Found this on another site and thought it was worth a read. I have never been a soy fan but it is interesting to note that it's used as a filler in a lot of products.
The Whole Soy Story
New Book Blows Lid Off "Wonder-Food" Myth!
by Anthony Colpo,
July 13, 2005.
Few foods have managed to achieve the exalted "wonder-food" status that is routinely awarded to soy. Mention the word "soy" to the average health-conscious consumer, and they'll conjure up images of a natural, healthful alternative to meat and dairy that lowers the risk of common killers, such as heart disease and cancer, protects against osteoporosis, and offers aging women welcome relief from the symptoms of menopause. A blockbuster among health foods, soy has amassed massive amounts of positive press and billions of dollars in profits for soy food processors and manufacturers.
There's just a couple of wee problems with soy.
Firstly, the indisputable reality is that none of the exuberant health claims made for this so-called "wonder-food" are backed by anything that even resembles solid scientific evidence. There is no tightly controlled study showing that soy lowers the incidence of heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, nor any other health ailment.
Secondly, a truly substantial volume of research shows that, not only is soy a dud, but it can actually damage health. The published scientific literature clearly shows that soy feeding has produced adverse effects in virtually every species it has been administered to--including humans.
As Kaayla T. Daniel explains in her myth-shattering new book, The Whole Soy Story, the phenomenal rise of soy has been built entirely on clever and aggressive marketing, distortions of fact, and downright lies.
Soy's Early History
While soy is promoted as a staple that has been consumed in the Orient since time immemorial, Daniel reminds us that soy is a relatively recent addition to the human diet, with little evidence for its consumption prior to 2,500 years ago. Until this point, the Chinese considered soy inedible, and used it primarily as "green manure"; that is, as fertilizer for other plant crops.
Sometime between the second century BC and fourth century AD, the Chinese started applying traditional fermentation techniques to soy and other grains. This technique was initially used to produce soy sauce, and applied much later to produce other fermented soy products such as natto (around 1000 AD) and tempeh (sometime after 1600 AD).
Daniel recounts how the yellow bean was shunned outside of the Orient right up until the latter half of the twentieth century. This was despite enthusiastic backing from some rather surprising quarters: early proponents of soy included Henry Ford, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and the Soviet Communist Party. Ford, in fact, was so enamored with soy that he even created a prototype car made out of a soy-based plastic material! John Harvey Kellogg, the breakfast king famous for his bizarre health recommendations, wasted no time in applying his hard sell tactics to soy, developing a number of "notoriously unpalatable meat substitutes" in the process.
The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America's Favorite Health Food
by Kaayla T. Daniel
During the 1990s and early 2000's, the soy industry intensified its efforts into a cleverly crafted promotional campaign designed to forever eradicate the image of soy products as strange smelling, "beany" tasting, hippie foods. Instead, soy would be portrayed as an upscale food, offering savvy consumers a myriad of health benefits. The industry's campaign has paid off immensely--as Daniel points out, soy foods are now one of the fastest-growing sectors of the food industry, with sales rising from $0.852 billion in 1992 to $ 4 billion in 2003.
The 'Asians Eat Lots of Soy' Myth
Everybody 'knows' that regular soy consumption is a major reason why Asians have lower rates of heart disease and breast and prostate cancers than Westerners, right?
As Daniel explains, Asians are not the big soy consumers that we have been led to believe. The Chinese and Japanese have long used traditional fermented soy products as a condiment, but, unlike misguided Westerners that have succumbed to the soy industry hype, they have never sought to replace nutrient-rich meats and fish with the newfangled assortment of soy milks, yogurts, ice creams, burgers and sausages, and soy flour- and protein-containing products that now flood our supermarket shelves. Nor do they self-medicate with highly-hyped soy isoflavone supplements. Daniel cites various sources that show consumption of soy in Asia to be surprisingly low: the OECD estimates the per capita consumption of soybeans in Japan averages a mere 18g per day, while the famous China-Cornell-Oxford Study revealed an average soy consumption of only four grams daily.
There's a further catch: unlike the traditional products consumed in the Orient, the soy products consumed in the West are rich in potentially harmful proteins, isoflavones and anti-nutrients. The production and consumption of these pseudo-foods is made possible only by the use of time-saving industrial processes, many of which not only fail to remove soy's harmful anti-nutrients, but also add a few more chemical and toxic metal nasties for good measure! Cadmium, aluminum, and manganese are among the toxic metals that have been shown to accumulate in soy products. The harsh, blitzkrieg-style processing methods that are used to transform the inedible soybean into a palatable food item in the shortest possible time also cause the formation of a startling array of substances with carcinogenic and mutagenic activity. Unacceptably high levels of these products in soy sauces have triggered nationwide product recalls in Great Britain and New Zealand.
The anti-nutrients in soy include:
Phytates, well known for their ability to impair the body's absorption of important minerals like zinc, magnesium and iron;
Protease inhibitors and trypsin inhibitors, which impair digestive function. These have been shown to cause growth depression, pancreatic hypertrophy and pancreatic cancer in animal studies;
Lectins, which have been shown to compromise gastrointestinal health and impair immune function;
Oxalates, calcium-binding compounds that are especially high in spinach, rubarb--and soy. These must be avoided by those with a propensity for developing kidney stones, and may even increase the risk of osteoporosis in otherwise healthy folks.
