Green soybeans on white background

Soys Nutritional Value 

I have been asked many times over the years about soy recipes. Which has lead me to write this on the soy nut nutrition facts. I have not included soy in my diet for many years now, as evidence was reveled concerning possible harm it can do. Further research has continued to support my initial decision. But I know not everyone reads the research like I do and many simply don’t think it’s believable. So regarding my stance on soy and in order to answer everyone’s questions on why I don’t support recipes with soy, please follow me below.

Examining soy nutritional value, exposes the truth about soy. I’m sorry to disappoint those of you who truly want to believe it’s good for you. The first thing I did was look for an expert on soy nutrition facts, so this wasn’t going to be “just my word”. The best one I could find was in a book covering all the actual soybean nutritional facts called The Whole Soy Story which tells the truth about soy. All the facts that the scientists know and the soy industry has tried to suppress. Taking soy nutritional info from The Whole Soy Story written by Dr. Kaayla Daniel, an expert on the hidden dangers of soy.23  I found a number of ghastly potential problems with consuming soy that I want to share with you.

  • The first and most important in my opinion, especially for diabetics, is that soy may impair thyroid function. Soy contains substances called goitrogens, that block the synthesis of thyroid hormones. A drop in thyroid function may lead to blood sugar imbalances, weight gain, difficulty losing weight, mood swings, lethargy, and other negative outcomes. So I ask, nutritional value?
  • The second things I found highly important to note, is that soy contains phytic acid. Phytic acid is considered an “anti-nutrient” because it can prevent the absorption of valuable minerals; by binding with calcium, iron, magnesium, and zink as well as the vitamin niacin. So it doesn’t only keep you from absorbing protien, it keeps you from absorbing other nutrients as well! Again I ask, soy nutritional value?
  • Third the phythestrogens, called isoflavones, in soy have been shown to lower testosterone. A drop in testosterone can negatively impact physical function, body composition, feelings of well being, energy levels, and libido. It’s important to note that this is true in both men and women. Could this be what’s making you go for more coffee or energy drinks?
  • Also, the phythestrogens in soy may lead to female reproductive issues. YIKES! The “isoflavones” can mimic and sometimes block the sffects of estrogen. These soy phythestrogens can disrupt endocrine function and lead to hormonnal imbalances, may cause infertility, or promote breast cancer in women. I have to note that mean can get breast cancer also, they just haven’t studied men.
  • Soy is genetically modified. Know I know the topic of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is controversal, but it’s worth pointing out that almost 90% of the soy grown in the United States is genetically engineered. 24 Recent research from Norway found that animals fed a genetically modified diet, got fatter quicker than animals fed a non genetically modified diet.25 But I have to ask you. Do we eat the meat from those animals fed the genetically modified soy products?
  • Soy may also cause gastrointesttinal distress because of a substance it contains (trypsin inhibitors) that inhibits proteases, the enzymes that digest the proteins we eat. This can lead to inadequate digestion and gastric distress. Lending to such things as constipation, diarrhea, gastric pain and other negative outcomes. Great protein for you right? It inhibits it’s own digestion and makes you sick.
  • Last but certainly not least, soy is an allergen. The proteins in soy are among the top 8 allergens the FDA require food manufactures to list on ingredient labels. It’s no small thing that a great number of people can’t tolerate or are allergic to this caustic bean, or nut. Whichever you choose to call it.

One of the numerous benefits associated with higher protein intake is increased satiety and appetite control. Although a number of studies have provided further evidence that not all proteins are created equal. Soy protein is shown to be an inferior option compared to animal proteins. (Personally, due to the negative effects of soy already covered above, I believe it’s an inferior protein compared to other vegetable proteins also.)

In a study published in the Physiology & Behavior journal, a team of researchers from the Netherlands found that when healthy participants received a breakfast with soy protein they experienced significantly greater hunger, compared to the same breakfast with whey protein.26 When the group ate the breakfast with whey protein, they demonstrated much stronger responses in the hormone GLP-1, which suppresses appetite, promotes satiety and contributes to controlling food intake.27 This wasn’t a big surprise when I read it, considering again that soy  keep you from absorbing protein and other nutrients. Of course you’re body will get hungry. It need sustenance. The bottom line is, it isn’t giving the body what it needs.

