Scrutinizing Soy

You’ve heard me comment here and there about Big Agra’s favorite legume, but I thought it was time to truly sit down with soy, stare it in the eye and get to the bottom of its real intentions.

Just so you know, we had an amicable exchange, and both parties came away from the table having learned a thing or two about open-mindedness and media frenzy.

It’s true, soy was once nutrition’s sweetheart. It could do no wrong (much like multi-grain anything these days). Within a shockingly brief period, it was thrust into the limelight, granted liberties it wasn’t ready for and didn’t, in all fairness, ask for. Its sudden fame propelled it into the likes of the dairy aisle, the barbeque line-up, even infant formula. Talk about big shoes to fill! Could anyone truly stand up to such phenomenal pressure and responsibility?

And so we find soy in its current circumstances, dissected by the health media, floundering, searching for a center long ago obscured, grasping for its authentic, legitimate role in nutritional balance.

All right, I’m ready to heave. Still with me? Just know that I’m completely serious about the media food frenzy, pun intended. Nutrition should be treated with more rationality and common sense than the parading line of fads and momentary cult worship. Maybe that’s what’s so satisfying about the primal diet: it doesn’t get any more basic than primitive.

Anyway, let’s get on with things and break it down.

Soy and Processing
The mantra applies here as well. All together now: Eat food, not food products. This doesn’t mean you have to forgo all forms of soy, but I’ll just say up front that food products with “the benefits of soy” conveniently added in just aren’t convincing me.

As I’ve said before, soy really needs some form of preparation before it’s safe to eat, and that in and of itself gives me pause. That said, minimally processed soy forms like fermented tempeh and miso as well as edamame seem like preferable options.

Soy processing isn’t a very comforting picture with acid washing and neutralization solutions, large and leaching aluminum tanks, and high temperature heating (rarely a good thing in the food world). And this doesn’t take into account the artificial flavorings, including MSG, that are oftentimes added to improve flavor. (Hmmm. When we say healthy tastes great, we kind of mean a food itself and not all the chemical crap added to it. No?) Finally, it’s vital to go organic when it comes to soy. Not only is it nearly all genetically modified, it has one of the highest pesticide contamination levels of any crop.

Soy and Cancer
We’re talking mostly about breast cancer here. The culprit in question is the group of soy isoflavones, plant hormones that mimics estrogen in the body. Some research has shown that isolated isoflavones, a.k.a. phytoestrogens, contribute to the growth of tumors in the breast, endometrium and uterus.

It essentially comes back to the whole foods question. The research has focused on the isolated isoflavones, particularly genistein, the most active of the soy isoflavones that activates cellular estrogen receptors, including those in breast tumors. Noted experts in the field have cautioned that research with isolated soy compounds does not necessarily carry over well to the effect of the whole food, even minimally processed soy flour. In other words, soy is healthier than the sum of its parts. Other studies have shown that the mix of phytoestrogens in soy, when taken together in whole soy foods, protect estrogen receptors and may partly shield them from the estrogen we take in with meat and dairy consumption (yup, bovine hormones even in organic). They can also possibly reduce the impact of the unequivocally insidious “xenoestrogens” found in chemical pollutants.

Add to this picture the analysis of cultural diet and disease trends. Though Japanese women regularly eat significant portions of soy (in forms like tempeh, edamame, miso and tofu), they have only 1/5 of the breast cancer rate that Western women.

Soy and Thyroid Function
Researchers are in general agreement that people with previously diagnosed hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) should not take soy supplements. There’s not as much agreement, however, about soy and diet. The isoflavones in soy inhibit thyroid peroxidase, which produces T3 and T4, which can make a bad situation worse for those with diagnosed hypothyroidism or, as some suggest, help cause hypothyroidism to begin with.

It’s also important to note that soy isn’t the only food that has goitrogenic effects. Other foods in this category include (but aren’t limited to) cruciferous vegetables, corn and lima beans.

