Is Soy Bad for You?
Soy: an old fertilizer, or the new magic bean? The debate rages on as doctors and health nuts alike continue to comment on whether the soy bean is a healthy alternative source of protein or just a marketing gimmick to make a lot of money for the American food industry. While some will proclaim the soybean to be the missing link in the health conscience diet, others are claiming that soy is bad for you. In this article we will compare some of these conflicting thoughts about soy in three of the hottest topics: history, women, and babies.
The history of soy
It is common to hear that Asians have been consuming soy for thousands of years. If there were any health concerns regarding soy, then surely we would have seen them by now among the Asian populations. What is little known, is that while soy has been part of the Asian culture for a long time, it has not been a human food source until more recently.
Prior to the fermentation of soybeans some 2,500 years ago, soybeans were used as fertilizer and animal feed. Until the Chinese learned how to ferment soybeans, they were considered unfit for human consumption. And even after fermentation, soy was used as a condiment among Asian cultures, not as a main food like in America.
Some reports place the Asian consumption of soy as low as 2 teaspoons per day, and note that even then it is highly fermented. Why is soy bad for you? Like a glass of red wine, one a day may be beneficial, but a bottle a day will destroy your liver
Soy and women
Is soy milk bad for women? Only if you consider menopause symptoms, enlarged thyroids, low energy, forgetfulness, and depression bad for women. Or bad for anyone for that matter. Some side effects attributed to too much soy in American diets are as follows:
1) Problems assimilating key minerals such as magnesium, copper, zinc, and iron.
2) Pancreatic disorders from poor protein digestion.
3) Failure to absorb vitamin B12, creating the need for more from alternate resources.
4) Phytoestrogens act as antithyroid agents, causing cancer, goiters, and autoimmune diseases.
5) Too much soy protein can cause the formation of toxic lysinoalanine and carcinogenic nitrosamines.
Soy and babies
A very common concern is the use of soy in baby formula. The debate continue as to the full effect that the phytoestrogens found in soy have on children. It is said that Chinese monks ate tofu to promote sexual abstinence because the phytoestrogens lowered their testosterone.
Studies have also linked the isoflavones in soy to certain infant disorders. Some of these disorders are not noticed until the children reach puberty. Other studies have connected soy with infertility and other reproductive problems in cheetahs. It should be noted that studies involving animals do not always translate smoothly to humans since we have different make ups.
The ongoing conversation regarding soy and its benefits and harms is certainly an interesting one. Some questions remain ambiguous, such as, “are soybean phytoestrogens harmful to developing children?” Other questions may be more obvious, such as, “Is soy sauce bad for you?” The key is to get a clear understanding of the soy food you intend to make a part of your daily or normal diet. Consider carefully the health tips that your personal physician can provide. And remember that moderation is key.
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