In a randomized, double blinded, placebo controlled study published in the Journal of Nutrition Research, a team of researchers from Iran found that participants who consumed a whey protein supplement 30 minutes prior to their largest meal, experienced significantly greater reduction in appetite and calorie intake compared to participants who consumed a soy protein supplement.28 Then, after 12 weeks, the people who supplemented with whey protein experienced greater reductions in body fat and waist circumference, as well as superior improvements in body composition compared to the soy protein group. Which means, those who supplemented with whey had less fat and more muscles. Again, this make perfect sense considering the information about soy above.

In another randomized, double blind, placebo controlled study in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers representing the United States Department of Agriculture, at the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, instructed overweight participants to consume either a whey, soy or carbohydrate supplement of equal calories, along with their normal eating habits for 23 weeks. At the end of the study only the whey protein group lost a significant amount of weight and body fat. Again, only the people supplementing with whey protein experienced significant reduction in waist circomference and decreases in levels of the “hunger hormone” ghrelin.29 Once again, the negative results of the soy supplement follows scientific knowledge about soy and how it effects the human body. Knowing the true soy nut nutrition facts and how good protein works in our bodies, can make a world of difference.

A key objective during weight loss is to reduce body fat while maintaining loss of lean body mass, to promote optimal overall health, metabolic function, cardiovascular health and physical functioning. In other words, you want to loose fat and keep (or build) muscle, maintain (or speed up) your metabolic rate and keep your body functioning well. The retention and building of lean muscle mass is the key to preserving metabolic rate. As losses in lean body mass compromise the metabolically active tissues of the body. This is a major contributing factor to the decreased metabolic rate associated with dieting. Which make one predisposed to regain weight.30 The old yo-yo diet syndrome.  Protein helps to build and maintain muscle mass.31

Marketers and soy proponents want you to believe that soy is very healthy for you, and a staple in Asian cultures. The truth is, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Soybeans were first grown in Asia as a crop fertilizer, not to be eaten. As a matter of fact, soy was commonly called “green manure” to enrich the soil between the planting of crops. Known for their ability to replenish the nitrogen supply in the soil, which improved the harvest of crops consumed as food. Later on, the Chinese began introducing small amounts of heavily fermented soy into their diets in the form of miso, tamari soy sauce, tempeh and natto. Contrary to popular belief, the Chinese only consume about an ounce of the fermented variety of soy per day. The fermentation process yields probiotics, or good bacteria, that can have a beneficial impact on the gut flora. It’s best overall to avoid most all of the commercial soy products, including:

  • Soy protein isolate (any soy protein powder)
  • Soybean oil
  • Soy milk
  • Soy cheese,soy ice cream, soy yogurt
  • Soy “meat”
  • Soy based infant formula
  • Tofu
  • Edamame

Occasional consumption of ferrmented soy from whole food sources would be your best options for adding soy to your diet, including these:

  • Miso
  • Tamari soy sauce
  • Tempe
  • Natto

My overall opinion, soy is most definitely NOT a health food. It’s best to avoid processed foods altogether, especially because soy is hidden everywhere. Focus on whole foods and minimally processed foods. If you are including soy regularly in your diet, it could be what’s holding you back from the health body you’re striving for or causing you to store belly fat. In fact, it could be damaging your metabolism, hormones and your overall health.

For those simply want to keep soy in their diets, I offer a creative alternative. The one exception I make for soy. If you can find fresh edamame, or frozen, you can ferment it yourself. I recommend the Perfect Pickler (Probiotic Vegetable Fermenting Kit) for this. Then all you need is a mason jar. Once you’ve pickled/fermented the edamame, you have something that can actually do you some good. They can be eaten in salads or tossed on top of cooked vegetables for flavor. Just remember to use them in moderation. A little goes a long way, because this is still soy we’re talking about.


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This article has 4 comments

  1. Wow! Very interesting article and I can now use this to validate why my family as a rule, don’t use soy products, and/or soy and other vegetable oils.

    Thank you for sharing this information in such a well written form.

    • I’m glad I could help you and your family answer some question you had about soy. Most people honestly don’t know they are reacting to soy and think they are reacting to something else. Because, they believe it’s good for them. More and more people are becoming aware of the truth about soy. We should not be eating all these food made with soy in them. I’n glad your family is doing the right thing.

  2. Becka,
    This is a very interesting article. Thank you for all of the great research! I do enjoy sea salted edamame as a snack from time to time, but it is not a staple of my diet. I also enjoy some on a salad at times. It is fascinating to me that the health benefits of soy have been so misunderstood by so many. I will remember your post going foward in my food choices.
    Thanks again,
    Kara Grace

    • It’s always nice to hear that I’ve been able to help someone. I’m glad you got helpful information out of my blog. 🙂


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