The Low Down on Soy

In the 80’s we got a Tofu cookbook and for awhile there, we were making everything from tofu scramble to mint chocolate tofu pie. That pie was a total disaster by the way! What can I say? We live in Berkeley….it was the hip thing to do back then and we thought we were making a healthy choice and saving the planet while we were at it. The real story is that we’ve been conned into thinking that soy beans are a health food. Is it any coincidence that soy is one of the U.S.’s largest crops and one of the cheapest to produce? Here are the reasons why you should stay far away from soy:

  • Soybeans contain phytates which block mineral absorption. The more tofu you eat, the more you’ll end up stripping your body of minerals.
  • Soybeans contain trypsin inhibitors. Trypsin is the enzyme you need to break down and absorb protein. So much for tofu being a good protein source. If anything, your inability to digest soy protein will cause a great deal of gas and bloating. 
  • Soy eaten in large quantities can slow your thyroid function, which will make you sluggish and weight loss next to impossible. This is especially true if you’re low in iodine. If you’re eating baked goods and drinking fluoridated water, chances are that you’re low in iodine. Bromide in flour and fluoride can block iodine absorption. 
  • Most of the soy grown in the U.S. is genetically modified by the Monsanto corporation (creator of Agent Orange amongst other atrocities) to be Round-Up ready. This enables farmers to spray Round-Up poison all over the crops, killing everything but the soybeans. Is it any wonder more and more people are allergic to soy? The genetic make-up has been tampered with, probably making it even harder for the body to recognize Genetically Modified (GM) soy as a food. 
  • The phyto-estrogens (plant based estrogen) in soy upset the delicate balance of our own hormones. Some will argue that these  phyto-estrogens are breast cancer protective. From reading numerous contradictory studies, I feel that the risk outweighs the benefits. One thing is for sure, using soy based infant formula is hugely problematic. Boys can end up with low testosterone and girls are pushed into puberty at a much earlier age. 
  • The process of making soy protein isolate (the form of soy found in most “health food” bars and shakes) creates several carcinogens including nitrosamines formed during high temperature spray drying.  
If you choose to eat soy, the best way to eat it is in its fermented form. Traditionally, some cultures have included small amounts of miso and tempeh into their diet. The fermentation process neutralizes the phytates and the trypsin inhibitors. Always, choose organic soy to avoid the GM soybeans. 
Unfortunately, not all “organic” soy is the same in quality. The Cornucopia Institute published a soy score card to determine where companies’ organic soy was truly sourced from. Surprisingly some companies buy their “organic” soybeans from China, where standards are much more lax compared to here in the U.S. Among the top brands are Eden, Unisoya, Vermont Soy, and Soy Planet. Trader Joe’s wouldn’t even comment as to where their soy comes from. 
For more detailed information, read The Whole Soy Story, by Kaayla T. Daniel. Seriously, is it really that much of a tragedy to give up that mushy, bland, tasteless excuse for a food? 
Yours in health and good times,
Sylvie Nalezny, MA, CNE

About nutritionthatworks

Sylvie Nalezny has a Master's degree in Holistic Health Education and is a certified Nutrition Educator. She has worked as a Nutritionist specializing in weight loss and overcoming sugar addiction and as a Wellness Coach, helping people to create healthy habits.

12 responses to “The Low Down on Soy”

  1. Bruce Raymond says :

    What an incredibly informative article! I have been avoiding soy for some years now having heard some negative things about it, but your article really spelled out all the details for me and put the issue in real perspective. Thanks so much for this valuable insight. Bruce

  2. Donald Gerard says :

    Great article. I also read that the phyto-estrogens in soy reduce libido in men. Now I’m thinking… My interest lately has been in shamanism and tantra – all holistic approaches to spirituality that have dietary components. Perhaps I should research and post an article on my website ( about the connection between diet and spiritual development.

  3. Linda Partida CHC says :

    Sylvie, this is a wonderful blog! You are always so spot on with what you have to say, and do it in such a simple, succinct way. Your Realfood blog is my FAVORITE food blog BAR NONE!! Keep up the good work! Thanks Linda! I appreciate your feedback. Check out Linda’s awesome new website:

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  5. phystudy says :

    Help me find a man! Max Bryan

  6. prohorrors says :

    Will explode if the reactor in Japan?

  7. Swordconjuror says :

    Very simple in words but in reality, many discrepancies, not so peachy!

  8. Dr Drum Review says :

    Dr Drum Review


  9. Alison Hornby says :

    If I should take my daughter off Soy milk (we do not drink cows milk) what is the best milk?Love your blog

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