8

votes

What's so bad about soy?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 03, 2010 at 5:55 AM

I have avoided soy for the last 5 years. I have no doubt that my veganism and heavy soy consumption directly correlate to my development of several endocrine disorders (including hypothyroidism). So, understandably, I don't feed my family (including my two small boys) soy products, and it is easy for me to believe most negative press that I read about soy. Phytoestrogens: gah!!!

Here is my problem: my dear grandmother, who is 85 and coming for an extended visit, is totally hooked on super-sweet soymilk. It is the one thing that she consumes in quantity every day. So, it turns out, is her very health-conscious son (my uncle) who is also visiting. And the best part? Both of them are also hypothyroid. I went to the store to buy her a box of her "milk", to make her feel at home. I couldn't do it. I ended up buying some "So Delicious Coconut Milk"; still nothing I would drink or feed my family, but it seemed less evil.

So here is my question: What information/links can I provide to my family (mainly my uncle, who is a pro-athlete, carb loving, anti-fat machine) to educate them on the evils of soy? I truly didn't take much convincing, so this is one paleo battle that I don't really have arsenal for.

887a9c6c0ee243584548f02d45c439a6

(415)

on March 23, 2012
at 07:01 AM

I thought fermentation actually makes soy MORE goitrogenic (thyroid supressing).

B96259149a1f2ce5cdd21def4e0a0588

on March 23, 2012
at 05:56 AM

I have never really looked into Soy before... Dangerous? Can you buy 'heavily fermented soy products' then? I'm not a fan of milk and wanted to look into soy.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 22, 2012
at 09:58 PM

...not to mention soy in everything that is NOT "soy product" ie processed foods. When my brother spent a long time in Japan, he said that there is plenty of un-fermented soy eaten, but there is waaaaaaaay less processed food, so they are probably not anywhere NEAR the soy consumption in a NA diet.

B9637ddb9a9a5c6a7306e3c804fcd21d

(3217)

on March 22, 2012
at 09:11 PM

True, food industry has done what its best at; it took a traditional food out of its context, ignoring all the wisdom behind its special preparation, and twist it into mass produced junk. Soy milk, soy sausages, soy everything. A far cry from soy as natto, tempeh and fermented sauce. I love natto by the way! Cheeseslave's natto with homemade bbq sauce is awesome :-)

D4d83e7981ca572aaaa19fc620bb54f1

(467)

on March 22, 2012
at 08:58 PM

"I have no doubt that my veganism and heavy soy consumption directly correlate to my development of several endocrine disorders (including hypothyroidism)." Same here.

D4d83e7981ca572aaaa19fc620bb54f1

(467)

on March 22, 2012
at 08:56 PM

Great answer, a good summary of soy's toxicity.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on March 22, 2012
at 08:40 PM

It's coconut milk designed for a long shelf life. Get the one in the can and keep it in your fridge and see how quickly it spoils. You can keep So Delicious in your fridge for weeks and it won't spoil.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on May 31, 2011
at 11:13 PM

Thanks Alex! .......

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on May 31, 2011
at 08:38 PM

If you don't I will ....

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on May 31, 2011
at 08:37 PM

Alex, would you mind asking this as a question so we can all discuss it?

1f70da0b737e9c6e7679a248f4228a01

on August 04, 2010
at 03:48 AM

Just don't tell them the facts about unfermented soy while they're supping their soy-milky coffee, etc... Find your Kairos - http://www.thepaleogarden.com/2009/07/06/kairos-the-right-time-to-start-evolutionary-living/

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on August 04, 2010
at 02:24 AM

The one I buy has just coconut milk and water as the ingredients. Not sure what else to look for. I know the labeling laws are pretty loosy goosy though.

9dce97b4c4762a78a577a11585eef8f2

(1239)

on August 03, 2010
at 07:54 PM

Thanks, Eva! Great points!

9dce97b4c4762a78a577a11585eef8f2

(1239)

on August 03, 2010
at 07:53 PM

Thanks for the ideas, @GGP! That sounds like a great approach. @Superfox-awesome link! That is_exactly_what I was looking for! Also, thanks for helping me clarify my question.

9dce97b4c4762a78a577a11585eef8f2

(1239)

on August 03, 2010
at 07:52 PM

Yes, the milk is sweetened, and has fillers.

F80819fa564f4f7aeb6a8256479c63e9

(40)

on August 03, 2010
at 06:13 PM

I second Eva's comment.

2b8c327d1296a96ad64cdadc7dffa72d

on August 03, 2010
at 06:06 PM

I understand better now. Here is a podcast from Jimmy Moore (living la vida lo-carb) that you can listen with your uncle: http://bit.ly/dvgnfa, and have the lengthy discussions you both enjoy!

