The benefits of Soy, we have been told are monumental. All soy products have been FDA approved for years, and I for one have been using soymilk off and on for years. When the latest bone density test revealed no significant increase in bone mass, I did some research on my own.

To my surprise I discovered some studies that claim soy does not lower cholesterol levels, preserve/increase bone mass, decrease menopause systems, or ward off kidney disease.

And the claims that soy carotenoids, namely lycopene, lutein, zeaxantin, and alpha- and beta-carotene lower the risk of cancer, protect against macular degeneration and cataracts, and prevent heart disease respectively? You guessed it. According to some scientists, these claims are all false.

In order to make it attractive to the North American consumer, soy is marketed in a variety of tasty, easy to use products. These include: tofu, soy milk, soy cheese, soy nuts, soy yogurt and soy burgers. Every year more goodies are added, like soy energy bars, pasta, powder for smoothies, dips and soups, soy pizza, soy crackers, soy chips, soy hot dogs, as well as tempeh, miso, tamari soy sauce, edamame (whole soybeans).

Apparently, contrary to popular belief, the Chinese diet over the centuries never included unfermented soybeans. They use the fermented variety, and then only in condiments rather than as whole foods.

Soy products, as we know them, are produced and marketed in the West. Instead of employing the natural fermentation process, the soy flour is defatted and then forced through an extruder in very high heat and pressure. This is done to soften the texture of the natural soybean and make it more palatable. The resulting soy protein isolate (SPI) is then mixed with a caustic alkaline solution in order to remove the fiber and subsequently washed in an acid solution, which removes the protein!

The North American soy products are highly refined and laden with sugar/sugar substitutes, salt, artificial flavorings, colors, and monosodium glutamate (MSG). Although the resulting “health food” tastes, feels and looks better, it’s far from healthy.

Unfermented soy products, rather than improve health, can rob the body of important minerals and depress the thyroid gland. Naturally fermented soy products, on the other hand, like tofu, miso, and tempeh are far more nutritional. But even these, some researchers say, should be combined with mineral-rich sea vegetables such as kombu and nori (which I personally am not familiar with) and animal protein, preferably fish.

Soy Scientists, after years of researching soy protein in animal feeds, discovered a high content of antinutrients, or phytates, and digestive enzyme inhibitors.

Soy contains phytoestrogens or isoflavones, which can adversely affect young boys and predispose girls to breast cancer, early puberty and infertility. This phytic acid in soy cannot be neutralized by ordinary preparation methods such as soaking, sprouting and long, slow cooking.

Children and postmenopausal women are especially vulnerable to these toxins. A build-up of these poisons have caused fatal attacks in children who had no adverse reaction to them right up to the moment of death. Poor growth, digestive disorders attention-deficit disorders, dyslexia, and other learning problems in children have been linked to soy in their food and/or their mothers’ diet during pregnancy.

Due to its phytoestrogen content, soy was long assumed to be a good estrogen replacement therapy and osteoporosis inhibitor for postmenopausal women. This was disproved in1997 by Divi, Chang and Doerge, scientists at the National Center for Toxicological Research. They found that these phyto acids actually hinder the absorption of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc, and suppress thyroid.functions. The Vitamin B12 content in soy is not only indigestible, but it in fact increases the body's need for B12!

I don’t know about you, but I got my eyes wide open after discovering all this bad news. O.K. maybe there needs to be more research done, and possibly there are some benefits for those who are between childhood and middle age. It’s important to be up-to-date on the latest research on nutrition, especially the way everything is mass produced these days and made to taste good at the expense of being good for you.

As is the case with salt being present in most foods we eat, over 60% of all products on your grocery shelf already are laced with soy!

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