Soy Products and Health Problems


Please note that the start time of our Meditation and Healing Clinic with Dr. Mary Ellen Boyte on January 15 is being moved to 7:30 pm.


We had some great responses to our blog of December 28, 2012 (  Laura commented on the inclusion of soy in the list of Foods You Should Never Eat Again.  She pointed out that not all soy products are bad for you and she is absolutely correct.

Today I found this article from which addresses this exact issue…


Resource: Dec 15, 2010 | By Megan Ashton 

Soy is a controversial food item these days, with many people being strongly for or strongly against its use. Many of the substances found in soy that advocates believe can result in health problems are, however, removed in traditionally fermented soy products, such as miso, natto, tamari and tempeh, and these foods are generally considered safe. The problem with soy is that most modern-day soy products consumed in North America — soy milk, tofu, soy-based vegetarian foods, edamame and anything containing hydrolyzed soy protein — are not fermented, and the current evidence supporting soy’s benefits is quite conflicting.

Soy’s Touted Benefits

According to Food Revolution, soy can help prevent and/or treat the following health conditions: high cholesterol levels; high LDL levels; heart disease; breast, prostate and other cancers; and osteoporosis. These benefits are highly disputed, however.

Isoflavones in Soy

According to Harvard Medical School, many of the health benefits of soy are attributed to the isoflavones found in it. Isoflavones act as phytoestrogens in the body and are considered to be high in antioxidants and anticarcinogenic, says website Weston Price. Unfortunately, isoflavones are only found in fermented soy products. As such, there is very little evidence that nonfermented soy confers any of the health benefits commonly attributed to soy, says Harvard Medical School.

Studies Dismissing Soy’s Health Benefits

Harvard Medical School says soy may lower LDL cholesterol, but only very slightly and only if consumed in extremely large amounts. It also says there is no evidence that the phytoestrogens found in soy are heart protective, nor are the isoflavones able to lower cholesterol or blood pressure. Harvard also says soy is unlikely to lower the risk for breast cancer. Finally, Harvard Medical says that although soy is often touted as a remedy for hot flashes and other menopausal issues, there is no conclusive evidence to support this claim.

Soy and Mineral Deficiencies

Nonfermented soy contains large quantities of anti-nutrients such as phytates, says Weston Price. Anti-nutrients are substances that block the absorption of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in the body. The phytates commonly found in soy can block the absorption of the essential minerals calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. A high intake of nonfermented soy may therefore lead to mineral deficiencies. Fermenting soy, on the other hand, significantly reduces the phytate content, and fermented soy will therefore not deplete minerals in the body.

Health Problems from Excessive Soy Intake

According to Harvard Health Commentaries, excessive soy intake may disrupt thyroid function and cause goiter — a condition characterized by an abnormally enlarged thyroid and numerous other health-related symptoms. It also says too much soy may cause estrogen levels to become unnaturally high and consequently lead to reproductive problems.

The Big Picture

More research needs to be done to confirm whether or not soy is harmful or helpful. According to Weston Price, organically grown, fermented soy products have a long history of use and are likely healthy when consumed in moderation. In addition, Harvard Health Commentaries says the adverse effects associated with soy are usually only found in individuals who consume excessive amounts of soy products. Therefore, the consumption of a moderate amount of nonfermented soy is unlikely to cause any significant health problems.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *