Soy myths and misinformation
Nutritional benefits of soy
Soy beans are known for their nutritional benefits, especially protein content. They are one of the few plant based foods to contain all of the essential amino acids. They also contain several vitamins and minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, and vitamins B and C. They are also rich in fiber.
So why does soy get such a bad reputation? Let's take a look at a few of the myths surrounding soy.
All soy is GMO
Unfortunately much of the soy produced in the US is GMO, about 80%. But much of the GMO soy is used for animal feed. Soy foods like soy milk, tofu and edamame are available as non GMO and these are clearly labeled as non-GMO.
A bigger concern might be the use of GMO soy as animal feed. This is not as easily identified, which is why consuming grass fed meat is important.
Soy contains estrogen
Plant food does not contain estrogen. Soy contains phytoestrogen which is a plant compound that is similar to estrogen that mimics estrogen.
Soy causes cancer
This myth comes from the misconception that soy contains estrogen. Excess estrogen has been associated with different types of cancer especially breast cancer. Rember soy does not contain estrogen, but phytoestrogens. The phytoestrogen in soy is isoflavones. In fact, consumption of isoflavones seems to be associated with lower rates of breast cancer.
Soy causes man boobs (moobs)
This myth also comes from the misconception that phytoestrogens act the same way in the body as estrogens. Man boobs are caused by an imbalance in estrogen and testosterone levels, but phytoestrogens don't affect the amount of circulating hormones in the body.
Soy causes thyroid disorders
Soy, if consumed in large quantities, can affect the absorption of synthetic hormones used to treat hypothyroidism. If you are on these medications you should not consume soy at the same time as your medication.
But for healthy women, moderate soy consumption does not contribute to developing hypothyroidism.
Which are the best soy foods to consume
The best soy foods are the foods which come from whole soy beans or in whole food form. Edename, temple and miso are good choices for soy foods. Tofu is more processed, but still a good choice. Soy milk is often used to replace dairy, but make sure you choose unsweetened soy milk if you are using it.
Foods that contain TVP, or fake meats made from soy may not be the best choices. These foods are more like to be made from GMO soy and are more processed and are higher in fat. It is also easier to overconsume soy when choosing foods like these.
I can help
Deciding if soy is right for your diet is a complicated decision. I can help you determine if you should add soy and what types of soy foods are best for your diet. To find out more, book a free nutrition assessment.