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The War on Soy: . . . Health Risk and Environmental Nightmare

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ensho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 10:47 AM
Original message
The War on Soy: . . . Health Risk and Environmental Nightmare

http://www.alternet.org/water/144074/the_war_on_soy%3A_...


The War on Soy: Why the 'Miracle Food' May Be a Health Risk and Environmental Nightmare


Vegetarians aren't the only ones who should be concerned; there's soy in just about everything you eat these days -- including hamburgers, mac 'n cheese and salad dressing.


-snip-

Soy is a lucrative industry. According to Soyfoods Association of North America, from 1992 to 2008, sales of soy foods have increased from $300 million to $4 billion. From sales numbers to medical endorsements, it would seem that soy has reached a kind of miracle food status.

-snip-

But soy's glory days may be coming to an end. New research is questioning its health benefits and even pointing out some potential risks. Although definitive evidence may be many years down the road, the American Heart Association has quietly withdrawn its support. And some groups are waging an all-out war, warning that soy can lead to certain kinds of cancers, lowered testosterone levels, and early-onset puberty in girls.

Most of the soy eaten today is also genetically modified, which may pose another set of health risks. The environmental implications of soy production, including massive deforestation, increased use of pesticides and threats to water and soil, are providing more fodder for soy's detractors.

All of this has many people wondering if they should even be eating it at all. And you are most likely eating it. Even if you're not a vegetarian or an avid tofu fan, there is a good chance you're still eating soy. Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved, explains that soy is now an ingredient in three-quarters of processed food on the market and just about everything you'd find in a fast food restaurant. It's used as filler in hamburgers, as vegetable oil and an emulsifier. It's in salad dressing, macaroni and cheese, and chicken nuggets.

"Even if you read every label and avoid cardboard boxes, you are likely to find soy in your supplements and vitamins (look out for vitamin E derived from soy oil), in foods such as canned tuna, soups, sauces, breads, meats (injected under poultry skin), and chocolate, and in pet food and body-care products," wrote Mary Vance for Terrain Magazine. "It hides in tofu dogs under aliases such as textured vegetable protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, and lecithin--which is troubling, since the processing required to hydrolyze soy protein into vegetable protein produces excitotoxins such as glutamate (think MSG) and aspartate (a component of aspartame), which cause brain-cell death."

(good grief!)

-snip-

There is also a risk of breast and other reproductive cancers for women and the potential for testicular and infertility in men.

While there was much news about the American Heart Association endorsing soy in 2000, there was little attention given when the AHA changed its mind and quietly withdrew its pro-soy claims in 2006, O'Brien points out. She also learned that they were not the only ones who expressed concerned about soy. A study in the British medical journal Lancet in 1996 warned of the effects of soy in infant formula. The study found babies had levels of isoflavones that were five to 10 times higher than women taking soy supplements for menopause. The effects in girls could be early-onset puberty, obesity, breast and reproductive cancers. Boys could face testicular cancer, undescended testicles and infertility. Additionally, O'Brien says, a 2003 British study conducted by Gideon Lack of St. Mary's Hospital at Imperial College London followed 14,000 children from the womb through age 6 and found that kids who had been given soy formula as infants seemed almost three times as likely to develop a peanut allergy later on.

As if all this weren't disturbing enough, there's also another reason to be alarmed -- most of the soy we eat is genetically modified to withstand increasing doses of weed-killing herbicides, and really, we have no idea what the long-term affects of that might be. So, what's a person to do? Stay away from soy as much as possible, which also means avoiding processed foods. And, even if we choose not to eat those things, some of us may end up getting them anyway. "There are different sales channels that these companies are using to sell soy with little regard for the cost to people down the road," said O'Brien. "Soy that is not used in grocery stores, in restaurants, or consumed by livestock, is disposed of in school lunch programs, hospitals, and prisons."

-snip-

One organization, the Weston A. Price Foundation, is actually engaged in a lawsuit on behalf of Illinois state prisoners who say they're eating a diet made of largely soy protein. "In their letters, the prisoners have described deliberate indifference to a myriad of serious health problems caused by the large amounts of soy in the diet," the WAP Foundation writes. "Complaints include chronic and painful constipation alternating with debilitating diarrhea, vomiting after eating, sharp pains in the digestive tract after consuming soy, passing out after soy-based meals, heart palpitations, rashes, acne, insomnia, panic attacks, depression and symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as low body temperature (feeling cold all the time), brain fog, fatigue, weight gain, frequent infections and an enlarged thyroid gland."

-snip-

There are even some soy and biofuel plantations in Brazil where the International Labor Organization says there are 40,000 slaves working today. Slaves! In Brazil, producing biofuels and soy."
-snip-
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FarCenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 10:57 AM
Response to Original message
1. Worlds Healthiest Foods: Soy (Japan)
http://eating.health.com/2008/02/01/worlds-healthiest-f... /
A typical Japanese person eats soy for breakfast. And lunch. And dinner. We eat tofu every day, says Mamie Nishide, a cooking instructor and recipe developer whos a native of Nara, Japan. Soybeans, first grown in tropical Asia thousands of years ago, are used in everything in Japan from soy sauce (as ubiquitous as ketchup) to vegetable oil, tofu, and the fermented soybean paste called miso. Japanese eat more soybeans than anyone else, and the long-lived Okinawans top the list at about 60 to 120 grams per person each day, compared with practically zero grams for the average American.

