Soy and human health. Myths and lies everywhere

Soy and human health. Myths and lies everywhere

Beyond the social, toxicological, economic, political and environmental issues that arise from the cultivation of transgenic soybeans (99% of national production), the soybean itself, even if it were organic and non-transgenic, represents a serious problem. for human health, by the combination of several factors that we will try to summarize.

Beyond the social, toxicological (1), economic, political and environmental (2) issues that arise from the cultivation of transgenic soy (99% of national production), the soybean itself, even if it were organic and not transgenic, represents a serious problem for human health, due to the combination of several factors that we will try to summarize.

There is profuse and solid scientific evidence of the problems caused by its regular consumption, which is why it is invited to consult the information and to verify the solid bibliography available on the web (3), which we cannot reproduce due to space issues.

It was never staple food

In ancient China, this plant was appreciated for its fertilizing effect on the soil (nitrogen fixation). It was not until the Chou dynasty (1134-246 BC), with the mastery of the fermentation technique, that beans began to be consumed in the form of fermented products (tempeh, natto, miso, shoyu) that ensure the complete inactivation of its antinutrients. Then (2nd century BC) the cooked bean puree (tofu) began to curdle, a process that inactivates antinutrients, although not completely.

In 1930, soy accounted for just 1.5% of calories in the Chinese diet. In 1998 it was specified that the Japanese consumed 8g of soy protein per day (two teaspoons), in the form of fermented products and seasonings. Not a minor fact: the soy used in the past in the East was glycine, different from the one currently cultivated (glycine max), which has been improved to obtain more protein (and also more isoflavones).

Illusory virtues

At the end of the 20th century, a publicity avalanche, based on "serious scientific studies", advised it as a nutritional and therapeutic panacea. To such an extent that it promoted the adoption of the term "nutraceutical" (nutrient and drug at the same time) by the industry. The consumption of soy was essential to solve menopausal disorders, lower cholesterol, protect the cardiovascular system, fight cancer, alleviate world hunger and assist the needy.

At the same time, the industry found thousands of applications for it, taking advantage of its protein richness, its healthy fats, its industrial plasticity and its extremely low cost. Even well-meaning idealists thought it was the way to cut down on animal protein (vegetarians) and avoid damage to the environment (ecologists). But quickly the myth fell apart.

Nutritional disorder

Although soy has a high protein content, its biological value (49 compared to the 100 index of eggs) is limited by a deficiency in essential sulfur amino acids (methionine, cysteine) and by the presence of protease inhibitors (enzymes such as trypsin, needed to break down your protein). The inhibiting factor is not completely inactivated by cooking and industrial processes; only with slow fermentation processes ranging from several months to 3 years. The consequences: poor digestion, growth deficit, gastric disorders, pancreatic exhaustion, vitamin B12 deficiency ...

Another dangerous antinutrient is phytic acid, present in other grains but with a higher concentration in soybeans. This substance blocks the assimilation of key minerals (calcium, magnesium, iron and especially zinc). Prolonged cooking partially inactivates it, only slow fermentation inactivates it completely. With tofu (soy cheese), Orientals also consume fish or meat, which counteracts phytic acid; this does not occur in vegetarian diets with soy.

Hemagglutinins, which agglutinate red blood cells and reduce oxygen uptake, are other anti-nutrients in soy. These lectins depress growth, generate blood clots and allergic reactions, also affecting the enterocytes (cells of the intestinal mucosa) and therefore decrease the absorption of nutrients.

At the mineral level, soybeans have high and problematic concentrations of manganese and phosphorus. Manganese is 80 times more abundant than in breast milk, and its excess lowers dopamine levels, generates hyperactivity and poor concentration (characteristics of childhood ADD), spasms, tremors and violent behavior.

Phosphorus, a mineral that in excess is also associated with childhood attention deficit and fibromyalgia, is a calcium antagonist and therefore a promoter of osteoporosis. Remember that our body needs an ideal calcium / phosphorous ratio of 2.5: 1 (ratio present in breast milk), far from the ratio of cow's milk (1: 1), but totally unbalanced with respect to the ratio of milk from soybean (0.4: 1) or soybean meal (0.35: 1).

Another factor of nutritional disorder in soybeans is its indigestible sugars. These are oligosaccharides (stachyose and raffinose) that cannot be degraded by our enzymes, generating the characteristic intestinal flatulence after consumption.

The nefarious isoflavones

We can say that the biggest problem with soy is its publicized and abundant isoflavones (genistein, daidzein). Converted into a therapeutic panacea for women in menopause, they are actually one of the most dangerous aspects of the consumption of soy and its derivatives.

These phytoestrogens (natural defense mechanisms of the plant in response to pests) had already been identified as problematic in animals, back in the 1950s, when they were still not used in human food. Dr. Mike Fitzpatrick's studies in New Zealand showed evidence of endocrine disorders, infertility, leukemia, and cancer when soy was incorporated into pet and animal food.

Later, it was shown in Japan that just two tablespoons of soybeans a day for a month were enough to generate thyroid (goiter) and pancreatic hypertrophy, reduction of the thymus (command gland of the immune system), hypothyroidism, constipation, fatigue and lethargy.

This was later endorsed by English and American studies. An investigation from the Kings College of London showed that genistein blocks the passage of sperm to the uterus, making conception difficult, which is why Professor Lynn Fraser advised those who wish to become pregnant not to consume soy. Another English study showed that consuming 60g of soy protein per day for a month affected the menstrual cycle, a persistent effect up to 3 months after stopping the legume intake.

The Harvard School of Public Health in Boston highlighted the negative estrogenic effect of soy in men: decreased sperm count, infertility, weight gain, perceptual difficulties and low libido. This confirms the use of soy in eastern monasteries, where it was considered useful to appease sexual desire.

