Soy You So Fat!

Soy You So Fat!

Is soy making you fat? 


One of the top questions I get and of course also one of the hottest argument topics is whether soy is a health food or not.  Now when I say know I get tons of flack from the vegan and vegetarian community, so let me clarify, I mean unfermented soy. Unfermented soy such as Soy Protein, Soy Milk, Edamame, Tofu and any other soy based food on the market.

Did you know there is evidence that soy may actually increase your waistline if you eat too much, not to mention other health related issues.  

I can hear it now, the chiming of the peanut gallery swearing that in asian culture they ate soy and it was a health food blah blah, sorry to pop that preverbal bubble but this is not the case. Unfermented soy was considered unfit to eat, this also means soymilk and tofu. Soy was discovered as a food when fermentation was discovered,  this is where things like soy sauce, tempeh, ant and miso came from. Thank goodness I don’t have to give up my miso soup!

It was until much later that it was discovered that making a paste of the cooked beans and a mixture would create tofu or bean curd. The Chinese did not consume unfermented soybeans as they contained large quantities of anti nutrients (natural toxins) such as a potent enzyme inhibitors which block the action of trypsin and other enzymes which are essential to protein digestion.

Unfortunately cooking is not enough to completely deactivate these proteins and can produce serious gastric distress (like bloating and gas), reduction in protein digestion and chronic deficiencies like amino acid uptake.

There is also the issue that soy contains hemagglutinin, which is substance that promotes clotting, causing red blood cells to clump together, they also happen to be growth inhibitors - that is not a good thing; especially when given to small children.

What about the huge epidemic of thyroid issues. There has been a rise in hashimotos, goiters and serious thyroid deficiencies. Soy contains a substance referred to as goitrogens, they depress thyroid function. This isn't something new, we have known for decades that soy surpasses thyroid function, but here is where the conflicting stories start. Some scientists have chosen to call the goitrogenic component of soy a beneficial isoflaven, and that it only surpasses the function of the thyroid when there is an absence of iodine. The problem is that even if this was the case, we are all lacking in iodine. The sources we get it from are just simply not enough. There are other studies which show even consuming soy and iodized salt (the bad kind of table salt) did not have any effect, meaning the bad was still there but the good they claimed was disproven. Are you getting enough iron?

Now let’s discuss the fact that most soy out there is GM soy, that is going to lead to a whole slew of other issues such as leaky gut, inflammation and autoimmune disease down the road. If this doesn't concern you perhaps you would like to know that gm soy contains one of the highest percentages of contaminated by pesticides of any of our food.

Soybeans are also high in phytate which is also found in seeds and nuts and also in the bran or hulls of all seeds, which is why I soak my nuts, those who have done my program are giggling right now, they know its true. Phytic acid can block the uptake of essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc via the intestinal tract. Part of the reason we are not absorbing our nutrients properly is intestinal permeability (leaky gut) and the fact that we eat too many nuts that are not soaked and therefore hard to digest and disrupt our systems.

Soy beans are resistant to methods such as slow cooking, which is used to reduce the phytates in legumes, beans and any grain out there. It takes a very long period of fermentation to reduce the phytates in soy beans and even then it is not reduced fully. This is why I say have fermented soy in moderation and only on occasion. 


When consuming unfermented soy such as tofu, which has been cooked, or bean curd as a substitute for meat or dairy there is a risk of many mineral deficiencies. Although when eaten with meat, the mineral blocking effects of the phytates are somewhat reduced.

It is known in the vegan and vegetarian communities that this can happen with regards to calcium, magnesium and iron but it is not as well known that it also happens with zinc. Now most people think of zinc as the cold and flu prevention, but it is actually the intelligence mineral as it is needed for a functioning brain and nervous system. It plays a role in protein synthesis and collagen formation, pass the bone broth!

