Soy, a legume with more harm than good

Soy, a legume with more harm than good

The purpose of this writing is to inform you of a number of dangers that accompany soy consumption. It is focused on the nutritional aspect. It exceeds the issue of transgenics and the amount of problems that these cause.

Soybeans, even though they are not transgenic and even organic, represent a serious problem for human health, due to the combination of several factors.

There is solid scientific information on the problems caused by its regular consumption. Here we provide some websites where you can expand the information that we will provide below:


In ancient China, they appreciated this legume for its fertilizing effect on the soil (it fixes nitrogen). Only during the Chou dynasty (1134-246 BC), with the mastery of the fermentation technique, began to be consumed in the form of fermented beans such as natto, tempeh, miso and soy sauce. In this way, the complete inactivation of antinutrients in the bean is ensured.

Then, in the second century BC, the cooked bean puree (tofu) began to curdle, a process that inactivates antinutrients, but not completely.

In the advertising constant that Orientals eat a lot of soybeans per day, it can be said that in 1930, soybeans represented only 1.5% of calories in the Chinese diet. In 1998, it was specified that the Japanese consumed 8 grams. daily of soy protein (2 teaspoons), in the form of fermented and seasonings.

Another interesting fact is that the soybean used in the East was glycine, and today glycine max is used, which has been improved to obtain more proteins and more isoflavones. It is worth clarifying that 99% of soy is genetically modified (transgenic), and has one of the highest percentages of contamination by pesticides.

Illusory virtues

The hype that has created the miracle of soy sales is all the more remarkable since, just a few decades ago, soybeans were considered unfit for food, even in Asia.

At the end of the 20th century, a flood of publicity, based on "serious scientific studies", advised soy as a nutritional and therapeutic panacea. With the argument that soy was essential to solve menopausal disorders, lower cholesterol, protect the cardiovascular system, fight cancer and solve the problem of hunger in the world, the industry began to add soy to hamburgers, pasta, food for babies and children etc.

Today, soy protein is now found in most brands of bread sold in supermarkets. In Mexico, it is being used to transform "the humble tortilla," the Mexican staple food based on corn, into a "super tortilla" fortified with soy protein, which would "reinforce the diet" of the nearly 20 million Mexicans who they live in extreme poverty. In England, a new bread made by Allied Bakeries appeared, aimed at menopausal women seeking relief from hot flashes.

The folly reached the point of the adoption of the term "nutraceutical" (nutrient and drug at the same time) by the industry. This is understood when looking at the abundance of funds available to "base your profits." All large soybean producers pay a mandatory tax (in the United States) of between 0.5 to 1% of the price of the bean in the market. Thus, sums greater than US $ 80 million per year, support the United Soybean program to “strengthen the position of soybeans in the market and maintain and expand domestic and foreign markets for soybeans and products made with their derivatives. ”.

Even well-intentioned idealists (vegetarians, naturists) and environmentalists promoted its spread and applications, arguing that it was a way to reduce the consumption of animal protein and to avoid damage to the environment.

In Argentina, from the mid-90s to even today, "solidarity soy" programs are developed, providing subsidies to dining rooms and homes, with the intention of leaving soy positioned as "salvation" for the most deprived.

The truth is that the campaign for soy has been relentless and global in scope. The industry found thousands of applications for it, taking advantage of its protein richness, its healthy fats, its industrial plasticity and its extremely low cost. But despite all this propaganda, the myth is falling apart.

Antinutrients and nutritional disorder

Although soy has a high protein content, its biological value (49 compared to the 100 index of the egg) is limited by a deficiency in essential sulfur amino acids (methionine, cysteine) and by the presence of protease inhibitors (enzymes such as trypsin, necessary to degrade their proteins).

The inhibitory factor is not completely inactivated by cooking and industrial processes. This happens only with slow fermentation processes, ranging from several months to 3 years (artisan miso and soy sauce). A diet with a high presence of these inhibitors can lead to growth deficits, poor digestion, gastric disorders, pancreatic exhaustion, and vitamin B12 deficiency (anemia).