Abundant worldwide research provided ample evidence of the effects of soy isoflavones: inhibition of steroid hormones (estradiol) and thyroid hormones (T3 / T4), reproductive system disorders, infertility, hypothyroidism, autoimmune thyroiditis, thyroid cancer, liver damage (cirrhosis), behavior problems, immune deficiency, pituitary insufficiency, irritable bowel, perception and memory deficits, breast cancer ...

However, the soy industry managed to ignore this strong evidence based on the consequences of consuming low daily amounts of soy (risk dose: 0.5mg of isoflavones per kg of weight). On the contrary, campaigns promoting the "healthy" use of soy to lower cholesterol (25g of protein isolate daily) or solve menopausal problems (twice the risk dose) flourished.

But the most grotesque has to do with the great development of infant formulas, intended for babies allergic to cow's milk, or vegetarians. In small organisms, these soy rations (isoflavones) are equivalent to 16 times the aforementioned risk dose, or 5 contraceptive pills a day for an adult, or 1,000 times more estrogenic effect than breastfeeding.

The Israeli Ministry of Health banned soy-based baby formula, after 3 baby deaths and 7 brain damage in a few days. In England soy milk has been discouraged in children under 2 years of age and pregnant women. The UK Food Commission recommended not to exceed a daily intake of 40mg of soy isoflavones in adults; These values ​​are reached with just 20g of beans or soy flour, or 70g of tofu, or 200cc of soy milk or 100g of bean sprouts.

Processing damages

The aggressive industrial methods required to obtain soybean derivatives generate further nutritional problems. Obtaining the protein isolate (SPI), a key ingredient in many foods, is an illustrative example.

The beans are attacked with an alkaline solution to remove the skin; then it is precipitated by acid washing and finally it is neutralized in an alkaline solution. Acid washing in aluminum tanks transfers (leaches) a large amount of this mineral to the product. The resulting curd is spray dried at a high temperature to generate a high protein powder. By extrusion at high temperature and high pressure, the textured vegetable protein (TVP) is obtained.

Despite the high temperature, these processes are not able to completely eliminate the trypsin inhibitor; instead, they denature the protein (reduce the amino acids lysine and cysteine) and generate carcinogenic nitrites. Alkaline processing also generates lysinoalanine, a carcinogenic toxin.

Given the strong bean flavor, artificial flavorings (monosodium glutamate in meat imitations) and / or sweeteners should be added. For example, the declared ingredients of a powdered soymilk are, in quantitative order: corn syrup, soy protein isolate, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, sugar, vitamin / mineral blend, maltodextrin, salt, artificial flavors , mono and diglycerides.

In food experiments, the use of RLS increases the demand for vitamins E, K, D, and B12, and creates symptoms of calcium, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, copper, iron, and zinc deficiency. The remaining phytic acid in these soy products strongly inhibits the absorption of zinc and iron; RL-fed laboratory animals show enlarged organs (pancreas and thyroid) and increased generation of fatty acids in the liver (4).

The problem with these soy derivatives (SPI, TVP) is their omnipresence in the most varied and unsuspected foods, which prevents them from being avoided. We find soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein in: beverages, baked goods, diet foods, soy milk, infant formulas, school canteens, sweets, diet drinks, products for athletes, cold cuts, meat imitations, ice cream, dairy products, bars of cereals, mayonnaise, fast food products ...

Furthermore, these bean derivatives are necessarily present in the entire food chain, as they are the basis of feed for intensive animal husbandry (feed lot, stables, cages, swimming pools). By the way, animals fed soy protein show the same health problems as humans: growth deficit, organ hypertrophy, fatty liver, tumors ...

In terms of oils, the beneficial essential fatty acids of soy (omegas 3 and 6) are denatured by pressure, solvents and temperature (up to 270ºC in a controlled atmosphere) of efficient industrial processes, which require aggressive refining processes to eliminate undesirable textures. and odors (neutralized, degummed, bleached, deodorized) (5). EFAs are only found in oils obtained from cold pressure, an "inefficient" method that extracts only 20% of the fat from the grain.

Refined soybean oil is mainly used for industrial hydrogenation (margarines), a process that allows modulating textures (from liquid to solid) suitable to the most diverse requirements of modern food engineering, with low cost and great conservation (stable fats are transaturated).

In domestic or artisanal processing, the time required and the high energy cost (hours of soaking and cooking), leads to the search for more “convenient” solutions. For this reason, small elaborations (soya schnitzels, tofu) make use of raw soy flour. In the case of the Milanese, the ground beans are barely subjected to a few minutes of boiling (preparation) and a light browning (consumption). Obviously, this way, high temperatures and carcinogenic nitrosamines are avoided, but the antinutrients remain intact and the nutrients are indigestible.

As a corollary, and beyond this overwhelming reality that may sound obsessive, we believe it necessary to share a heartbreaking testimony, of which we were involuntary witnesses years ago. A well-meaning married couple from Córdoba, who at that time were supplied with our organic and non-transgenic soybeans, decided to raise their newborn baby, avoiding feeding him the problematic cow's milk. They patiently made their own soy milk for the child. At two years of age, they tell us desperately about the diagnosis of the baby fed with homemade soy milk: liver cirrhosis and leukemia. Is more evidence needed?

Extracted from the book "Nutrición Depurativa"


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3. See "Why soy should be avoided" by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, at http: // ...

4. Rackis, Joseph, J., "Biological and Physiological Factors in Soybeans", Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society 51: 161A-170A, January 1974 - Rackis, Joseph J. et al., "The USDA trypsin inhibitor study ", ibid.

5. See section “Processed oils”.

Video: Nina Teicholz - Vegetable Oils: The Unknown Story (January 2022).