Is soy really as healthy as they say? -

Is soy really as healthy as they say?

Soy milk, soy cheese, soy burgers, soy ice seems like everywhere you look, there are more soy products to choose from! No problem, because soy is supposed to be good for you, right? Not soy fast! Our wellness expert Peggy Hall reveals which type of soy is good for you -- and which to avoid.

"A few years ago, I consciously started eating more soy because I kept hearing that soy was a great vegetarian source of protein," Peggy says. "But after a few weeks of my all-soy diet, I ended up in tears at my doctor's office, because I had no energy -- and I was several pounds heavier!"

Like many people, Peggy thought she was doing something good for her health, but at the time, she was unaware that:

  • Soy products contain "goitrogens" which are substances that suppress
    thyroid production and your metabolism.
  • Soy contains a "trypsine inhibitor," which is an enzyme that prevents the
    body from properly digesting and absorbing protein; and the phytic acid
    in soy prevents the body from absorbing certain vitamins and is also considered a growth inhibitor, so those drinking
    soy protein shakes for muscle gain should think again.
  • The American Heart Association states: "Evidence linking soy protein
    consumption with reduced risk of coronary heart disease is not sufficient." 
  • Soy contains " phytoestrogens", which are linked to infertility and reproductive
    issues -- and strongly implicated in some forms of breast cancer. The Cornell University Center for Breast Cancer cautions women against soy if they're at a risk for breast cancer.
  • There is a growing concern over soy infant formulas as well, as the
    compounds in soy can wreak havoc on normal hormonal development
    and may possibly be linked to asthma, immune disorders and emotional

Bottom line? Two to three servings of soy a week is okay for most people. Look for the less-processed forms of soy like tofu, edamame and miso, and get organic when possible. Women who are at a risk for breast cancer would do well to avoid soy altogether. Other good options instead of soy are almond milk, rice milk and yogurt.

Many people might ask, "What about Asian countries? Don't they eat a lot of soy and stay healthy?" Peggy explains that "traditional Asian dishes use natural, unprocessed soy in small amounts, like condiments. In fact, there's an old wives' tale that if Japanese wives catch their spouses cheating, they feed them large amounts of soy to dampen the libido!"

Copyright 2011 America Now. All rights reserved.

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