Soy, Friend, or Foe? by sanzas kitchen

Soy, Friend, or Foe?



Soy can be a great source of protein in a vegan diet. But is it too much, harmful for our bodies? Let’s see the pros and cons on soy!

Some of us want to live the life of a vegan. This kind of life has become more and more acceptable in this century. This way of living is advantageous because it lowers risks brought on by eating meat. This means we also lessen the possibility of having bad cholesterol in our bodies. However, vegans still need an ample source of protein to live healthily. That is why soy has become the perfect meat substitute. Sometimes too much of a good thing may no longer be beneficial. Therefore, any person (not only vegans) should know the truth behind soy and its various products. Let’s see the pros and cons on soy!


Soy can be found in many incarnations these days such as burgers, milk, and of course, soy sauce. Soy is also a popular protein source, especially for those individuals who live a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. But is soy really such a great option? Sure, it has a list of health benefits, but there’s also a list of drawbacks that come with this popular Asian legume.

Much like whey protein, soy also comes in concentrates and isolates, which are around 70% and 90% protein, respectively. Soy protein also has a biological value of between 70 and 80, which is pretty good. Those who choose to incorporate soy into their daily nutrition plan can also experience such benefits as:

  • Low-fat content
  • Contains all of the essential amino acids
  • Good source of fiber
  • It may help to lower cholesterol
  • Isoflavones possess antioxidant properties

Phytoestrogens have the ability to mimic estrogen, which may be beneficial for combating the effects of menopause. Now, let’s take a look at the cons, which unfortunately are way more, in this pros and cons on soy article.


Disturbances in the Reproductive System

It is a fact that we use soy as the perfect meat substitute. Nowadays, it is being used in various meat products as an extender. As much as it has great cholesterol-lowering properties, too much consumption raises the presence of phytoestrogens in the body. This can be good for people who are menopausal but may pose harmful effects to the reproductive systems such as infertility, problems during menstruation, and Oligozoospermia.

Disturbances in the Endocrine System

Studies have shown that too much soy can lead to the occurrence of thyroid cancer or goiter. It contains Isoflavones, which are considered the culprit for these incidences. Although Isoflavones have great benefits, they can also disrupt the normal functions of our endocrine system. In higher quantities, they can cause imbalance and inhibition of thyroid hormones. No wonder problems with the thyroid occur.


GMOs are organisms that have been genetically modified or artificially manipulated inside a laboratory. This scientific type of genetic engineering has created diverse plant, animal, bacteria, and viral genes. Because of this unusual crossbreeding, GMO products have been produced to withstand direct herbicide application, while providing insecticide protection.

Since the first genetically modified crop in 1996, these crops have been known to accomplish several tasks. For example, certain GMO crops have been formulated to successfully withstand extreme weather conditions and even extend the product’s shelf life. Some of these plants have been useful in producing biofuel which is used to help vehicles get around.

The U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has declared GMO foods to be safe for consumption, despite many arguments concerning the health risks associated with GMO foods. Sixty other developed countries consider GMO foods to be unsafe and unhealthy. Australia, Japan, and the European Union have placed important restrictions and bans on the manufacture and sale of GMO foods.

The FDA has not regulated the labeling for GMO foods, however, there are thousands of products labeled “Non-GMO” to assist consumers. This is part of the Non-GMO project developed to help people avoid products that have been genetically engineered or modified.

Importance of Searching the Organic Non-GMO Type

There has been a long debate over GMO foods and certain health risks associated. Regardless of the health concerns, consuming these foods is a personal choice. Some people have begun to actively avoid eating foods produced in this manner, taking on what could be described as a non-GMO lifestyle.

How to cut down the amount of genetically modified food you consume? Easy! By reducing the number of processed foods you eat. This is often easier if you do more of your own food preparation. It can be harder to know about the origins of the ingredients in the foods you eat when you are dining out in restaurants.

While it may seem challenging to avoid GMO foods, especially if you are on a special diet or are trying to lose weight, there are solutions available. For example, certain weight loss programs feature supplements created without GMO products.

Benefits for the Health of Including this Legume in our Dishes

Today, there are many genetically modified food crops available. For example, soybeans, corn, cotton, alfalfa, sugar cane and beets, rice, squash, and others. Their engineering bestows benefits including herbicides, pest, and virus resistance, as well as higher nutritional content by way of increased endogenous production of vitamins and essential fatty acids. A large majority of soybeans, cotton, and corn is grown in the U.S. are now genetically modified, most engineered for herbicide and/or pest resistance. Believe it or not, if you live in the U.S. and many other parts of the world, you almost certainly consume GM foods regularly.

Despite the widespread and longstanding consumption of GM foods by millions if not billions of people, controversy persists over the safety of GM foods in regards to both human health and environmental integrity.  While most concerns over GM crops are generally unfounded, it is worth taking the time to understand how GM foods are assessed and approved. 

How is GM food analyzed?

To assess any potential dangers a GM food may present to human health, the product is first analyzed by the manufacturer to determine if it is “substantially equivalent” to its corresponding natural version, if one exists. Substantial equivalence is evaluated by comparing the biochemical profiles of two foods, including their various carbohydrates, fatty acids, metabolite compounds, and proteins. If the values of GM food’s components fall within the range of variation of the natural products, then they are deemed to be substantially equivalent. While the standard of substantial equivalence has proven robust enough to prevent any major adverse reactions to the public to GM foods, critics argue that the standard of equivalence is not defined clearly enough nor has a specific procedure for testing been established. In addition, processed or purified products (e.g. oils, sugars, etc.) can be assessed for substantial equivalence independent of their source plants.

Summing up

Now that we know the pros and cons on soy, it’s your turn to decide if you include it in your diet or not. As always we recommend looking for the best possible source, avoid GMOs, and include them in your diet in moderation. If soy is a complete stranger to your kitchen, try this delicious Tofu Amritsari Masala to get started.

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