Every year, our supermarket shelves are inundated with new man-made concoctions. From cereals to crackers, from baby formula to granola bars. What do this items have in common? If you have a degree in chemistry, you will be able to read the labels, and find that one of the common ingredients in a variety of Franken-foods is soy. Some of the names under which soy may be listed are: soy albumin, soy fiber, soy flour, soy grits, soy milk, soy nuts, soy sprouts, soya, soybean (curd, granules), soybean butter, soy protein (concentrate, isolate) soy sauce, tamari, textured vegetable protein (TVP), tofu.
Soy protein may also found in many additives: hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), flavoring (including natural and artificial), canned chicken broth, vegetable broth, gum, and starch, bouillon cubes (beef, chicken, vegetable, etc.). I believe that sprouted soy products (miso, natto, tempeh), sprouted in the traditional manner, and used as condiments, as the Asian populations do, can be a healthy component of our diet.
Asians have discovered over 3000 years ago that soaking, fermenting and sprouting soybeans would make them more digestible. Let’s see why, soy as it comes in nature is not an health-promoting food for humans and animals alike.
- Phytic acid that prevents the absorption of vitamins and minerals, mainly iron, calcium and zinc
- Enzyme inhibitors that prevent the absorption of vitamin A and vitamin D
- Protease inhibitors (including trypsin and papain inhibitors). These impair the digestive enzymes necessary to metabolize protein. The results are gastric distress, poor protein digestion (which can lead to leaky gut), overworked pancreas, and malnutrition
- Saponins bind and impair bile function and can result in damage to the intestinal lining
- Goitrogens that suppress thyroid function by interfering with iodine uptake
- Lectins, toxic protein compounds found in most foods, but in heavy amounts in seeds, grains and legumes. According to Dr Kaayla Daniel, large aounts of lectins can damage the heart, kidneys and liver, lower blood clotting ability, destroy the lining of the intestines, and inhibit cell division. Cooking neutralizes lectins to some extent
- Oxalates, compounds that impair calcium absorption and are associated with kidney stone formation
- Isoflavones, plant compounds which act like estrogen in the body and effect the reproductive and nervous system
Soy is one of the most allergenic foods. Allergens, not only are a digestion nightmare, but also weaken the immune system and cause chronic inflammation. Hydrolyzed soy protein, which is the base of so many mock meat products and soy protein powders, has a few more negative things added to it. While containing all the antinutrients listed above, in order to obtain this foodstuff, the soy beans are subject to an extensive production methods. This description is excerpted from the FAO document is titled
“Technology of Production of Edible Flours and Protein Products from Soybeans”.
“Using defatted soy flour or flakes as the starting material, the protein is first solubilized in water.
The conventional procedure for ISP production is based on protein solubilization at neutral or slightly alkaline pH, and precipitation by acidification to the isoelectric region, near pH 4.5. The resulting product is “isoelectric ISP”. It has low solubility in water and limited functional activity. Different “proteinates” can be produced by resuspending isoelectric ISP in water, neutralizing with different bases and spray-drying the resulting solution or suspension. According to the base used for neutralization sodium, potassium, ammonium or calcium “proteinates” are produced. The first three are highly soluble in water, producing solutions with very high viscosities, foaming, emulsification and gel forming properties. Calcium proteinate has low solubility. Low-solubility (inert) ISP’s are used where the formulation calls for a high level of protein incorporation without excessive viscosity of other functional contributions.
Since spray-drying is the common drying method in the production of ISP, the primary physical form of ISP in commerce, is that of fine powders.”
This is certainly not a nutrient dense, whole food.
Do you still want to eat it?
For further reference please check:
The Whole Soy Story, Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, CCN
The Hidden Dangers of Soy, Dianne Gregg
Excitotoxins – The Taste that Kills, Russell L. Blaylock, MD