Is Soy Really Bad for Your Health?

Is Soy Really Bad for Your Health?

There we North Americans go again, enjoying too much of a good thing. I’m talking about soy products. But the Japanese have been eating soy for centuries, and they seem so lean and old, and healthy. This is true. However, upon further examination, we notice that the soy consumed in Japan is often fermented, in the form of tempeh, miso, natto, and soy sauce. Fermented soy is better for us, because the nice bacteria break down all the hard to digest phytic acid coating the beans. These troublesome phytates also block mineral absorption, leading to osteoporosis. But more good news: fermented versions of the big bad bean contain vitamin K2, one of soy’s greatest health benefits. Note that tofu is not fermented. I never liked it much anyway..

If you think you’re in the clear because you’ve switched over to fermented soy, hear me out a little longer. It’s absolutely imperative to always purchase organic soy products. Over 90% of the world’s soy crops are genetically modified (GMO). The DNA in GMO soybeans is restructured so as to mimic toxic pesticides. So, when you eat non-organic TVP patties, you are literally eating pesticide burgers. Russian studies on hamsters fed GMO soy resulted in a sterile third generation. Not to give contraceptive companies any ideas…though it wouldn’t surprise me. Soy foods also contain goitrogens, which are substances that impede the body’s ability to make thyroid hormones. This can lead to hypothyroidism and thyroid cancer.

If it’s so bad for us, why is soy so widely available now?


Big chemical companies make paint and glue out of cheap soy oil. This left them with loads of soy protein, which they preferred to market to an unknowing public, rather than throw in the dumpster where it belonged. To make matters more toxic, soy foods are often made with chemical solvents, acids, alkalis and aluminum. These products are mixed in aluminum vats and stored in aluminum containers, increasing our risk for Alzheimer’s. Funny so many people think soy protein isolate is good for us, when the FDA won’t even approve it as GRAS (generally recognized as safe).

Plant estrogens, or isoflavones, in soy, may cause brain degeneration too. These chemicals act like hormones in the body, sometimes causing cancer of reproductive organs, and impairing fertility and libido. When pregnant mothers eat soy they increase the risk of disease and deformity in their fetus. A disorder in boys called Hypospadias, whereby the urethra opening appears on the underside of the penis shaft, occurs at an increasing rate of 1 in 125, with a five times greater chance if the mother is vegetarian. Girls born of mothers eating soy, may experience early puberty and develop breast, ovarian or uterine cancers. Dr. Mercola states that “drinking even two glasses of soy milk  daily for one month provides enough [isoflavones] to alter your menstrual cycle. Although the FDA regulates estrogen-containing products, no warnings exist on soy.”

Infant formula could be the most devastating of all soy crimes. The levels of hormones soy babies are subjected to equals 5 birth control pills daily, affecting their developing endocrine, nervous and immune systems. Soy formula is too low in methionine, an amino acid important for infant growth. It also lacks cysteine, and when processed denatures lysine, vitally important for the brain. Some brands of formula now include these warnings. One FDA soy expert claimed, soy formula is “a large, uncontrolled, and basically unmonitored human infant experiment.” I agree with health expert and author Susan Schenck, that if mother’s milk is unavailable, animal milk is the next best option.

Since you’re still reading, I might add: the processing of soy creates MSG, an addictive neurotoxin, as well as toxic lysinoalanine and carcinogenic nitrosamines. Soy can increase the body’s need for vitamin D, and any B12 it contains is actually an analog which isn’t absorbed by humans, and increases our requirement of the nutrient.

Sorry if I ruined your morning latte regime, at least you can still enjoy soy sauce on your sushi…


Lisa Virtue

Certified Natural Chef & Instructor, Gluten-free Baker, Author, Nutrition Expert and Yoga aficionado. I have dedicated my life to creating healthy, delicious food, to delight and nourish. I attended a holistic culinary school in Berkeley California called Bauman College, where I now teach part-time. I have worked in a variety of restaurants, including a raw food restaurant in Toronto, and a gluten-free bakery in Vancouver. I have also worked as a private chef in Vancouver and internationally.