Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What's all the fuss about soy?

Thanks to one of my awesome followers, I dedicated some time to publishing this post, which I have been working on for some time. Soy has earned a reputation as a health food in recent years, but does it have the credentials to live up to this title?
The main debate about soy needs to define the difference between fermented and unfermented soy products. And really, this comes back to one of the key Primal Blueprint laws - eat real food! The least processed it is, the better. This goes for soybean products too! It seems that fermented soy products, such as tempeh and miso, could reasonably be put into the 'healthy' category. The issue comes however, when you start to think of all soy products (including the unfermented ones such as many soy milk and tofu products) in the same way.
As Mark explains soy requires preparation to make it safe to consume and that in itself does not instill you with a lot of confidence. When you learn that the process includes acid washing, neutralisation solutions, aluminium tanks and high temperature heating, soy really loses its appeal. For me, my dedication to consuming food that is as close to natural as possible means that soy is definitely off my list!
While the negative effects of consuming soy generally only seem to come into play if someone is consuming A LOT of soy, the fact that there are negative effects should be cause for alarm. We have health authorities telling us that this is a SAFE inclusion in our diets, and, even more alarmingly, safe for inclusion in baby formula. It makes you wonder exactly how much people who consume large quantities of soy products actually understand.
Phytic acid, which restricts the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals, is found in high amounts in unfermented soy products. A further concern is that soy contains high levels of a natural chemical that mimics estrogen, and some studies have suggested that this chemical can alter sexual development. This story about one man's experience with the negative effects of consuming soy milk should be read by all men!
Basically, if you subscribe to the primal blueprint way of living, fermented soy products can be consumed occasionally. Anything else just misses the point of whole, unprocessed, natural food!

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