Soy is a bean rich in protein. Soy is better than animal protein because it contains no cholesterol or fat, and contains fibre. A little soy will not cause harm, but eating too much protein is harmful. Eating meat or dairy is also an indirect consumption of soy—large amounts of soy, often GM-soy are fed to farm animals to make them grow fast. Genetically modified foods—not just soy, but corn, and various other vegetables—have been shown to be harmful to lab animals. It’s best to choose organic non-GM foods.
Soy and other beans can also be difficult to digest. If you cannot digest soy, remember that after weaning no milk is necessary. It’s not necessary for vegans to consume soy.
As a vegan how much soya should I consume?
Soy is not a necessary part of a vegan diet. People have the misconception that more protein is better whereas excess protein is the cause of many diseases including cancer. The China Study by T. Colin Campbell is one of the best books to understand more about this.
If I am a vegan do I need soya for protein?
The human being like many other primates is essentially a herbivore. Unlike natural carnivores we are unable to eat animal flesh without the help of the knife and the fire. We also eat dairy products. Mother nature intended mammals to produce milk only for their young. Our species has broken the natural age and species laws for dairy. A human baby grows to full size in 18 years, a baby calf in 18 months. In order to help the calf grow fast, cows milk contains 3 times the quantity of protein as human milk making it similar in composition to meat – high protein, high fat, high cholesterol, no fibre.
Protein is a food for growth. Infant mammals are provided with milk at the time of maximum growth. All milk also contains growth hormone to help the baby grow. We can get protein from plant sources just as horses and elephants do. If you take milk or other protein foods including soy in large quantities when you do not need growth, this can translate into obesity, other growths like cancers and tumours.
Is soy difficult to digest?
Soya is a bean and some people find beans difficult to digest. Always listen to your body. Don’t eat the things your body does not digest well. It is not necessary for vegans to consume soy or soy milk. Remember that after weaning no milk is necessary. We are not babies so it is not necessary to consume soy milk.
Does soy cause cancer?
One of the reasons that cancer has become an epidemic is because we are eating too much protein. Protein is a food for growth. If we take milk or meat or soy in large quantities when we are no longer growing, this will translate into obesity and other growths like cancers and tumors. Our problem today is not soy, but the protein addiction and a high protein diet.
We must keep in mind that there are plenty of people with cancers out there and a very small fraction of them have been heavy soy consumers. Soy should not be feared as a leading cause of cancer.
What about the phyto-estrogens in soy? Do they cause cancer?
The Japanese and Chinese have been using soy for centuries and had lower cancer rates than the rest of the world. Also broccoli and cornflakes have more phyto estrogens than soy, and in any case they are not the problem because phyto estrogens are not the same as the hormone estrogen. Phyto estrogens, and other phyto nutrients may prevent cancers but do not cause them.
What about the fact that 90% of the soy is genetically modified these days? Should we eat soy products?
Genetically modified foods have been proved harmful in lab animals. Not just soy, but corn, canola and various other plants these days are genetically modified. At the moment India has not allowed any GM foods to be grown, although the GM lobby is pushing hard and it may be a matter of time. GM foods do creep into the Indian food chain because of imports. At present India does not import soy, but does import soy products in the form of ready-made foods. All those ready made foods may contain GM soy. Check on the packets if you eat the stuff. It’s best to choose organic, non-GM foods.
Eating meat or dairy is an indirect way of eating soy, including GM soy. Large amounts of soy (more than 80% of all the soy grown) is fed to farm animals to make them grow fast. A non vegetarian or even a vegetarian is likely to consume more (GM) soy indirectly through the animal products that he consumes than a vegan can ever think of. At least a vegan can control the amount of soy he/she consumes. If you consume dairy and meat in large quantities you are more likely to suffer from cancer, obesity, kidney disease, gout and other problems. The only way to prevent these diseases is to eat what nature intended us to – a variety of vegan fresh whole foods. A little soy will not cause harm.
Does soy cause thyroid problems?
Soya has been consumed in the East for centuries and those cultures do not have higher rates of thyroid problems. Cabbage is also a goitrogen and may not be good for people with thyroid problems, iodine in salt could be harmful too. And dairy may result in thyroid problems as well. Some thyroid patients have improved after switching to a plant based diet.
What about all the emails that talk about the ill effects of soy?
Soy, is an innocent bean, not a bioweapon, and has been used for centuries in the East without causing problems. If you get such a message, please don’t blindly forward it unless you have reason to believe that the contents are true. Verify them first. A lie repeated often enough takes the shape of truth in our minds and there are MANY of them floating around; so many, that if someone tells you the truth, you may have trouble believing it. We need to question who is circulating these kinds of stories? Could it be the dairy industry’s clever ploy to get soy (competition) out of the market? Isn’t its surprising that we regularly read about the dangers of soya, but not the dangers of Coca Cola or McDonald’s even though these many be many times more dangerous?
I also saw a video on soy protein isolate and how it contains more IGF than dairy, twice as much in fact. What is soy protein isolate? What soy products contain IGF?
IGF is a growth hormone. Growth hormones are produced by animals and are especially found in mammal milk because it helps the baby grow. There is no growth hormone in soya, but protein per se triggers growth. Soy protein isolate is a part of soy. Since we are always talking about whole plant based foods, we are not interested in isolated parts of substances and should not eat them. The best rule – never eat it if you don’t know what it is, or cannot pronounce it or understand it. Soy protein isolate is the isolated soy protein without the carbohydrate, but we do not need this.