Soy is a controversial food product on the market today. It is rumoured to have many positive sides as well as many negatives. Soy went from at one point being labelled a superfood to now being linked with many health problems.
As a personal trainer in Swansea I take the nutritional side of things very seriously, I wouldn’t recommend a product on the basis of the first positive review I read about it. I ensure that I have researched something thoroughly before I offer advice on it. With regards to soy I would advise you to avoid eating it. I have spent a lot of time researching the different studies on this product and would not recommend it what so ever. For me the big dangers of soy by far outweigh the potential positives.
Before I go into telling you about the negatives of soy or soy products I will give you a little bit of information about soy.
So What Is Soy?
Soy is considered as an alternative option to protein and comes in many forms. It is or has been popular as it appeals to the people who are trying to limit their consumption of animal products. Soy comes from soybeans and is found in products such as soynuts, tofu, soy milk, miso, soy flour, meat substitutes, tempeh and edamame. It is extremely popular in Asian countries.
Soy is broken down into two categories, fermented and unfermented. The latter has proven to be the most problematic. Types of unfermented soy foods include tofu, soy burgers, soy milks and meat alternatives.
What Is Soy Made Up Of?
Soy is vegetable source of protein which is very low in fat. Soy contains saponins, phytosterols and isoflavones.
Why Is Excess Soy Bad For You?
An excess intake of soy in your diet is linked to a whole host of health problems, soy can act like a toxic substance to your system and can cause:
Thyroid Disease – People who have a diet rich in soy are more likely to suffer from abnormal thyroid enlargement which is known as goiter. The isoflavones which make up soy inhibit thyroid functioning by lowering the levels of iodine in the body. This will cause you to suffer from sleepiness, weight gain, constipation and a decreased heart rate.
Hormonal Imbalance – Genistein is the main isolfavone contained in soy and mimics the action of estrogen. A high intake in soy is linked to serious health issues in women such as infertility, which can then lead to children at risk of early puberty. Increased levels of soy can also interfere with a women’s menstrual cycle.
Cancer – Isoflavones contained in soy is believed to increase the risk of developing breast cancer. Consuming soy leads to a higher number of breast cells which increases the likelihood of developing cancer. As mentioned the isolflavon genistein which mimic some of the actions of estrogen may make breast tissue more susceptible to abnormal stimulation which may lead to breast cancer. This is more likely and dangerous in people who have suffered from breast cancer previously, isoflavones increase the effects of estrogen which is a reproductive hormone which can promote the development of existing breast tumours.
Other potential negatives of excess soy intake include increased risk of dementia, reproductive problems and gout.
Studies are ongoing to find out more information about soy and the effect that is has on the human body. I would say is it worth the risk? You don’t really need to be consuming high levels of soy as there are plenty of better foods on the market today which aren’t linked with such negatives.
Hope this article has helped,