18 September 2009

Anti-Soy Fiction

I just read a citizen's petition to FDA by Gail Elbek calling for the removal of soy because of antinutrients (trypsin inhibitors and phytates) and endocrine disruptors. Gave me a bit of a laugh, but I expect it will scare a lot of unwitting people.

The outrageous claims Ms. Elbek makes are not grounded in any science. Soy phytotoxicity is going to “kill our children”? Please. I’m not about to throw out my soy milk, tofu and soy sauce. What’s next? Spinach. Spinach contains a lot of phytates. Many raw foods like raw soybeans contain all sorts of anti-nutrients, but that’s why we dehull, cook, or ferment these raw foods. Most anti-nutrients are eliminated just by the processing.

There is a point to be made about high amounts of concentrated phytoestrogens (soy isoflavones) in a few dietary supplements, which are often marketed to women as natural hormonal therapy. These are basically drugs of which we don’t know enough about. The research is still out on whether or not they’re beneficial or if they can do harm.

But, again, there’s really not really anything raise eyebrows regarding levels of isoflavones in tofu or other soy products. The low levels of isoflavones that are in them are probably even good for you. So even if we ever did offer a soy protein shake, I don’t think I’d be too worried. We mustn’t forget that there have been more than 40 human clinical studies on soy protein’s health benefits. Not to mention that an entire, but relatively insignificant, country called China pretty much subsists on soy.

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