Myths About Good Health Habits – Soy Consumption


EdamameA client recently asked me what I thought about soy milk and other soy products.  The answer actually requires a lengthy explanation.  The bottom line is that we here in America eat soy products in a way in which soy was not intended to be consumed.  Historically Asians have utilized soy for crop rotation.  Apparently the soy plant was initially used as a method of fixing high nitrogen levels in the soil.  The soybean did not serve as a food until the discovery of fermentation techniques, some time during the Chou Dynasty (1134-246 BC). The first soy foods were fermented products like tempeh, natto, miso, tamari and soy sauce. Soy had never been eaten unfermented in the history of humanity, until recently. Fermentation is essential to neutralize toxins in the soy bean.

In my personal experience, when I tested clients who had switched to drinking soy milk, not one client’s body accepted the soy milk. If they had switched to soy milk because of lactose intolerance I checked their levels of potassium and vitamin D. One or both of these nutrients was usually deficient. The body requires these nutrients to break down dairy. If they still wanted to stay off dairy I suggested almond milk or rice milk.


The Chinese did not eat unfermented soybeans as they did other legumes such as lentils because the soybean contains large quantities of natural toxins or “antinutrients”. First among them are potent enzyme inhibitors that block the action of trypsin and other enzymes needed for protein digestion…Soy also contains goitrogen – substances that depress thyroid function.” – Sally Fallon PhD

The soy bean industry definitely spends enormous amounts of money touting the health benefits of soy (companies which benefit greatly are Dupont and Bunge).  However, Asians historically did not eat soy milk, soy ice cream, soy hotdogs…etc.  The average consumption of soy foods in Japan and China is 10 grams (about 2 teaspoons) per day.  Asians consume soy foods in small amounts as a condiment, and not as a replacement for animal foods. Nor do they put it in just about every baked item, protein bar and snack food available. The Japanese traditionally eat a small amount of tofu or miso as part of a mineral-rich fish broth, followed by a serving of meat or fish.  This counteracts the effects of some of the goitrogens and phytic acid which can leach minerals or stop absorption of certain nutrients (i.e. calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, vitamin D and zinc).  This type of balancing-out does not occur with most non-Asians consuming soy products. Vegetarians who eat mostly soy products as their main protein risk severe mineral deficiencies.

It is quite easy to consume over 10 grams of soy protein with all the products found in the market.

  • Four ounces of firm tofu contains 13 grams of soy protein.
  • One soy “sausage” link provides 6 grams of protein.
  • One soy “burger” includes 10 to 12 grams of protein.
  • An 8-ounce glass of plain soymilk contains 10 grams of protein.
  • One soy protein bar delivers 14 grams of protein.
  • One-half cup of tempeh provides 19.5 grams of protein.
  • And a quarter cup of roasted soy nuts contains 19 grams of soy protein.

Soy contains a high level of phytoestrogen, which may affect the production of sperm in men, as well as decrease the amount of testosterone in their body.

Men in the highest category of soy food intake had 41 million sperm/ml less than men who did not consume soy foods” study by the European Society Of Human Reproduction and Embryology

Click the following to read study on the effects of phytoestrogen and male fertility.


Soy isoflavones, also known as phytoestrogens, are routinely “marketed” as treatments or prevention of certain types of cancer, including prostate, breast, and edometrium. However, there are many contradicting studies which suggest that the extreme levels of phytoestrogens in soy can create excessive estrogen in a woman’s body which can increase the continued development of breast cancer in those that are currently afflicted or can trigger breast cancer in women who have breast cancer in their family history.  An increase of uterine cysts has also been associated with high consumption of soy products.

For people who have chosen to focus on eating diets that are high in soy-based products, they may like to reconsider the amounts they are currently ingesting. They may want to assure that more of the soy products eaten are fermented. Also returning to practices of learning how to mix legumes and other grains to create a more complete diet may be helpful. Supplementing with vitamins and amino acids usually found in animal protein are also very important.

Bottom line, the amounts of soy that are being introduced into a variety of products exceed the amounts that Asians consume in an entire day or week. The danger here is that excessive consumption of soy milk, or any other soy product, can possibly set people up for different diseases. Unfortunately, many people are not aware that consuming too much soy can be hazardous to their health…and the debate continues.

Dr. Mercola and his take on Soy products:

For additional findings click to read article about the Israeli Health Ministry’s soy warnings.

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