Show me the dead Japanese...
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ensho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 11:08 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. if you read the article they mostly eat fermented soy


which is different
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FarCenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #4
8. Tofu is generally not fermented
Also edame, and other soy products are not fermented.

Soy sauce, miso, and some others are. So they eat a mix.
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 12:08 PM
Response to Reply #4
17. It does not say that.
It says they also eat fermented soy int he form of miso. But there is lots of raw or lightly processed soy. I oughta know, I've been eating it for years as I'm married into an Asian family.
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Ignis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 12:20 PM
Response to Reply #1
21. +1
All my Japanese and Japanese-American friends eat edamame like it's going out of style.

I'll have to tell them they're going to drop dead from eating unfermented soy their entire lives. :eyes:
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Ozymanithrax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 11:01 AM
Response to Original message
2. Protein is protein. Feeding 6 billion people comes with a sacrifice.
It can not be done organicly. You won't convince most of the world's population to stop at 1 child.
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Taverner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 11:10 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. Agreed. People seem to be forgetting the benefit that comes along with Soy
Edited on Mon Nov-23-09 11:10 AM by Taverner
And I think you mean "Naturally" (non-GMO), right?
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Ozymanithrax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Yes, natural foods.
Edited on Mon Nov-23-09 11:20 AM by Ozymanithrax
The green revoltion of the 60's and 70's led to the ability to feed more pepole than the planet can comfortablly handle. Creating higher yeild foods and sacrificing large areas of the planet's ecosystem to feed our ever growing population is the only way to keep it up.

We either sacrifice population or we sacrifice the world we know.

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derby378 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 11:07 AM
Response to Original message
3. That Melt spread contains organic soybean oil and soy lecithin
http://www.meltbutteryspread.com /

Great stuff. Hopefully I don't have to give it up.

Besides, how long have people in eastern Asian countries and cultures eaten soy and soy-based foods before anyone complained?
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ensho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 11:09 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. read the whole article re: fermented soy and modified soy
nt
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Gwendolyn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 11:38 AM
Response to Reply #5
11. Modified soy is yuck. I've stayed away from it for years.

Had no idea it was as killing to the environment as the obvious culprits though. Thanks for this post!
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LynneSin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 11:26 AM
Response to Original message
9. A few years ago National Geographic did a story about the environmental impact of Soy
And it's doing a good job of destroying the Amazon thanks to our demands on soy.

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FarCenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 11:41 AM
Response to Reply #9
12. The Amazon crop goes to Asia and Europe, not the US
We are a net exporter of soy.
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LynneSin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 12:00 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. true but it's the overall concept
Soy isn't the perfect crop
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Sebastian Doyle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 11:28 AM
Response to Original message
10. FrankenSoy is becoming as common as FrankenCorn in the food supply.
I used to buy soy "milk" and some other products for a while, but that's before I knew it was GMO MonSatan crap.

Now I gotta avoid that like I do the frankencorn. Wouldn't be surprised if they're trying to create a "high fructose soy syrup" in their labs right now, which they will tell us is not only healthier than corn poison, but has protein too, so you gotta love it !!!11!!!!1
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Ignis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 12:01 PM
Response to Original message
14. Want less soy? Eat less meat.
The bulk of soy is used for livestock feed.
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AllieB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 12:07 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. Only true for factory-farmed meat, which, unfortunately, is the most available to people.
It's in everything-have you ever tried to buy chocolate without soy lecithin? it's nearly impossible.
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Ignis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 12:17 PM
Response to Reply #16
20. Pro-duct-ion.
Most soy is produced to feed America's "need" for cheap, factory-farmed meat.

So I say again to America: Want less soy grown? Eat less (factory-farmed) meat.
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Xicano Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 12:04 PM
Response to Original message
15. Everything that can be done with soy can be done with hemp seed.
And since hemp doesn't require no where near the chemicals soy does, and, doesn't tax the soil no where near what soy does. Hemp is better for the environment.




Peace,
Xicano
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 12:10 PM
Response to Reply #15
18. And I suppose you get the same yield from the same acreage?
I'm pro-hemp, but I don't think this is the case. Don't put much value in the OP article either.
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Xicano Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 12:38 PM
Response to Reply #18
22. Here's some info on the subject.
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 01:05 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. yes, great, but it doesn't address the point I raised
I don't need convincing on the virtues of hemp. I'm heartily in favor of its cultivation. But I question whether it's capable of delivering the same yield as other crops.

If you examine http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemp you'll notice that it's legally cultivated in Europe and China, and certainly it's freely available as a foodstuff in Europe. Despite this, however, it is still not considered a major food crop. Just because it's illegal in the US doesn't mean that if it were suddenly made legal it would displace major dietary staples like wheat and soy. If it did, it would be more intensively farmed in pursuit of profit.
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AllieB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 12:11 PM
Response to Original message
19. As Lynne said above, the mass production of soy has destroyed ecosystems
and that is true in the US as well as the Amazon. The canard that soy is being used to feed the world is crap.
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WhollyHeretic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-23-09 12:45 PM
Response to Original message
23. What a steaming pile of dishonest crap
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