We often equate soy products with a healthy lifestyle, as they routinely replace meat counterparts with an alternative that is lower in fat and calories and more animal friendly. However, from soy milk to soy-based “burgers”, the benefits of soy products have been marketed in a fashion that has misled America.
There is no saying that soy is entirely bad — it’s not — as it is sometimes the better alternative to animal-based products. There is, however, a flip side to the so-called protein-packed savior of the vegan world. Soy has been linked to cancer prevention and cardiovascular health, but its real pull has come from being commercialized as a weight loss tool.
These health claims and assumptions about the benefits of soy don’t take into consideration the form that most Americans consume soy. The soy products we see on our plates are unlike the kind commonly prepared in Asia, where the soy is often used in its fermented form. Most of the soy that we consume is genetically modified, over-processed, and filled with chemicals to the point that it loses many of its health benefits. When processed, soy’s isoflavones biochemically change, and this change can contribute to tumor growth. Soy is also very difficult to digest after all these manipulations and can be allergenic and mucous-forming in the body. And, just to debunk a common myth, soy is not a surefire weight-loss facilitator.
Steer clear of soy in all its forms, including all those prepared vegan “burgers” and “cheeses”, which are often not only soy-based but also full of other additives that, albeit vegan, are hard for your body to digest. When you do eat soy, look for organic whole soy products like edamame, miso, tofu and tempeh.
Photo Credit: Lillakanarie