The Problem with Soy

By Paleo
In Paleo Tips
Mar 26th, 2012

Soy is often thought of as a “health” food, with people opting to drink soy milk and substitute meat for soy-based tofu, but soy is not allowed on the paleo diet, for the same reasons that grains and legumes are not supposed to be consumed on the paleo diet. Soy was not a food that was consumed by our paleo ancestors, therefore, we should not consume soy because our bodies are not genetically adapted to handle the consumption of soy. Besides the fact that soy is not paleo, soy has also been shown to have a variety of possible health detriments.

Soy has high levels of lectins and phytates. Lectins can interfere with how your brain responds to hunger signals, which means lectins can trigger your brain to tell your body its hungry, even when you’ve consumed an adequate amount of calories. Phytates are substances that bind to minerals, such as zinc, calcium and iron, thus making them unavailable to your body for use. Diets which are high in phytates have been shown to reduce growth in children.

Research has also shown that soy has trypsin inhibitors that can interfere with the digestion of protein that can lead to pancreatic problems. In addition to trypsion inhibitors, soy has phytoestrogens which interfere with endocrine function and can lead to infertility and an increased risk of breast cancer in adult women.

Consumption of soy can lead to problems in the body’s absorption of certain vitamins, as well. The analog version of B12 that is found in soy is not absorbed by the human body, and actually increases the body’s need for B12. In addition to increased need for B12, consumption of soy increases the body’s need for Vitamin D, which can lead to a potential deficiency of the vitamin.

The way soy is processed can lead to high levels of toxicity. For example, during the processing of soy protein, toxic lysinoalaine and carcinogenic nitrosamines are formed. Foods with soy also contain high levels of aluminum, which is highly toxic when consumed by humans.

Consumption of soy can also lead to thyroid problems. Soy contains large amounts of goitrogens, which are compounds that can inhibit the body’s ability to process iodine correctly, and this can lead to hypothyroid problems. Hypothyroid problems have become commonplace today, and problems with your thyroid can lead to decreased energy levels, a slowdown in metabolism and a weakened immune system.

As you can see, soy creates problems, not only because it isn’t considered paleo, but also because it can lead to a number of health problems.



2 Responses to “The Problem with Soy”

  1. Marietta Anderson says:

    What about miso? Is this good or bad for you? Also, are all beans not good for you?

    • Dana says:

      Miso is at least fermented, so some of the bad chemicals that naturally occur in the soy have been reduced or eliminated. But the fermentation process doesn’t get rid of all of that.

      Also, it’s traditional for miso to be consumed along with seaweed to help balance out some of the remaining chemical issues. If you must eat the stuff, eat it the traditional way.

      Still, it should be a once-in-a-great-while treat, not something consumed often.

      Any seed food is going to be problematic with phytates at minimum and possibly other antinutrients as well. Sadly, this includes nuts, so they shouldn’t be consumed in huge amounts.

      Also, eating a diet way too high in plants at the expense of meats means your copper/zinc balance will be way wrong. Plants tend to have lots more copper, while animals contain more zinc. People who try to meet their protein needs with nuts and soy are going to wind up in trouble with this, sooner or later.

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