Megan Johnson McCullough — Soybeans produce soy which can be processed into a protein that can used in powder or in the form of milk. It comes from an Asian plant and is enjoyed by many in the form of tofu, miso, or protein powder. It is found on many nutrition labels as an ingredient. Soy has many benefits and uses including when taken by the mouth to help combat high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease. It is also used for type II diabetes and kidney disease. It is used for irritable bowel syndrome, Chron’s disease, weight loss, osteoporosis prevention, and arthritis. Women use soy to help combat the side effects of menopause. It can be used to help breast pain. Soy is an alternative to dairy and used by many as a milk substitute. It is enjoyed by many people who are lactose intolerant. Soy is also used to help with skin that has aged.
Soy is generally considered safe, but some research is pointing towards negative effects, especially long term. Although it is used to treat hormonal imbalances, research is being done to investigate the hormonal side effects associated with estrogen. This means that soy has been associated with cancers that are linked to hormones such as breast, uterine, and ovarian. Soy products may also interfere with the functioning of the thyroid. This is because soy contains isoflavones. Too much soy can cause the thyroid to stop working. This can be exasperated if a person is low in iodine. Some people are also allergic to soy. Persons who are allergic to eggs, fish, milk, tree nuts, or peanuts, may also be allergic to soy. Studies have linked consuming too much soy to cognitive impairment later in life. Having too much soy can cause gastrointestinal issues, migraines, and sleep problems.
Therefore, it appears as though some people greatly benefit from soy while other have adverse effects. The problem lies in the lack of research and wide range of associated pros and cons without factual proof. For many, soy is such an easy solution to a person who doesn’t eat meat and needs protein, to a person who can’t have dairy, and for someone who may not like the taste of regular milk.
We just don’t know what can happen…. long-term. Caution is always advised. We do know that soy contains phytoestrogens which can cause estrogen dominance in woman and testosterone imbalance in men. The controversy would be the exact amount for this to occur or the difference in reactions among persons. Luckily, soy is not an essential component of our diet. It can complement what we consume, but we can go without. Reading labels and ingredients is always advised, and soy may one be you chose to include or avoid.