Another dangerous antinutrient is phytic acid, present in other grains, but with a higher concentration in soybeans. This substance blocks the assimilation of minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium and especially zinc. Long, slow cooking partially inactivates this antinutrient. Only slow fermentation inactivates it completely.

When precipitated soy products, such as tofu, are consumed with meat, the mineral blocking effects of phytates are reduced. Japanese traditionally eat a small amount of tofu or miso as part of a mineral-rich fish broth, followed by a meat or fish dish. Vegetarians who consume tofu in large quantities as a substitute for meat and dairy are at risk of severe mineral deficiencies.

In general, scientists agree that diets based on grains and legumes high in phytate content contribute to mineral deficiencies.

Hemagglutinins, which agglutinize red blood cells and reduce oxygen absorption, are other antinutrients present in soybeans. These lectins depress growth, cause blood clots and allergic reactions. They affect the enterocytes (cells of the intestinal mucosa) and therefore decrease the absorption of nutrients.

As for minerals, soy has problematic high concentrations of manganese and phosphorus. Manganese is 80 times more abundant than in breast milk, and its excess lowers dopamine levels, generates hyperactivity and poor concentration (characteristics of childhood ADD), spasms, tremors and violent behavior.

Phosphorus, a mineral that in excess is also associated with childhood attention deficit and fibromyalgia, is a calcium antagonist, therefore a promoter of calcium deficiencies such as osteoporosis. This leads us to see that the claim that soy prevents osteoporosis is unfounded. If Asians actually have lower rates of osteoporosis than Westerners, it may well be because their diet provides plenty of vitamin D (helps fix calcium) from shrimp, lard, shellfish, and lots of calcium from bone broths.


One of the biggest problems with soy is the publicized isoflavones (genistein, daidzein). These phytoestrogens, converted into a therapeutic panacea for women in menopause, are natural defense mechanisms of the plant, in response to pests.

By the 1950s they had been identified as problematic in animal diets, when they were not yet used in human food. The studies of Dr. Mike Fitzpatrick in New Zealand, showed evidence of endocrine disorders, infertility, leukemia and cancer when incorporating soy in pet and animal foods.

Later it was found in Japan that just two daily tablespoons of soybeans, for a month, were enough to generate thyroid (goiter) and pancreatic hypertrophy, reduction of the thymus (command gland of the immune system), hypothyroidism, constipation, fatigue and lethargy.

This was later endorsed by English and American studies. Research from Kings College of London showed that genistein blocks the passage of sperm into the uterus, making conception difficult. Another English study showed that consuming 60 grams for 1 month. daily of soy protein, affected the menstrual cycle, an effect that lasted up to 3 months after abandoning the intake of this legume.

The Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, highlighted the negative estrogenic effect of soy in men: decreased sperm count, infertility, weight gain, perceptual difficulties and low libido. This confirms the use of soy in eastern monasteries, where it is considered useful to appease sexual desire.

Extensive worldwide research has provided ample evidence for the effects of soy isoflavones:

• Inhibition of steroid hormones (estradiol) and thyroid hormones (T3, T4).

• Disorders of the reproductive system. Infertility

• Hypothyroidism, autoimmune thyroiditis, thyroid cancer.

• Liver damage (cirrhosis), irritable bowel.

• Behavioral problems, perception and memory deficits.

• Immune deficiency, pituitary insufficiency.

However, the soy industry managed to ignore this strong evidence, based on the consumption of small daily amounts of soy (0.5 mg of isoflavones per kg of weight, constitutes a risk dose). On the contrary, campaigns were flourishing promoting the "healthy" use of soy to lower cholesterol (25 g of protein isolate) or solve menopausal problems (10 mg per kg of weight, which is twice the dose of risk).

