You may have seen Asians consume soy in many forms, and you may have heard some diet experts endorse soy products as better diet alternative. Yet why is it that it never appears at the top of any Paleo food list. But what is soy? Why are diet and medical experts divided in terms of recommending soy for people who want better health?
If you have Asian friends or are an Asian yourself, you may have tried soy before. Soy is a Chinese crop that contains a great deal of protein and is fat-free. Once called the “golden bean” or “miracle bean” in America, soy products made waves especially for Westerners seeking “healthier” options in terms of getting more protein. But studies carried out by health experts, are starting to question the benefits of this food, as well as expose the dangers.
You may not have noticed it, but soy has been part of your daily diet at least once or twice. As a protein source, it can be used in many different ways. It is even used today in the production of baby formula. Although fermented soy products such as miso and tempeh are relatively healthy and may sometimes be included in Paleo recipes, experts still advise using a little or none. The amount of saturated fat to be found in soy products even soy sauce is small. For everyone 100 grams of soy sauce, you’ll find it contains just 0.1 gram of saturated fat. For us to understand why soy doesn’t appear on any paleo diet food list, we’ve listed the known dangers below. However, such dangers often only arise through us consuming too much of one particular food item. When it comes to leading any kind of healthy lifestyle of course moderation is key and is key even when following a Paleo lifestyle.
For us to understand why soy doesn’t appear on any paleo diet food list, we’ve listed the known dangers below. However, such dangers often only arise through us consuming too much of one particular food item. When it comes to leading any kind of healthy lifestyle of course moderation is key and is key even when following a Paleo lifestyle.
The main danger from soy to the thyroid is the goitrogens it contains. This is a component that prevents the thyroid from being able to absorb iodine. Iodine is important to the body as it creates a hormone that helps with the metabolic processes in the body. These metabolic processes also help with cognitive and physical development. Women often suffer from problems relating to the thyroid. Therefore eating food with even more goitrogens in them will only make such problems worse.
Phytoestrogens are harmful whether you are a man or a woman. Soy contains high levels of phytoestrogens in it that in turn affect the levels of estrogen in the body. An increase in estrogen not only leads to a hormonal imbalance but could cause infertility and even increase the risk of developing cancer. If the effects on mature individuals can be this intense, imagine what effect these phytoestrogens will have on children who eat too many soy-based processed foods rather than foods acceptable to the Paleo diet.
Soy products promise gluten-intolerant individuals a better option, but the lectin in soy says otherwise. Lectins become a great factor in digestive issues and prevent healing of the intestines. Besides the lectin issue, soy also contains trypsin inhibitors which, just like lectin, affects the digestive system negatively. As you can imagine during the paleolithic era our ancestors wouldn’t have suffered from such issues because they didn’t include soy into their diet.
While soy-based products are usually marketed as “heart-healthy”, studies in this field say otherwise. Instead of promoting great heart health, soy’s Hemagglutinin content causes the red blood cells to clump together and prevents the even distribution of oxygen throughout the body. It also prevents proper absorption of protein in the body by inhibiting the production of trypsin. This leads to your body needing to obtain energy from empty carbohydrates. That is why the majority of Paleo recipes you find don’t allow for the use of soy in them.
Just like its cousin peanuts, soy can cause allergies. Although not very common, soy protein allergy usually shows up in younger children. This type of allergy can disappear as a child grows up, but the symptoms can still be pretty disturbing, which includes diarrhoea, vomiting, weight loss and anaemia.
Gout is the inflammation of joints, usually in the big toe, that can last for days or even months. Though women can also be affected by it, it is men who suffer from this condition the most. Foods with a high purine content often make gout worse. As soy is high in purine this can lead to someone suffering gout pains for several days.
If you are conscious about the minerals that your body absorbs and you are aware of the dangers of having low levels of them, then you must stop eating soy-based foods. There are plenty of paleo foods that you can eat instead that contain high levels of protein as well. Soy also contains phytic acid which hinders the proper absorption of important minerals for the body. The kinds of minerals that your body won’t be able to absorb include iron, calcium, and zinc.
This may be the worst effect of soy on the human body. Although experts are still “at war” concerning their test results, the carcinogens in soy are linked with breast cancer and other types of cancer. The isoflavones found in soy affect the activity of cells in the breasts. Whilst some studies suggest that these isoflavones decrease the risks, a significant number also suggest an increase. In some lab tests which used rats, pancreatic cancer risks increased when raw soy flour was introduced into their meals. But what is the likelihood of us eating raw soy flour
Although soy is a known source of protein and fiber, consuming it may cause the above. Luckily for those enjoy healthy paleo eating such problems shouldn’t arise. But even so I still occasionally include a little soy sauce or miso into my Paleo meals to just jazz them up a bit. Remember a little is better than nothing at all. As long as you limit your intake of soy-based products then, of course, you shouldn’t have any real problems.
If these are not enough reasons why soy is bad for you and why it doesn’t appear on any Paleo food lists, then consider this. Soy absorbs the earth’s minerals but does not give back any in return and animals that eat soy get sick. If soy is this destructive to the earth and to animals, imagine what it can do to your body. That is why eating Paleo approved foods is a much better option for you.