You may have seen Asians consume soy in many forms, and you may have heard some diet experts endorse soy products as a better diet alternative. Yet why is it never appears at the top of any Paleo food list? But what is soy? Why are diet and medical experts divided to recommend 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 notably sauces made waves, especially for Westerners seeking “healthier” options to get more protein. But research carried out by health experts, is questioning the benefits of this food, and exposes the dangers.
To cut a long story short, the answer is no. This is because this particular food is considered to be a legume. Legumes aren’t actually part of the Paleo diet. But what you need to remember is that this lifestyle isn’t only about being allowed to eat this and not that.
The aim of this lifestyle is to help heal the body from the inside out. This is done by removing as many toxins from your diet as you possibly can. Also, it teaches you to include as many nutrient-dense ingredients that help to stimulate a healthy environment both inside and outside of your body.
A typical American diet contains a great deal of grains, cereals, sugars, and omega-6 fats. All of which can prove toxic to the body if consumed in large quantities. However, if you were to only consume these in small amounts you shouldn’t see any issues. But as Americans tend to consume large quantities it has led to severe health problems because both their immune systems and guts have become severely damaged.
Any health problems that relate to the immune system and gut means that the body has problems being able to absorb vital minerals, vitamins, and nutrients that it needs.
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 ways. They even use it 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 grams of saturated fat.
For us to understand why soy doesn’t appear on any Paleo 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, 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 crucial to the body as it helps it to produce 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 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.
Plants contain phytoestrogens that they use as weapon against animals and insects in order to prevent them from eating them. They can also have an impact on us humans, and the hormonal effect on us is still undergoing research.
The most common of these to be found in soy are the isoflavones called genistein, glycitein and daidzein.
Because of their estrogenic effects, they have carried extensive studies out in relation to growth, fertility, and the frequency of hormone-sensitive forms of cancer, such as breast cancer. As yet, there is no clear agreement as to whether soy isoflavones are actually beneficial or harmful.
Some studies seem to suggest that they can prove beneficial to us, others seem to suggest they aren’t. Then other studies seem to suggest that they can stimulate the growth of cancer.
If the effects on mature individuals can be this intense, imagine what effect these phytoestrogens will have on children who eat too much 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 due to increased gut permeability and prevent healing of the intestines. Furthermore, it could lead to your immune system becoming overactive.
The kinds of lectins contained within this particular legume are known as agglutinins, that our bodies find very hard to digest. These particular lectins can also cause problems to the flow of blood around the body as they cause red blood cells to clump together. In turn this can lead to your body not receiving enough oxygen to allow it to function properly.
In 1985 a series of 38 controlled clinical trials were carried out and the data collected showed that eating around 50 grams of soy based protein each day in place of animal protein reduced a person’s LDL cholesterol by nearly 13%. You need to keep in mind that this amount of soy protein is the same as drinking 8 x 8-ounce glasses of soy milk each day.
Then 15 years later the Nutrition Committee of the AHA (American Health Association) published an update to these trials. In this they stated that consuming 50 grams of soy would actually only reduce LDL cholesterol levels by 3%. But what you need to also consider that these studies actually mask the issue that cholesterol isn’t a reliable way for determining if a person is at risk of heart disease or not.
While soy-based products are usually marketed as “ heart-healthy, ” studies in this field say otherwise. Instead of encouraging great heart health, soy’s Hemagglutinin content leads to the red blood cells to bind together and restricting the even distribution of oxygen throughout the body. It also restricts proper absorption of protein in the body by inhibiting the production of trypsin.
Trypsin inhibitors contained with raw soy actually interfere with the way the trypsin enzyme works. As a result of this the body finds it harder to break down protein after it has been eaten. Because your body isn’t getting enough protein this can then lead to gastric distress and cause your pancreas to have to work harder. Also can lead to damage to your guts barrier.
This leads to your body needing to get energy from empty carbohydrates. That is why most Paleo recipes you find don’t allow for the use of soy in them.
But through the use of heat and fermentation processes, the trypsin inhibitors in soy become deactivated.
Just like its cousin peanuts, soy can cause allergies. Although not 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 disturb, which includes diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, and anemia.
All parts of a plant including the leaves and stems contain phytates within them. However, the outer layer of soy contains high levels of these within them, as do other grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. If you eat these phytates in moderation, they can prove beneficial to your health.
But if eaten in excess, then they can decrease the bioavailability of minerals that your body needs. The minerals you will have problems absorbing are zinc, iron, copper, calcium, and magnesium, all of which will bind to each other because of the excess phytates in your body.
If you are conscious about the minerals, vitamins and, nutrients that your body absorbs and you know of the dangers of having low levels, then you must stop eating soy-based foods. There are plenty of Paleo diet plan foods you can eat instead that contain high levels of protein such as chicken, grass-fed beef, and pork.
The best way of describing saponins is that they are “soap-like”. This is because they contain certain properties that enable them to rearrange cell membranes, which then allows them to slip through into the bloodstream. Once these anti – nutrients have entered the bloodstream, they are able to initiate an immune response and cause systemic inflammation that can lead to someone developing any number of chronic diseases.
Research carried out shows that consuming soy including tofu in small amounts can prove beneficial to your health. However, soy in its unprocessed, organic or fermented form will provide you with the most health benefits.
The actual bean itself is made up of 48% protein. According to the PDCAA it has one of the highest protein quality scores of foods people consume today. It is also complete in essential amino acids that the body needs.
If you would still like to enjoy the flavour that soy gives to your Paleo ingredients, but want to exclude it from your diet then consider using coconut aminos instead. There are many recommend substituting coconut aminos for soy. But it is best if you combine this alternative into any sauces, or gravies that you make.
Along with the coconut aminos you may want to try replacing soy in any of your Paleo meals with fish sauce. It definitely has a more salty and umamie taste to it that is similar to soy. But be careful as you only need to use very small amounts in your food, otherwise the pungent flavour and smell can prove overwhelming. Especially good to use when making Paleo meals based on Thai bowl recipes that include say cauliflower rice, veggies and salmon in them.
Although soy is a known source of protein and fiber, consuming it may cause the above. Luckily for those who enjoy eating a healthy Paleo diet meal plan, such problems shouldn’t arise. But I still occasionally adding little amounts of soy sauces or miso to my Paleo ingredients helps to jazz them up. Remember, a little is better than nothing at all. All things considered if you limit your intake of soy-based products, then you shouldn’t have any real problems.
If these aren’t enough reasons why soy is bad for you and why it doesn’t show up on any Paleo food lists, then consider this. Soy removes the soil of nutrients, and minerals but does not give back any in return and this is why 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.
Hopefully, what has been written in this article will help you to better understand why when someone asks if soy Paleo, many say it isn’t.