9f1c368e3e31781918961f5d137d7b2a

(190)

on August 03, 2010
at 05:16 PM

Even the plain version is very processed and contains fillers/gelling agents

1f70da0b737e9c6e7679a248f4228a01

on August 03, 2010
at 09:44 AM

I agree that it's not good ju-ju to spring a lecture on anyone, but I also completely empathise with the gut-sink that comes from being faced with buying loved ones food products that I know will hurt them. My rule of thumb is to let them know that I don't stock those products because I know they're not good for me (making it about *me*) and that I am happy to provide them with alternatives everyone can enjoy, but they're also welcome to buy their own if they really can't live without those foods. It's hard not to be judgmental, & there's always risk of offending, so it depends on priorities.

9dce97b4c4762a78a577a11585eef8f2

(1239)

on August 03, 2010
at 06:35 AM

And as far as "go get the soy milk", I am having a hard time buying something for people that I love when it damaged me so badly. I gave up soy because, after an elimination diet, I realized that it was the worst thing for my body. That's why I don't have an arsenal of info.

9dce97b4c4762a78a577a11585eef8f2

(1239)

on August 03, 2010
at 06:32 AM

I could have clarified, I suppose. My uncle and I have always had lengthy discussions about health, and for many years we were on the same page. Honestly, with two very small kids and a full plate, I would be happy to not have my choices challenged, but they will be. My dad seems pretty impressed at the changes going paleo has inspired in me and my family here, and I am positive that he has been talking with his brother about it. My plan is to cook paleo dishes I think they'll love. I will just be surprised if I don't get questioned.

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15 Answers

26
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on August 03, 2010
at 04:11 PM

Yeah, I'd say coconut milk is a healthy drink as long as it isn't sweetened. Blend in some berries for even more yummy taste.

If your relatives say soy is healthy, remind them that the Chinese only consumed heavily fermented soy. That's because raw soy is poisonous. The plant was originally only used to help rehab the crop lands via nitrogen fixing inbetween other good crops. It was only after the CHinese figured out how to ferment it that they considered it safe enough to eat. Soy is full of phytic acid,one of the highest concentrations of any grain, which is an antinutrient. Consumption of soy has been correlated with low sperm counts in men. Soybeans also contain potent enzyme inhibitors. These inhibitors block uptake of trypsin and other enzymes that the body needs for protein digestion. Cooking does not get rid of them. Soybeans also contain hemagglutinin, a clot promoting substance that causes red blood cells to clump together and prevent them from performing their functions. Also, experts have found that children who develop Type 1 diabetes are twice as likely to have been fed soy formulas as those fed all other foods. Ninety nine percent of all crop soy plants are genetically modified and are one of the most heavily pesticide treated crop plants

Processing into soy protein isolate ameliorates some of these problems but not all. PLus the processing methods leach aluminum into the final product and the high heat denatures much of the proteins, thereby making them unusable to the human body. And the spray drying process creates a large percentage of nitrites which are believed to be carcinogens.

Most important for people with thyroid problems, soy contains goitrogens which depress thyroid function!!

Remember that most of the hype surrounding the benefits of soy came from the soy industry themselves in order to sell their product. Soy is a cheap filler with minimal taste, just the kind of thing that big business likes to add to food products. But they don't really care about your health. -Eva

9dce97b4c4762a78a577a11585eef8f2

(1239)

on August 03, 2010
at 07:54 PM

Thanks, Eva! Great points!

1f70da0b737e9c6e7679a248f4228a01

on August 04, 2010
at 03:48 AM

Just don't tell them the facts about unfermented soy while they're supping their soy-milky coffee, etc... Find your Kairos - http://www.thepaleogarden.com/2009/07/06/kairos-the-right-time-to-start-evolutionary-living/

F80819fa564f4f7aeb6a8256479c63e9

(40)

on August 03, 2010
at 06:13 PM

I second Eva's comment.

B9637ddb9a9a5c6a7306e3c804fcd21d

(3217)

on March 22, 2012
at 09:11 PM

True, food industry has done what its best at; it took a traditional food out of its context, ignoring all the wisdom behind its special preparation, and twist it into mass produced junk. Soy milk, soy sausages, soy everything. A far cry from soy as natto, tempeh and fermented sauce. I love natto by the way! Cheeseslave's natto with homemade bbq sauce is awesome :-)

D4d83e7981ca572aaaa19fc620bb54f1

(467)

on March 22, 2012
at 08:56 PM

Great answer, a good summary of soy's toxicity.

887a9c6c0ee243584548f02d45c439a6

(415)

on March 23, 2012
at 07:01 AM

I thought fermentation actually makes soy MORE goitrogenic (thyroid supressing).

