Back in the day I was drinking at least a gallon of soy milk every day.
I needed the extra calories to fuel my super-heavy powerlifting workouts, and I thought soy would be a healthier choice.
Lots of people told me that soy is an inferior protein, can mess with your hormones, can create food allergies, blah blah blah.
One morning I was chugging soy milk straight out of the carton after a tough squat workout and my chest started hurting. I shrugged it off, figuring it was some sort of strain and would work itself out.
The next day my nipples were so sore it hurt to put on a shirt. And it just got worse. Every day it hurt more and more and there was starting to be some swelling.
Now, you don’t tell a bunch of hardcore powerlifters you think you’re growing breasts, so I couldn’t ask my training partners what they thought was going on. Luckily, I was doing an internship as a strength and conditioning coach for the US Ski team right after they got back from Torino.
I called one of their trainers and told him what was happening. He only asked me one question: “Do you eat a lot of soy?”
“Switch to goat milk and quit all soy foods and supplements. You’ll get better.”
I followed his advice and in a week the swelling was gone and in another few days the pain was gone too! Yes!
After this little adventure I found out people had been right all along. Soy is an inferior protein, can mess with your hormones, can create food allergies, blah blah blah.
For men and women alike, soy can really mess you up. In The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability by Lierre Keith, she talks first hand about her experiences with soy overdose. And she tells the story of a friend of hers so jacked up by soy that she has all but lost her short-term memory. (And for men, well, my story should scare you off of soy)
Here is the low-down on soy. This info comes from my own notes (Here are some references: Survey Says… Soy Is Bad News!), Primal Body-Primal Mind: Empower Your Total Health The Way Evolution Intended by Nora Gedgaudas, and www.westonaprice.org.
Soy has never been given the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status by the FDA. Yikes!
Soy contains hemagluttinins that cause your red blood cells to form clots.
Soy disrupts your thyroid and can cause obesity, dry skin, brittle hair, low blood pressure, slow pulse, depressed muscles, feeling cold all of the time, goiters, and generally slow down all of your body’s systems.
Despite what the commercials say, soy is NOT a complete protein. It is missing lysine, an essential amino acid.
There are high levels of phytic acid in soy. This keeps you from absorbing calcium, copper, magnesium, iron, and zinc. This acid isn’t neutralized by sprouting, soaking, and slow cooking. It also causes growth problems in kids. Boooo soy!
Soy interferes with protein digestion (trypsin inhibitors, if you want to google it). This may cause your pancreas to misfire and cause stunted growth of your pancreatic cells.
Soy disrupts your endocrine system and can cause infertility.
The phytoestrogens in soy damage your thyroid and will slow down your entire system. (Hypothyroidism makes it EXTREMELY difficult to lose any body fat!)
Vitamin B12, which keeps your brain functioning, is not absorbed when you eat soy. In fact, soy actually INCREASES your body’s need for B12!
Soy makes you need more Vitamin D, and you’re already not getting enough.
Processed soy protein is both toxic (lysinoalanine) and carcinogenic (nitrosamines)
During processing of soy Free Glutamic Acid is formed, which is a big-time neurotoxin.
Foods made with soy are high in ALUMINUM, which is toxic to your kidneys and nervous system.
Eating soy foods makes you more likely to have kidney stones.
If your baby drinks soy formula, it’s own body will be programmed to attack it’s thyroid for the rest of its life.
Babies fed soy infant formula have estradiol levels up to TWENTY-TWO THOUSAND TIMES higher than babies on milk formulas. This is like feeding your infant at least five birth control pills a day.
The estrogens in soy pass through the placenta and will cause SEVERE malformations and a loss of functional ability that will last a lifetime.
Soy messes up the testosterone of male infants resulting in inhibited male characteristics and sex organs.
Soy messes up leutinizing hormones which will jack up brain and reproductive tract development in both males and females.
50% of girl infants who are exposed to soy foods end up with a malformed reproductive tract.
Soy speeds the rate of female maturation. Girls enter puberty earlier than they should. One percent start getting breasts and pubic hair before the age of 3. 14.7% of Caucasian and 50% of African Americans by the age of 8. (They aren’t mentally ready for their body to start changing!)
Eating soy increases your risk for estrogen-dependent cancers. (Examples of estrogen-dependent cancers are breast cancer, colorectal cancer, endometrial cancer, and ovarian cancer)
More on cancer: The National Center for Toxicological Research says that soy consumption is a very significant risk factor for breast cancer.
Cancer again: Women using soy protein supplements have increased epithelial hyperplasia – a precursor of… Cancer!
Consumption of soy isoflavones (what the soy marketers tell us are the best part of soy!) causes breast cells to enter into malignant cycles.
Soy will mess up your menstrual cycle.
Soy causes decreased testosterone levels and suppressed libido.
Soy is decidedly linked to Alzheimer’s in men.
And guess what? Soy can actually cause a man to start growing breasts! Seriously.
I expect a few jokes, but that is what was starting to happen when I was on my soy diet. I’m scared to think of what would have happened if the rest of my diet and exercise wasn’t on check.
The Bottom Line:
No matter what I say or do, soy is going to keep on being pimped as a super-healthy food and protein source.
Is is going to be added to many foods and supplements.
The only thing you can do is avoid it. You should be reading food labels anyway, so just make sure you don’t see the word SOY anywhere in the ingredients.