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Soy And weight Loss

Because I recommend eliminating cow’s milk from the diet, most people ask me how to
replace it. Most often, they ask about soy milk.

Unfortunately, many people have been led to believe that soy and soy products are wonderfoods,
but I believe that soy milk is much worse than conventional cow’s milk. A lot of the
“health” claims made by the soy industry are simply marketing tactics to make us spend money
on soy products. The little soybean is big business; retail sales increased from $0.852 billion to
$3.2 billion from 1992 to 2002. To accomplish this feat, the soy industry has had to convince a
lot of people that soy is good and suppress a lot of evidence to the contrary. This truth has come
to anger the many vegetarians who have long used soy as a meat replacement and now suffer
from a long list of reproductive difficulties or hypothyroidism (Daniel 2005).
In this chapter, I explain why to avoid soy.


The soybean is an oil-rich Asian legume (bean) that grows in fuzzy green pods. Traditionally,
soybean plants were grown in Asia as green manure—a crop to be plowed under to enrich
the soil between crop plantings. The Chinese found that soy consumption led to digestive discomfort,
bloating, and gas. Not until they came up with fermentation methods did soy begin to
be used as a food for humans.

Fermented soy products such as miso, tempeh, natto, shoyu (soy sauce), and tamari are
fine to eat occasionally; fermentation deactivates some of the anti-nutrients in soy that cause
digestive distress and mineral loss in bones. However, the majority of soy products sold in the
United States are unfermented, so the naturally occurring toxins are intact. Unfermented soy
products also are processed in a way that makes their proteins impure and increases the amount
of carcinogens (Daniel 2005, 156).

Some people argue that Asians have been eating soy for thousands of years and have an
incidence of cancer far lower than Americans, and small amounts of natural fermented soy in
the average Asian diet (9.3–36 grams [2–4 teaspoons] of soy per day as a condiment) may well
have a protective effect. Unfortunately, Americans have taken this information and applied it
incorrectly to highly processed, unfermented, low-quality soy products like tofu (a single cup of
which weighs 252 grams). Many Americans eat several cups of soy products daily.


In the West, the soybean has been used mostly as soybean oil, which is found in most
products labeled as vegetable oil, margarine, or shortening. The soy protein left over from soy
oil extraction originally was fed exclusively to animals—poultry and, more recently, farmed fish.

The problem is that animals can consume only so much soy before developing serious reproductive
and other health problems. So, the soy industry started marketing these by-products of
soybean oil production to people.

A product of the industrial revolution, soy gave food technologists an opportunity to
develop cheap meat substitutes. The most unhealthy modern soyfood products are manufactured
using high-tech processes. They include ready-made foods such as soy sausages, soy burgers,
chicken-like soy patties, packaged soy milk, protein powders, energy bars, veggie burgers,
low-carbohydrate pastas, and chilis as well as countless foods containing soy protein isolate, soy
protein concentrate, and texturized vegetable protein.

Soy Isoflavones

Hormonal Effects

Just about all soy products on the market contain the phytoestrogens (plant-derived estrogens)
known as isoflavones (Daniel 2005, 11 and 336). Soy isoflavones have been shown to
decrease the testosterone levels of rats, monkeys, and other animals, including humans.

In adults, soy consumption may disrupt normal hormone levels, affecting the reproductive
system in women (resulting in heavier menstrual flow, increased cramping, and infertility)
and decreasing testosterone levels in men (which decreases libido and lowers sperm count). In
fact, a Japanese old wives’ tale says that women punish straying husbands by feeding them a lot
of tofu!

The effects of soy are no laughing matter, especially when it comes to the health and
development of infants fed soy formula. Infants are extremely susceptible to the effects of soy
because formula constitutes most if not all of their diets. Figures from the Swiss Federal Health
Service indicate that, every day, an infant fed soy formula receives an amount of estrogen equivalent
to that found in three to five birth control pills (Daniel 2005, 331)! That’s a lot of estrogen
for anyone, but this amount is especially dangerous for infants whose development requires the
right hormones in the right place at the right time. In boys, the onset of puberty may be delayed,
and pediatricians are increasingly reporting cases of emasculated boys who reach puberty with
breasts and tiny penises (Daniel 2005, 370). In girls, the onset of puberty may be accelerated, and
reproductive problems may occur in adulthood.

Thyroid Effects

Soy isoflavones damage more than the reproductive system in adults and children. People
who consume high amounts of soy protein each day (e.g., in soy milk and in high-protein energy
bars, which contain soy isolates—the most concentrated source of soy, still containing its
isoflavones and phytoestrogens) often complain of fatigue, low energy, depression, hair loss,
poor skin, weight gain, and diminished sex drive—all symptoms of low thyroid function (Daniel
2005, 329). When tested for hypothyroidism, such people almost always test positive.

Action Steps

• Discard everything in your cupboards that contains soy protein isolate, soy protein
concentrate, texturized vegetable protein, or soy (or soybean) oil. Possible products include
many packaged energy bars, crackers, veggie burgers, and vegetarian look-alike

• If you have been consuming soy for a long time, get your thyroid function checked. If
you suffer from hypothyroidism, then eliminating soy from your diet may have a positive
effect on your condition.