Autoimmune diseases


Soy Foods

Many people, mainly vegetarians are dependant on soy foods for their daily  proteins. The reason for this being that soy protein as a health food has been aggressively promoted in America, but is soy foods be  really an alternate source of protein is a topic that has caused some controversy in recent times. Some proponents of soy foods  claim that soy proteins can help reduce menopausal symptoms and  the risk of breast cancer.

But independent researches are proving that there are certain side effects of soy protein and including it in your daily diet can lead to numerous disorders like infertility, infantile leukemia, reproductive disorders and certain kinds of cancers. Soy protein , which is one of the widely used nutritional supplements can also be dangerous to the body if consumed in excess amounts.

Soy Protein Dangers

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America estimates that soy protein is one of the nine most common allergens for food allergy patients. Let us take a look at some of constituents of soy that make it dangerous to be included in the daily diet.

Soy foods are high in phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are plant based compounds that mimic the estrogen, the hormone produced in the human body. Studies have found that higher levels of estrogen can lead to conditions like endometriosis, uterine fibroids and infertility. Infants who are fed on soy formula are also at a risk of being obese. Phytoestrogens have been held responsible for causing hormonal imbalance in young girls causing premature puberty.

Soy is rich in goitrogen, substances which prevent the thyroid from getting its necessary amount of iodine. When eaten in excess, these can cause goiter, apart from causing other problems like fatigue, nausea. Goitrogen also causes mood swings and effects your ability to remember things.

You must have noticed that it is generally advised to soak all grains, seeds, nuts and legumes before they are put to consumption. The reason for this is that all of these contain phytates, which blocks the absorption of minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc etc. which are extremely essential for the body. Soy foods have very high levels of phytates, so soaking it overnight like other grains doesn't help in getting rid of phytates.

Trypsin inhibitors
Trypsin is an enzyme which helps the body to digest proteins. Trypsin inhibitors are those substances which interfere with the functioning of trypsin and reduce its efficiency. Soy foods are rich in trypsin inhibitors and consuming them in excess can cause diarrhea, cramps and bleeding.

These were some of the soy protein dangers. One common question that most Americans ask when told about the dangers of soy protein is that Asians, particularly Japanese and Chinese eat soy everyday, but still they are slender and healthy? The truth is that Asians do not consider soy as an alternate to the natural sources of protein and do not see it as a 'health food'. They consume soy products in very limited amounts. For example, Japanese and Chinese, on an average consume about two teaspoonfuls of soy foods and it is highly fermented. As mentioned before, Asians view soy as a condiment and not as a health food.

There are some ways in which you can limit the side effects of soy proteins. Some of these are

  • Soy should only be consumed when it is fermented, like tempeh, miso, natto.
  • People with thyroid problem should stay away from soy products.
  • Generally modified soy should be avoided as it contains certain toxins. Organic soy products are always a better option.
In the end, we woulIn the end, we would like to advise you that soy should be consumed in limited quantities. There are other sources of proteins like fish, eggs, meat and vegetarians can include legumes, nuts, seeds and other cereals in their daily diet to get the required amounts. We hope this article would have helped you know some of the soy protein dangers. Awareness about what you eat can go a long way in ensuring a healthy society.

Published: 4/1/2011

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