4

votes

Soy and typical Asian diets

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created July 13, 2011 at 7:11 PM

Okay, so I've read a lot of the research about why soy is bad, and while I'm somewhat convinced, I still don't think anyone has properly addressed the "Asian argument", ie the fact that a lot of traditional Asian diets contain a lot of soy.

For example: http://paleodietlifestyle.com/dangers-soy/

Argument 1: "Asians mostly eat fermented soy which is okay."

Well, no, Asians also eat a lot of tofu, and drink soy milk on a regular basis. In China, soy milk is considered to be a traditional morning beverage.

Argument 2: "When they eat soy, they have it with mineral rich fish broth, which makes it okay"

Really? That sounds like such an ad-hoc argument. Again, that is just not the case. Tofu is used in a variety of dishes, including stir-frys, stews, and even desserts. Also, there's the soy milk again..

I'm not saying that soy is good, but can we not say that the research is still far from conclusive? FWIW I'm Chinese and grew up eating mostly traditional Chinese food.

5fb654380d04ac372b750ca3faad2e99

(277)

on April 25, 2012
at 09:08 PM

Since we're comparing anecdotes, whenever I visited family in Taiwan, soymilk was fairly commonly consumed, especially with the "Chinese donuts". It was also common to have a dish of just tofu (amongst other dishes) when we ate congee. There was also a small cube of fermented tofu which I loved.

5fb654380d04ac372b750ca3faad2e99

(277)

on April 25, 2012
at 09:03 PM

While soy milk seems uncommon, the same manuscript from the same site notes that tofu was a staple for many centuries

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 26, 2011
at 09:20 PM

I've wondered about humanure. I certainly wouldn't want to get it commercially, but if it was your own farm, and only your own family, seems like it wouldn't expose you to any pathogens you couldn't deal with.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 14, 2011
at 12:01 PM

Well, again with the edamame: in Japan its eaten primarily as a bar snack. yes, in a bar with beer and shots and shit. Thats it. Sometimes possibly as a part of a larger selection of "appetizers" but even that is uncommon. The point is they're not popping edamame like vegetarians are in the US.

Ffc7e0ecad8e8831b528c5d4921377cc

(942)

on July 14, 2011
at 04:45 AM

Edamame and TVP are totally different. Things you can eat uncooked like edamame and green beans are generally fine.

Ffc7e0ecad8e8831b528c5d4921377cc

(942)

on July 14, 2011
at 04:42 AM

Edamame is like green beans, i.e. OK.

78fcdeee6ac4ee7d071bbac56b9e359f

(1035)

on July 14, 2011
at 02:12 AM

I remember reading about that too, but Google isn't pulling it up. Some Westerner observing Asian farmers in the early 20th century? He was also remarking on their use of humanure on their fields.

Ef40e29cee3d4f7b6d60e3473824f1dc

(272)

on July 13, 2011
at 08:45 PM

Thanks! Didn't know that actually

Ef40e29cee3d4f7b6d60e3473824f1dc

(272)

on July 13, 2011
at 08:44 PM

Good point! I didn't see much soy when I was there either, though edamame is quite common too. I do want to point out that I didn't mean that all Asians eat a lot of soy, but there are definitely groups who eat a fair bit of it.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on July 13, 2011
at 08:41 PM

The curds are formed using mineral salts or acid.

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on July 13, 2011
at 08:36 PM

good question, I wondered if edamame is bad for you since its in its pure veggie state?? I'm still allergic to soy but is a good question!!

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on July 13, 2011
at 08:36 PM

stinky tofu has to be fermented, no way to describe that smell.....but one way to clear a restaurant of all foreigners

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on July 13, 2011
at 08:16 PM

How do you get the curds w.o bacteria?

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 13, 2011
at 07:23 PM

it is not fermented.

Ef40e29cee3d4f7b6d60e3473824f1dc

(272)

on July 13, 2011
at 07:22 PM

Typically it is not, though there are some fermented forms :)

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7 Answers

12
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 13, 2011
at 07:24 PM

I lived in Japan for five years. Two years in Yokohama: big city, modern etc. Three years in Fukui: countryside, bit more traditional, etc. Take my experience for what its worth.

Japanese people do NOT eat a lot of soy. They eat tofu regularly yes. But they eat it in incredibly small servings. Something like 2-3 ounces with dinner perhaps 4-5 nights of the week. That???s pretty much it. Soy sauce is used but more often than not it is a fermented, realdeal soy sauce.

None of the soy they eat in Japan is anything like here in the US. There it is eaten as soy: tofu, beans, etc. straight forward in miniscule amounts, in amongst a very un-processed whole foods diet with meat, fat, and vegetables. None of it is a replacement for meat, isolated proteins, oils, etc.