Soy and Mineral Absorption
Soybeans are high in phytic acid, which is known to block the body’s absorption of minerals such as calcium, zinc magnesium and iron. (Pertinent Insertion: grain-based diets have been shown to do the same thing.) Nonetheless, soybeans have the highest level of phytates. Fermentation is known to substantially reduce phytate levels, which is why you often hear that fermented soy forms are preferable. Other sources note that a meat or fish accompaniment to soy will reduce the effects of the phytates.

Bottom line…
Whole and fermented soy forms are clearly preferable. Personally, I wouldn’t bother with anything else. I know all of you soy milk lovers cringe when I say that. If you recall, I acknowledged a while back that organic and unsweetened non-GMO soy milk probably wasn’t a worse choice than regular cow’s milk.

I think there is something to the benefits of whole soy, and MDA has cheered and endorsed tempeh and miso more times than I can likely remember now. Not only do we endorse fermented food around her, but we appreciate the smart protein and blood sugar stabilization of tempeh.

Nonetheless, I’m still mindful of common soy concerns. I question the need for soy supplements, and I’m unequivocally against soy in infant formula (at least a whole entry unto itself!). For healthy adults, however, I acknowledge that soy can have a legitimate place in a well-rounded diet.

You’ve got my take now. What’s your thinking on soy? Shoot me a line.

Kanko* Flickr Photo (CC)

Further Reading:

Tempeh, Natto, Tahini Hurrah!

Spoutin’ Off on Veganism (Again)

Eating Fabulous: Soy May Help in Weight Loss

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About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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58 thoughts on “Scrutinizing Soy”

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  1. THANK YOU Mark & Co. for this post. As a vegetarian-gone-vegan-gone-back-vegetarian, I have been so confused about soy for SO long. My instincts tell me that anything processed is not good. (My motto is the closer it is to how it came out of the ground, the better it is for you). And yet, there is so much hype out there. Esp. in vegan circles – all the tofurkey and soy cookies (made with corn syrup!!) & other concoctions that don’t even remotely resemble a plant. I’ve always enjoyed tempeh and edamame but I knew there was a reason that soy milk never sat right with me.

    Thanks for the info about the pesticides too – didn’t know that. I totally agree with you about Soy Infant formula.

  2. Ah, fermented soy. It’s so much tastier than the processed stuff. Soy sauce, tamari, miso, natto…If it weren’t for the salt in the first three, I think I could eat them all day long. Edamame as well. As for soy milk, it’s pretty good and probably good for you as well if you make it yourself, which really isn’t that difficult.

    And you’re completely right, Charlotte, about some vegans and vegetarians seeming to consume no plants. As a former vegetarian–as in I now eat fish very rarely–it always drove me nuts that people seemed to believe the last thing you would eat on a vegetarian diet would be vegetables!

  3. One problem with soy consumption in this country is that it’s treated as a bulk filler rather than a food with traditional forms of preparation, eaten in moderation. It gets snuck it into packaged foods and fed to meat-producing animals, until we end up eating it in quantity and not quality. Michael Pollan lists soy as one of the four foods (all grains, incidentally) that make up the majority of what we eat in this country; we should be eating less of it, and eating more traditional and healthy versions when we do.

    I agree with Charlotte; I’m wary of many of the super-processed soy and corn based foods marketed to vegetarians and vegans.

    Also, I think part of why soy’s moment in the sun as a miracle food was so brief is that there are no stand-alone miracle foods, and poor treatment of food can even destroy potential benefits. Unfortunately, people seem to prefer exalting the latest wonder food and then watching it fall from grace, rather than eating a balance of healthy foods and looking at traditional preparations and real research.

    One of many really interesting posts lately, Mark!

  4. I was in Whole Foods yesterday, buying cream, eggs, Chinese broccoli, a grass-fed steak, and a bottle of kombucha. Most of these foods were unprocessed, some were processed in ways that my grandmother could have done in her own kitchen.

    The person in line ahead of me was buying a large assortment of vegan processed foods in colorful boxes, bags, and cans, including something called “vegan sugar.” (I had no idea that regular sugar was an animal product!)

