Healthy Living

Is Soy Really Bad For The Body?

The contradictory effects, leaning towards the negative, of consuming soybean plant products are constantly reiterated by health practitioners and articles alike. However, the impact of soy depends upon how much processing it has undergone and most of all, the quantity eaten. 

Despite the negative press, several studies still vouch for the health benefits of soy. Take for instance, the meta-analysis conducted by Harbin University in China on people who took soy isoflavone supplements from 40 to 160 milligrams per day. 

The study published in the journal Nutrition on January 2013 analyzed 9 studies for body weight, 11 studies for fasting glucose and another 11 studies for fasting insulin, and the effect the supplements had on these parameters. Compared to placebo groups, all the three health concerns had shown significant improvement in the non-Asian postmenopausal women population . 

The only difference was that a shorter duration of consuming the supplement showed signs of weight loss, while comparatively, the supplement had to be taken for a longer period to reduce blood glucose levels. 

Some of the popular products made from soy are soy milk, tofu, tempeh, soy sauce and miso. Certain plant compounds are also added to processed foods. Nutrition-wise soy foods have a lot to offer. For example, half a cup of tofu contains 253 milligrams of calcium, 152 milligrams of phosphorus and 46 milligrams of magnesium. It is important to note that the benefits come from the organic and non-genetically engineered varieties of soy. 

Considering almost 93 percent of crops are genetically modified in the U.S., these are hard to come by. Risks and side effects are easier to attract because genetically modified organisms increase risk of developing antibiotic resistance and allergies. They also harm the environment by affecting biodiversity. 

Studies have proven that soy consumption may lower the production of thyroid hormones. One analysis from Loma Linda University, which analyzed 14 trials, said soy consumption in moderation does not do any harm to people with thyroid. But for those people who do not have enough iodine, it could lead to a few negative consequences if taken in excess.  

The isoflavones found in soybean plants perform a similar function to estrogen, which scare people who want to prevent breast and ovarian cancer. This is because both types of cancers are caused by hormonal imbalances. 

Due to its phytoestrogen activity, men are also worried about hormonal disturbances that could end up in prostate cancer. However, there are studies that claim the opposite, and say that soy reduces risk of prostate cancer instead. In conclusion, to avoid side effects, choose minimally processed and non-fermented varieties that have not been genetically engineered to be taken in moderation.  

Soy Consume soy products in organic, non-genetically modified and fermented forms in moderation. Pixabay