The debate continues over whether or not soy protein is better for you than that of animal products. Some health experts have begun to doubt that it is even a reasonably safe substitute for meat and dairy. The problem may be that we simply eat too much of it. There is hardly a product in Albuquerque that doesn’t contain soy flour, soy oil, or soy proteins.
The most common argument in support of soy goes like this: “Asian countries tend to be healthier than Western Europe or the United States, and soy is a staple in their diet.” What’s a staple? The Japanese consume about a half pound of fish per person per day. Rice accounts for the other largest percentage of their calorie intake. In China, pork is a staple. In both countries, soy is usually a condiment or seasoning and has never been a replacement for meat.
The greatest risk associated with soy is an over abundance of isoflavones in the form of phytoestrogens, which behave like estrogen in the body. Isoflavones have been hailed as defenders against cancer, osteoporosis, menopausal symptoms and heart disease. Phytoestrogens are similar to natural estrogen in molecular structure and may compete with estrogen for receptors, thereby suppressing it. Depending on the individual, however, isoflavones can just as easily multiply estrogen activity and feed cancer and hormonal problems. For women in the U.S., consuming 45 mg per day (less than the FDA’s recommend intake by almost half) can cause endocrine disruption after just one month. Whichever way the phytoestrogens go, they effect hormone levels in a way that most women are not aware of.
Phytoestrogens are especially dangerous for children. Studies have shown a link between soy formulas and early development in young girls. It may be a cause of infertility and other reproductive problems later on. Toxicologist Mike Fitzpatrick, claims that in feeding an infant nothing but soy formula, you're giving him or her the estrogenic equivalent of 5 birth control pills every day.
Isoflavones have been identified as a potential thyroid depressant and cause of goitre. A 1988 study at Kyoto University in Japan determined that while iodine supplements helped guard against thyroid enlargement in soy-eaters, the amount of isoflavones in 2 glasses of soy milk or 2 servings of tofu per day was still enough to significantly depress thyroid function.
To be continued...