Soy is a very popular choice for protein, dairy substitutes, and meat substitutes. Over 270 million tons of soy was consumed worldwide in 2007, compared to the 30 million tons consumed in 1965. Americans are involved in a soybean love affair; we consumed 45 million tons in 2010. Just look on any grocer’s shelves and you will find soy protein as the chief ingredient in a variety of meat and diary substitutes. Soy byproducts are now widely used in processed foods like cereals, processed meats, flour and pastas under a names such as hydrolysed vegetable protein, soy protein isolate, protein concentrate, textured vegetable protein and lecithin. For a time, soy could do no wrong and was heralded by the medical community for its effectiveness in combating cancer, heart disease and a host of other health conditions.
However, recent reports have revealed that too much ingestion of soy can actually have negative effects on your health. Soybeans contain large amounts of phytoestrogens and goitrogenics. Phytoestrogen is a plant-based estrogen that mimics estrogen found naturally within our bodies; too much of it has been connected to male infertility and impotence. Goitrogenics are thyroid suppressors that block the natural uptake of iodine that is required to keep the thyroid in balance. They are counted as a factor in autoimmune thyroid disease. Processing soybeans into edible protein results in the formulation of the toxic and carcinogenic substances MSG and nitrosamines. Overabundance of soy in your body has also been linked to vitamin B12 and D depletion, prostate and breast cancer, and autoimmune thyroid disease.
Removing all soy from your diet isn’t necessary but making a concerted effort to eat less soy and to always choose organic soy-based products is. Especially since over 80% of all soybeans grown are genetically modified. The age-old paradigm holds true: too much of anything, even if it’s a good thing, isn’t good for you.