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Soy: It’ More Than Just a Hormone Issue

Soy: It’ More Than Just a Hormone Issue

Soy is circulating throughout the health word being largely proclaimed as a health food by some a food to be avoided at large( and in totality) by many. This begs the question what is the deal with soy, and should I be consuming it? I will dive into the research I’ve come across on Soy. As a further disclaimer, I will add that soy was largely apart of my regular dietary routine  in my early days of converting to a plant based lifestyle. I found all the replicas of my “favorite” non plant based foods with their soy replicas in grocery stores and restaurants.  As an early vegan and convert to a whole food plant based lifestyle I found soy to be a great option. Alternatively, as I shift my focus from just “ Vegan food” To a highly  nutritional, optimal, and ethical way of plant based eating my thoughts on the food have changed. Here’s the research and why.

GMO VS NON GMO

I would not recommend the consumption of GMOs and certainly not GMO  soy. There is something to be said about the mass amounts of GMO soy that has hits shelves and the GMO Soy fed to livestock. About 80-90 percent of Soy is genetically modified and it is therefore highly  likely that some of this ends up on our tables. Furthermore, diving deeper into the GMO soy and livestock situation, I would argue of that that 80-90 percent of GMO soy manufactured it is highly unlikely that all 80-90 percent  is for livestock alone,  in fact it ends up as filler food or as a main course on our tables. There is much to say about GMOS, and I will save that for another post. Today we will look at GMO soy. On its own, soy raises many problems, but as a GMO not only does it have toxic effect on your body, research done with GMOS say it could pose long term effects . GMOs also leads alternations on your hormones.  According to a study done with GMO corn by Séralini, G.-E., “ …in females the androgen/estrogen balance in serum was modified by genetically Modified maize and Roundup treatments (at least 95% confidence level, Fig. 5B), and for male animals at the highest Roundup-treatment dose, levels of estrogens were more than doubled…”(Séralini, G.-E., et al. Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize. Foodity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize. Food Chem. Toxicol. (2012), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2012.08.005)

With 80-90 percent of the soy being genetically modified there is a fair chance you’ve had a run in With GMO soys- be it a restaurant, your kitchen table, or own processed/ non processed food at the grocery store: Vegan and non vegan sources.  SO GMO Soy does effect your hormones, rationally speaking. What about Non GMO Soy?

Soy Does effect your Hormones; Just not in the way you think it does.

In terms of the non GMO soy, there is a lack of research on estrogen like compounds on your estrogen levels. It is true plant compounds of estrogen that are found in Soy called  isoflavone . Like soy, isoflavones, come with rewards and costs. On one hand they  mimic estrogen and for  menopause and pre menopausal women this is a very good thing. Research has also shown an effect on the bones and the brain. On the flip side,  isoflavones mimic estrogen( this is where things get complicated) as your receptors try to read the mimicked compounds. While the  estrogen indicators protect the bone it  also builds up  compounds called osteoblasts. These same compounds actually have the reverse effect on cells, similar to those in the breast. They build up and can cause cell division and can increase our risk of cancer at large.

There is soy propaganda floating around in an effort not to destroy most dairy and meat industries

There are many Soys myths floating around as well as much backed anti Soy research floating around as well.  Among these rumors? Are the testosterone affects. Many have been disproven. But does this knock all the research on hormones? Not quite. Do your research and dive into where the studies you’re using are being funded. Most true studies come with positive and negative reasoning so be sure to use your one digression with any information you are being given and just remember  anti soy rhetoric is not anti Vegan rhetoric.

 Positive aspects to soy

In addition to the double ended sword of isoflavones, soy does pose some potential benefits. Fermented soy  contain less goitrogens and  nutritive inhibitors, making it averagely ok to consume. It also yields a high protein content which makes it appealing to the plant based community and nutrition experts.

Soy is largely Processed

I am willing to bet soy and/or  soy like substances ( tapioca starch) are widely found in any if not all the processed foods you consume ( if you consume processed foods.) It used as a filler in many vegan and non vegan substances and hidden under different names.  Most of these products are GMO and are hiding in the form of toxins. Again, use your digression but I personally am not a taker for these toxins, GMOS, and ill effects on my health. I leave GMO Soy out of my diet. 

Soy  is among the top food allergens 

Beans, in general are inflammatory. I wouldn’t pose this as a reason to ditch beans or lectin like food sources altogether. Although, with the rise of gut complications and food allergens from toxins, GMOS, and chronic illness this may be something to be wary of. Soy (among peanuts and wheat) are among one of the top food allergens and sensitives.  Many are lucky to be tested for their allergies and sensitives, but I would argue the majority of this planet does not have this privilege. When it comes to functional wellness practices, avoiding foods known to trigger many is a good rule fo thumb, especially when tryin to limit to harsh affects food  allergies can have on your track and body overall.  I would also argue that it may be possible that when first converting to a vegan diet you see some changes in your bowel movements. ( ( Mainly a cause of increased Fiber  ). Maybe this is normal OR maybe they are uncomfortable. If this were me, I would challenge but to look at your portion sources,  take a LOW FODMAP approach, and  limit your bean consumption ( see my protein replacements below). Beans among soy could  trigger your body and in turn may even result in uncomfortable situation in your body  and digestion. I can assure you the are soy and bean alternatives can suit your needs and your diet . This can be done via plant based and vegan  living.

Soy is largely used as a filler in many vegan and non vegan foods. 

In most American Grocery stores, this is the case. Period.

 There are better alternatives to Plant Based Protein

Hemp!! ( and yes hemp tofu actually exists !!!)

Pea protein(Not as  allergen friendly but a great option )Nut and Seeds (Flax is great too!)

Oats( hello oat milk!)

With the opportunity for so many alternatives to protein other than soy, In my option the benefits do not outweigh the negative affects soy can have on your health. 

Final Note 

With anything there comes the factor of moderation and GMOs. Non GMO soy in my lifestyle is treated like sugar and gluten: Limited and consumed one are occasional and always Non GMO.I’ll let you use your digression when it comes to soy consumption. My based model  when it comes to soy, sugar, oil, and things of this nature is : Everything in moderation. In my option, this comes with a cost, even when choosing the Non GMO options.  I would not recommend the consumption of GMO soy  and there is something to be said about the mass amounts of GMO soy that has hits shelves and the cost GMOS have on your hormones. In terms of the non GMO soy, there is a lack of research on estrogen like compounds on your estrogen levels. With that being said, In my option, the negative factors with even NON GMO soy do not outweigh the benefits. There are many soy myths floating around, but when it comes to soy its more than just the estrogen.  Do your research, dig into the data, and ask yourself: Are there better alternatives to soy for my plant based diet? 

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