Eating Vegan: The Soy Dilemma, Part One
[social_buttons] When you start cutting out meat and dairy, it’s easy to fall into what I call the Soy Trap. Before you know it, you’re eating soy with every meal! Soy milk in your cereal and coffee, soy cheese on your sandwich at lunch time, tofu at dinner. When you’re eating that much of anything, it’s time to step back and take a look.
That block of tofu and box of soy milk might seem like the answer to the protein question when it comes to vegan nutrition, but before you fix that soy latte it’s important to know a little bit about how soy interacts with our bodies and its environmental impacts.
Soy and Health
In large amounts, soy is not the healthy food it’s touted to be. However, it may not be the extreme health danger that some folks are reporting. The big concern with soy is the presence of isoflavones, which can mimic estrogen on our bodies.
A recent analysis from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) took a look at a large sample of clinical trials involving soy products. The trials were looking for effects from menopausal symptoms to cancer. Here’s what the AHRQ concluded:
In general, the rates of adverse events reported were greater in the soy treatment arms than in their respective control arms, but adverse events related to soy consumption were generally minor. Overall, soy products including isoflavones were well tolerated in the trials we examined.
They did caution that “the health effects of soy for many conditions that have been studied remain uncertain.”
Another issue with soy products is that they’re often highly processed. Soy-based faux meat and cheese products are often loaded with sodium and additives that are not so healthy on a regular basis.
In Part Two, we took a look at soy’s environmental impacts and a few ways to cut back on the soy in a vegan diet.
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by donsolo