Soy has long been promoted as a healthy alternative. When I think of soy, several questions come to mind. What the hell is it? Is it a vegetable? Why is it present is so many processed foods, and is it really healthy? This post provides 8 things you need to know.
1). What is Soy?
Soy is primarily grown in the U.S, and is it’s second largest crop. In 1999, the FDA issued a statement supporting the soy industries clam that it was heart healthy. Over the years, this led to a surge in production. So much so, it is now a $35 million dollar industry. However, the problem is that 93% of US soy is genetically modified. Technically this modifies its DNA, making it no longer recognizable as “food.” By definition, food is any nutritious substance that people, animals, or plants consume to maintain life and growth.
Anytime you scientifically alter a plants DNA you are reducing its nutrition. I personally believe that mother nature does not need any help. Each plant has its inherent benefits. In the case of soy, it is classified as a legume which has a high source of protein, enzyme blockers, and indigestible sugars. This makes it extremely difficult to digest in it’s natural form.
Soy has historically been used in Asia for centuries. Due to it’s indigestible elements it was first considered unfit to eat. Fast forward to the discovery of fermentation, and voila, edible soy was born.
2). Fermented Soy?
Fermentation uses calcium or magnesium sulfate to make a smooth paste. Over time this process soon spread across Asia, from China to Japan, and Indonesia.
3). Why Fermentation?
Soy contains natural toxins “anti-nutrients”which can wreak havoc on the digestive system. These toxins function to block the enzymes that aid in the digestion process. Blocking the natural digestive process reduces protein digestion, and lead to chronic deficiencies which can cause pancreatic issues and potentially lead to cancer. Soy can also negatively affect the substances that causes blood cells to clot or bind together.
If natural toxins was not enough. Soy is also high is physic acid. What is it? It’s a substance that can block the absorption of essential minerals including; calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. Normally, food is eaten, and digested. As it passes though the colon, it’s vitamins and minerals are absorbed into the bloodstream. Unfortunately, physic acid blocks this process.
Over, time it can lead to deficiences. By way of fermentation, soy is soaked in a mix of magnesium for an extended period of time to reverse it’s numerous effects. The longer the process the better.
- Soy Sauce
4). Soy Protein Isolate
Have you ever wondered how white protein powder is extracted from a green soy bean? Or, how it can imitate milk. Well, the actual process with astound you. Fermentation is not the only process to chemically make soy less toxic. In fact, it is the least detrimental. Soy protein can be chemically isolated from soy. This process uses industrial sized processors to mix soybeans into an alkaline solution. This removes fiber, by mechanically separating it using an acid wash. The beans are then placed into large aluminum tanks. After which, the protein clumps are again sprayed at high temperatures to produce an isolated protein powder.
In theory, protein isolates should improve health. But you must also take the entire production process into consideration. Think about it. How do you use toxic chemicals to create a “healthier,” protein powder. This in itself is an oxymoron, as most of the chemicals used in this process are potenent carcinogens that can cause cancer. Unfortunately, processed soy is in a majority of packaged processed food.
- Soy Milk
- Soy Yogert
- Soy Cheese
- Meat Alternatives
- Infant Formula
5). FDA Revokes Heart Healthy Clam
Due to loose government regulations, the soy industry has sponsored a large number of studies that support its health benefits. However, the dangers of soy are becoming more apparent. In October 2017, the FDA issued a statement that revoked it’s 1999 health claim that soy protein reduces the risk of heart disease.
6). Dangers of Soy
When I was growing up, my parents always had a garden where they would grow all types of vegetables. I can remember them having to constantly work to nourish the plants. If they weren’t constantly removing weeds, they were applying pesticides to keep away bugs and animals. Imagine having to care for crops on a much larger scale.
7). GMO Soy
Companies like Monsanto, have developed a proprietary genetically modified process to make herbicide and insect resistant crops. Commonly referred to as “RoundUp-ready soybeans.” Meaning, large scale machinery, sprays chemicals so toxic that they can kill everything within it’s path including weeds, and insects. Farming GMO soy allows companies like Monsanto to produce massive volumes of soy without the risk of losing crops to insects and pests. This maximizes profit and minimizes loss. Ideally, this is great for business. In theory, it sounds like a great concept. But this raises one very important question. What about the consumer? What are the human health effects?
8). GMO Soy Regulations
A 2014 study, showed that GMO-soy had high chemical residue levels. This makes perfect sense. Anytime you layer food with toxic chemicals you have to wonder is it possible to remove it without leaving any residue. This in itself raises several questions. Is our health a priority? Does the US government regulate the use of GMOs and toxins?
The answer is a little complicated. The regulation of genetically modified crops is shared among three agencies; The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and The US Department of Agriculture (USDA). At first glance, it appears as if our health is a top priority. Why else would genetically modified crop regulation be shared by three agencies.The actual answer will surprise you.
The EPA regulates pesticides, fungicides, and toxins in relation to the environment. If a company has a crop that is genetically engineered to carry a “Bt toxin”, it requires that they independently conduct safety studies to verify that it does not cause allergies. This raises more questions. First off, what is a Bt toxin and why is it so significant. Well, the toxic effects are alarming to say the least.
Bt toxin is a cheap, widely used biological pesticide. It’s a ruthless toxin that kills insects by making their stomachs burst. So, what terror will it invoke on human health. Well, I’m glad you asked. it can attack normal stomach cells by burning holes into the intestine. This is only one of the many potential side effects. How tough is a regulation that requires you to do your own research to test for safety. Any company that performs research on itself is naturally bias. No company is going to voluntary expose their vulnerabilities and unlawful practices.
The FDA is responsible for regulating the safety of genetically modified crops that are eaten by humans and animals. It requires companies to voluntarily assess the toxicity and allergy profile of the genes before it’s marketed. Yet again, this relies on the honor system, leaving our health in the hands of greedy companies that are only concerned with making a profit. One would think that we as US citizens could rely on government agencies to have strict regulations that are not contingent upon voluntary self-disclosure.
Soy is very controversial. However, I disagree. If mother nature intended for us to eat soy, it would be edible in it’s natural state. Mother Nature provides us with all of the fruits and vegetables we need to survive. We should not have to ferment or chemically treat soy to eat it. We need to be more conscious of the foods we eat and not believe everything the food industry tells us. Bottom line, the food industry can care less about our health. Remember profit over health.