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Soy - Why won't the MultiNationals Spill the Beans?

With some many people attempting to be conscious of what they are eating and staying away from Dairy allergies, the 'what shall I eat' conversations in the clinic inevitably come around to the topic of 'soy' and what do we think about it? With all the media exposure it appears to be useful, is in abundant supply at every healthfood shop and grocery store, is reasonably priced and its on the menu as a meat alternative in many cafes and restaurants, and it's seems karma-free...

Soy is in so many processed foods these days - everything from biscuits, cereals, cakes, pastries, pies, yoghurts, meat alternatives. It's the cheapest source of lecithin, which enables us to have really smoothe chocolate and stops sugar from crystalising. It makes baked goods crusty and hold their shape. It's used in (real) sausages, veggie burgers, chicken nuggets, baby foods, rusks & milk supplements, fish fingers, ice cream, sauces and then there's pet foods, animal/stock 'meals', besides the more familiar products like soy milk, soy yoghurt and soy flour, tofu, tempeh, miso.

I have decided to write this article so that you can make more of an informed choice because what I am writing here will certainly not make it to the ads on tv or be in the women's magazine that you find at the supermarket check out.

Personally, I would use soy it the way it has traditionally used prepared - fermented, in small quantities, as a condiment, ie miso or tempeh. Why? I hear you say - with so much positive 'trust me it's good for you' media exposure that it will do everything from pumping up your oestrogen levels and provide an alternative source of protein, as well as give you anticarcinogenic components. And hey!! It's safe because the Asians have had it in their diet for thousands of years.

There are still too many reports of toxic reactions, severe metabolic changes and extreme hormonal disruptionsfor me to consider this as a 'safe' food.

Let's clarify a few points.

The Soyabean was originally from China where it was used in crop rotation to secure nitrogen in the soils. It was not usually eaten as a food group except in times of famine or as a basic food for the poor who could not afford animal protein. In China they obtained their dietary protein from pork (around 60-65% of their diet) and in Japan protein is traditionally obtained from fish (also about 60%).

In Asia, the soy bean has been used SPARINGLY, 6 - 8 g per day, as a condiment miso or as tofu/curd. The soybeans were treated through a fermentation process, from 6 months up to 5 years. Besides fermentation, other processes included several phases of boiling and reduction to minimize the effect of the natural toxins in the bean. Authorities in the more remote poverty stricken areas of China, where the locals did consume soy, believe that it was the consumption of soy that was responsible for cretinism amongst the popluations. Asians did not use the soyabean for the protein content of their meals, as they derived their protein from animal meats, and they did not drink smoothies by the litre or have bowls of soyabean breakfast cereal covered in soyabean milk. Their daily intake would be drastically small compared to what we have been consuming in the west.

Remarkably, no one in the soy industry marketing arena has gone to the trouble to mention that there are huge differences in the preparation practices of the traditional soy users and how it is mass produced today.

The second essential point is that in 1998 the multinational corporation, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) petitioned the FDA in the U.S. for 'GRAS' status for soy isoflavones. (GRAS - Generally Recognised As Safe is a designation that is used for foods, or food additives that have been used safely for many years by humans.) This is unbelievable considering the soy isoflavones (plant oestrogens), genistein and daidzen, were the reason that two senior FDA scientists, Daniel Sheehan and Daniel Doerge, specialists in oestrogen research, vigorously opposed the promotion soy 'health giving' isoflavones. WHY? Because it was found that they demonstrated toxicity in oestrogen sensitive tissue and the thyroid gland. They were particularly concerned about the effects this would have on fetuses and infants as this is such a highly sensitive phase of development. Researchers Sheehan and Doerge are now disallowed from publicly commenting on this soy issue.

Petitioning for this Generally Recognised As Safe claim is truly beyond belief considering scientists and farmers have long known that soyabeans are toxic to animals and will disrupt their endocrine system resulting in hormonal imbalances, reproductive organ deformatities and infertitlity; this also includes not being able to properly feed their offspring due to inhibited milk production.

When raising pigs, soyabean meal has to be only 1% of the animal's food content during gestation and only slightly higher during lactation, otherwise it will create reproduction damage and developmental problems in the offspring.

In New Zealand in recent years a number of bird breeders noticed that the effects of a certain bird feed was creating beak and bone deformities, goiter, systemic immune disorders, infertility and premature maturation. This bird feed contained soyabean, but the unbelieveable comment on the feed packaging was 'Would you believe this bird is just 11 weeks old?', displaying an adult looking rosella. As if it's a good thing to super accelerated maturity, and of course, the early demise that naturally follows. Normally an adult bird takes 12 - 18 months to get its full coloured plumage. 11 weeks? Does this not scare you even slightly? The fact that this has been known for decades now, how soy can effect animals hormonal development and yet it is widely used in INFANT formulas - which some infants would be on from day one up to 1-2 years of age.

(This is so typical of Industry Marketing - For Years we have known the soils are depleted of minerals. We suppliment the livestock because they are a 'unit of production' ($$$) and we can't have the vet running out every time the calves need extra minerals for their growth. Imagine the vet bill! So the vets and farmers created mineral/salt licks (blocks) and supplement their feed. But do doctors tell the humans, who eat the foods grown on the same depleted soils that they too will need supplementation because the plants ain't got it in them? Rarely. If a group of animals get sick they get sorted out really fast because they are unit of production, a group of humans get sick - well, there's not enough research yet, and ... drug companies can't patent basic food so what's the rush! Let's keep the sickness industry afloat! This is an interesting reflection of how we truly value our human lives.)

And so here is the other part of this bizarre contradiction - that it's advertised as being great for menopausal women to have masses of soy because it's high in these plant eostrogens and in the same breath say that it's fine for infants to have soy formula.

Article by Shauna Kendall

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