soy revealed

For all those who have swallowed the marketing ploy that soy protein is a healthful substitute for meat. Below is an excerpt from an article on soy…and here’s the link to the entire article. It’s long, but an important read:

Cinderella’s Dark Side
The propaganda that has created the soy sales miracle is all the more remarkable because, only a few decades ago, the soybean was considered unfit to eat – even in Asia. During the Chou Dynasty (1134-246 BC) the soybean was designated one of the five sacred grains, along with barley, wheat, millet and rice. However, the pictograph for the soybean, which dates from earlier times, indicates that it was not first used as a food; for whereas the pictographs for the other four grains show the seed and stem structure of the plant, the pictograph for the soybean emphasizes the root structure. Agricultural literature of the period speaks frequently of the soybean and its use in crop rotation. Apparently the soy plant was initially used as a method of fixing nitrogen.13

The soybean did not serve as a food until the discovery of fermentation techniques, some time during the Chou Dynasty. The first soy foods were fermented products like tempeh, natto, miso and soy sauce. At a later date, possibly in the 2nd century BC, Chinese scientists discovered that a purée of cooked soybeans could be precipitated with calcium sulfate or magnesium sulfate (plaster of Paris or Epsom salts) to make a smooth, pale curd – tofu or bean curd. The use of fermented and precipitated soy products soon spread to other parts of the Orient, notably Japan and Indonesia. The Chinese did not eat unfermented soybeans as they did other legumes such as lentils because the soybean contains large quantities of natural toxins or “antinutrients”. First among them are potent enzyme inhibitors that block the action of trypsin and other enzymes needed for protein digestion. These inhibitors are large, tightly folded proteins that are not completely deactivated during ordinary cooking. They can produce serious gastric distress, reduced protein digestion and chronic deficiencies in amino acid uptake. In test animals, diets high in trypsin inhibitors cause enlargement and pathological conditions of the pancreas, including cancer. 14

Soybeans also contain haemagglutinin, a clot-promoting substance that causes red blood cells to clump together.

Trypsin inhibitors and haemagglutinin are growth inhibitors. Weanling rats fed soy containing these antinutrients fail to grow normally. Growth-depressant compounds are deactivated during the process of fermentation, so once the Chinese discovered how to ferment the soybean, they began to incorporate soy foods into their diets. In precipitated products, enzyme inhibitors concentrate in the soaking liquid rather than in the curd. Thus, in tofu and bean curd, growth depressants are reduced in quantity but not completely eliminated.

Soy also contains goitrogens – substances that depress thyroid function.

Soybeans are high in phytic acid, present in the bran or hulls of all seeds. It’s a substance that can block the uptake of essential minerals – calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc – in the intestinal tract. Although not a household word, phytic acid has been extensively studied; there are literally hundreds of articles on the effects of phytic acid in the current scientific literature. Scientists are in general agreement that grain- and legume-based diets high in phytates contribute to widespread mineral deficiencies in third world countries.15 Analysis shows that calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc are present in the plant foods eaten in these areas, but the high phytate content of soy- and grain-based diets prevents their absorption.

The soybean has one of the highest phytate levels of any grain or legume that has been studied,16 and the phytates in soy are highly resistant to normal phytate-reducing techniques such as long, slow cooking.17 Only a long period of fermentation will significantly reduce the phytate content of soybeans. When precipitated soy products like tofu are consumed with meat, the mineral-blocking effects of the phytates are reduced. 18 The Japanese traditionally eat a small amount of tofu or miso as part of a mineral-rich fish broth, followed by a serving of meat or fish.

Vegetarians who consume tofu and bean curd as a substitute for meat and dairy products risk severe mineral deficiencies. The results of calcium, magnesium and iron deficiency are well known; those of zinc are less so.

Zinc is called the intelligence mineral because it is needed for optimal development and functioning of the brain and nervous system. It plays a role in protein synthesis and collagen formation; it is involved in the blood-sugar control mechanism and thus protects against diabetes; it is needed for a healthy reproductive system. Zinc is a key component in numerous vital enzymes and plays a role in the immune system. Phytates found in soy products interfere with zinc absorption more completely than with other minerals.19 Zinc deficiency can cause a “spacey” feeling that some vegetarians may mistake for the “high” of spiritual enlightenment.

4 thoughts on “soy revealed

    1. lsaboe says:

      i like some soy products as well. but after reading this and other research on it, i will be limiting my soy to the fermented types (miso, tamari sauce). from everything i’ve read, it appears that the problem with soy is when it’s used as a main source of protein or with all the super processed foods containing soy. i eat very little of it in that form, preferring beans, rice, dairy and nourishing herbal infusions as sources of protein, vitamins and minerals.
      what i see as a bigger problem in all this is big agribiz fudging and falsifying data and then marketing it to us as a means of turning farming into a huge monoculture consisting of patented, genetically modified corn and soy. monsanto, cargill, adm, tyson, etc. agenda in all this is to basically remove the local, organic, biodynamic farmers from the agricultural landscape.
      not sure what is insulting re. zinc deficiency, but those aren’t my words–hope you didn’t think they were.

      1. elainecorvidae says:

        No, I know it was an article, but seriously, suggesting that vegetarians are spacey and looking for the high of spiritual enlightenment? It’s one of those things like, we’re women, so we get that thrill when we see a shoe sale add.

      2. lsaboe says:

        oh, I understand now what you meant. Sally Falon (the article’s author) does get a bit annoying with some of her “assumptions” as far as vegetarianism goes, and I don’t agree with all her ideas on nutrition (me being a vegetarian afterall). I’ve been looking hard into the state of agriculture, it’s impact on our health as well as the earth’s and was focusing mostly on that.
        and um…shoe sales? I usually wait til the soles fall off my sneakers. I must not be a *real* woman. 😉

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