Soy many things to think about
I have started to change my diet and make healthier choices but find myself eating too much soy! How dangerous is soy on a regular basis in the diet?
Americans are eating more soy products than ever before and, in fact, now consume more than the Japanese and Chinese do, according to Michale Pollan, author of Sustainable Eating and Nutrition. While the Asian practice of fermenting soybeans and eating soy in the form of curds, called tofu, can be healthy, Asians consume soy in very small amounts, as a condiment rather than a food replacement for animal proteins as is the common practice in the United States.
The soybean itself is a notably inauspicious staple food; it contains a whole assortment of "antinutrients," which are compounds that actually block the body's absorption of vitamins and minerals, interfere with the hormonal system and prevent the body from breaking down the proteins in the soy itself.
Soy isoflavones, found in most soy products, are compounds that resemble and in fact bind to human estrogen receptors. It is unclear whether these so called phytoestrogens actually behave like estrogens or fool the body into thinking they are estrogen. According to the Food and Drug Administration, the soy isoflavones may have an effect on the growth of certain cancers, the symptoms of menopause and the function of the endocrine system. For those reasons, the FDA has declined to grant GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) status to soy isoflavones for use as food additives. While some soy products do have the GRAS rating, it is not required to be listed on the food label, according to the FDA.
Soy also contain goitrogens, substances that depress thyroid function, according to Dr. Mary G. Enig, as well as phytic acid, a substance that can block the uptake of essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture website, 54 percent of the soybean crop was genetically modified in 2000. In 2015, 94 percent of all soy crops were genetically modified. One more reason to eliminate soy from your diet!
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The next free nutrition class will be at 7 p.m. March 14 at the Organic Emporium. The topic is migraines.
Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant; email her firstname.lastname@example.org. This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.