In the vegan, vegetarian, and health world, soy products seem to be all the rage. Although many soy products are high in protein, there are several disadvantages to consider before consuming them on a regular basis. Keep these seven reasons in mind next time you reach for that carton of soy milk or that package of tofu.
Chances are any of the many soy products you buy and consume contain GMOs. What’s so bad about that? GMOs still haven’t fully been tested for safety, and there’s a lot of political, economic, and environmental debate about their use in foods and agriculture. If you’re eating tofu or some other product that’s soy based, there’s a 99% chance that those soy beans have been genetically modified.
2. Fed to Cattle and Other Livestock
Think soy beans are only used to make loads of tofu, tempeh, and soy milk? A majority of soy beans actually becomes livestock feed for cattle and other farm factory animals. Arguably, the surge of soy product consumption in America is because food companies had a surplus of soy products that they didn’t know what to do with. With this new information, we can argue America’s focus on soy as a healthy alternative to animal products might be more of a marketing scheme than a health crusade.
3. Used to Make Refined Oils
Ever read the label of your favorite packaged foods like chips, candies, and crackers only to read ‘soy bean oil’ as one of the first ingredients listed? Even organic products use rancid refined oils in their products that are usually derived from corn or soy beans. These refined oils can lead to all sorts of health problems, and they’re simply a cheap mechanism food companies use to keep costs down and increase a product’s shelf life.
4. Can Lead to Increased Estrogen Levels
The latest studies indicate that soy products are linked to higher estrogen levels. You might think this is pretty harmless, but in terms of hormones, we really don’t want to have an excess—we want our hormones to be in balance with one another. Higher estrogen levels have been linked to breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer. If you’re concerned about any of these cancers, consider other alternatives instead of soy.
5. Many People Have Soy Allergies
Did you know soy is one of the most common food allergies in America? Although this wasn’t common 30 or 40 years ago, because soy additives and preservatives are now used in so many different products, we’ve developed intolerances and allergies to soy. If consuming so much of a product makes you allergic to it, is It really a good idea to consume it in the first place?
6. Contains MSG
Whether it’s tofu or soy milk, any time a soy product is processed, MSG is a byproduct. Known for contributing to fat gain, hunger, and other weight-related problems, MSG can actually make you gain weight. Some food companies even include additional MSG in their products to mask the unpleasant after tastes.
7. Vitamins Deficiencies
One final reason to be weary of soy products is how they can contribute to nutritional deficiencies. The vitamin D added in soy milk, for instance, isn’t readily absorbed by the body. The lack of Vitamin B12 in soy products also contributes to deficiencies, especially in vegetarians and vegans who don’t consume animal proteins.
Does this mean you shouldn’t consume any soy products? Absolutely not! Ultimately, whether or not you supplement your diet with soy products is a personal decision. After weighing the pros and cons, how do you feel about soy products?