    The person in line behind me was buying a large assortment of vegetarian processed foods in colorful boxes, bags, and cans (including a packet of “vegetarian ‘chicken’ gravy mix”), plus an unaccountable chicken breast.

    I wanted to say to both of them – just because you can buy it at Whole Foods, doesn’t mean it’s a whole food. I wouldn’t bring anything any of these people was buying into my home, except the chicken. Oh, and the vegan had two large red onions that looked nice.

    1. In the processing of sugar I think they use bone char in the filtering process of cane sugar. I think I remember this from when I was a vegan. I am happy to say that I am totally recovered and eating eggs and bacon for breakfast right now.

    2. oh my! I just love looking in people’s shopping carts. so more info learned.

  5. I was reading an article about supplements, foods, and types of exercise and sleep patterns to naturally increase the amount of testosterone and growth hormone in the body. It was aimed at bodybuilders, but it caught my attention when mentioning recovery from exercise.

    I don’t know if I’m getting it exactly right, but in there it mentioned that anytime we try to increase/decrease our body’s production/uptake of either testosterone or estrogen, the body simply produces more of the other to bring it back into balance which is of more importance than actual levels above the minimum.

    If true, then it wouldn’t seem to matter what one food does to levels of hormones if that brilliant body I’ve borrowed from cavemen merely ‘undoes’ it?

    What symptoms would one experience if they were eating ‘too much’ soy or the wrong kind?

    It is true that the general public is probably eating more soy in a processed form than a vegetarian getting his protein from primarily whole food sources of soy. When I mention that and point it out to folks who cringe their face at the mere mention of foods like tofu or tempeh, they can’t believe it and feel ‘cheated’ in some way?

  6. Migraneur – AMEN to hating anything that comes in a box. I love your “whole foods” line, I totally want to use that sometime. Also, many vegans eschew regular sugar because it is processed by filtering thru bone char (from animals). Although my vegan friends had no problems eating high fructose corn syrup or “brown rice syrup” etc.

    Katie – I had one “vegetarian” friend who only ate white pasta with cheese & sauce (or white pizza with cheese & sauce). She couldn’t recognize spinach when it was put on her plate. I dubbed her a “pasta-tarian” or a vegetarian who doesn’t eat vegetables (and only fruit if it came from a can with syrup). And then she couldn’t understand why she got sick all the time and was always tired!

  7. Ah, see when I was a vegetarian–and still now when I eat well–I think I ate more vegetables than the rest of my family put together. The only grain I ate on a regular basis was oatmeal. Just pasta and cheese, that’s crazy stuff.

  8. Charlotte – that’s interesting about sugar. But in that case I would not advise a vegan to go too far back in the processing chain on any food unless they want to find themselves with nothing to eat! Plowing kills little critters, as does machine harvesting. Pest control usually means killing the creepy crawlies that eat our crops, even the methods that are acceptable in organic farming. (Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just tell Japanese bean beetles “shoo, you!”) Fish fertilizer is an acceptable input for organic farming. And the list goes on.

    You could make yourself crazy this way – reminds me of Mark’s recent post on orthorexia.

    Katie – funny, I follow an Atkins-like diet, and I eat more vegetables than the rest of my family, too. Perhaps the true secret to health is vegetables!

    And the unhealthiest person under 40 whom I know is a vegetarian who eats nothing but refined grain products, processed fake meats, potato chips, and soda. He’s not just morbidly obese, he also suffers from GERD, angina, neuropathy in his hands and feet, lower digestive problems, and I’m not sure what else. I suspect he is somewhere on the diabetes spectrum, but since he’s fasting BG is normal, his doctor predictably refuses to do other tests. Oh, and he suffers from clinical depression, OCD, and ADHD. Possibly also Asperger’s.

    1. Don’t forget, any time they flush after taking a dump, they’re killing off billions of innocent intestinal organisms!

      So not only are True Absolute Vegans unable to *eat* anything, they really shouldn’t be expelling anything either.

