Soy Protein. Contrary to popular belief, soy products are not healthy for you; at least, that is, unfermented soy. Fermented soy is one thing. But eating edamame, soy milk and soy protein is quite another.
Most soy grown in the U.S. is genetically modified to withstand applications of glyphosate, the active ingredient in the weedkiller Roundup. A recent Norwegian study found “extreme” levels of glyphosate in U.S. soy, meaning we’re eating weedkiller when we eat nonorganic soy. That’s a problem, given that glyphosate is linked to many health problems, including human cell death.
It’s generally accepted that long-term use of soy dietary supplements like soy protein is unsafe because it has been linked to the following:
- Allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
- Breast cancer
- Cystic fibrosis
- Endometrial cancer
- Hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid)
- Kidney disease
- Urinary bladder cancer
All of these reasons are great reasons why soy is definitely one of the health foods you should never eat.
Better option: If you love soy sauce, choose coconut aminos instead. If you do chose soy occasionally, go with fermented soy. This includes natto, tempeh, and real miso soup.
Soy protein isolate in particular has been increasingly placed under a health microscope regarding its safety, due to its widespread use to increase protein content of various foods or to enhance texture. There are three common concerns to be aware of.
1. Metal contamination.
Soy protein isolate is extracted from defatted soy flour. It is made of almost pure protein, since the isolation process yields a product that is 93 to 97 percent protein, leaving minimal fat and carbohydrates. The concern about the isolation process centers on the fact that aluminum found in the giant vats used to isolate the soy protein may leach into the protein itself, increasing the likelihood of heavy-metal poisoning.
This is completely speculative, as I have yet to see an analysis of soy, whey, or any protein isolate showing heavy metal contamination from the containers used during the isolation process.
2. Pesticide risk.
Ninety percent of genetically modified soy is resistant to glyphosate, the pesticide found in Round Up. A concern raised about eating products with soy protein isolate is that you will consume excessive amounts of this chemical. The good news? Glyphosate is not well absorbed by the human GI tract, the potential negative effects on humans are dose-dependent, and the level of that dose is very controversial.