I heard it again today, “I eat healthy, lots of tofu and soybeans”. I know many people, especially vegetarians have been told that soy beans and tofu are the healthy answer to your protein needs. Sorry, but you’ve been sold a bill of goods by tofu companies making good profits at the expensive of your health.
Tofu (Soy) was originally a legume used in rotation with other annual crops throughout Asia in order to add/fix nitrogen in the soil. It was a cover crop to replenish the soil, not a food. In times of starvation, soy was fermented and eaten as a condiment, usually in fish broth.
One reason is that tofu (soy) contains trypsin inhibitors. Trypsin in a very important digestive enzyme produced in the pancreas. Fermenting soy deactivates most of the trypsin inhibitors. So, usually tempeh, tamari, and miso don’t cause much gas, bloating, pain, and/or diarrhea when eaten.
Another problem with tofu (soy) is the phytates. These bind with minerals in your digestive tract, taking those very necessary minerals out of your body. Unfortunately soaking doesn’t disable them, as it does in other grains, nuts, and seeds. It makes sense then that, when eaten as a condiment, fermented soy was served in fish broth which is very mineral laden – put enough in and some minerals have to absorb.
Tofu/Soy is also a goitrogen, meaning it can suppress and permanently damage the thyroid if eaten in excessive quantities. Research proved this starting in the 1930s.
Next, tofu (soy’s) phytoestrogens cause hormonal disruption. Phytoestrogens can lock onto estrogen receptors in the body, blocking true estrogen. They also disrupt the body’s production of estrogen. Research has been proving this since the 1940s. There are direct links to breast cancer, infertility, and endometriosis in women as well as lowered sperm counts, infertility, and nipple discharge in men.
What Makes Tofu Healthy:
So, what makes us think that soy is healthy? First, the phytoestrogens changed women’s menstrual cycles so it was hypothesized (never proven though) that eating soy could lower a women’s estrogen levels over her lifetime because her cycles were longer and then decreased completely. This theory was then linked to a hypothesis that lower estrogen levels would reduce the risk of breast cancer. The soy industry has done a great job marketing this, but there is no proof – it was all speculation, now proven horribly wrong.
Now, there’s proof of accelerated brain aging, diminished cognitive abilities, and diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease twice as frequently for those eating tofu at least twice a week. The belief is that this is caused by soy isoflavones which block tyrosine kinase, an enzyme needed by the hippocampus which is the area of the brain responsible for memory and learning.
Worse, soy is now in 70% of all processed foods. When soy became the oil of choice (another great marketing campaign) there was a defatted mass of protein left after the oil was extracted from the soybeans. In 1970, soy protein was ruled safe for use as an ingredient in cardboard with some concern that the toxins might leach from the cardboard containers into the foods. In 1975, the soybean companies realized they could market soy protein to get rid of their industrial waste product, if affluent people thought it to be healthy. United Soybean, the industry council, spends $80 million every year in marketing to convince us that soy is a natural, healthy product.
If you think I’m crazy, look up how they make soy milk – alkaline solutions, high pressure, the toxin lysinoalanine, damaged nutrients, deodorizing, added sweeteners and flavorings, plus synthetic added vitamins. Or, look up soy protein concentrate – alkaline solution, high temperatures, toxins, carcinogens, the toxins nitrosamine and lysinoalanine, more alkaline solution, high pressure, heat extrusion, acid baths, added binders, gums, fats, flavors, and sweeteners.
Still not sure? Follow the money trail. The FDA endorsed soy as “heart healthy” even after the American Heart Association changed their opinion in 2006 to not recommend soy. It’s endorsement was based on a meta-analysis of studies on soy and heart disease, paid for by Protein Technologies International, which is partly owed by DuPont, which owns Solae that produces ingredients for Gardenburgers, Mori-Nu, and Yves Veggie Cuisine. And I won’t even get started on the food subsidies that are lining the pockets of Monsanto which basically has a stranglehold on the growing of soybeans genetically engineered to be resistant to Round-up, which Monsanto also produces.
If the company is producing plastics and chemical pesticides, I really don’t want them producing food – mine or any one else’s. Healthy doesn’t come in a neat box or plastic wrapper.