FUEL FOR THE FIRE: SOY WHAT?
I think it’s pretty funny that when I tell people I’m Vegan they automatically assume I freebase soybeans or chop them up into lines and snort them all day. Ok, that’s a bit extreme. I can honestly say no one has ever actually said that to me. But I do know for a scientific fact that 65% of the time they are maybe thinking it. It’s the mainstream staple stereotype of people who have a plant based diet. It also has developed this thing where people associate “soybean” and “healthy” of the last however many years as well.
Now the soybean on it’s own, freshly picked in immature form, is actually Edameme. From the research I did while traveling over to East Asia 5 minutes ago, they’re poisonous when raw. So you have to cook them. Mature, boiled, whole soybeans contain large amounts of Manganese, Selenium, Copper, Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Iron, Calcium, Vitamin B6, Folate, Riboflavin (B2), Thiamin (B1) and Vitamin K. Not bad.
And of course we all know what tofu is. It’s the white spongy stuff people make fun of Vegans for eating. It might actually be the only reason it really exists to be honest. If I mention I had “tofu” with a meal, 13 Southern states try and revoke my Man Card. No lie. I wouldn’t lie about such a thing.
But what you might not know is that 90% of all soy products in the United States are genetically modified. 90. They get sprayed with Roundup, which is the stuff you use to kill bugs and weeds with. Most of the soy crop in the U.S. is used to produce soybean oil, which is extracted using the chemical solvent hexane (which sounds like a Transformer). Soybean oil supplied about 7% of calories in the U.S. diet in the year 1999. What remains of the soybean after the fact has been extracted is called soybean meal, which is about 50% protein. The majority of soybean meal is used to feed livestock, but it can also go through further processing to produce isolated soy protein. Soy protein is also used for the majority of baby formula. No shit. Bottom Line: Most soy in the U.S. is used to make soybean oil. The waste product is then used to feed livestock or processed to produce soy protein. Whole soybeans are rarely consumed in Western diets.
So is edameme the Anti-Christ? No. Whole soybeans do have nutritional content to them, like any other legume. And a while back there were a few studies that consuming a bit of soy protein would help with warding off Prostate Cancer. But when you are consuming soy you are also consuming two things, genistein and daidzein. SCIENCE TIME! (break out your lab coats, we got work to do!) Both act so similarly to estrogen that they’re known as phytoestrogens (plant-produced estrogens or PPE is what we call them in the Science community). Soybeans couldn’t care less about human sex characteristics (or if you’re having a bad day for that matter)—genistein and daidzein may have evolved to act as chemical defenses against fungi and grazing animals. But when humans consume these compounds in high enough quantities, especially in dudes, it can do a number over time with your testosterone levels.
Another issue that one could have with soy is practically all processed foods. Even some canned tuna contains a soy protein as part of the broth. The madness! Check the foods you buy for these ingredients: Soy lecithin, soy protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, texturized vegetable protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein or any other phrase containing the word “soy.” It’s about as popular right now as Orange is the New Black. So even if you’re not a plant based person, you’re still eating soy left and right.
UNLESS! You logically eat clean. Now of course, I’m fully aware I’m probably breathing 24 different chemicals in the air as I type this, and my organically organic broccoli might have been sprayed with the West Nile virus. I get that. What I’m simply implying is, that cutting out as much out of your diet and replacing it with an alternative form of protein is a better idea. I’ve nearly axed it from my diet (even replacing the tofu on my Pad Thai with broccoli) and I either feel indestructible or I’m horribly delusional. Maybe both. But I would strongly suggest if you’re an aging male, to attempt to give it the heave-ho from your diet as much as possible.
Dru? Can we do some more science? SURE THING. Let’s finish this little entry with some research, thanks to my friends at the Google Institute of Science:
Dangers of Soy #1
A 1991 study found that eating only 2 TBL/day of roasted and pickled soybeans for 3 months to healthy adults who were receiving adequate iodine in their diet caused thyroid suppression with symptoms of malaise, constipation, sleepiness, and goiters (Nippon Naibunpi Gakkai Zasshi 1991, 767: 622-629)!
Still think munching on edamame instead of popcorn is a healthy habit? Then again, popcorn is full of salt. Eat grapes son!
Dangers of Soy #2
Six premenopausal women with normal menstrual cycles were given 45 mg of soy isoflavones per day. This is equivalent to only 1-2 cups of soy milk or 1/2 cup of soy flour! After only one month, all of the women experienced delayed menstruation with the effects similar to tamoxifen, the anti-estrogen drug given to women with breast cancer (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1994 Sep;60(3):333-340).
Dangers of Soy #3
Dietary estrogens in the form of soy foods were found to have the potential to disrupt the endocrine system with the effects in women similar to taking the breast cancer drug tamoxifen (Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine 1995 Jan;208(1):51-9).
Dangers of Soy #4
Estrogens consumed in the diet at low concentrations were found to stimulate breast cells much like DDT to increase enzymatic activity which leads to breast cancer (Environmental Health Perspectives 1997 Apr;105 (Suppl 3):633-636).
Dangers of Soy #5
The soy isoflavones genistein and daidzein appear to stimulate existing breast cancer growth indicating risk in consuming soy products if a woman has breast cancer. (Annals of Pharmacotherapy 2001 Sep;35(9):118-21).