Without leaving aside all this problems, it can be said that the most grotesque in all this nonsense is the great development of infant formulas, aimed mainly at babies allergic to cow's milk and vegetarian babies. In small organisms, these rations of soy (isoflavones) are equivalent to 16 times the risk dose mentioned above, or what is the same, 5 contraceptive pills a day for an adult, or also 1000 times more the estrogenic effect than breast milk.

The Israeli Ministry of Health has banned soy-based baby formula, following 3 infant deaths and 7 cases of brain damage in a few days. In England, soy milk has been discouraged for children under 2 years of age and pregnant women. The Food Commission of the United Kingdom, recommended not to exceed the daily consumption of 40 mg. of soy isoflavones in adults. These values ​​are reached with just 20 grams. of beans or soy flour, or 70 grams. of tofu, or 200 cc. of soy milk or 100 grs. of bean sprouts.

The bean industry and processing

The aggressive industrial methods necessary to obtain derivatives of the bean generate further nutritional problems. Obtaining Soy Protein Isolate (SPI), a key ingredient in many foods, is an illustrative example.

The beans are dipped in an alkaline solution to remove the skin. It is then precipitated by acid washing and finally neutralized in an alkaline solution. Acid washing in aluminum tanks transfers (leaches) a large amount of this mineral to the product. The resulting curd is spray dried at a high temperature to give a high protein powder. By extrusion at high temperature and high pressure, the textured vegetable protein (TVP for its acronym in English) is obtained.

Despite the high temperature, these processes are not able to completely eliminate the trypsin inhibitor; instead, they denature the protein (reduce the amino acids lysine and cysteine) and generate carcinogenic nitrites.

Alkaline processing also gives rise to lysinoalanine, a carcinogenic toxin.

Given the strong flavor of the bean, artificial flavorings (monosodium glutamate in meat imitations) or sweeteners should be added. For example, the declared ingredients of a soy milk powder are: corn syrup, soy protein isolate, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, sugar, vitamin and mineral mix, maltodextrin, salt, artificial flavors, mono and diglycerides.

In food experiments, the use of SPI increases the demand for vitamins E, K, D and B12. In addition, it creates symptoms of calcium, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, copper, iron and zinc deficiency. The remaining phytic acid in these soy products strongly inhibits the absorption of iron and zinc. Laboratory animals fed RLS show enlarged organs (pancreas and thyroid) and a higher generation of fatty acids in the liver (Rackis, Joseph, J., "Biological and Physiological Factors in Soybeans", Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society 51: 161A-170a, January 1974 - Rackis, Joseph, J. et al., "The USDA trypsin inhibitor study", ibid.).

The problem with these derivatives of soy (SPI and TVP) is their omnipresence in the most varied and unsuspected foods, which prevents avoiding them. We find soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein in beverages, baked goods, diet foods, soy milk, infant formulas, sweets, diet drinks, sports products, cold cuts, meat imitations, ice cream, dairy products, cereal bars, mayonnaise, fast food products, etc.

Furthermore, these bean derivatives are necessarily present in the entire food chain, as they are the basis of balance for intensive animal husbandry (feed lot, stables, cages, swimming pools). By the way, animals fed soy protein show the same health problems as humans: growth deficit, organ hypertrophy, fatty liver, tumors, etc.

Fats, a bad memory

In terms of oils, the beneficial essential fatty acids of soy (omega 3 and 6) are denatured by pressure, solvents and temperature (up to 270 ° C in a controlled atmosphere) of "efficient industrial processes", which require aggressive processes of refining to remove undesirable textures and odors (neutralized, degummed, bleached, deodorized). EFAs (essential fatty acids) are only found in oils obtained by first cold pressing. This method is "inefficient" for the industry, as it removes only 20% of the fat from the grain.

Refined soybean oil is mainly used for industrial hydrogenation (margarines), a process that allows modulating textures (from liquid to solid) suitable for the most diverse demands of modern food engineering, with the ideal equation: low cost and high conservation .

