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If you are a vegetarian and have been on a regular diet of soy, you may not like the content of this topic. In fact, you may not believe it or want to believe it. But what you will read is not opinion but factual in every sense. Contrary to what we have been led to believe, mainly by food manufacturers, soy is not a natural food and is one of the most highly processed foods out on shelves today.

Think of why soy has become popular in recent years. With so many people jumping over to veganism or becoming a vegetarian due to health or ethical reasons, the question commonly asked is "how will I get my protein?" Soy came onto the scene with the intent of filling that void and as a result, we now have tofu, miso, tempeh and even tofu burgers (excuse me while I gag for a moment)

Here is the problem folks…soy is not a complete protein! Just to go back in your studies of nutrition or even biology for a brief moment, we remember that proteins are made up of amino acids. What constitutes a complete protein is that it can supply 10 essential amino acids, meaning protein that comes directly from our diets. This does not occur with soybeans and not only that, it is highly contaminated with enzyme inhibitors. We saw the importance of enzymes in the "enzyme" topic, so we know that if key digestive enzymes are being blocked by these contaminants that the possibilities of what can pop up are endless.

Another big factor is the high doses of phytic acid that are present in soybeans, which plays a vital role in disturbing mineral absorption. Now if you study a little, you will find out that all beans have some phytic acid in them but nothing compared to the amounts that soybeans have. In fact, the doses are so high that even with the high degrees of cooking and processing that soybeans go through will not even completely remove all the phytic acids in them.

Another contaminant in soy is the presence of hemaglutin, which is clot causing agent. If you have a history of heart problems, this is not particularly something you want in your diet. The last thing you need in your system is something that will further diminish the oxygen supply to your body. Again, even with the high degrees of cooking that takes place the hemaglutin content still resides in the bean.

Since we are on the subject of processing, let's talk about soy and the processing that it goes through. As previously mentioned, attempts to remove the common enzyme inhibitors (phytic acid and hemaglutin) go through an intense refining where all key enzymes, minerals, vitamins and fiber are lost.

This refining begins with soybeans being heated at 248 degrees! We start to lose enzymes in any food over 118 degrees, so we can see that this is a problem right away. The ultimate end product becomes soybean oil and soy protein isolate, which are completely artificial foods or manmade!

When you process oils at this high temperature, you expose it to almost certain rancidity which leads to oxidation. Oxidation produces what we now know as trans fats. Everybody who has been paying attention knows that trans fats are killers, even with restaurants in certain areas prohibited from using it in their kitchens. They are so dangerous because they produce a hotbed for free radical formation, which alters and inhibits cell life.

The next step in the process(ing) is pressing. Just because it is cold pressed does not necessarily mean its safe. Remember the heating process that was already involved has taken out the vital nutrients that we require. So the manufacturers can get away with calling it cold pressed (meaning no heat is involved in this step) but neglecting to mention the superheating that has already taken place.

Also, what is not mentioned in the cold pressing process is the amounts of air and light that the soy is exposed to. Remember, this leads to oxidation and the production of free radicals and trans fats.

Have you had enough? No, ok here is some more of what is also involved in the making of soy products.

· Solvent use: for oil extraction, an alkaline solution is used to eliminate the enzyme inhibitors. The problem is the mixing of the soybean and the solution leaves us with a carcinogenic by-product called lysinealine

· Again for oil extraction, hexane is used. Yes, the same hexane that is a petroleum distillate (just like gasoline!!)

· Degumming; to remove residual fiber from the oil at temperatures of at least 140 degrees. The main problem, though, is the removal of calcium, copper, iron and magnesium that occurs in this step.

· Lecithin: this is what is derived from the preceding step. Do yourself a favor and step away from the computer for a brief moment and go look in the fridge and in your pantry and count how many products you can find with the ingredient soy lecithin included. You will be blown away!

· Are you back yet? After hearing what I am about to say next, maybe you should stay away from the computer for awhile. The next step is the addition of sodium hydroxide (Drano) to the oil. Hard to actually believe this is being done and approved by the FDA but it is added to remove any possible contaminants to the oil.

· Bleaching and deodorizing: bleaching is done strictly for appearance sake. Clay is added and heated to 230 degrees and then it is filtered out but in the process causing free radical formation. Deodorizing is exactly what it sounds like, the removal of any smells from the oils. This is done at a temperature of 518 degrees!!! Keep in mind, trans fatty acids are formed at 302 degrees. After this step, the oil is completely void of any taste and has lost all nutrients that it claimed to have.

 Word of caution: when you see and hear that cold pressed is better, keep in mind what you just read.

If this was all new to you, it may be hard to digest (literally and figuratively) but we didn't even get into hydrogenation. Surely, most of you have heard this term as in "partially hydrogenated foods", for example. If you are not completely grossed out by now, this should cap it off for you.

When soybean oil is hydrogenated, it is heated (again) to a temperature of 410 degrees and has actual hydrogen gas forced through it by means of a metallic catalyst. This will occur for about 5 or 6 hours. The whole purpose of this is simply for shelf life and for spreadability. 

If you think for a second that the inventors of hydrogenation (Dupont) have your health and well being as a priority, then maybe its time to turn off CNN.

Back to that metallic catalyst mentioned a few lines ago, oh yeah, it's usually made with about 50% aluminum. Can we now see some links with Alzheimer's, cancer, etc.?

Any hydrogenated product can open the door for some nasty disorders such as cancer, Alzheimer's, aging, clogged arteries, arthritis, neurological conditions.

Something that is somewhat new to the scene in foods is the presence of Genetically Modified Organisms(GMO). Just looking at the name, do I really have to go on?

A brief summary of GMO's, is that ALL soybeans produced in this country are genetically modified. Forget everything else I have mentioned about processing so far and just hearing that last fact should set off red flags about soy.

But what exactly happens when it's modified? Basically, it's an organism that has been genetically altered by means of insertion into another organism. Another way to put it:

"Genetic engineering is the process of modifying cell information, particularly by artificially transferring the genes of one organism into another. While traditional breeding techniques can exchange genes between similar species, genetic engineering allows the insertion of genes from any plant or animal into any other organism."   R. Wolfson, PhD.

Again, nothing here to serve you, just our friends at Monsanto making a pretty penny off of us unsuspecting citizens. (If you are not familiar with the corporate giant Monsanto, do some internet research and be prepared to get blown away by the arrogance and criminal behavior).  Specifically with soybeans, an herbicide resistant gene is taken from bacteria and then is inserted into the bean.  The main problem with this procedure is that it could literally take hundreds of times before the injected gene could be the right "suitor" for the soybean plant.

GMO's are in at least 80% of all foods today and on top of that most animals that we eat that are confined are fed GMO soy.

If you are going to start looking at labels a little more carefully now, keep in mind that soy can be present in the product but listed under a different name such as:

· Vegetable flavoring

· Vegetable shortening

· Hydrolyzed protein

· Textured vegetable protein

They can get away with this because the words above are approved by the FDA but it means that the product contains hydrogenated soybean oil.

In summary, the question asked "Is soy good or bad for us?' as this topic's title should be a no-brainer after what you just read here. If you have been consuming soy as an alternative to get your protein requirements in, think again and realize that there are other healthy options out there. The public has been highly misinformed about the benefits and risks of soy products and hopefully this section should be an eye-opener for you.

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