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 22, 2012
at 09:58 PM

...not to mention soy in everything that is NOT "soy product" ie processed foods. When my brother spent a long time in Japan, he said that there is plenty of un-fermented soy eaten, but there is waaaaaaaay less processed food, so they are probably not anywhere NEAR the soy consumption in a NA diet.

B96259149a1f2ce5cdd21def4e0a0588

on March 23, 2012
at 05:56 AM

I have never really looked into Soy before... Dangerous? Can you buy 'heavily fermented soy products' then? I'm not a fan of milk and wanted to look into soy.

6
2b8c327d1296a96ad64cdadc7dffa72d

on August 03, 2010
at 06:26 AM

My question to you is this - why do you want to change them? Have they asked you why you don't eat soy? do they WANT to change their dietary lifestyle?

I read that you mean well and want the best for them. Imagine that your uncle and grandmother show up at your house with an arsenal of "information" to help you understand that the consumption of meat is terrible. What would you do? How would you feel?

The internet is full of plenty of information about soy. If you want to be ready for a conversation, just use the information given you before you gave up soy. If what you got wasn't enough, try this http://www.westonaprice.org/soy-alert.html.

Then, go get the soy milk, and get other foods that you do eat. Prepare tasty, colorful and paleo meals for them if you wish. And if they don't like it, have other items available for them. They're coming to visit to see you - not to eat food they don't like or get a lecture.

Be the example, and be open for their questions, welcome their visit, enjoy their company, hope for an opening to talk about your dietary perspective. Just be careful not to judge their choices. They made them in a spirit of information, same as you, whether you were vegetarian or paleo.

9dce97b4c4762a78a577a11585eef8f2

(1239)

on August 03, 2010
at 06:35 AM

And as far as "go get the soy milk", I am having a hard time buying something for people that I love when it damaged me so badly. I gave up soy because, after an elimination diet, I realized that it was the worst thing for my body. That's why I don't have an arsenal of info.

9dce97b4c4762a78a577a11585eef8f2

(1239)

on August 03, 2010
at 06:32 AM

I could have clarified, I suppose. My uncle and I have always had lengthy discussions about health, and for many years we were on the same page. Honestly, with two very small kids and a full plate, I would be happy to not have my choices challenged, but they will be. My dad seems pretty impressed at the changes going paleo has inspired in me and my family here, and I am positive that he has been talking with his brother about it. My plan is to cook paleo dishes I think they'll love. I will just be surprised if I don't get questioned.

2b8c327d1296a96ad64cdadc7dffa72d

on August 03, 2010
at 06:06 PM

I understand better now. Here is a podcast from Jimmy Moore (living la vida lo-carb) that you can listen with your uncle: http://bit.ly/dvgnfa, and have the lengthy discussions you both enjoy!

1f70da0b737e9c6e7679a248f4228a01

on August 03, 2010
at 09:44 AM

I agree that it's not good ju-ju to spring a lecture on anyone, but I also completely empathise with the gut-sink that comes from being faced with buying loved ones food products that I know will hurt them. My rule of thumb is to let them know that I don't stock those products because I know they're not good for me (making it about *me*) and that I am happy to provide them with alternatives everyone can enjoy, but they're also welcome to buy their own if they really can't live without those foods. It's hard not to be judgmental, & there's always risk of offending, so it depends on priorities.

9dce97b4c4762a78a577a11585eef8f2

(1239)

on August 03, 2010
at 07:53 PM

Thanks for the ideas, @GGP! That sounds like a great approach. @Superfox-awesome link! That is_exactly_what I was looking for! Also, thanks for helping me clarify my question.

2
9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

on August 03, 2010
at 09:50 PM

I've written an article on the dangers of soy here: http://thepaleodiet.net/dangers-soy/

In a few words: goitrogenic, trypsin inhibition, lectins, phytates and estrogen raising factors.

The Weston A. Price also has a good listing: http://www.westonaprice.org/soy-alert.html

2
15d23403fb836f2b506f4f3ad2c03356

(1219)

on August 03, 2010
at 04:26 PM

Lots of omega 6. Estrogen mimic. Genetically engineered, with unpredictable results. Why would you need more info?

1
58c33847c5b7ecbf6572075df2cdd002

on March 22, 2012
at 08:46 PM

I've been avoiding soy for awhile now because of my Hashimoto's/Hypothyroid and the fact that I'm fat, which means I have plenty of stored estrogen (it was the first thing I cut) but if I ever wavered, what surely would have brought me back was watching Food, Inc. and seeing how Monsanto is putting farmers and seed cleaners out of business if they won't buy their Round-Up resistant GM soybean seeds. Virtually any soy product in the US is from Monsanto GM soybean seeds.

