Weston A. Price Foundation to FDA: Soy is No Health Food

soy, soybeanThe Weston A. Price Foundation, a nonprofit nutrition education foundation, has submitted a petition to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asking them to change a rule that currently allows soy protein to carry a heart disease health claim.

Manufacturers of soy products have been able to label them “heart healthy” since 1999. The Weston A. Price Foundation’s 65-page petition was filed in response to the FDA’s request for public comment on the issue.

"We have filed this petition because there was never a sound basis for a soy health claim and the heavy marketing of soy as a ‘miracle food‘ has put American men, women and children at risk," said Kaayla Daniel, lead author of the petition that was officially filed by Sally Fallon, president of the foundation.

The petition documents longstanding concern in the scientific community -- including the FDA’s own Laboratory for Toxicological Research -- regarding soy’s possible role in:
  • Carcinogenesis
  • Thyroid disease
  • Reproductive health problems including infertility
  • Other illnesses
Further, the Foundation claims that the evidence on soy protein and heart disease is "contradictory and inconsistent, and no standard of scientific agreement has been met."
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
As of 2007, 85 percent of people in the United States perceive soy as healthy (this is according to the Soyfoods Association of North America). This incorrect assumption has, in large part, been propagated by the FDA’s 1999 approval of this health claim for soy foods:

“Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 25 grams of soy protein a day may reduce the risk of heart disease."

Sound familiar?

If you eat any processed soy foods, it would be hard to miss this claim, as soy manufacturers took it and ran, adding it to every so-called soy health food they could create.

Yet, as is typical when industry marketers dip their hands into a traditional food, the resulting soy burgers, soy ice cream, soy cheese, soy milk (need I go on?), are not even close to the fermented soy foods consumed, with good health results, by many cultures for countless generations.

And so I say …

Excellent Work by the Weston A. Price Foundation!

They are taking matters into their own hands and asking the FDA to do what it should have done long ago: get rid of the preposterous claim that processed soy is good for your heart.

Even the conservative American Heart Association knows better. In 2006 they told physicians that soy is unlikely to prevent heart disease.

Yet, walk into any supermarket, and even health food store, and you will be inundated with “heart healthy” soy products.

How did things go so very wrong?

It all started when the food industry, presented with a quandary over what to do with the byproducts of their ever-growing soybean oil industry, had an idea.

With some processing, and some added flavorings, preservatives, sweeteners, emulsifiers and synthetic nutrients, they turned soy protein isolate, “the food processors' ugly duckling,” as Sally Fallon put it, “into a New Age Cinderella.”

What they did not know is that their processing could not come close to the traditional fermentation process that took place before any ancient cultures would consume soy.

You see, fermenting the soybeans makes an otherwise inedible food quite nutritious. But the food industry knew they did not have the time to create traditionally fermented soy foods, nor the market to sell them to.

And, as a result, most of today’s soy foods are loaded with anti-nutrients and are a nutritional nightmare linked to:
If you would like to know more, Dr. Kaayla Daniel's groundbreaking book, The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America's Favorite Health Food is an excellent place to start. She authored the Weston A. Price Foundation’s FDA petition, and is a definite expert in the field.

But before you swear off all soy foods for good, there is something you should know.

Fermented Soy Foods ARE Healthy

You may recall me talking about the wonderful health benefits of traditionally fermented foods. Well, this is true of ALL varieties, including fermented soy.

After a long fermentation process, the phytate (which blocks your body’s uptake of essential minerals) and antinutrient levels of soybeans are reduced, and their beneficial properties become available to your digestive system.

So am I opposed to eating soy? Absolutely not -- as long as it is in one of the fermented forms that follows:
  • Natto, fermented soybeans with a sticky texture and strong, cheese-like flavor. This one is my favorite, and I personally eat it nearly every day (it has the highest concentration of vitamin k in the human diet) and is also loaded with nattokinase, a very powerful blood thinner.
  • Soy sauce: traditionally, soy sauce is made by fermenting soybeans, salt and enzymes, however be wary because many varieties on the market are made artificially using a chemical process.

+ Sources and References