The example of what happened with hydrogenated vegetable oils, has in some sense, a great relationship with what is happening today with soy. Unfortunately, the magnitude of the disaster that soy is generating is much greater.

It is worth remembering that after the Second World War, one of the “great discoveries” of the food industry was hydrogenated vegetable oils (margarine).

Margarine comes from a vegetable oil (generally soy or sunflower), which is brought to temperatures between 210º and 270º and hydrogen gas is blown into it, solidifying it, that is, saturating it; obtaining a polymer with a structure very similar to plastic. These compounds, with great resistance to rancidity, as we said before, are omnipresent on the labels of industrially made products, in bakery products, cookies, ice cream, fried, etc. They appear on the labels as “hydrogenated vegetable oil” or “partially hydrogenated”. Dairy industries also use hydrogenated fats to increase the fat content of milk.

Returning to the example that we wanted to show, where for the benefit of a few, foods with supposed benefits are promoted that later are not such, that is, hydrogenated oils were initially promoted as the solution to lower the cholesterol level. Some years later (when there was no way to disguise the truth), it was discovered that not only do they not help lower cholesterol (since they are saturated fats and therefore have the opposite effect), but they also produce aortic sclerosis, greater risk of heart attack, disorders in cell structure, fatty infiltration in the liver, predispose the body to disease and premature aging.

While it is not possible to confirm that the relationship between the child's illness and the consumption of soy milk is totally direct, it is also impossible to deny any relationship.

The truth is that there is no record (in the 5,000,000 years that man exists) of any people that have used soy and its derivatives in the way that industry and multinational companies want to impose today. The consequences of this emerge day by day.

Given this situation, what foods do we suggest?


As we saw, it is the soy cheese, resulting from the coagulation of the milk of this legume, with magnesium salt (nigari), calcium salt or lemon. This product is one of the basic soy derivatives in the diet of the countries of the Far East, mainly Japan and China, from which it originates and has been prepared since the second century BC.

There are different varieties of tofu: soft, medium hard, and hard. All are chalky white and practically odorless. Its use is very varied, since it accepts to be mixed with both salty and sweet foods. It is used sautéed, marinated, as a filling, pate, etc., in different ways to enhance its flavor; since by itself, it does not have a very defined flavor. It should be borne in mind that it is not gratin like bovine cheeses, at most when processed, it acquires a consistency similar to ricotta.

Fresh tofu is kept in the refrigerator for about ten days, in a container covered with water and a pinch of salt. Every two days you should rinse and change the water.

It is very important to consume organic and fresh tofu. We can verify the latter based on its consistency. When it is expired, it can happen that the surface becomes rubbery, acquires a strong and acid odor and when cut, a slime or dark spots appear.


• In general, high protein foods have an acid PH. Tofu has an alkaline PH and is very easy to digest. Hence, it is recommended for children, the elderly, people with digestive disorders or those who start a natural and comprehensive diet. It is found in tofu from 8 to 10% of easily assimilated proteins.

• In 100 grs. of tofu there are 4 - 5 grams. of fats, of which 85% are unsaturated; above all it has linoleic acid. This prevents increased cholesterol and cardiovascular disease.

• It is very low in calories, making it suitable for weight loss regimens.

• Contains lecithin (phosphorous fatty acid), which is very important for metabolizing, dissolving and eliminating cholesterol deposits and other fatty acids that accumulate in vital organs and in the circulatory stream. In addition, it nourishes the brain cells and strengthens the eye muscles.

• Contains lysine, an essential amino acid found in small amounts in most cereals.

• It is very low in carbohydrate content which, added to the quality of fats it has; makes it an appropriate food for diabetics.

• It does not contain gluten, therefore it is suitable for celiacs.

Consumption: as tofu does not completely eliminate the antinutrients from the bean, we recommend consuming a small amount and no more than 2 times a week.