What scares me most is that soy isolate (SPI) is one of the key ingredients in baby formula, some brands of soy milk (given then to toddlers) in imitation meat and dairy as well. So why is this a big deal? SPI is the antinutrient I mentioned earlier. You can't make this at home, the process is quite unsavoury. Taking a ton of soybeans, mixing them first with an alkaline solution to remove the fibre (don’t we need more, fibre not less?) then it is precipitated and separated using an acid wash, the final step being to neutralize it in an alkaline solution. Whats worse is the amount of aluminum from the aluminum tanks that leaches into the soybeans during the acid wash. Not to mention the process to turn it into tofu also adds nitrates, which have been found to be potential carcinogens, are formed during the spray drying process. So staying away from bacon but having tofu is really not the best answer, it’s kind of like going from the pot to the fire.

After the acid washing and various other treatments they take the soy beans and use a high pressure extrusion processing of SPI will produce TVP,  how much processing goes into this crap?!  To make things worse textured vegetable protein (TVP) is prevalent in school lunch programs, talk about poisoning our future.  Oh and did I mention the forming of a toxin called lysinoalanine is formed during the alkaline process… ya that’s bad. So why is this stuff in our lunch programs? It slows growth and nutrient absorption, how is this good for the future of our youth? In test animals who were fed SPI they developed enlarged organs, specifically the pancreas, thyroid gland and also increased the deposition of fatty acids in the liver.

We are so advanced though that now we can even produce SPI from what was once thrown away as a waste product, anything to make a buck right? We need to add some serious flavour, 

sweeteners, preservatives, emulsifiers and synthetic nutrients to get this toxic sludge to be fitting for human consumption (originally it smelled just putrid)

So for those of us who stopped being poisoned by the meat and dairy industries, think again. They just found another, trickier way to get to our digestive tract… and we all fell for it. Well not this lady. No I am not a vegan, although it may seem like it during the summer months, but I do limit my exposure to meat and with the exception of my morning Cup O Jo’ I don't do dairy either.

So bottom line, soy has the potential to disrupt hormones, possibly cause cancer, disrupt the digestive tract and it’s delicate system, our immunity (which comes mostly from our gut), our neuroendocrine system, and of course its role in the rising rates of infertility - which I do not blame solely on soy btw.  Feel free to believe the media when it tells you that soy is a cholesterol lowering super champ, yet the rates of heart disease have gone knower but up. Or that the superfood named soy will cure all, while nutritionists, physicians, oncologists, paediatricians and many other holistic practitioners like myself all say no way, it’s a bunch of B.S. As a matter a panel of 13 different nutritionists, oncologists, paediatricians and the specialists who spent more than a year examining the evidence concluded that the estrogen- like plant hormones in soy could very well cause adverse effacers on the human body and strongly suggested that consumers minimize the consumption of soy foods. You don’t see that on any warning label do ya?  It has also been identified as one of the top allergens of all foods. Yup somewhere in the top 4 - 6 most allergic foods out there, with reactions ranging from skin conditions  to serious illness and even death.

Eat food, real food and lots of it!

For my American friends. 

For my American readers, look into the NuMenu - The soy industry hired Norman Robert Associates a public relations firm to get more soy into school lunch programs. The USDA responded with a proposal to scrap the 30% limit of soy for school lunches. The NuMenu  program would allow unlimited soy used in school meals, meaning soy would be aded to hamburgers, tacos, lasagna and other dishes dieticians can get the fat content below 30% of the calories which would then comply with the guidelines. SO less fat, lower cholesterol seems like a great idea, says the soy industry.

Rachela Brisindi

Owner & lead designer @ Butter and Honey Graphic Design

I started working with Holly not even 2 months ago, and I have already made small changes with huge impact. From just adding lemon water to my mornings, to actually writing in a food journal, I have discovered so much about myself and have already noticed that these small changes have been effortlessly incorporated into my daily life, where previously, it was like pulling teeth to make even the tiniest of changes on my own. I find that I am eating with more awareness, living more consciously, and learning to love myself again. It's not an overnight process but in less than 2 months, I already feel like I've gained some control over my health. With Holly's expertise, I no longer have to worry about feeling overwhelmed with all the mixed messages telling me what I should and shouldn't eat.



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