Why Soy Milk May Not Be the Answer – Part I
by Amy Coates, BSc, RHN Director of Nutrition, Total Wellness
In a frenzy to replace cow’s milk, you may have done what we did:
hail soy milk as the be all and end all! No more hormones, no more
pasteurized cow pus entering our bodies! The hard truth is that people
who avoid milk and animal products may be overdoing the soy,
getting into a nutritional deficit, and endangering their health.
Soy has become so prevalent in our food supply that it has become
one of the top allergenic foods. Many vegetarians fear a lack of
protein and over consume soy products to make up for this perceived
However, the soybean may not be as good for our bodies as we have
been led to believe!
When soybeans are heavily processed, their fragile proteins are
destroyed. Products like soy milk are processed at such high
temperatures that soy protein is denatured and unrecognized by
the body. Since the body mounts a defense against alien molecules,
the body will eventually mount an allergic response to soy.
Even if soy had good quality protein, your body would not be able to
digest or absorb it because soy contains potent enzyme inhibitors.
These inhibitors specifically block the action of trypsin which is unable
to break down the inhibitors. The result is significant stress on the
organs of digestion.
I find the following scenario quite entertaining: soy undergoes high
temperature processing in a bid to remove trypsin inhibitors, which
only serves to destroy other proteins, which in turn makes the proteins
ineffectual in the body anyway!
Yet another downfall of soy is its isoflavone content. Isoflavones
suppress thyroid function and act like hormonal drugs. They
inhibit thyroid peridoxidase which makes T3 and T4. A sluggish thyroid
condition known as hypothyroidism can be brought on by heavy soy
consumption and enlargement of the thyroid gland may occur as it
tries to compensate for its inadequacy.
Soy blocks the absorption of key minerals calcium, magnesium,
copper, zinc, and iron. Phytic acid, found in the bran of soy,
blocks the absorption of these minerals in the intestines. The
soybean has one of the highest phytate levels of any grain, and even
long, slow cooking cannot reduce them.
This is why ancient Chinese cultures only ate soy after long periods of
fermentation. Fermented forms of soy include tempeh, miso, and
natto, and are traditionally eaten in very small quantities like
condiments, and are definitely not the main event in a meal.
So, if you eat soy milk on your cereal, a tofu burger at lunch, and a
stir-fry with chicken flavoured tofu for dinner, you’re well on your way
to a suppressed thyroid, compromised metabolism, fatigue, and
You’re also going to be low in important alkalizing minerals, which will
make your body’s chemistry tilt toward acidity and increase the
possibility of disease ravaging your body. Don’t forget that you’ll also
likely be deficient in protein which will further decrease your energy
and increase the amount of time you’ll need to recover from sickness
and intense work outs.
Do you need any more reason to decrease your consumption of soy?
Unfortunately, there are many more reasons to steer clear, but you’ll
have to wait until for PART 2 to know what they are!
Stay tuned for PART 2...