Soy is one of the most controversial foods in the world. Depending who you ask, some may call it a superfood while others consider it a toxin. It seems for every study supporting the benefits of soy there’s another revealing its harmful effects− making researching soy very confusing to consumers.
As a non-meat eater, soy products tend to find their way into my diet quite often, which led me to wonder how much soy should I be eating?
In the U.S. soy is found practically everywhere. Whether it’s in processed foods, in soy products like milk, tofu, or sauce or as whole beans like tempeh, edamame, or soy nuts; it is nearly impossible to avoid. Overall, it is a great source of plant protein, healthy fats, and high in vitamins and minerals. Soybeans are also rich in other bioactive plant compounds that can have positive effects on our health.
From the studies on soy we find that we really don’t know all the effects it has on our health yet. Though, the majority of reliable research shows that when eaten in moderation (about two servings per day) there are no negative effects on our health.
Articles against soy claim it negatively affects the functioning of the thyroid and other hormones, is cancer causing, or can lead to a nutrient deficiency. However, most results on the negative health effects of soy are not very valid. In these studies other variables are not controlled for like the chemicals used during growing or processing, some use specific components of soy or unrealistic serving sizes, and others use populations with specific health conditions as their subjects.
So, what we do know is soybeans or products CAN be safe. They are safe when included in a healthy, well-balanced, varied diet. And like all foods−should be eaten in moderation. When choosing what products to eat, it is important to go with the least processed option whenever possible with limited additives and limited unknown ingredients. And organic, always organic!
Norris, Jack RD. (2013-2016). Soy Articles. Retrieved from: http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/soy
Written by Amber Pelletier. Amber is a nutritionist and the sister of Tara (one of our co-founders). She will be guest blogging for MMT sharing some of her knowledge on essential vitamins and minerals and how we can access them in our skin care and diet.
Photo credit: World Food Processing
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