Soy is touted as a health food, and yet it is found, unfermented and highly processed, in just about every junk food and processed item in the grocery store. And unfortunately, all commercial chickens, turkeys, ducks, dairy cows, pigs and beef cows (unless specified “grass fed”) are fed a soy-based diet, which impacts the health of the humans who eat them. All of them. You cannot find any meat product (besides grass-fed beef or lamb) in the grocery store that has not been contaminated with soy.
I personally avoid soy and will not even feed my animals soy. Here are some of the reasons I avoid soy:
1. Soy Consumption Can Cause Hypothyroidism
Consuming soy creates a three-fold increased risk of hypothyroidism. –The effect of soy phytoestrogen supplementation on thyroid status and cardiovascular risk markers in patients with subclinical hypothyroidism: a randomized, double-blind, crossover study and –Soy phytoestrogens increased risk for overt hypothyroidism
2. Soy Consumption Can Cause Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid cancer is an “estrogen-dependent disease” and soy has extremely high levels of phytoestrogens. A diet that is low in soy (which is impossible if you are eating packaged, processed foods and conventional meat from American grocery stores) is preventative against thyroid cancer. –Phytoestrogens and thyroid cancer risk: the San Francisco Bay Area thyroid cancer study
3. Soy Consumption Can Cause Endometrial Cancer
Long term treatment with soy supplements causes endometrial hyperplasia, which can lead to endometrial cancer. –Endometrial effects of long-term treatment with phytoestrogens: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study
4. The Relationship Between Phytoestrogens in Soy and Cancer is Confusing, to Say the Least
I am not going to volunteer to consume soy for this reason: it does something to cancer. There are several recent studies (many funded by soy product manufacturers) that say that the phytoestrogens in soy will prevent or diminish various types of cancer. This research is questionable (we should always question studies that were funded by the food manufacturers themselves), because there are also studies that prove that the exact opposite is true–that the phytoestrogens in soy may increase chances of cancer or cause cancer to grow. One study said that phytoestrogens from soy may be beneficial in protection against cancer if fed before puberty. –Phytoestrogens and breast cancer Another study says, basically, they really don’t know. We know that estrogen causes breast cancer, but we don’t really know if phytoestrogens (plant-based estrogens) in soy cause or prevent breast cancer. It says, “the relevant research is complicated, inconsistent, and inconclusive.” –Phytoestrogens and breast cancer And yet another study says that phytoestrogen from soy can “markedly enhance tumor cell proliferation,” thus causing the cancer to grow. –Phytoestrogen Interaction with Estrogen Receptors in Human Breast Cancer Cells
I’m avoiding it, because the truth is, we really don’t know. It’s not a necessary part of the diet. Unfermented soy was not eaten by any traditional culture, and therefore, we do not even have anecdotal evidence of any health benefits of raw or processed soy.
Do you consume soy? Do you think that it is a healthy food?