I just got an email from a reader the other day who had been to multiple doctors, both holistic and conventional, and all but one of them were telling her that plenty of soy in her diet would help her menopause symptoms.
I had another shocking conversation recently with a doctor of Internal Medicine who had no idea soy was a potent goitrogenic food and actively suppressed thyroid function.
Be careful folks. It’s dangerous out there! You really need to do your research and be on your toes at all times when it comes to nutritional advice even from someone in a white coat!
For those of you who just sat down because you are so taken aback by the notion that soy is not actually the healthfood you thought it was, here are 170 scientific reasons to back up this assertion.
Fermented Soy Fine in Small Amounts for Some People
Please note that fermented soy in small, condimental amounts as practiced in traditional Asian cultures is fine for those who have healthy thyroid function. Only miso, tempeh, natto and traditionally brewed soy sauce fall under this category. In addition, if you want to sprinkle a few edamame on your salad or have a few small cubes of tofu in your miso soup from time to time, that is fine too. A little soy lecithin in a nonGMO snack food from time to time isn’t necessarily a problem either. Just don’t make it a regular part of your diet!
If you have any sort of thyroid issues going on, however, it is really the best policy to avoid all soy all the time as soy is a potent goitrogen (thyroid suppressor) even if fermented.
Dangers of Soy #1
A 1991 study found that eating only 2 TBL/day of roasted and pickled soybeans for 3 months to healthy adults who were receiving adequate iodine in their diet caused thyroid suppression with symptoms of malaise, constipation, sleepiness, and goiters (Nippon Naibunpi Gakkai Zasshi 1991, 767: 622-629)!
Still think munching on edamame instead of popcorn is a healthy habit?
Dangers of Soy #2
Six premenopausal women with normal menstrual cycles were given 45 mg of soy isoflavones per day. This is equivalent to only 1-2 cups of soy milk or 1/2 cup of soy flour! After only one month, all of the women experienced delayed menstruation with the effects similar to tamoxifen, the anti-estrogen drug given to women with breast cancer (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1994 Sep;60(3):333-340).
Dangers of Soy #3
Dietary estrogens in the form of soy foods were found to have the potential to disrupt the endocrine system with the effects in women similar to taking the breast cancer drug tamoxifen (Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine 1995 Jan;208(1):51-9).
Dangers of Soy #4
Estrogens consumed in the diet at low concentrations were found to stimulate breast cells much like DDT to increase enzymatic activity which leads to breast cancer (Environmental Health Perspectives 1997 Apr;105 (Suppl 3):633-636).
Dangers of Soy #5
The soy isoflavones genistein and daidzein appear to stimulate existing breast cancer growth indicating risk in consuming soy products if a woman has breast cancer. (Annals of Pharmacotherapy 2001 Sep;35(9):118-21).
Dangers of Soy #6
Direct evidence that soy isoflavones genistein and daidzein suppress the pituitary-thyroid axis in middle-aged rats fed 10 mg soy isoflavones per kilo after only 3 weeks as compared with rats eating regular rat chow (Experimental Biology and Medicine 2010 May;235(5):590-8).
Dangers of Soy #7
Don’t eat soy when you are pregnant ladies! Scientific research has shown that the developing male fetus which is exposed to soy phytoestrogens may suffer from higher susceptibility to prostate cancer later in life (Prostate 1994;24(2):67-78).
Dangers of Soy #8
Keep that soy away from your daughters! Dietary genistein (soy phytoestrogen) in developing female rats had the effect of significantly accelerated puberty (Toxicol Sci 1999 Oct;51(2):236-44).
In addition, early exposure to soy is associated with less female typical play patterns in girls at 42 months of age (Environ Health Perspect v. 119(12); Dec 2011).
Dangers of Soy #9
Hey guys! Soy protein powder strips your masculinity! A study of 12 men aged 18 years and older experienced a 19% drop in serum testosterone in only 28 days when supplemented with 56 grams of soy protein powder over that same time period (Prev 2007;16:829—33).
Dangers of Soy #10
Do NOT feed soy formula to your babies! Female newborns who are orally exposed to genisin, the glycosylated form of genistein (soy phytoestrogen) experienced harm to the reproductive system in the form of “delayed vaginal opening… abnormal estrous cycles, decreased fertility, and delayed parturition.” (Environmental Health Perspective 2009 Dec;117(12):1883-9).
More information on the dangers of soy infant formula even if organic can be found in this article.
Convinced yet? I don’t know about you, but ten reasons is plenty for me! Still interested to see the remaining 160 reasons? My friend Dr. Kaayla Daniel, author of the must read The Whole Soy Story, has compiled the rest of the list for you if you click here.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Sources and More Information on Women’s Health
Breast Ultrasound Safer and More Effective than Mammography
Thermography: A Perfect Alternative to Cancer Causing Mammograms?
Even Organic Soy Formula is Harmful for Babies
Birth Control Pill Risks to your Future Child’s Health
Sarah Pope has been a Health and Nutrition Educator since 2002. Her work is dedicated to helping families effectively incorporate the principles of ancestral diets within the modern household. She is a sought after lecturer around the world for conferences, summits, and podcasts.
Her work has been covered by major media including USA Today, ABC, NBC, and many others.