Soy or soybeans, are a type of legume that have been used for 5,000 years in China for food like tofu, tempeh, and edamame beans and also for medicinal purposes. Soybeans are considered a source of protein, and are processed into many meat and dairy substitutes. The main producers of soy are the United States, Brazil, Argentina, China and India. Over 80% of soy in the US is genetically modified, but that’s where almost all of the soy is now grown for our Australian foods, scary huh!!
So many of us have thyroid function issues and so many of us have undiagnosed Hypothyroidism when the doctor’s test comes back fine but we are still having symptoms. This often leaves us wondering why and how we can change this. Dr Mark Hyman has some great tips and advice on his website for this.
Studies are showing the connection to the increase in soy in so many of our foods now and issues with Thyroid function. It’s not just your soy milk latte but products you didn’t know it’s in like shampoo, bulking agent, hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP) or hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), gums, soy Lecithin (chocolate) natural flavorings, Additive/emulsifier 322, stabilizer, thickeners, starch, shortening, and vegetable oils. Basically all packaged foods, especially kids foods.
So why is it so harmful?
Soy contains Phytoestrogens and is higher in phytoestrogens than just about any other food source. Phytoestrogens are plant-based estrogens that mimic estrogen in our bodies. Soy also has Goiltrogens that can disrupt your hormones, which can slow your thyroid down. Many foods are goitrogenic (thyroid suppressing) but soy is one of the worst. Goitrogens work by preventing your thyroid from getting the necessary amount of iodine. If you are low in iodine you will likely be suffering from chronic fatigue, adrenal Burnout and a host of other issue that are hard to correct. Trust me I lived on soy as a vegetarian and I’m in that place now.
It also has something called Phytates which are enzyme-inhibitors that block mineral absorption in human digestive tract. They are naturally present in all grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes. But soy is so high in phytates that it’s almost impossible to get rid of them. Simply soaking soy overnight won’t be enough. But this is why it is so important to soak beans and legumes and most grains to stop bloating and cramps.
Finally soy is rich in trypsin inhibitors. Trypsin is a digestive enzyme we need to properly digest protein. Without enough trypsin, you’ll experience many digestive problems including stomach cramps, diarrhea, and bleeding. You’ll also be leaving yourself open to future problems with your pancreas.
There is studies done showing that an infant taking the recommended amount of baby soy formula is consuming a hormone load equivalent of 4 birth control pills a day! Is it any wonder we’ve seen such a dramatic rise in precocious puberty with young girls starting their periods at 6 and 7! Soy is also found in dairy formulas too. But I hear you saying, you said not dairy? There are still safer alternatives. Check out Weston A Prices website.
So no soy at all?
Not necessarily, if you have healed your gut and been free of symptoms you could try introducing small amounts of Soy again but it MUST be organic and fermented in order to be digestible, like miso, tempeh, natto, or a naturally fermented soy sauce (tamari). Try not to rely on it as the main source of protein if you’re a vegetarian. Check out Coconut Amino for a soy free soya sauce!