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Oh Boy! The Joy of Soy

Jun 23, 2016

By Dean George

It is often said that there are certain subjects you don’t bring up in mixed company, topics like politics and religion. If you’re a “foodie,” there may be another topic you should add to that list: soy.

Oh Boy! The Joy of Soy

(Commercial food products that contain soy)

Why soy? Depending upon who you talk with, soy may be a contributing factor in everything from breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease to thyroid problems and indigestion. And did we mention that soy formula may be harmful to babies?

On the other hand, many studies suggest that soy is good for the heart, may lower cholesterol, increase bone density, prevent cancer and help protect the kidneys of diabetics. Also, soy is often credited as a great source of protein that can boost your metabolism.

A whole soy variety called tempeh is rich in nutrients like vitamins B2, B6, B3 as well as minerals like magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorous – all of which are great for teeth.

So which is it? Is soy good for us or not? As is often the case, the truth lays somewhere in the middle.  In other words, soy is not as dangerous as some groups claim, but on the other hand the health benefits proponents claim may be somewhat exaggerated. First, let’s look at a common denominator found in those studies that claim soy is bad for you:

  • The amount of soy used in those studies is more than most people consume in a day. The average dose used in test trials was one pound, or three soy protein shakes a day. Not even the tofu-eating MacGyver consumed that much soy on a daily basis.
  • Claims that soy is bad for you are based on studies that used processed soy products in their testing. Processed soy is less healthy compared to whole soy or the fermented soy used in Asian cultures with above average life expectancies.

Processed soy products like soy burgers, soy oil and soy cheese are genetically engineered foods that contain unhealthy fats and concentrates. When soy is processed, it loses its natural nutrients and is often loaded with refined flours, sugars and unhealthy fats. Processed soy is usually referred to on food labels as “soy protein.”

Soy milk, made from the liquid residue of cooked soybeans, can also cook the healthy nutrients out during processing. Unfortunately, many soy milk products are processed and some are not even made from real soy beans. What’s more, unhealthy syrup or juice is often added, making it unhealthier.

Health experts say to avoid soy milk products made from soy protein or soy isolate. Fresh or whole-bean soy milk is best.

The healthiest forms of soy are found in whole and organic forms like edamame and tofu or in fermented soy types like tempeh, miso and natto.  All of these forms of soy have oral and general health benefits, which we’ll share next week in Part 2 of Oh Boy! The Joy of Soy.

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Copyright 2016, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC

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