So it seems that we’re eating too much omega-6 and the oils with the highest omega-6 ratios are corn, soy and sunflower oils. This means we need to cut down on the quantity of these oils we consume so we should be looking at the ingredients of the processed food we eat!
[It should be noted that olive, peanut and canola oils consist of approximately 80% monounsaturated fatty acids, (i.e. neither omega-6 nor omega-3) meaning that they contain relatively small amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Consequently, the omega-6 to omega-3 ratios for these oils (i.e. olive, canola and peanut oils) are not as significant as they are for corn, soybean and sunflower oils.]
The problem is that soy & sunflower oil are now everywhere and often we don’t realise it. I looked at the ingredients of wholegrain bread in the local supermarket the other day – it contained soy. Also, if the ingredients list states ‘vegetable oil’ it’s highly likely its soy. Feedlot cattle are fed a diet of mostly corn and soy (plus hormones, steroids and antibiotics) – see the Grass fed vs Grain fed article.
Besides avoiding corn, soy and sunflower oils due to the high omega-6 levels, I also believe we should avoid all modern soy products.
Why don’t I like soy? All the adverts say we should eat soy – isn’t it meant to be good for us?
Soy contains several naturally occurring compounds that are toxic to humans and animals. The soy industry frequently refers to these toxins as anti-nutrients, which implies that they somehow act to prevent the body getting the complete nutrition it needs from a food. The soy toxins (such as phytic acid) can certainly act in this manner, but they also have the ability to target specific organs, cells and enzyme pathways.
The old fashioned method of preparing soy involved a lengthy fermentation process to produce foods like tempeh,miso,natto and tamari. These processes neutralise the toxins and anti-nutrients found in soy beans. However the modern process involves drying, cracking, rolling, solvent extraction of the oil and all sorts of chemical processes which is nothing like the old-fashioned fermentation method and does not deactivate the toxins found in raw soy.
My favourite website is Soy Online Service (http://www.soyonlineservice.co.nz/ ) which was started by Crimson Rosella bird breeders in New Zealand. They discovered that after changing their birds to a new bird feed their birds were affected with:
beak and bone deformities
immune system disorders
premature maturation – in the wild the adult plumage develops from about the age of 12 to 18 months. But bird breeders were finding that their birds ‘coloured-up’ after just a few months
The bird breeders noted that a common factor in the diets of affected parrots was soy protein. So they started to research the health implications of soy and set up this website to highlight their findings…
Everyone says that girls are physically maturing earlier these days and many are starting menstruation around the age of 10 years old now. Could the increase of soy products in our diet have something to do with this?
Below are some common myths about soy:
Myth: Asians consume large amounts of soy foods.
Truth: Average consumption of soy foods in Japan and China is 10 grams (about 2 teaspoons) per day. Asians consume soy foods in small amounts as a condiment, and not as a replacement for animal foods.
Myth: Modern soy foods confer the same health benefits as traditionally fermented soy foods.
Truth: Most modern soy foods are not fermented to neutralize toxins in soybeans, and are processed in a way that denatures proteins and increases levels of carcinogens.
Myth: Fermented soy foods can provide vitamin B12 in vegetarian diets.
Truth: The compound that resembles vitamin B12 in soy cannot be used by the human body; in fact, soy foods cause the body to require more B12
Myth: Phytoestrogens in soy foods can enhance mental ability.
Truth: A recent study found that women with the highest levels of estrogen in their blood had the lowest levels of cognitive function; In Japanese Americans tofu consumption in mid-life is associated with the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease in later life.
Myth: Soy foods can prevent osteoporosis.
Truth: Soy foods can cause deficiencies in calcium and vitamin D, both needed for healthy bones.
Myth: Soy estrogens (isoflavones) are good for you.
Truth: Soy isoflavones are phyto-endocrine disrupters. At dietary levels, they can prevent ovulation and stimulate the growth of cancer cells. Eating as little as 30 grams (about 4 tablespoons) of soy per day can result in hypothyroidism with symptoms of lethargy, constipation, weight gain and fatigue.
Myth: Soy foods are good for your sex life.
Truth: Numerous animal studies show that soy foods cause infertility in animals. Soy consumption enhances hair growth in middle-aged men, indicating lowered testosterone levels. Japanese housewives feed tofu to their husbands frequently when they want to reduce his virility.
Myth: Soy foods are safe and beneficial for women to use in their postmenopausal years.
Truth: Soy foods can stimulate the growth of estrogen-dependent tumors and cause thyroid problems. Low thyroid function is associated with difficulties in menopause.
Some other comments regarding soy include:
Australia New Zealand Food Standards Association, Press Release 2001 – “All of the unsafe soy sauces were manufactured using a process known as ‘acid hydrolysis’. I emphasise that soy sauces manufactured using only a traditional (natural) fermentation process did not give rise to chloropropanols and ANZFA regards these as safe.”
Cancer Council NSW, guidelines, January 2007 – “The Cancer Council does not support the use of health claims on food labels that suggest soy foods or phyto-oestrogens protect against the development of cancer.”
“There is evidence to suggest that women with existing breast cancer or past breast cancer should be cautious in consuming large quantities of soy foods or phyto-oestrogen supplements.”
“Women with current or past breast cancer should be aware of the risks of potential tumour growth when taking soy products.”
My conclusion to all of this research is that I’m going to avoid all modern use of soy which includes things such as soy milk, bread with soy added and any product which just states ‘vegetable oil’ as an ingredient. Why risk it when it’s totally unnecessary? I will still enjoy my miso soup and soy sauce (fermented of course) when I eat Japanese food.
So, it’s ‘so long’ to Soy for me…