On that note, I'm glad I cut dairy, too, because I was hooked on Organic Valley and I recently read that Whole Foods, Organic Valley and another well known organic brand I can't remember are caving to Monsanto, saying we have to learn to live with genetically modified food. Uh, no thanks.

1
D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877

on August 04, 2010
at 08:39 PM

In fact this guy has a whole Paleo Series that is super accessible. He's a great writer and I have personally used his writing to explain everything to loads of people.

http://starboard.flowtheory.net/blog/tag/aboutpaleo/

1
D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877

on August 04, 2010
at 08:35 PM

Here is an excellent and super easy article on soy.... it's called Why Soy Sucks:-)

http://starboard.flowtheory.net/blog/2010/05/23/why-soy-sucks/

It's AWESOME and easy for non-paleo people to read and understand as well!

1
2fd2b2346da1afd4cea4de40ed8480a0

(106)

on August 03, 2010
at 06:08 AM

i would love some information as well because i have been trying to convince a friend of mine about why soy is dangerous, but she won't listen to my arguments. please everyone, help us?

0
D63a9a7789b948a1e88647f6c0e504ca

on March 23, 2012
at 03:24 AM

My parents are in their 80s, and eat worse crap than soymilk -- I'm talking fat-free half and half and endless cookies and cake. Are they receptive to my lectures on healthy eating? No. (They are retired physicians!) Or they might be politely interested but they're not going to buy different food. Frankly, if she's 85, just be glad your grandmother has an appetite and is having a decent calorie intake in any form, and enjoy her company. I would also get your uncle what he likes, and perhaps pursue the lecture via email after he leaves. When I have company I suck it up and buy what I know they like -- bread for my parents, Boca Burgers for my vegetarian friend. (All right, I won't buy fat-free half and half for anybody.) That's called being a gracious host, as opposed to a pain they won't want to visit again.

0
513f1b64e29690ea42d20eea9c7ce5a7

on March 22, 2012
at 07:52 PM

Not to be picky, but "I don't feed my family (including my two small boys) soy products". Aren't your two boys already part of the family? "Family" automatically includes them, no?

0
2c061f408f5d6076fdb6a40b8dad0889

on May 31, 2011
at 08:28 PM

What do you guys think about this blog post by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits. He just released it and it's been circulating all around twitter today...Basically he is saying that all the bad info on soy is a scam...(fyi he is a vegetarian and does mention his fear of saturated fats in the article, but he does make some interesting points....)

hah-forgot to include the link...

http://zenhabits.net/soy/

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on May 31, 2011
at 08:38 PM

If you don't I will ....

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on May 31, 2011
at 08:37 PM

Alex, would you mind asking this as a question so we can all discuss it?

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on May 31, 2011
at 11:13 PM

Thanks Alex! .......

0
310e26cb12035162254061386ddd65bd

on May 28, 2011
at 10:54 PM

Oh... This is too sad! I LOVE my soymilk.. So delicious = (

0
0632baf7e30bf762a01d2b766b2c02d1

on May 02, 2011
at 10:18 PM

I can understand how any processed food could become toxic, but Chinese and Japanese have been eating edamame (non GMO) for a very long time.

Are there any actual scientific studies on the compounds within edamame?

I'm really interested if a vegan/vegetarian can move towards a Paleo-ish diet using soy and other beans as protein sources. It seems like the vegetarian or plant-based diet movement is gaining momentum.

0
D3801ac5b0a47bb60f7c56a8392db1fe

(80)

on August 03, 2010
at 02:44 PM

"I ended up buying some "So Delicious Coconut Milk"; still nothing I would drink or feed my family, but it seemed less evil. "

What's your problem with So Delicious Coconut Milk? Are you referring to one of the sweetened versions?

9dce97b4c4762a78a577a11585eef8f2

(1239)

on August 03, 2010
at 07:52 PM

Yes, the milk is sweetened, and has fillers.

9f1c368e3e31781918961f5d137d7b2a

(190)

on August 03, 2010
at 05:16 PM

Even the plain version is very processed and contains fillers/gelling agents

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on August 04, 2010
at 02:24 AM

The one I buy has just coconut milk and water as the ingredients. Not sure what else to look for. I know the labeling laws are pretty loosy goosy though.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on March 22, 2012
at 08:40 PM

It's coconut milk designed for a long shelf life. Get the one in the can and keep it in your fridge and see how quickly it spoils. You can keep So Delicious in your fridge for weeks and it won't spoil.

0
03aeff8d87a3b53a449b5b8e9158da98

(3268)

on August 03, 2010
at 01:27 PM

If your uncle is an athlete, maybe he would listen to Charles Poliquin, one of the most successful strength and conditioning coaches in the world:

http://www.charlespoliquin.com/ArticlesMultimedia/Articles/Article.aspx?ID=32

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