      The Ultimate True Vegan should aim to be inert, like a rock. Oh, that sounds like a great slogan: 99.999999999% of the Cosmos is Vegan, so why shouldn’t you!

      (Disclaimer: No rocks were harmed during the typing of this post. However my immune system probably killed off some thousands of living organisms and their families, for whom I will mourn appropriately)

  9. As a former vegetarian (14yrs), vegan, raw foodist etc, I wholly agree with the Whole Foods Scenario cause I too was that person!! Although to give me some credit I always did eat an assortment of veggies and fruits!! But after turning carnivore, (and adding more fitness) I went from a size 14 (used to be a 22) to size 4-6 in a relatively short time of just about a 1.5 years.

  10. I laughed out loud at Migraineur’s description of what vegetarians put in their shoppping carts. Fake cheeses are the worst, for they’re all made with refined vegetable oils. Tofutti cream cheese substitute lists partially hydrogenated soybean oil as its first ingredient. Fake meats and cheeses are to vegetarians what artificial sweeteners are to sugar addicts – a poor dietary substitute. If you’re going to be a vegetarian, then eat like one and relish the flavors of plant foods. I was vegetarian for a few years and vegan for one year. What I appreciated most about being vegan was discovering new foods like wheatberry salad and spicy legume loaf. I am no longer vegan but still make real veggie burgers from beans, brown rice, and diced veggies and mousses with avocados instead of cream cheese.

  11. Sonagi, it’s interesting that you mention veggie burgers. It’s amazing what the ingredients in those things are. Disgusting, really. I’ve only found one in stores that look to be made from real ingredients, and even then it has three types of corn things in it, though none of it is corn syrup. There’s a small cafe near where I live that makes and sells it’s own veggie burgers, with all of eight ingredients: bulgur, tahini, sunflower seeds, spinach, mushrooms, onion, carrot and pepper. That’s got to be one of the tastiest things I’ve ever had.

  12. And let me chide vegetarians for ignoring the symbiotic relationship between the dairy industry and the meat industry. Half the offspring of dairy cows are fattened and slaughtered in less than one year while their sisters have the lives milked out of them in two to three years before making that final journey up the ramp where the stun gun awaits.

  13. Since we are all fond of lumping ‘vegetarians’ into a group based on ‘this-guy-I-know’, can I do the same with all omnivores who are just as guilty of going to Whole Foods and Trader Joes and filling their carts with ‘healthy’ chips, cookies, muffins, and over-processed frozen chicken nuggets.

    The vegetarian/vegan lifestyle is perfectly healthy when done properly. I am living breathing proof that all the things claimed by the chimpanzee-diet eschewed here can be experienced without ingesting meat.

    Let me re-phrase my previous question to ask what the symptoms of not eating meat might be so I can tell you that I’m not experiencing those symptoms and ask your studies to explain why they don’t apply to me? Real life outliers have a funny way of getting in the way of the bell curve that studies produce.

  14. Brian A – I’ve been thinking about your question, and I’d like to offer a hypothesis. Perhaps our bodies can compensate for hormonal imbalances, but only to a certain degree. If we put more of a hormone into our bodies than the body would reasonably expect to naturally find, maybe our bodies can’t make enough of the counteracting hormone to balance it.

    Sonagi – I forgot about the fake cheeses. My unhealthy friend eats them, too – he claims to have lactose intolerance.

  15. Oops, Brian – our replies “crossed in the mail.”

    I can’t answer your second question about soy vs. meat. Truthfully, like Mark, I am unsure about whether soy is a nutritional angel, devil, or neutral party. However, I am personally uncomfortable consuming it in large quantities because I am more comfortable with other protein alternatives. I do eat soy occasionally – I have a carton of unsweetened soy milk in my fridge right now, first one I’ve bought in, literally, years. And I like occasional tofu and edamame, too.

    And I am not picking on all vegetarians – just a kind of mindset that is prevalent (though not universal) that says one should give up meat and replace it with fake meat. People who do this for their health are misinformed. And people who choose fake meats for moral reasons remind me of something from Laurel’s Kitchen (I was once a vegetarian myself): if you don’t want to eat animals, why would you want to eat something that tastes like one?

