photo credit: Nessa Land
It is a modern fable, spun by the soy industry that soy is good for us, as many hidden dangers lurk in this newfangled food…thanks to the suggestion to a new reader of my blog, I am reprinting this article for you.
SOY- The Abominable Bean
To see, read and hear about it in most mainstream and ‘alternative living’ media you’d think that the ubiquitous soy bean and its derivatives are the most versatile, natural, heart-friendly, health-improving, fat-preventing, growth-promoting and generally lovable foods ever grown on our good earth.
A simple, easily-cultivated bean which has been part of our diet since the dawn of civilization, promising health and vitality to the lactose-intolerant, the new-born, the aged, the menopausal, the frail, the athletic, the health conscious and just about everyone else as well.
It’s inexpensive, available everywhere, on its own or as a vital ingredient in thousands of other food products, such as bread, cakes, confectionery, baby formula, milk and meat substitutes, breakfast cereal, sauces, snack foods, pasta; it forms the basis of non-stick cooking sprays. It is widely used in stock feeds and is in most pet foods. Doctors, farmers, nutritionists, athletes, respected companies, government authorities – all make a point of telling us how safe and health-giving this wonder-food is. It is so good and harmless, they tell us, that it’s often not even listed as an ingredient in many processed foods.
Around the world, hundreds of millions of acres are devoted to its cultivation, providing a secure cash crop for millions of farmers who cheerfully pay a levy to the developers of their genetically-modified strains to help Monsanto Chemical Company and other huge companies spread the gospel that Soy is Good For You.
Too bad that for decades these same developers and corporations have known of and deliberately suppressed the evidence that prolonged ingestion of soy causes cancer and countless other life-threatening illnesses, destroys bone, creates havoc with the hormonal systems of humans and animals alike, represses the sex drive and, and even if eliminated from our diets overnight, is so entrenched in the food chain and the bodies of everyone who has ever ingested it, that its adverse effects would still plague the health of generations yet unborn.
The truth behind the blatantly commercial integration of the Abominable Bean into the western diet is a disturbing tale of fraud, corporate irresponsibility, greed, bad science, public and media manipulation, corruption, intimidation, political opportunism, suppression, legal maneuvering, regulatory inaction and governmental incompetence which makes the tobacco companies look like Good Guys.
Not only is this life-endangering product allowed to be cultivated, manufactured and sold, but in this case its producers and pushers have so successfully created their own mythology around it that government regulators and so called health watchdogs are either not doing their homework or buckling under corporate pressure. They are giving soy pushers virtual carte blanche to continue to misinform, confuse and poison not only those who are suckered into consuming their noxious products, but also everyone who is unknowingly obliged to partake of this toxic time bomb through its placement in all manner of basic foodstuffs and in the feed of animals and poultry destined for human consumption. Passive smoking is one thing; forced feeding quite another.
People often tell me I’ve got it all wrong and send me reprints of magazine articles quoting ‘solid scientific evidence’ which ‘proves’ how wonderful and safe soy is for everyone, or assure me that “Sanitarium wouldn’t sell it if it wasn’t OK.” It doesn’t seem to have occurred to them, or maybe they don’t care, that almost all this ‘evidence’ and the ‘research’ on which it is based has been published, and usually funded by, the very same corporations who are producing and selling the stuff. Or that they are perpetuating the ‘everybody knows’ urban myths so helpfully placed in appealing editorial features liberally scattered through the pages of mainstream media and regrettably, repeated in many health-oriented and alternative lifestyle publication that should know better.
Far more distressing, and never mentioned in the producers’ “solid scientific evidence” are the tales of I hear, almost daily, from parents whose baby daughters have commenced menstruation, developed pubic hair, underarm odor and breasts from as young as four and five years of age. Or whose teenage sons are too embarrassed to shower with their mates because they have grown breasts of female proportions or because their genitalia haven’t developed.