Soy sauce

It is liquid, dark brown in color, pleasant and salty aroma. The best known are the Shoyu and Tamari. They have a very particular flavor, which is obtained from the natural fermentation of soybeans. This is done in a fermentation medium, made up of wheat and salt, for the Shoyu; or brown rice and salt, when the Tamari is made.

It is used to season food, in the traditional nitukes, kimpiras and nishimes of macrobiotic cuisine. It is usually added at the end of cooking. With the addition of this sauce, a final sweet and sour taste is obtained in the food.

Traditionally, the fermentation of the sauce began in Japan, in the month of April and took a whole year. Yeasts, fungi and bacteria are used in natural fermentation. Currently many sauces are made where chemical processes are used, added sugar, colorants, etc .; altering the quality and flavor of the final product.

It is advisable to purchase sauces, in which the artisan production or natural fermentation is indicated.


This product, also resulting from fermentation; It has been consumed for thousands of years in Japan and China and was always considered for its medicinal properties.

It is a thick and dark paste, product of the natural and prolonged fermentation of white soybeans. During the production process, which can last between one and two years; the bean is pressed with spring water, gradually adding sea salt.

There are many types of miso: Mugi, made from barley, soy, salt and water; Natto, which contains barley, algae, soy, salt and ginger; the Hatcho or Name, with soybeans, salt and water; and the Kome or Genmai, with brown rice, soy, salt and water.

Its most common use is in soups with vegetables and seaweed, always added at the end of cooking. It is advisable not to cook it, to avoid destroying the beneficial bacteria and enzymes resulting from the fermentation. It can also be used to spread on breads, cookies and as a topping in gravy, salads, etc.

As for the amount, we can estimate a consumption of 1 to 2 teaspoons per day, as a guide. Hypertensive people should be more cautious, due to the high sodium content.


• Contains lactic bacteria, which make some vitamins and help in the digestion and assimilation of food. For this reason it is recommended for allergy sufferers, in whom weak intestines cannot assimilate proteins well. Its consumption is also recommended for people with problems of abdominal bloating, flatulence, constipation and diarrhea.

• Contains a large amount of minerals, mainly calcium, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium. Provides small amounts of vitamin B12.

• Helps neutralize acidity and toxic residues from today's high protein diets.

• Contains inositol, a compound that combines with radioactive substances and expels them from the body.

• The fat that miso contains is biologically combined with salt and transformed by fermentation; making it a very stable food that is preserved for years without refrigeration.

• Contains significant amounts of linoleic acid and lecithin.

• It has melanoidins, anticancer substances that inhibit the action of free radicals. On the other hand, it is these substances that give miso its characteristic color.

Natto and Tempeh

Although these two products are not available at the moment in our country (of organic origin), it is worth knowing them, since they are fermented products, where the antinutrients have been inactivated.

Natto is prepared by beating the beans already fermented with shoyu, until obtaining an elastic and rubbery paste, with aroma and flavor similar to cheese. It can be used to spread bread and biscuits, such as pate, etc.

The fermentation of natto makes it beneficial to stimulate digestive activity. It is a food rich in proteins (in 100 grams we find about 17 grams of them), and minerals such as calcium and iron.

Tempeh is obtained from a culture of specific bacteria on cooked soybeans. It is a very popular food in Indonesia.

Fermentation is done with a bacterium called Rhizopus oligosporus (found in the root of the plant), which in the process fixes vitamin B12. On the other hand, to neutralize the presence of antagonistic bacteria in the intestine, it secretes antibiotic agents that are beneficial for man.

It is a product rich in protein (19 - 20 grams per 100 grams of food), minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus and vitamin B12.

Reading labels, informing ourselves and finding out how the foods we choose are made is the first step towards conscious eating.

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Source: through Cajú raw food

Video: Is Soy Bad for You? (October 2020).