Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Dangers of Soy

There are mixed messages about soy. One side says soy is great for your health while the other side says it's overrated and can be very dangerous, especially when processed to the extreme degree that the Western world has processed it. There is now scientific evidence to show that soy can lead to a variety of problems including improper thyroid function, fertility problems, breast cancer and a new study even linking soy to the growing rate of leukemia in children. Soy is high in estrogen, a hormone, which can explain why it is so harmful, especially in kids.

Children are starting puberty earlier and earlier. I don't need research to tell me that (though I've read plenty). I see it for myself all the time. Nine and ten year old girls are developing already, looking years older than they really are. What else could be the cause of this other than an excess amount of hormones in their diets?

In his very telling article Soy is making kids 'gay,' Jim Rutz writes of even more problems with soy, and with the way it is consumed in our country. Another incredible article from Mothering.com reveals the not-so-healthy underbelly of the soy industry, and how we as consumers have been misled. It also addresses the common arguments for soy such as: "Asian cultures have been eating soy for centuries and they are healthy."

I used to love soy and believed it was good for me. For a time, I drank soy milk everyday and enjoyed soy protein bars often. It's interesting to me, looking back, that that was also the time I wanted to get pregnant with my first baby. I couldn't figure out why it was taking so long to get pregnant! During that same time I learned that I was dealing with an issue involving my thyroid. It was then that I began researching about thyroid problems, and discovered that soy consumption can be responsible for those issues. Reading labels on food items showed me that soy is in so many things. Soy protein isolate is one of the most common ingredients in so-called "healthy" American snacks.

All soy is not equal. In her book Natural Prescriptions for Common Ailments, Dr. Carolyn Dean explains that in Asia, soy is used in the fermented state (tempeh, miso, soy sauce). "In the West," she states, "it is not fermented soy that is being heavily advertised and marketed. Soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein are used in protein powders and meat substitutes. But the extensive processing to reach a final product makes it not only toxic, but the antinutrients are preserved!" (p. 184) Dean goes on to tell of a group of scientists who are lobbying to have soy formula removed from the market because they are so concerned about soy's effects on children.

Our family doctor is very supportive of natural living and a healthy diet, but she has told me quite plainly that I should not give my children soy milk as an alternative to dairy. She suggested rice milk or almond milk, and warned that the latest medical research continues to show that soy milk is not a good alternative.

The Mothering.com article I linked to above concludes with this:

The bottom line is that the safety of soy foods has yet to be proven, and that human beings have become guinea pigs in what Daniel M. Sheehan, formerly senior toxicologist with the FDA's National Center for Toxicological Research, has called a "large, uncontrolled and basically unmonitored human experiment."

We don't fully understand soy's hormonal power. With the mountains of evidence already existing about its dangers, I certainly don't want my children to be a part of that "human experiment."


chewymama said...

hi! Im so glad we have found one another's blogs :)

my sons are both allergic to soy and im SO glad actually. I was so shocked to learn that it is literally in almost-everything - bread, crackers, anything packaged. And like you said, its not a healthy form like what Asians use so its not comparable.

Tamari is a great choice - its wheat-free soy-sauce. My kids can handle it just fine! its a delicious marinade.

great post - thanks!

CB said...

Nice job explaining soy. I first heard about this as it related to baby formula.

I asked our pediatrician about early puberty, and she said that it is definitely environmentally caused, though she couldn't say from what. I asked about hormones in our dairy and meats, and she said, "quite possibly."

We don't drink soy milk or eat soy products (even those good ones you mentioned, but that's just because we've never tried them), but I haven't avoided it in packaged products. I'll have to take a look at what we buy and see what it is really in!

CB said...

I read one of the articles you linked to ... so soy sauce is fine!? And not tofu ...

this gets confusing!

Kid Feed Mommy said...

The "good" soy products are the fermented ones. Just make sure they're fermented and you should be okay. Soy sauce is fermented.

Faith said...

the protein bars i have been eating are full of soy! i am so bummed...do you have any suggestions for healthy snack bars?

Kid Feed Mommy said...

You could try Organic Food Bars or Raw Revolution bars. I have enjoyed both of those!