Goitrogens, which interfere with thyroid function. As Daniel elaborates, soy's anti-thyroid tendencies have been well-documented in the medical literature, both in animal and human studies. Daniel cites official data showing frightening rises in the incidence of thyroid cancer--a 42 percent increase between 1975 and 1996--a rise that correlates with the accelerating use of soy infant formula. While quick to highlight the low rates of certain cancers in Asia, soy's promoters seem extremely reluctant to mention the abnormally high levels of thyroid disease in this same region. Cretinism is common in impoverished rural areas of China where poverty forces people to consume larger-than-normal amounts of soy, while thyroid disease is common in Japan, where soy consumption is the highest in the world.
Soy Health Claims: Smoke and Mirrors, or Real Science?
After recounting the early history and modern-day rise of soy, and explaining the less than inspiring nutritional profile of soy, The Whole Soy Story gets down to the nitty-gritty--addressing the wide array of health claims made for soy. As the reader quickly realizes, the only thing more startling than this diverse list of ailments is the lack of scientifically valid evidence that any are ameliorated by soy! This is not due to a one-sided focus on non-supportive evidence; Daniel is careful to present both conflicting, neutral and supportive evidence where it exists, but the end result is always the same--a complete lack of coherent clinical evidence showing any noteworthy benefit.
Most ironic is the fact that the Food and Drug Administration lists soy in its Poisonous Plants Database, and has still not granted soy protein "Generally Recognized As Safe" (GRAS) status for food use. To this day, the use of soy protein is designated as GRAS only for limited industrial use as a cardboard binder. Despite this, the federal bureaucratic behemoth has seen fit to approve a 'heart-healthy' claim for soy protein! The claim reads: "Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 25 grams of soy protein a day may reduce the risk of heart disease".
The FDA has approved this statement in spite of the fact that:
Over fifty year's worth of clinical trials have failed dismally to show that saturated fat or cholesterol restriction lower heart disease risk;
In contrast to less highly-hyped modalities like fish oil, fruit and vegetable-rich diets, Co-enzyme Q10, exercise, etc, no clinical evidence exists to show that soy protein, nor any soy product or derivative, has ever prevented a single heart attack!
The myth that soy infant formula is a safe and hypoallergenic alternative to cow milk formula is shattered, as is the contention that soy is an effective treatment for the symptoms of menopause. And after reading about the effects of soy on testosterone in chapter 29, no self-respecting male will ever want to go anywhere near a soy product for the rest of his days.
Daniel does an outstanding job of explaining how the soy industry bankrolls compliant researchers, "re-interprets" non-supportive and conflicting evidence, lobbies the government, manipulates the media, and launches aggressive promotional campaigns that ensure the dark side of soy remains hidden from public view. Daniel pulls no punches; this brave author names names, casting the spotlight on numerous researchers whose dubious scientific conduct has been instrumental in allowing the soy industry to issue its highly questionable health claims for soy.
Soy: It's Everywhere, Man!
If you are reading this with a sense of indifference, thinking, "who cares, I never eat this soy junk, anyway"--think again! If you include any amount of processed, packaged food in your diet, then there's a strong chance you are indeed a regular consumer of soy. As Daniel explains, soy is one of the most widely-used ingredients in the food industry. Soy flour, protein, oil and lecithin are commonly included in a staggering array of foods but are often listed under other names or codes, and therefore identifiable only to those with a master's degree in deciphering food label gobbledegook.
The soy story should also concern anyone who cares for our environment. While the "clean, green" image of soy has been heavily promoted, the sad reality is that two-thirds of the US crop is now grown from Monsanto's genetically-modified and patented soybeans. These have been specially bred to survive heavy duty dosing with the agri-giant's highly profitable weed killer Roundup. Argentina provides a ready lesson in the potential dangers of soy cultivation, Agribusiness-style; 100,000 square miles of rainforest were leveled to make way for soybean production and 150,000 small farmers driven off their land by big farmers eager to grow more soy. Production of milk, rice, maize, potatoes, lentils and other food staples for local consumption fell, replaced by soybeans grown for export to Europe and China. Problems with herbicide-resistant "superweeds" necessitated doubling the amount of weed killer used, causing bacteria to die and leaving soil inert. Nearby livestock died or gave birth to deformed offspring, while farmers and neighbors near GM fields "have suffered health problems such as rashes and tearing eyesâ€¦"
Among the Best
The Whole Soy Story is, quite simply, one of the best health books I've read in a long, long time. Remarkable in its breadth and scope, its author has done a superb job of summarizing all we currently know of value about soy and health into one easy-to-read book. If you want to know the truth about soy, get yourself a copy of this book. You really will get "the whole soy story", sans the fictitious, deceitful, industry-driven hyperbole that has so far dominated popular coverage of this so-called "miracle food".
Kaayla T. Daniel's The Whole Soy Story (NewTrends Publishing, Inc., March 2005) is available from Amazon.com and the author's website.