Soy Part 1

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SOY PART 1

 

Just how much soy do Asians eat? In short, not that much, and contrary to what the industry may claim, soy has not ever been a staple in Asia. A study of the history of soy use in Asia shows that the poor used it during times of extreme food shortage, and only when the soybeans were carefully prepared (e.g. by lengthy fermentation) to destroy the soy toxins.

"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. These inhibitors are large, tightly folded proteins that are not completely deactivated during ordinary cooking. They can produce serious gastric distress, reduced protein digestion and chronic deficiencies in amino acid uptake. In test animals, diets high in trypsin inhibitors cause enlargement and pathological conditions of the pancreas, including cancer. Soybeans also contain haemagglutinin, a clot-promoting substance that causes red blood cells to clump together. Trypsin inhibitors and haemagglutinin are growth inhibitors." Sally Fallon & Mary G. Enig, PhD

Soy is an important crop on American farms, and there is a strong soy lobby. The health claims of the soy industry have one purpose and one purpose alone, to sell more soy! Though scientists have known for years that the isoflavones in soy products are capable of depressing thyroid function and cause goiters in otherwise healthy children and adults. Researchers at Cornell University Medical College said that children who got soy formula were more likely to develop thyroid dis-ease and that twice as many diabetic children had received soy formula in infancy as compared to non-diabetic children. In fact, in other countries such as Switzerland, England, Australia and New Zealand, public health officials recommend highly restricted medically monitored use of soy for babies and for pregnant women. Soy formula is a lifesaver for the 3 to 4 percent of babies allergic to cows milk, though it is so widely advertised that it is sold to 25% of the entire formula market.

Soy also contains a natural estrogen, which is why it is recommended to women at menopause. The president of the Maryland Nutritionists Association, Mary Enig, Ph.D. stated, "The amount of phytoestrogens that are in a days worth of soy infant formula equals five birth control pills." Dr. Enig believes that soy infant formula may be associated with early puberty in girls and slower physical growth in boys. Others say it may affect fertility and normal brain development.

Brain.com reports an ongoing study involving 3,734 elderly Japanese-American men. That research has found that the men who ate the most tofu during mid-life had up to 2.4 times the risk of later developing Alzheimer's dis-ease. Lead researcher Dr. Lon R. White said that men who ate tofu at least twice weekly showed brain aging about five years faster than those who seldom ate tofu. Soy has also been implicated in interference with the absorption of zinc, calcium, and protein enzymes and as a healthy alternative to estrogen amino acids.

Soy is promoted replacement for some women as a way to minimise menopause symptoms, and as a healthier, low-fat protein alternative for meats and poultry. Though what all the constructive stories neglect to mention is that there is a very real, though very overlooked, downside to the heavy or long-term use of soy products. Soy products increase the risk of symptomatic thyroid dis-ease. And this danger is particularly great for infants on soy formula. This is not information that the powerful and profitable United States soy industry wants you to know. The sale of soy products is big business, and the increasing demand for soy protein products, soy powders and soy isoflavone supplements is making that an even more profitable business than ever before.

Supplements that contain concentrated phytoestrogens, plant-based estrogens found in soy, do not appear to improve mood, memory or menopause symptoms in women over age 45. Contrary to popular belief that soy is a health food, evidence reveals that soy consumption has been linked to numerous disorders, including infertility, increased cancer and infantile leukemia, Type1 diabetes, and precocious puberty in children having been fed soy formula. (early maturation, such as breast development and menstruation as early as 6 years of age). Scientists have known for years that the isoflavones in soy products is capable of depressing thyroid function and is a source for goiters in otherwise healthy children and adults. A combined research team of Cornell University Medical College and Long Island Community Hospital medical experts has found that children who develop Type1 diabetes are twice as likely to have been fed soy formulas as those fed all other foods. This confirms concerns based on animal studies raised in the 1980's and 1990s by Health Canada researcher Dr Fraser Scott and led to the American Academy of Pediatrics issuing their warning to pediatricians against any use of soy based formulas.

Researchers Daniel Doerge and Daniel Sheehan, two of the Food and Drug Administration's experts on soy, signed a letter of protest, which points to studies that show a link between soy and health problems in certain animals. The two say they tried in vain to stop the FDA approval of soy because it could be misinterpreted as a broader general endorsement beyond benefits for the heart.

Where the soybean goes wrong?
The constructive aspects of the soybean have been overshadowed by their potential for harm. Soybeans in fact contain a large number of dangerous substances. One among them is phytic acid, also called phytates. This organic acid is present in the bran or hulls of all seeds and legumes, though none have the high level of phytates that soybeans do. These acids block the body's uptake of essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron and especially zinc. Adding to the high-phytate problem, soybeans are very resistant to phytate-reducing techniques, such as long, slow cooking.

Soybeans also contain potent enzyme inhibitors. These inhibitors block uptake of trypsin and other enzymes that the body requirements for protein digestion. Normal cooking does not deactivate these harmful "anti-nutrients," that are capable of causing serious gastric distress, reduced protein digestion and are capable of leading to chronic deficiencies in amino acid uptake.

Beyond these, soybeans also contain hemagglutinin, a clot promoting substance that brings about red blood cells to clump together. These clustered blood cells are unable to properly absorb oxygen for distribution to the body's tissues, and are not capable of assisting in maintaining beneficial cardiac health. Hemagglutinin and trypsin inhibitors are both "growth depressant" substances. Although the act of fermenting soybeans does deactivate both trypsin inhibitors and hemagglutinin, precipitation and cooking do not. Even though these enzyme inhibitors are reduced in levels within precipitated soy products like tofu, they are not altogether eliminated.

Benefits of Soy Products
Soy products have been a part of the standard diet in China, Japan, Indonesia, and other countries for centuries. In these countries, it is known from personal experience that soy products are capable of playing an important role in dis-ease prevention.

Dangers of Soy Products
A number of recent articles have been published about potential dangers of soy. A person who occasionally ingests traditionally processed soy products (miso, tempah, natto, tofu) and otherwise has a balanced, healthy diet and lifestyle will not have to be overly concerned with the potential dangers of soy. However, those who eat soy regularly, especially products with heavily processed or genetically manipulated soy ingredients ought to pay close attention to the issues relating to the potential dangers of soy products.

 


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