Following my appearance on the Australian Channel 7’s Sunrise breakfast program in August 2002, our office was flooded with phone calls and e-mails backing my warnings on the dangers of soy. The most upsetting were from mothers whose children suffer from the usual soy symptoms, and by the far the worst was the testimony of a shocked mother who described her son’s tragic childhood. She had drunk copious amounts of soy milk during pregnancy – unknowingly poisoning her son with a female hormone. Then, because the oestrogen had damaged her reproductive system, she was unable to breastfeed and her baby received more oestrogen from the soy baby formula her doctor told her to use. Her son’s genitalia did not develop, but his breasts did and he refused to go to school until he had had a double mastectomy. Unaware of the cause of their health problems, the family continued drinking soy milk and now, at 21, her son needs another double mastectomy, but they can’t afford it.
In simple terms, though obviously not simple enough for some in the medical profession, feeding an infant soy formula is the equivalent of giving it five birth control pills a day.
If you want to persuade your health professional, point him or her to this website:
http://westonaprice.org/soy/index.htmlThe Swiss Health Service puts it this way: “100gr of soy protein has the oestrogenic equivalent of one contraceptive pill”, and there are numerous other studies published since the early 1960s which confirm this undeniable fact. Many scientists and medical professionals argue that the continued use of soy in baby formula is a form of genocide, since these effects have been known and published with the scientific community for decades. The finely tuned endocrine system depends upon hormones in concentrations as tiny as one trillionth of a gram to influence the womb environment, and the money-hungry soy propagandists urge women to destroy this delicate environment with oestrogen-laden soy.
“I didn’t know”
Frequently, as in the case cited above, drinking soy milk during pregnancy can cause a failure to produce breast milk, which then leads to feeding the baby soy formula. It is tragic that so many of the most distressing cases of soy damage that I have heard personally are those of women who have had precisely that experience. Often these women cannot restrain their tears when describing the dreadful health problems their children suffer. They keep repeating to me, “I didn’t know, I just didn’t know; the doctor told me to drink it for my bones and feed baby the soy formula.”
In 1997 the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Nutrition reported, “Aluminum in breast milk is 4 to 65ng/mL. Soy-based formulas contain 600 to 1300ng/ML.”
Similarly, a recent study at the University of California-Irvine led by Francis Crinella, professor of Pediatrics, pointed to the increased risk of significant behavioral problems such as ADHD being triggered by high concentrations of manganese in soy formula. According to Crinella, “Soy Milk formula contains about 80 times the levels of manganese found in breast milk, posing the risk that infants could receive too much manganese in the first weeks of life.”
Apart from the ravaging of delicate hormonal systems, serious gastrointestinal disturbances suffered by babies on soy formula are now commonplace.
The multinational Nestle corporation is a major soy advertiser; you may remember them as the company which brought infant formula to third world countries, discouraging breast feeding and killing, according the World Health Organization, 1.5 million babies each year. Well they’re still at it, shamelessly flogging their soy milk formulas such as Alsoy in spite of all the evidence that it is deadly. Little wonder, really, when one considers the size of the market for infant formula.
The Washington Times investigative magazine, Insight on the News (June 26, 2001), quoted an independent expert’s estimate that soy-based formulas account for about $750 million of the annual $3 billion sales revenue for all formulas.
Surely risks such as those mentioned above should have been sufficient for the use of this killer bean to be outlawed years ago, at least in baby formula? And even if regulators are not prepared to act, despite all the well-known and easily accessible compelling evidence, how can it be that physicians are still prescribing soy formula? Only the UK government, so far, has begun to take seriously the warnings of independent scientists and is considering a ban on the sale of soy-based infant formulas.
Aluminum is one of the most prevalent minerals in soil, but it doesn’t affect most crops. The Soy plant, however, has an affinity for aluminum, which it extracts from the soil and concentrates in the beans. This contamination is exacerbated when the beans are dumped in aluminum holding tanks and subjected to an acid wash during process. Inevitably, traces of aluminum from both sources are absorbed into the body through the consumption of soy.
Soy milk contains 100 times more aluminum than untreated cow’s milk. And, while on the subject of so-called soy milk, have you ever seen a soy cow? You cannot milk a soy bean; in order to obtain that pure-looking, inviting steams of white liquid pictured so appealing in the ads, many processes are needed. It is necessary to grind the beans at high temperature, and then extract the remaining oils with dangerous solvents, some of which remain in the meal. The meal is mixed with an alkaline solution and sugars, in a separation process designed to remove fibre. Then it is precipitated and separated, using an acid wash. At each stage of processing a tiny amount of poison remains within the soy. Government regulators say it is so small an amount that it doesn’t count. I wonder who told them that? And why don’t they take notice of the scientists who say it does count, due to its accumulation in the body over long periods of soy ingestion? Are you really happy to accept the manufacturer’s assurance that it’s safe to eat a tiny amount of poison each day, perhaps several times a day, until you have a serious health problem?
