Unless you’ve been living in a cave (because you’ve taken the Paleo lifestyle literally) for the past 20 years, you’ve probably heard the latest on problems with soy. Soy is purportedly a “health” food that helps to protect women’s hearts, bones, and breasts, plus reduces night sweats and hot flashes. Don’t believe the hype. Most of the research surrounding the benefits of soy for midlife women still warrants more investigation, as this research is in question now. The soy industry has greatly exaggerated all the health benefits of their products. So, if it’s not good for us, just how deleterious is it? Here are a few key problems with soy:
Disrupts Thyroid Function
Soy contains goitrogens which impairs and depresses thyroid function, which makes it almost impossible to lose body fat.
Soy foods today are, for the most part, highly processed. Highly processed foods are, more often than not, nearly vacant of vital nutrients. Processed soy also contains “antinutrients”, like phytates, which block the absorption of minerals, particularly magnesium, iron, zinc and calcium.
Soy is one of America’s major cash crops. Why? Because large companies figured out how to genetically modify it to be resistant to poisonous herbicides. Farmers sow loads of it and shower it with these chemicals. Soy is then processed into animal feed or for human consumption. It is estimated that 90% of today’s soy crops are genetically modified.
Disrupts Hormonal Balance
The soy plant contains phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens mimic estrogen and fool our cells. For women, depending on how much you eat, soy can affect ovulation, cause weight gain and irritate the digestive tract. Although phytoestrogens are being touted as beneficial for midlife women (by reducing night sweats, hot flashes), the evidence is not clear on whether soy is a positive or negative for women. Now that you’ve heard some of the most well documented health concerns surrounding soy, it’s time for you to decide whether you can chance incorporating soy into your diet (or do more research for yourself).
If you are adamant about continuing to consume soy, these are some soy tips: On the occasion (please, not daily), choose small amounts of organic, fermented soy (e.g. tempeh or miso). Additionally, request that your OBGYN/functional medicine practitioner complete a full female hormone and thyroid panel for you each and every year.
Author: Dr. Siobhan Kealy
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