Is soy useful or harmful?

The increasing use of soy in the diet suggests the need to be aware of the possible harmful consequences of consuming this legume.

Soy was once known in the diet mostly only in Asian countries, as its fermented protein-rich products supplemented a diet based mostly on rice. But thanks to its relatively cheap production and composition (the most protein-rich plant), this legume has spread around the world and its products (or individual isolates) have found wide applications in the human diet. There are a large number of industrial food products on the market today that contain some of the soy products.

From useful to undesirable ingredients

In addition to the aforementioned relatively large amounts of protein, soy contains very useful omega-3 fatty acids and a number of other useful plant substances (so-called phytonutrients). The proclamation of soy as a valuable food with anticarcinogenic properties and elements that reduce harmful blood cholesterol (LDL) is partly based on certain segments of scientific research, and partly on the propaganda marketing of today’s power industry, soy production.

But in addition to useful ingredients, soy and its products contain a relatively large number of unfavorable and dangerous substances for humans, which can seriously endanger health. As such adverse effects of soy are not talked about enough in public, it is necessary to warn those who consume it about the possible health consequences.

The most common consumers of soy are vegetarians (due to the protein deficiency in their diet), but the number of consumers is growing every day, as many soy products are added as isolates to industrially prepared foods. The adverse effects of soy ingredients and its products can be divided into two main groups:

unfavorable soybean seed ingredients

unfavorable constituents of isolates, i.e. products isolated from soybeans.

Adverse ingredients of soybean seeds:

1. Pitic acid (in the form of pitata)
2. Enzyme inhibitors in the digestive process
3. Hemagglutinin
4. Isoflavones
5. Genetically modified soybean species
6. Herbicides and pesticides used in soybean production.

Pitic acid is a toxic substance found in soy in the form of pitta. It is present in the husks of all seeds and legumes, but not in such quantities as in soybeans and in the form of slightly different compounds. This acid prevents the absorption of some essential minerals in the body, such as calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc.

Lack of these minerals in the body causes numerous health disorders and the development of a whole spectrum of diseases. Soy pie is very resistant to the reduction technique, such as long and light cooking, which is otherwise allowed with other legumes.
Soybean seeds also contain powerful inhibitors of some enzymes, such as trypsin, which is necessary for protein digestion. Conventional cooking does not deactivate these “antinutrients”, which can cause serious stomach disorders, reducing protein breakdown and bringing the body into a state of chronic amino acid deficiency.

Hemagglutinin is a component of soybean seeds that stimulates the production of substances in the blood that blind red blood cells, which prevents the proper absorption of oxygen and its distribution to the cells of the body.

The most controversial ingredients in soybean seeds are some isoflavones (phytoestrogens), such as genistein and daidzein. Genistein has been shown to be an inhibitor of tyrosine kinase, an enzyme essential in the process of using the essential amino acid tyrosine in the brain, whose influence is extremely important for the function of thyroid hormones and many other body functions. The effect of isoflavones on the decrease in thyroid function causes the development of hypothyroidism.

As thyroid function is very important for the development of the brain of children at an early age, especially in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, excessive consumption of soy and its products for pregnancy can cause damage to the development of the child’s brain and reproductive disorders.

Some studies in children have shown that when consuming two glasses of soy milk a day, the concentration of phytoestrogens in the blood is extremely high (13,000 to 22,000 times higher than the natural concentration of the human hormone estrogen at that age). Although the action of phytoestrogens is almost 1000 times weaker than estrogen, such concentrations of phytoestrogens are still extremely high.

Studies also show that phytoestrogens in adults cause dementia. Men who consume tofu (a fermented soy product) at least twice a week for 30 years have been shown to have irreversible damage and a reduction in brain volume, equivalent to approximately five years older brain.

In addition, the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease in such people increases 2.4 times, as does the likelihood of Parkinson’s disease and depression. As these phytoestrogens can compete with the natural human hormone estrogen, they inhibit natural estrogen in women and the enzymatic activity of aromatase in men, which converts testosterone to estradiol. Thus phytoestrogens disturb the subtle hormonal balance, causing a number of disorders.

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