Soy: For & Against


Should we be afraid of soy products or, on the contrary, is it necessary to include them in our diet?


Many inhabitants of the planet have long replaced animal protein with the products from soybeans. Soy is used to cook steaks and goulash, sausages and burgers, milk, yogurt and cheese, asparagus and other nutritious foods. However, the debate about the use of soy foods has not subsided over the decades yet. Some people say that it promotes rejuvenation and recovery of the body, while others believe that its frequent use increases the risk of cancer.

Today, will try to understand, whether soybean meals bring benefit or cause irreparable harm to our body.

The benefits of soybean dishes

There is no doubt that the protein, found in soy, is a full substitute for animal protein and can provide the body with the amount of energy that we get from meat and dairy products. Besides, soy meals do not contribute to the formation of “bad” cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular system diseases.

In addition, soybeans contain large amounts of vitamins and other nutrients that truly contribute to rejuvenating the organism and help maintain its health.

The composition of soybeans (100 g of ripe seeds):

  • Proteins – 36.5 g
  • Fats – 2.9 g (saturated), 4.4 g (monounsaturated), 11.3 g (polyunsaturated)
  • Carbohydrates – 30.2 g
  • Vitamin A – 0.001 mg
  • Vitamin B6 – 0.377 mg
  • Vitamin B9 – 0.375 mg
  • Vitamin C – 6 mg
  • Vitamin E – 17.3 mg
  • Vitamin PP – 3.2 mg
  • Iron – 15.7 mg
  • Potassium – 1797 mg
  • Calcium – 277 mg
  • Magnesium – 280 mg
  • Sodium – 2 mg
  • Phosphorus – 704 mg
  • Zinc – 4.9 mg

In addition, soy contains phospholipids, linoleic and folic acid, tocopherols, lecithin, choline.

All of this means that soy products have an antioxidant effect; they enhance the liver’s ability to remove toxins, reduce the risk of degenerative transformations in the nerve cells and muscles, strengthen capillaries, and reduce the need for insulin in diabetics. In addition, soy derivatives increase the protective functions of the body, prevent cholesterol deposition and the formation of atherosclerotic plaques, and slow down the aging process.

In addition, soy foods help with digestion and improve memory; they enhance or even restore the nervous system, help to lose weight and keep it within normal limits. They give the body enough positive energy for an active and healthy life.

The harm of soy dishes

To study the harmful effects of soy on the human body, the scientists from many countries have conducted a lot of experiments that were to answer the following questions:

  • Does soy provoke the emergence of cancer cells?
  • Do the soy products influence the thyroid gland?
  • Can soy foods be the cause of Alzheimer’s disease?
  • Are soybeans harmful for male and female reproductive organs?
  • How do soy products affect the absorption of beneficial micro-and macro-elements?

However, none of the conducted experiments has given a clear answer because the participants had very contradictory reactions. Perhaps this is due to the nationality of the people involved in the research, and their genetic memory – in some countries soy has been consumed for centuries, although soy-containing products appeared only 20-25 years ago.

Nevertheless, some conclusions have been made.

Soy: to Eat or to Avoid?

  • Moderate and reasonable consumption of soy does not cause cancer cells to appear; moreover, the risk of cancer generally decreases.
  • If the organism receives enough iodine with other foods, the thyroid gland is not influenced by consuming soy meals.
  • Soybean meals can in no way be the cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Soybeans contain substances which, on the contrary, protect from this disease efficiently.
  • Excessive consumption of soy foods may in some cases (along with other factors) lead to female infertility and male impotence.

Due to the fact that soy contains a lot of useful micro- and macro-elements, it is able to provide the body with almost everything one needs, and products from it do not interfere with the absorption of other minerals. However, it is not recommended to make soybean dishes the basis of your nutrition, it must be complemented with nuts, vegetables and cereals, and if you are not a vegetarian, then you can add meat.

At the same time, no matter how comforting these studies seem, one should take into account several factors. It is known that 60-70% of the protease inhibitors contained in soybeans, when interacting with the enzymes aimed to process proteins, do not split in the stomach; entering the pancreas, they provoke a more intensive work, which may cause its hypertrophy (the increase of the internal organ) as a result.

In addition, lectins which are also part of soybeans, disrupt the functioning of the intestine, which in turn makes it more accessible to bacterial toxins and decay products. Moreover, they cause growth retardation.

Do not forget that in our time the world is flooded with genetically modified foods, and soy is not an exception.

Should one eat soybeans?

The above mentioned facts prove that soy is actually quite a useful product which can have a positive impact on the body of a grown-up human. However, only in case if you do not abuse soybean dishes. Should we include them in our diet? This is something we should decide. The main thing is to remember that 2-3 servings a day (70-80 g each) for vegans and 1-2 servings for vegetarians are considered harmless. If you eat meat, eggs and dairy products, it is necessary to consume 3-4 servings per week. They include salads with soy asparagus, tofu, and the soy sauce adored by many.

At the end of the article we must say that whether you want to eat soy products or not, it does not depend on you much, unless you eat only homemade products, starting from bread and ending with sausages, and you feed the cattle destined for human consumption with the best grass mowed on the next meadow.

In other cases, you are only to accept the fact that soy is present in almost everything we eat. It is added to feed the cattle, in the bakery and confectionery products, it is found in any sausages and ravioli, its traces are found in purchased cow’s milk, in natural (not soy) cheeses. Even a bottle of ketchup and a jar with coconut milk has the inscription: “the presence of a small amount of soy is possible.”

No matter how much you like the taste of soy foods, consider the amount of them that gets into your stomach without your conscious decision. Maybe it is enough to “rejuvenate the body and improve health?”