Soy protein isolate (SPI) or textured vegetable protein (TVP), often used as a meat substitute by vegetarians, is found in a huge range of foods and it is extremely difficult therefore to know how much we are consuming. Nowdays we can find soy in supermarket bread, cakes, biscuits, yoghurts, ice cream, mayonaise, dips, sauces, canned soups, dried soup mixes and in a wide range of ready made and takeaway meals. It will not always be listed as soy under the ingredients and may appear as ‘lethicin’, ‘emulsifier’ or ‘vegetable fat’, hydrolized vegetable protein and a range of other names. All chocolate, except very dark, (85 percent cocoa solids ), contains soy. Unspecified vegetable oil is usually a blend of oils containing soy oil. Sandwich spreads with the exception of pure butter are made with a highly processed form of soy isolate and are frequently marketed as being a ‘healthy’ cholesterol lowering alternative. Human studies to determine the cholesterol lowering properties of soy protein isolate have never shown it to be effective. Nevertheless, soy is frequently promoted as having beneficial effects on cholesterol levels.
Phytates, found in all seeds and grains, are particularly high in soybeans. Phytates, cannot be destroyed by heating or soaking and prevent the uptake of essential minerals in the digestive tract, especially zinc, but also magnesium, iron and calcium and is most likely the reason why strict vegetarians often suffer mineral deficiencies.
Soy, although favoured by many vegetarians as an alternative to meat, is not a complete protein. It lacks methionine and cysteine, the antioxidant sulfur amino acids and is therefore rendered useless by the body without the complement of meat, eggs or dairy products. Animals fed on soy are always given additional amino acids to restore the amino acid complex in protein.
Soy is high in very potent ‘antinutrients’ which cannot be entirely eliminated during processing and cause stunted growth by blocking the function of the enzyme trypsin. As trypsin is involved in the breakdown of protein it becomes obvious that replacing protein meat meals with soy is self defeating. Trypsin is added to commercial baby food for that purpose; to break down protein molecules too large for an infant to digest.
Soy contains high levels of phytoestrogens especially genistein and diadzen. These are toxic endocrine disrupting isoflavone phytoestrogens and consumption may result in thyroid dysfunction leading to lethargy, fatigue with unexplained weight gain or weight loss and associated problems. Some women who consume large quantities of soy based products have noticed hair thinning or hair loss which is distressing, but the symptoms disappear and hair growth returns to normal when soy is excluded from their diet.
Male Fertility and Estrogen Mimicking Compounds
In vitro studies show that isoflavones cause reproductive problems and infertility. They obstruct the synthesis of natural hormones resulting in thyroid and liver disease, stunted development and ‘gender bending’ - observed in several species of animals including mice, pigs, rats, sheep, quail and sturgeon.
Genistein is an estrogen mimicking compound and readily attaches itself to the estrogen receptors. As estrogen is a female hormone not normally found in large quantities in men, scientists have done many studies to examine the effects of genistein on male animals. Tests carried out in 1995 on adult mice and rats show that soy isolate blocked the male hormone DHT (dihydrotestosterone) and resulted in demasculinization, low sperm count and infertility. This effect was temporary as all the animals gradually reverted to normal when soy isolate was discontinued.
However, a more serious long term problem arose with permanent consequences for the developing male fetus exposed to phytoestrogens. At this critical male/female differential stage even low doses of genistein fed to mother rats derailed the biological process and caused feminization of male genitalia, a reduced penile size and altered behavioural patterns on reaching puberty. A lack of interest in females was observed while aggressive behaviour in the males decreased and defensive behaviour increased.
The estrogen factor means that babies fed on soy formula will take in the equivalent of five birth control pills daily. In 1992 the Swiss health service estimated that 100 grams of soy protein provided the estrogenic equivalent of one birth control pill. Infants and small children fed on soy protein display early maturation and precocious behaviour with a documented case of one two year old girl developing pubic hair and breasts. Infant soy based formula has been banned in the UK unless with the recommendation of a medic.
The Older Generation
Dr Lon White speaking at the Third International Soy Symposium reported that middle aged individuals with a history of consuming tofu (a fermented soy product), had “lower cognitive function and a greater incidence of Alzheimer's disease and dementia.” and "…those who ate a lot of tofu, by the time they were 75 or 80 looked five years older".
Soy has been widely embraced by food manufacturers as a cheap alternative to traditional food for reducing costs and increasing profit margins. Meat content of many foods can be reduced and replaced with textured vegetable protein and while wheat is rising in price, flour can easily be mixed with soy isolate powder. In fact, soy has been cleverly promoted and incorporated into a vast number of products and most of us now eat it without consciously deciding to do so. US soy sales increased from $852 million in 1992 to $4 billion in 2003. In the UK 60 percent of processed foods contain soy. Since the 1980’s it has become clear the dramatic decline in fertility in western Europe and other industrialized countries is not a passing trend but looks as if it’s here to stay and possibly get worse. Factors other than soy might well be implicated, such as excessive use of pesticides or chemical additives, but nobody seems to have seriously considered the long term effects on the human race of perverting Mother Nature’s plans and lacing all our food with a deviant endocrine ‘gender-bending’ substance.
Ref: Perinatal exposure to genistein alters reproductive development and aggressive behavior in male mice – Physiology and Behaviour 2005
Ref: The Effect of Prenatal Exposure to the Phytoestrogen Genistein on Sexual Differentiation in Rats. The Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine 1995
Watch the video on soy - by Dr Mercola - 5 minutes duration