  16. I might ask that if you want to eat like a caveman, why don’t you want to live in a cave? 😉

    1. What gives you the idea I don’t want to live in a cave? Society won’t allow me to live as I want.

      Society does have some advantages I enjoy, so it isn’t all bad.

    2. This isn’t a “caveman” diet. Many modern hunter-gatherers eat nothing but plants and meat and they aren’t cavemen. I consider a diet high in meats and vegetables to be a traditional diet, or hunter-gatherer diet. “Caveman” diet is just a clever catch-all term that the layfolk can easily grasp.

  17. touche

    “…Yes there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there’s still time to change the road you’re on…”

  18. Personally I detest the taste of soy. I’ve had edename and that’s not too bad, but soy nuts, tofu, foods like soy milk, etc taste horrible. I’m a bit nervous also about soy, and wish the medical industry would stop pushing it….I’ve read so many articles about how it’s essentially a “wonder food”.

    I’m also quite intolerant to soy and many soy products. I have intestinal issues with soy….the more I eat the worse things get. I think there are more people intolerant too, but they don’t realize it.

  19. Great article. One interesting thing to note is that the Japanese and Chinese really don’t eat all that much soy. Studies have shown it to be about 2 tbsp per day…that’s a condiment, not a food. Other foods such as pork and fish provide the bulk of the protein. In fact, until they learned how to ferment the soybeans to neutralize the antinutrients, soy was used as a cover crop to repair the soil, not as a food.

    I wrote a bit more about soy awhile back here.

    Scott Kustes
    Modern Forager

  20. One interesting thing to note is that the Japanese and Chinese really don’t eat all that much soy. Studies have shown it to be about 2 tbsp per day…that’s a condiment, not a food.

    Based on my longterm living experience in Asia, I’d say 2-4 tablespoons on average. At almost every meal, there is at least one dish flavored with soy sauce, and miso soups and tofu dishes are commonly eaten although not every day. In China, soy milk products are a common breakfast item and street snack. Beijingers are noted for their fondness of douzhi, a fermented soy milk beverage that is definitely an acquired taste! Tofu dishes usually include a little meat or fish. The mildly nutty flavor of fresh tofu is far superior in taste to the bland stuff sold in US supermarkets.

  21. My baby is allergic to dairy, eggs, and peanuts, and I have had to lean heavily on soymilk to get her the necessary protein, nutrients, and hydration. Because of the information I have received from articles like this (and my pediatrician), I have started giving her half ricemilk and half soymilk. But now I see that there are so many other options like almond milk and hazelnut milk, etc. What is the healthiest option? What is the best option? So many choices! It’s great, but overwhelming…

      1. Breast milk is great of course, but babies don’t stay babies for ever. Breast milk is not an option for everyone (kids in day care for instance).

  22. Thanks for this article. I detest milk and started drinking soy milk as an alternative. After reading that it inhibits the absorption of calcium though, I’m wondering if I should switch to something else. I’ve tried rice milk once before but it seemed too sweet. Anyone have any suggestions?


  23. What about the health benefits- or detriments- of things like soy nuts, soy lecithin, or the chunks of pre-packaged in water tofu, or even the Mori-Nu silken tofu in the little box??

  24. “Though Japanese women regularly eat significant portions of soy (in forms like tempeh, edamame, miso and tofu), they have only 1/5 of the breast cancer rate that Western women.”

    Hhmmm, anyone here read the china study? Sounds spot on too me if you read between the lines.

  25. Why do people look at, like, ONE food eaten by Chinese or Japanese people and decide that that’s why they get less cancer than we do? Are there not other significant differences between the Standard American Diet and traditional Chinese and Japanese fare? I can think of a few: (1) They eat less sugar; (2) They eat more vegetables. The sugar issue, in particular, is important: Cancer cells need more glucose than normal cells do.

