Friday, July 12, 2013

Soy Milk Dangers

Soy has become a popular protein and dairy alternative. You can buy soy milk, infant formula and ice cream products, to name a few. All of these products claim to be healthy alternatives for those who are lactose intolerant or simply want a lower fat alternative to many dairy products. However, studies are showing that soy may not be a risk-free alternative. Talk to your doctor or a dietitian if you are considering dramatic changes to your or your family's diet.

Porcessing Soy

    Soy has been a dietary staple in China and Indonesia for centuries. The traditional process of preparation is known as fermentation. Fermentation prepares the bean and kills bacteria and toxins that can become harmful if ingested. If fermentation is not used, the toxins that the soy bean naturally contains will not be removed. Modern methods involve bleaching, deodorizing and heat blasting the beans. Milk is made by taking these flakes and adding water without fermenting the beans. It is a faster, less healthy process. Additionally many additives are incorporated into the process to fortify the soy product.

Reproductive Dangers

    Phytoestrogens can have a negative effect on fertility. This has been documented in livestock since the 1940s. It is now known that soy reduces testosterone levels. Children on soy formula are at greatest risk of inadequate reproductive development. The effect on boys is to reduce testosterone levels and sperm count. Male reproductive growth is not the lone victim. Girls may develop reproductive tract abnormalities, leading to infertility.

Learning Disorders

    Learning disorders are at alarming rates, with more children being diagnosed for attention-deficit disorder, dyslexia and Asperger's syndrome. One of the areas being studied that may be a causal factor is soy milk and its trace elements. Dairy milk and breast milk contain aluminum, fluoride and manganese. These three metals have the potential to be toxic to a developing brain, causing learning issues. Manganese is essential at trace levels for adequate brain development but can be toxic at high levels in a developing cortex. Soy milk contain high levels, perhaps toxic levels in some cases, of these three trace minerals and may play a role in increased classroom issues.

Soy Allergies

    Because soy is being more widely used in infant formula, there has been an increase in soy allergies developing. Someone with soy allergies may experience hives, congestion, sneezing or coughing. More severe cases may lead to difficulty swallowing or even anaphylactic shock. There also may be delayed reactions that affect energy levels, sound sleeping and lead to chronic pain. Those at the highest risk of developing a soy allergy are those with peanut allergies or those who suffer from asthma.

Thyroid Issues

    Soy is a thyroid inhibitor. Frequent consumption of soy products and lead to hypothyroidism. Those at highest risk are infants on soy formula, vegans who do not obtain protein from other sources other than soy, and those who use soy as a means of self-medicating against menopause, cancer or heart disease. Of interesting note, Michael Fitzpatrick, PhD, explains that researchers induce thyroid cancer in laboratory animals by giving them a high-soy diet.


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