I sometimes mention (to otherwise intelligent and knowledgeable people) that I drink soy milk, and a look of pity appears on their face. “This guy does not know the dangers of soy, and he could catch cancer, or worse … breasts for men,” they say.
Almost every fitness expert I read – people I respect and trust – say soy is bad for you, from Tim Ferriss to Neanderthals. I absolutely respect most of these people and also think that their work on fitness is great. And yet, when I look at their soy sources, they often do not exist, and when they do exist, I can always bring them back to one place.
Seriously. I have never seen anyone cite any peer-reviewed study that shows that soy is bad for your health. The only sources are the Weston A. Price Foundation, or other items that use this foundation as a source.
Here’s the trick: The Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) has been running a soy vendetta (and a campaign against meat and whole milk) for almost twenty years now, and they have no solid evidence to support their vendetta. They have a lot of quasi-scientific evidence, a lot of arguments that seem reasonable, but if you’re looking for solid evidence, you will not find any. They are not scientists, and they have not conducted any peer-reviewed personal studies (of which I have heard).
It’s amazing how many people have been influenced by the delusions of WAPF – that you read articles not only about soy, but also about the myths of cholesterol or saturated fat (WAPF is a fervent dangerous defender of a diet high in saturated fat), or about whole milk or meat, or coconut milk and butter … it’s still based on the work of WAPF. WAPF has even influenced the writings of major authors, such as Gary Taubes and Michael Pollan.
I’m not going to give a presentation on WAPF, others have done better than me, and many articles are available for those interested.
And I will not tell you to fill your soy diet. I eat it moderately, like everything else, but I’m not afraid of it. What I’m going to do is clarify some myths, and challenge those who disagree with me to show me current studies validated by the profession (and not articles from WAPF or citing WAPF as source).
Does soy contain dangerous estrogen?
One of the most common WAPF myths about soy is that it contains dangerous estrogens that cause cancer, “breasts” for men, and is the cause of other health problems. So I thought it would be good to clarify that.
There is no evidence that eating soy causes only one of the problems caused by high levels of estrogen (a hormone that is already naturally present in our body).
The confusion that WAPF plays is that soy contains a natural, steroid-free compound called isoflavone, sometimes referred to as a phyto-estrogen – but in fact many other plants and vegetables also contain phyto-estrogen. estrogens, such as flax, sesame seeds, hummus, garlic, peanuts, and the like.
Isoflavones are not estrogens, and although they are quite similar, they have completely different effects on the human body. They do not affect the amount of sperm or its concentration in humans, nor do they affect the size of the testes or the volume of ejaculation. ( see more )
Phyto-oestrogens do not cause breast cancer in women, and can even prevent it (see more)
Soy in its infant formula, although not as good as breast milk, is safe. ( see more )
As you can see, I put the links of studies that are based on obvious evidence, not pseudo-scientific arguments. There is so much more that you can find via Google. If you read or hear people complaining about soy and estrogen, ask for their sources, and ask that they be studies validated by the profession.
Is it proven that soy is bad for your health?
In a word: no.
Although I do not claim that soy is a magic wand for staying healthy, it is not a danger like WAPF and others can claim it. In fact, there is no evidence for any of these presumptions. I will not go into detail in these presumptions, but simply address the main ones:
1. FALSE: Soy blocks the digestion of nutrients (anti-nutrients). It’s true that it contains anti-nutrients like many foods – but when you cook, ferment, soak, roast, or sprout these plants, you get rid of the anti-nutrients. According to Dr. Andrew Weil: “There is no scientific evidence to suggest that soy consumption causes mineral deficiency in humans. Fallon, Enig, and other WAPF authors have never been able to provide any evidence of what they are saying.
2. FALSE: Soy increases the risk of cancer. In fact, the facts prove just the opposite. The School of Public Health Harvard ( Health Professionals Follow-up Study , English link ) found a 70% reduction in prostate cancer, in collaboration with the Global Fund for Research against cancer, according to the conclusions of a major report dating back to 1997 that analyzed more than 4500 research studies, including that of the World Health Organization (WHO) , the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations ( UNAA, or more commonly FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) , the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) , and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) . The report says that “Phyto-oestrogens are found at high concentrations in soybeans, and have proven in vitro that they have a plethora of different anti-cancer effects, including blocking their proliferation. The report has provided evidence that soy protects against cancers of the stomach and prostate. In 2000, Riva Bitrum, research chair of the American Institute for Research on Cancer ( AICR ), said that “studies consistently show that a single serving per day of soy foods contributes to the reduction of cancer risks are encouraging. Eating a portion of soy foods is a step that most people would not find very difficult to do. For healthy women, according to the AICR, “even two or three servings of soy foods a day would be a good contribution to a vegetarian or vegan diet. “
3. FALSE: Soy causes [insert here your assertion: Alzheimer’s, miscarriages, etc.] . There is no evidence of any of these WAPF assertions. I’m not going to answer all these assertions here, but I encourage you to find out through articles of doctors and medicine on the internet, which contain many more sources than I could list here, and which are based on evidence .
4. Legitimate concerns . Like most foods (meat, milk, peanuts, nuts, berries, chocolate, etc.), there are people with certain ailments who should be careful. None of these legitimate concerns about soy is alarming. Some people are allergic to soy. There is conflicting evidence regarding the effects of soy on women who already have breast cancer – some evidence suggests that it may be beneficial, but it is inconclusive. If you already have a thyroid problem, excessive consumption of soy (more than two or three times a day) could affect your thyroid function. Genetically modified soybeans (spread in the US because of Monsanto) are not as healthy as organic soybeans – try to eat organic as often as possible. Soy formula for infants is less healthy than human breast milk (as are milk-based formulas) – although for decades baby formula has been found to have no ill effects. But human breast milk remains better. Again, none of these legitimate concerns should be the cause of any fear – most people can eat soy several times a day, according to the vast amount of evidence, and even those who may be concerned may eat some amounts of soy without problems.
So should I eat soy?
Honestly, I do not care whether you do it or not. My general recommendation is to eat mainly natural and complete foods – vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, cereals, and a moderate amount of whole grains. I do not eat meat or dairy products for ethical reasons, but if you eat meat, you should limit your intake of red meat (many studies have shown the risks of red meat for health).
But soy has been eaten in moderation for centuries, and as I said earlier, has not been proven to be bad for health. This can be included in a healthy diet – tofu, soy milk, whole soybeans, and tempeh can be good for you if you mix them with other natural foods that I mentioned earlier. Soymilk is made from soya beans soaked in water and pressed to produce a milky liquid, and tempeh is actually fermented soybeans.
I would be more cautious about soy-based pre-cooked foods – processed soy protein – just like I would be with any other processed and pre-cooked food. In other words, do not be afraid, but do not make it a major part of your diet. Eat natural foods instead. And organic foods are healthier.
Last note for doubters: your doubts are welcome – it is important not to take my word for it. But instead of refuting me with scientific-looking arguments, show me validated scientific studies. And not a single study, since a study alone can not be proof of anything – show me the mass of research that has been done. When you look at all the research that has been done about soy, the evidence is undeniably clear. I would love to see someone show me the opposite.