    We didn’t get a lot of breast cancer HERE, even without the tofu, until we started eating huge quantities of starch (which is broken down into sugar) and sugar (which is broken down into glucose) on a regular basis. Heck, I would imagine that when we were growing Victory Gardens during WWII the rate dropped even lower!

    Oh, and Brian A.: Nutritional requirements don’t change as fast as “advances” in housing styles. We’re basically the same folks we were forty thousand years ago. Not that we were necessarily living in caves. You know all those residual little groups of indigenous people still living tribally and still living off the land? The ones whose lifestyles are dying out at an alarming rate because we won’t leave them alone? All of us lived like that at some point. The ones who don’t die in accidents, interestingly, never seem to get cancer and even live into their sixties and beyond.

  26. Why is there Soy Protein Isolate in the Responsibly Slim shake formula? Seems to contradict everything you write about processed soy.

  27. So Ive been considering purchasing Soy Isoflavone supplements. Would it be reasonable to begin taking these? I am fit, healthy, and have no health problems.

  28. Keep in mind – not all beef contains exogenous hormones.

    Yet one more reason to buy from family farms and the small producers that don’t advertise beyond word of mouth or small nickelnik type local classifieds.

  29. My daughter is allergic to cow’s milk proteins, so the allergist suggested soy milk. I had figured we’d be doing almond or rice milk (due to articles like this) but both he and my daughter’s regular pediatrician said soymilk.


    So, I guess at least we buy the kind with calcium and DHA, since I can’t give her fish oil, but still. These articles are tough to read.



  31. I read the Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith on Mark’s suggestion. He did a book review..i think his first on MDA. Lierre writes briefly on Soy for a few pages in the Nutritional Vegetarian Chapter and the things that she says will make me avoid Soy completely for the rest of my life. Its interesting to hear the positives and negatives regarding Soy and now with this post im left confused, I figured Mark would have the same info that Lierre has and wrote about and would be telling everyone to run away from the stuff. Anyways even if there’s only a litle truth to what she said im still staying away. I strongly suggest all vegetarians and Vegans read her book. I think she wrote it for them anyways.

  32. sigh. so now “primal” is “paleo but..” it’s ok to eat rice, dairy, take whey protein and it’s ok to eat soy. So the next time someone says to me “Primal is just atkins” I’m forced to say…well yeah, it’s all about counting carbs. Hell the founder of “primal” even puts refined sugar in his coffee, eats chocolate and drinks whine…yup, just like our ancestors did.

  33. Well after reading about soy, Iam very worried. I am drinking Herbalife shakes twice a day as a meal replacement for weight loss and the first ingredient is Soy Protein Isolate. Is this something that I should stop drinking and just eat non processed foods? I would appreciate any opinions…

  34. Great article Mark…I knwo it was written sometime back but I got to it by following one link to another from today’s post. (LOL) You pretty much summarized everything I have read from the many health resources I read. Did you mention, however, that as a plant, soy absorbs more trace metals from the ground than any other plant in the plant kingdom?
    For Denise and others looking for soy milk alternatives – my family has fallen in love with almond milk. Caution – watch ingredients as one brand I came across has soy with the almond milk. Michelle – the medical field recommends soy milk as they don’t know any better. They don’t have time to read the latest research as Mark presented here. Soy is in the top 5 of allergenic foods.
    An interesting side note I read this past week, and I wish I could remember which doctor’s e-zine I got this from – but for infants on soy based formula – a day’s worth of “meals” is equivalent to a baby taking 5 birth control pills. Soy formula is banned in the UK. Go figure. In three years studies show the average age of menses for a young girl will be 9 – that is downright crazy! Thanks for spreading some truths about soy…I cringe everytime I see someone grab a carton of unfermented, non organ soy milk. Re soy protein isolates- highly acidic food and had additional detrimental effects as well. For vegan protein look at pea protein isolates, but whole foods are always best!

  35. An impressive share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing a little bit similar evaluation on this. He in reality bought me breakfast because I discovered it for him.. smile.

