Many people have been led to believe that soy was actually a health food. This is as a result of clever marketing in an attempt to push ever cheaper ingredients into our foods,, but soy is not all it seems.
In reality the only soy foods with health benefits are USDA certified 100% organic, traditionally fermented soy products such as tempeh, miso, natto and soy sauce if it is fermented naturally rather than chemically.
It is estimated that 94% of all soy grown in America is GMO soy. Soy derivatives are often disguised under a raft of different names, in much the same way as sugar or sweeteneners are added under many different names. Terms for soy derivatives include mono-diglyceride, soya, soja, yuba, TSF (textured soy flour), TSP (textured soy protein), TVP (textured vegetable protein), lecithin, and MSG.
Soy protein isolate is a common additive and has been linked to many health issues. It is widely added to bottled fruit drinks, soups, breakfast cereals, sauces, baked goods, meal replacement shakes, protein bars and dietary and muscle building supplements. This gmo soy has been linked with a decreased libido and erectile disfunction.
Soy has to be heavily processed in order to become soy protein isolate. This involves acid washing in aluminum tanks, (designed to remove some of the antinutrients) which leeches aluminum into the final product. Aluminum has been shown to have adverse effects on brain development (i) and cause symptoms such as:
Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia (ii)
It has been documented that monks who chose a life of celibacy have actually consumed soy foods on a regular basis as an aid to dampening their libido.
Two natural compounds found in soy, genistein and daidzein, have been found to mimic estrogen in the body so efficiently that the side effects can be very marked and often distressing for men. These symptoms include :
Breast enlargement (gynecomastia)
Lowered sperm count
Decreased facial and body hair growth
For example, one recent study documented a case of gynecomastia in a 60-year-old man as a result of his soy consumption. When he stopped his daily intake of 3 quarts of soy milk his symptoms improved.
In April 2010, a study was published by Russia’s Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the National Association for Gene Security. Their research found that after feeding hamsters GM soy for two years, over three generations, by the third generation, most lost the ability to reproduce (iii)
A new study by researchers at University of Connecticut (iv) has shown that men who consume soy protein as opposed to whey protein as an aid to help muscle growth and recovery as part of their work out and fitness regime have far lower levels of testoserone in their bodies in addition to increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
The results were published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition (JACN). The study involved a group of resistance trained men, all in their early 20′s and trained regularly, who were divided into three groups for the randemized, placebo controlled crossover investigation. Hormone levels were measured together with an assigned supplemental diet.
One group received the soy protein isolate, one the whey protein isolate , and the final group having a maltodextrin-based placebo control. Each participant was forbidden to take any other supplements during the study, and in addition vegetarians, vegans and those who were consuming high-protein diets were also excluded.
The study lasted two weeks with each man taking 20 grams of their allocated supplement every morning before carrying out the same specific resistance excercises. The hormone profiles for each man at the end of the study was compared and it was concluded that, when compared to the men who supplemented with whey, those who were taking soy did not necessarily produce more estrogen. However they were found to have markedly decreased testosterone levels in addition to elevated cortisol levels. This can be a dangerous combination that can leave men at risk of disease and weight gain.
These results were after just 14 days, so men who prolong their use of these soy based supplements could be causing major damage. The condition now called ‘feminization’ of men has been connected to lower levels of testosterone and higher levels of cortisol. The effects can be devastating to many men and can include breast enlargement, nipple discharge and hot flashes. It can also lead to thyroid issues, loss of bone density, sleep disorders as well as the decreased libido and reproductive problems mentioned earlier.
Many studies looking specifically at soy protein, soy flour and other soy derivatives commonly found in the food supply have concluded that phytoestrogens have adverse effects on both the production and utilization of hormones in males (v).
Men, if you’ve experienced one or any of these symptoms, soy could be to blame. Remove it from your diet, but consult your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or get worse as this could be a sign of other serious conditions.
As mentioned above other names soy can be labelled as: soya,soja, yuba, mono-diglyceride, lecithin, MSG (mono sodium glutoamate), TSF (textured soy flour) or TSP (textured soy protein) and TVP (textured vegetable protein).
However it should be noted that not all textured vegetable protein is made from soy, but a great deal of it is. Lecithin can also be made from eggs, sunflower or corn. Contact the manufacturer to find out which is in your product if the label doesn’t make this information clear.