fermented soy makes it something we should really look into before thinking about eating it.


Leave a Reply

Collective Evolution welcomes differing viewpoints and thought-provoking opinions that add value to the discussion, but comments may be moderated to remove profanity or remarks that detract from a healthy conversation. For the best interest of the community, please refrain from posting vulgar comments, profanity, or personal attacks. Comments submitted may automatically be flagged for review by our moderation team before appearing on the website.

Check Out Our Store

CE Store

Latest Podcast


Featured TEDx Talk

TEDx - Agents of Change
advertisement - learn more

CETV - What's On

Published: Apr 11, 2016

advertisement - learn more

Trending Now


6 Scientific Reasons Why You Should Consider Not Smoking Weed On A Regular Basis

It’s about being balanced and informed. Exploring the upsides and downsides to cannabis. We’ve reported a ton on the benefits of cannabis and its potential in medical applications, but what about the other side of the coin? Is it fair…