  36. Can someone please post how to tell from a package if it has the bad soy in it? I understand that If I grew a soy plant in my own back yard and did not use pesticides/herbisides etc. I could eat the beans and that would be the very best way to ingest soy. However, I would like to continue with a natural protein shake that I take for breakfast. I currently use soy based. I have used whey but I don’t want the dairy. I know that there are others such as rice based, but honestly there are more soy based drink shakes than anything else. Can someone please tell me if any of these are ok according to the standards set in the above articles and comments?

    1. Foods labeled “organic” are not allowed to be genetically modified, so if your soy option is organic, you will know it is not GMO, at least.

      Along those lines, what does everyone think of sprouted soy, like in Ezekiel breads?

  37. Unless soy beans are proscribed in this plan, I don’t understand why I shouldn’t continue to make my own soy milk and tofu from them.
    Granted, they are not a whole food but they are high-protein/low carb (since the fiber and carbs are left in the bag when you squeeze out the milk.
    The resulting “okara” is something we’ve used in other recipes so nothing is lost and, while we don’t eat the whole bean in a single serving, we still use it all.

    Is there a good reason to stop doing this, or is it basically “you’re on your own either way?”

  38. It’s the first time I’ve come across this page and have found it very informative.
    I recently became lactose intolerant and also have thyroid issues, so have been advised to keep soy products low.
    Any recommendations for dairy/soy milk substitutes for using on my cereal? Is almond milk just as processed as soy milk?

  39. I personally believe my over-consumption of soy, particularly the isoflavones contained within it, destroyed my thyroid function.

    I was a “lazy” (male) vegetarian in my late twenties for about 4 years…by lazy I mean I wasn’t eating properly by any means, I had made the decision based on ethical concerns over factory farming without any nutritional knowledge. I was consuming large amounts of soy-milk based shakes (spirulina, etc), along with things like gen-soy bars. By the time I was 30 I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Of course, I was dazed and confused, but it only took a little bit of searching to find a huge number of people with my exact story!

    20 years later and I’m dealing with type II diabetes. I haven’t been “lazy” about my nutrition for many years now, and almost daily investigations led me to this site. I just wanted to share my anecdote for what it is worth, if only to make someone think twice about consuming isoflavones. (the thought of people using soy as an alternative for infants makes me cringe in worry)

    The other thing I’d like people to understand about soy is the industry. They will say anything to keep this thing going…billions (and billions) of dollars are at stake. ADM is the main player, and the only thing they care about are the shareholders (I’m not saying that is a bad thing, but it needs to be considered until more research is done regarding soy consumption…you simply cannot trust a corporation like ADM to be looking out for YOU).

  40. Great article! Even if I found it a little late 🙂
    I used to be vegan, and so ate tofu products and drank soy milk regularly. However, I would get painful stomach cramps 30 minutes after consuming it, especially with soy milk. I tried to brush it off as coincidence for months, as I had only heard of the health benefits of soy – like it was a miracle food. Eventually I couldn’t deny soy as the cause of the pain anymore, and quit consuming it. Even now, I know many people who complain of dairy or gluten intolerance, but who seem incredulous that soy could cause similar issues.. I am even more glad that I quit now, after reading this. 🙂

  41. I have been quite fortunate with soy, as my body clearly does not tolerate it, therefore it never became something I consume on a regular basis. I haven’t had any for years and not missing it. Good article.

  42. My son, prematurely bald for many years, began to grow hair on his shiny scalp after he took all forms of unfermented soy from his diet. 3 years later his hair line has risen at least an inch on the sides and the top has a good crop of little hairs. His hair line is still advancing at 52 years of age.

  43. What kind of soy is in Primal Fuel? It’s on the label under the ingredients list: “Contains milk, soy and tree nut.” thanks!

  44. I have been taking powdered soy protein in soy milk for several months. I also haven’t been feeling great but never thought it might be the soy. I have joint pain and stiff fingers every morning. Going to stop all soy and see if it makes a difference. Thanks for your article