Ffc7e0ecad8e8831b528c5d4921377cc

(942)

on July 14, 2011
at 04:42 AM

Edamame is like green beans, i.e. OK.

Ef40e29cee3d4f7b6d60e3473824f1dc

(272)

on July 13, 2011
at 08:44 PM

Good point! I didn't see much soy when I was there either, though edamame is quite common too. I do want to point out that I didn't mean that all Asians eat a lot of soy, but there are definitely groups who eat a fair bit of it.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 14, 2011
at 12:01 PM

Well, again with the edamame: in Japan its eaten primarily as a bar snack. yes, in a bar with beer and shots and shit. Thats it. Sometimes possibly as a part of a larger selection of "appetizers" but even that is uncommon. The point is they're not popping edamame like vegetarians are in the US.

6
36b7a2776d028dc8d5743e2e56ece34d

on July 13, 2011
at 07:21 PM

Evidence of soy milk is rare prior to the 20th century and widespread usage before then is unlikely.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soy_milk

Ef40e29cee3d4f7b6d60e3473824f1dc

(272)

on July 13, 2011
at 08:45 PM

Thanks! Didn't know that actually

5fb654380d04ac372b750ca3faad2e99

(277)

on April 25, 2012
at 09:03 PM

While soy milk seems uncommon, the same manuscript from the same site notes that tofu was a staple for many centuries

4
345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on July 13, 2011
at 07:30 PM

I lived in Taiwan and I never once saw soy milk (ok if it wasn't identifiable to me I probably didn't spend too much time looking at it either). Tons of edamae-yes, lots of soy sauce-yes, stinky tofu yes.

Asians tend to have a whole different set of health issues like stomach and throat cancer. They normally don't have high levels of heart disease and diabetes like we do but this is changing as western foods invade their market (cold stone ice cream, burger king, applebees all there), but they do have their 'own' set of issues based on their diets.

I was surprized at how many really overweight Asians I saw there....then there's the super tiny doll like girls as well.

5fb654380d04ac372b750ca3faad2e99

(277)

on April 25, 2012
at 09:08 PM

Since we're comparing anecdotes, whenever I visited family in Taiwan, soymilk was fairly commonly consumed, especially with the "Chinese donuts". It was also common to have a dish of just tofu (amongst other dishes) when we ate congee. There was also a small cube of fermented tofu which I loved.

2
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 13, 2011
at 07:26 PM

Damn...I can't remember where I read it, but once upon a time I read that even though modern Asian diets contain a fair amount of soy, traditionally it was used for a cover crop and then tilled into the soil as a green fertilizer. Eventually it became animal feed, and then during a time of hardship people figured out how to make it palatable.

78fcdeee6ac4ee7d071bbac56b9e359f

(1035)

on July 14, 2011
at 02:12 AM

I remember reading about that too, but Google isn't pulling it up. Some Westerner observing Asian farmers in the early 20th century? He was also remarking on their use of humanure on their fields.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 26, 2011
at 09:20 PM

I've wondered about humanure. I certainly wouldn't want to get it commercially, but if it was your own farm, and only your own family, seems like it wouldn't expose you to any pathogens you couldn't deal with.

0
497c634bcb6b94ce4d40d9464783ef9c

on July 26, 2011
at 08:36 PM

Edamame is steamed, and not eaten raw which would be extremely unpalatable.

0
730b4d4c50506a31777e90b36c5999da

(235)

on July 13, 2011
at 08:02 PM

So is stuff like edamame and TVP bad for you? Or is it only bad when consumed often, in high amounts, as a replacement for other proteins. i.e. soy burgers

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on July 13, 2011
at 08:36 PM

good question, I wondered if edamame is bad for you since its in its pure veggie state?? I'm still allergic to soy but is a good question!!

Ffc7e0ecad8e8831b528c5d4921377cc

(942)

on July 14, 2011
at 04:45 AM

Edamame and TVP are totally different. Things you can eat uncooked like edamame and green beans are generally fine.

0
1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on July 13, 2011
at 07:14 PM

I thought tofu was fermented, rather like cheese is?

Ef40e29cee3d4f7b6d60e3473824f1dc

(272)

on July 13, 2011
at 07:22 PM

Typically it is not, though there are some fermented forms :)

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on July 13, 2011
at 08:41 PM

The curds are formed using mineral salts or acid.

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on July 13, 2011
at 08:16 PM

How do you get the curds w.o bacteria?

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 13, 2011
at 07:23 PM

it is not fermented.

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on July 13, 2011
at 08:36 PM

stinky tofu has to be fermented, no way to describe that smell.....but one way to clear a restaurant of all foreigners

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