by Associate Clinician Felicia Pasquale
Many of my clients often ask me what is the best food they can eat and what is the worst food they can eat. I tell them kale is definitely the best food and soy is one of the worst.
Soy carries a multitude of sins; one of them being it’s genetically modified. Over 94% of the soy grown in the United States is genetically modified, or GMO. The seeds of GMO foods have been genetically altered, causing change to the molecular structure of the plant. Both Roundup and a bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis, are injected into the seed to protect the plant from the deadly effects of Roundup weed killer and insects. When the insect eats the plant the bacterium destroys their digestive system. Basically, the insecticide is stored right in the plant.
One of the major reasons so many American’s are suffering from digestive issues, like irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease is because of GMO foods. Not only do genetically modified foods cause digestive problems, they also cause neurological dysfunction due to the fact we are ingesting Roundup when we eat GMO foods.
The GMO factor in soy is one reason to avoid it; another is because soy is an estrogen mimicker. Soy is a phytoestrogen; these are plants that increase the amount of estrogen in the body. You could say “well I’m just going to have a little soy, certainly that won’t affect my hormones that much”, but it will. Especially because there are so many other estrogen mimickers that we are exposed to like xenoestrogens. Xenoestrogens are chemicals that mimic estrogen. These chemicals can be found in makeup, personal care products and plastic bottles.
There is a very fine balance between the hormones in our bodies. Soy is just one of the many hormone disruptors that we are exposed to on a daily basis. Excess estrogen can cause breast cancer, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, infertility and low libido.
Not only is soy an estrogen mimicker, but also soy is goitrogenic, meaning it suppresses the thyroid. Low functioning thyroid causes fatigue, metabolism issues and the inability to regulate body temperature among many other symptoms.
Soy is high in phytates. Phytates are an enzyme inhibitor that protects the integrity of the soybean in nature. However, they are hard for the body to break down and blocks the body from absorbing minerals, which causes further hormone disruption. Soy also blocks the body from digesting protein appropriately. Think about the digestive and hormones issues that people have that are primarily eating processed, prepackaged food and fast food, which mostly contains soy.
Many clients will ask me if consuming organic soy is acceptable. Organic soy would not have the GMO factor. However, it would still have all the other drawbacks; estrogen mimicker and enzyme and mineral inhibitor.
In ancient times, the Chinese knew that soy was not fit for human consumption until it was fermented, allowing it to be more digestible. This changed in the early 1920’s when the farmer’s in the United States used soy to regenerate drought stricken fields of the Great Depression. Soy also became a cheap source of protein for prepackaged foods and livestock feed.
If you were ever to consume soy it should be organic and fermented soy such as natto, miso, tamari, and tempeh. It should be consumed very rarely due to the fact we are exposed to other estrogen mimickers on a daily basis. Of course, every attempt should be made to reduce our exposure to these stresses by not drinking out of plastic bottles of any kind, and also using chemical free makeup and personal care products.