This fascinating report in the UK Guardian Limited details some of the earliest evidence that soy can be harmful to your health.
One investigation began when multimillionaire lawyer Richard James became convinced that soy beans were killing his rare parrots.
Parrots do not eat soy in the wild, but a high-protein feed containing soy had been marketed as a new miracle bird food. When James fed it to his parrots, however, the birds became infertile, died, or aged prematurely.
Researchers initially thought that James must be mistaken about the cause, but when he financed an exhaustive study of soy, they found that soy contains toxins and disruptive plant estrogens, and could also damage the thyroid.
James's lobbying gradually forced governments to investigate. In 2002, the British government concluded that there was little evidence for the supposed health benefits of soy, and a good deal of evidence for its risks.
Soy's health claims are usually based on the low rates of heart disease and certain cancers in east Asian populations. However, Asians do not actually eat as much soy as has been generally assumed, and what they do eat tends to have been fermented for long periods. Fermentation considerably reduces the levels of dangerous isoflavones in soy.
There is now decades' worth of evidence that consuming soy is harmful to your health. Thousands of studies link soy foods to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune-system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders, infertility and a host of other problems.
The exception, of course, is when the truly traditional way of preparing it is used -- fermenting it. This elimnates many of the concenrs with soy.
Non-fermented soy products contain a number of potentially health-disrupting "anti-nutrients," such as phytic acid. You would be wisest to avoid any such foods. Soy infant formula in particular should never be used, as it can damage your infant. It will:
Makes you wonder why world soy production, according to the Chicago Board of Trade, has exploded to some 270 metric tons, a nine-fold increase over the past four decades alone.
Perhaps it's because American soy producers spend as much as $80 million to promote soy worldwide. Or possibly it's because American soybean farmers received some $13 billion in subsidies between 1998 and 2004.
Unfortunately, a new process recently launched by Solae LLC combines non-fermented soy, meat and vegetable protein in such a way that you may not be able to discern the fake food from the real thing, meaning that even more concealed soy will probably sneak into the American diet -- yet another important reason to stay far away from processed foods.
If you still believe soy is a health food, I would encourage you to review my homepage on soy, Why Soy Can Damage Your Health.