What is soy? What are soybeans? Well. Soybeans are legumes grown under the ground. They are not readily digested unless fermented or sprouted and the vast majority of soybeans harvested are genetically modified.
One of my biggest problems with soybeans is that they are so heavily processed. Soy milk, tofu, soy protein, soy lecithin, soybean oil… all products which are processed to an unhealthy level… so much so, that is more like a waste product. In fact that is what soy milk and tofu are… waste products. They do not promote health in the body and they are not extraordinary foods.
Another problem that I have with soy is that it stimulates estrogen production in both men and women which can lead to breast cancer or fibroid tumors in women, infertility in men, and decreased sex drive in both men and women.
Soybeans are high in phytates (like many grains are as well, such as wheat, spelt, and oats), which can inhibit the absorption minerals…. therefore they should be fermented or sprouted to remove the phytates. Also, due to the great percentage of genetically modified soybeans, one should look for organic soybeans which are not genetically modified and free of pesticides.
Soy is in so many products these days that it is difficult to avoid. If you are going to eat it, as I said it is best fermented or sprouted… so miso, tempeh, natto… or like in Food For Life’s sprouted cereal which contains organic sprouted soybeans. Or if you want to eat whole soybeans (edamame) then soak them and sprout them before eating.
Soybean oil also goes rancid easily. It oxidizes and promotes free radicals and you must then have anti-oxidants to reduce the oxidative stress on your body.
As far as soy protein goes. It really is not that high quality of a source. It is heavily processed unless taken in whole food form and there are much better sources. For example, goats milk protein… one of the best sources of protein for the body.
Soy lecithin is found in all sorts of products… products like chocolate. I am a big fan of chocolate so I of course had to research soy lecithin. Soy lecithin is an emulsifier… that means it stabilizes an emulsion… or a mixture of suspended ingredients. So for example, in mayonnaise to mix the oil you must use eggs to create the emulsion that is mayonnaise. Guess where the main source of lecithin was before soy lecithin? Eggs. Yep. So it would be nice to have the lecithin from eggs for my chocolate… and occasionally you can find it, but most of the time it is soy lecithin. My advice here would be to consume in small amounts and look for products that do not have soy lecithin as the emulsifier (when possible).
Having said the above, there is more, much more. Do not take my word from it. Do research on both sides. Read all of the terrible things said about soy and then read the glowing things. I have come to the conclusion that I will avoid it for the most part. I do not like it or the way it makes me feel in the long term. There are times when I have organic sprouted soy and if I used soy sauce or soy condiments I would use naturally fermented.