The soy debate has been going on for years and the arguments keep coming back around. There is lots of documentation on both sides and for many people soy seems harmless. Why else would soy be in so many food products? Unfortunately, what’s in a lot of our processed foods isn’t healthy. I avoid soy. I’ve found when I read a pro-soy argument it’s either an opinion or paid for by the soy industry. In my opinion, there is no reason a healthy person should want to eat soy, but don’t just take my opinion. I have 5 solid reasons to skip soy.
5 Reasons to Skip Soy for Good
1 – It’s a Genetically Modified Crop
93% of the soy crops in the United States are genetically modified. That means they have been altered to withstand heavy spraying with pesticides like glyphosate and others that are similar. Whether you like GMO’s or not there is no denying that the ingestion of more pesticides is more harmful for you. Pesticides mess with your gut and make it impossible to have a healthy microbiome. They have also been linked to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, developmental concerns, and fertility issues. (1) (2) (3) (4) I’ll pass on the extra pesticides.
2 – Soy Impacts Your Thyroid
Did you know that if you are taking Levothyroxine or Synthroid that you should not eat soy? Those are thyroid medications and eating soy is a contraindication of both of them. Soy interferes with how they work. When I first started seeing patients with thyroid issues, I came across that info in my research and it blew my mind. Soy down regulates the thyroid. In fact, when I have patients with a hyperthyroid, I recommend soy. I had a patient who came in with a hyperthyroid and I recommended she drink soymilk for two weeks. That was the only change and two weeks later she was feeling better. Unless you have hyperthyroid, you should not be ingesting soy. It clearly influences your thyroid.
Learn more about soy and the thyroid in this video from Dr. Patrick Flynn:
3 – It’s a Common Allergen
Soy is found in so many processed foods and it is one of the most common allergens we see on our food allergy tests. Many of our patients have an IgE or IgG response to soy. The IgE classification is commonly know because it’s associated with immediate harmful effects like anaphylaxis but that is only 1% of the immune response. We also test for IgG response which represents 70% of the immune response and is often the cause of a patient’s hidden inflammation. This can lead to a wide range of symptoms and chronic conditions that people don’t often associate with their food. Symptoms like brain fog, acne, fatigue, headaches, and bloating.
4 – Soy Messes with Your Hormones
Soy contains phytoestrogens which are naturally occurring chemicals in plants that mimic estrogens. You don’t want chemicals, even if they are plant chemicals, in your body mimicking estrogen. Men you don’t need estrogen. We know what happens when you have more estrogen than testosterone. It impacts everything about you and your masculinity. Women have a very complicated set of hormones that should not be messed with. Imbalanced hormones can cause many chronic conditions and cancer. Phytoestrogens can even impact children having been linked to precocious puberty in girls and disrupting their hormones. (5)
5 – Might Be Bad for Your Brain Health
Soy was touted as such a health food that many people were surprised after one study found that men who ate tofu in were 2.4 times more likely to have memory loss or forgetfulness. The study looked at the diets of Japanese men who lived Hawaii who were in their 40’s to 60’s to see what increased their risk of cognitive decline. (6) Similar results were found in a study for men and women in Indonesia. (7) Tofu intake was also linked to cognitive decline to elderly in China. (8) Another study found eating more soy products increased your risk of Alzheimer’s or dementia. (9) You want to have healthy habits for a healthy brain. I forget, why would you want to eat soy again? There really is no reason too!
These are Good Reasons to Skip Soy
There are multiple reasons to skip soy and the benefits don’t outweigh the risks. Sure, there are many nutrients in soy but there are nutrients in lots of foods. Why take the risks when there are options that won’t cause harm? There is no reason when we have so many great food options that don’t adversely impact your health. Skip the soy and have some kale instead.
Written by Dr. Patrick Flynn