The dangers of soy

Soy seems to be in everything you consume these days, from bread to supplements to sauces. But is soy really a miracle food, or could it be dangerous to your health?

YOURLifeChoices member Marg has some concerns about soy, and she has asked Rachel to look into the possible health dangers for her.

I’m trying to find out why soy is used in so many manufactured products. It is in our bread, our margarine, our chocolate. It’s in everything. Whilst in one respect soy may be good for one, and a small amount may cause us no harm, with it being in so much and people today suffering so many allergies, I wonder. Maybe you could look into it for me? Thank you, Marg

Soy has been marketed as a miracle food for the last 40 years, so whenever a scientist speaks out against it this causes conflict. Dr Joseph Mercola is a cutting edge scientist who actively speaks out against soy. It’s important to note that his work is controversial, but he is immensely popular with many people in the health and fitness industry, and he runs the world’s most popular natural health site.

Mercola published an article in the Huffington Post entitled The health dangers of soy last month, and he says that studies have linked soy to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility, and possibly even cancer and heart disease.

Apart from the health dangers of soy itself, a lot of the soy currently being grown is genetically modified, and the crops are sprayed with dangerous pesticides, both of which carry health risks.

Mercola explains in his article that not all soy is dangerous. Traditionally fermented soy has a lot of health benefits, but most westerners consume unfermented soy (often without knowing). The fermentation process destroys the dangerous parts of the soy bean, so he suggests eating organically grown, non-genetically modified soy which has been traditionally fermented. This includes miso (a traditional Japanese seasoning, often made into soup), tempeh (a firm, tofu-like food), natto (whole soybeans in a sticky sauce) and traditionally fermented soy sauce.

Soy is in many commercial products as it is a good marketing tool—people associate soy with healthy food—but this does not necessarily mean it is good for you. If you are concerned about the soy you are eating, I would suggest visiting Dr Joseph Mercola’s website and reading more about the studies he has conducted. 


    To make a comment, please register or login
    go veg!
    28th Sep 2012
    This seems an unbalanced article as it quotes only one source. Because his site is the most popular doesn't mean that it is the most accurate. I use soy products so I don't contribute to the misery for animals associated with the dairy industry.

    28th Sep 2012
    I use soy products because I'm lactose intolerant; dairy products either block my sinuses or give me a runny nose, depending on what the product is. I'm not going to stop using soy products because, among other reasons, tomorrow 'they' may say it's ok after all.
    29th Sep 2012
    Studies have also linked dairy and other milk products to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility, diabetes, Alzheimer, and possibly even cancer and heart disease. Certainly the hormones in milk are not healthy, in particular when you are a male, as most of these hormones are pregnant ladies (cows) hormones, and there is no place for those in the human body.
    29th Sep 2012
    "Studies have suggested that bovine serum albumin is the milk protein responsible for the onset of diabetes... Patients with insulin- dependent diabetes mellitus produce antibodies to cow milk proteins that participate in the development of islet dysfunction... Taken as a whole, our findings suggest that an active response in patients with IDDM (to the bovine protein) is a feature of the autoimmune response."
    New England Journal of Medicine, July 30, 1992

    "IGF-I dairy growth hormone produces a 10-fold increase in RNA levels of cancer cells. IGF-I appears to be a critical component in cellular proliferation."
    X.S. Li, Exp-Cell-Res., March, 1994, 211(1)

    "At least 50% of all children in the United States are allergic to cow's milk, many undiagnosed. Dairy products are the leading cause of food allergy, often revealed by diarrhea, constipation, and fatigue. Many cases of asthma and sinus infections are reported to be relieved and even eliminated by cutting out dairy."
    Natural Health, July, 1994, Nathaniel Mead, MD

    "Mycobacterium paratuberculosis is capable of surviving commercial pasteurization, when there are more than 10 bacteria per millilitre in raw milk."
    N. Sung, Applied and Environmental Microbiology: 64(3), Mar 1998.

    "Milk fat has been identified as a cholesterol-elevating fat because it contains cholesterol and is primarily saturated."
    Journal of Dairy Science 1991;74 (11)

    "More patients who had suffered a myocardial infarction had elevated levels of antibodies against milk proteins than was found in a comparable group of patients without coronary heart disease."
    Davies, Antibodies and Myocardial Infarction, The Lancet, ii: 205-207, 1980
    30th Sep 2012
    While it might be prudent to be cautious where food is concerned I can not believe a company such as Sanitarium,( would jeopardise it's good name by using soy in many of it's products without professional, skilled, research. So if you are in doubt about soy products use the internet to get the good oil. Kenlow.
    17th May 2013
    Patients with insulin- reliant diabetes produce antibodies to cow milk products necessary protein that get involved in the development of islet malfunction...

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