During my research, I came across twelve chemicals that are added after these processes, most of them unpronounceable and the majority known to be dangerous, if not deadly. I won’t bore you with the names but, trust me, you wouldn’t want them anywhere near you, much less in your body.
Unlike the naturally occurring variety found in free-range eggs, nuts, seeds and avocados, this by-product is always rancid, and is extracted from the sludge left after the oil is removed from the beans. It contains high levels of solvents and pesticides. And guess what? Rather than consign it to the toxic waste dump where it belongs, the manufacturers have instead created another hugely-profitable market out of it as a ‘healthy’ food additive. Among its delightful qualities is the ability to induce severe joint pains (often mistaken for arthritis), and serious gout.
The fact is that the soy bean contains numerous phytoestrogens; a descriptive name for plant chemicals having oestrogenic effects. They occur in nature to help regulate animal breeding cycles and, in synthetic form, are used in farming for the same purpose. The ubiquitous birth control pill is, of course, the human synthetic version. At high dosage or over long periods phytoestrogens become anit-oestrogenic. Much higher doses are in chemotherapy to kill cancer cells.
The class of chemical compounds called phytoestrogens contains dozens of sub-classes, such as coumestans, lignans and sterols, each of which contains further sub-classes. Soy contains many isoflavones, including the sub-classes ernistein, coumestrol and daidzein.
Scientists have known for years the isoflavones in soy products can depress thyroid. As far back as the 1950s phytoestrogens were being linked to increased cases of cancer, infertility, leukaemia and endocrine disruption.
Charlotte Gerson, of the Gerson Cancer Clinic in the USA, has published detailed research (Gerson Clinic: Cancer Research, June 1, 2001 – 61 (11) : 4325-8) proving that the phytoestrogen genistein is more carcinogenic then DES (diethylstilbestrol), a synthetic oestrogen drug that was given to millions of pregnant women primarily from 1928-1971. Few would be unaware of the death and misery that particular drug inflicted on countless women and their daughters.
Ms Gerson also wrote the following in the Gerson Healing newsletter: “Soybeans contain hemaglutinin, a clot-promoting substance that causes red blood cells to clump together. These clustered blood cells are unable to properly absorb oxygen for distribution to the body’s tissues, which can damage the heart.” In his classic book, ‘A Cancer Therapy – Results of 50 Cases’, Charlotte’s late father, Max Gerson, MD, put soy and soy products on the forbidden list of foods for Gerson Therapy patients.
The US Department of Energy Health Risk Laboratory has published research showing that isoflavones in soy act in the same way as the outlawed insecticide DDT to cause breast cancer cells to multiply. In 1988 a Taiwanese university team led by Dr Theodore Kay remarked that for more than half a century soy has been known to cause thyroid enlargement, especially in women and children.
Dr Mike Fitzpatrick, a respected toxicologist who is at the forefront of the new Zealand campaign against soy, wrote a paper in 1998 citing much of the published work on the dangers of soy isoflavones, which he submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This paper was also published in the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation Journal under the title Isoflavones: Panacea or Poison? And subsequently as Soy Formulas and the Effect on the Thyroid in The New Zealand Medical Journal (February 2000). It is long, detailed, and frightening.
Here are just some of the things he has to say: “The toxicity of isoflavones to animals first raised the awareness of the scientific community to the fact that soy isoflavones are endocrine disruptors … There have been profound negative endocrine effects in all animal species studied to date.”
In plainspeak, this means that your glandular system can be damaged by soy, and if your glands don’t function properly, your health will suffer drastically. There is more: “Soy isoflavone increase the risk of breast cancer Soy isoflavone disrupts the menstrual cycle during, and for up to three months after, administration … Dietary concentration of genistein may stimulate breast cells to enter the cell cycle . . Concern was expressed that women fed soy protein isolate have an increased incidence of epithelial hyperplasia.”
With these numerous other credible studies warning women of the adverse effects of prolonged consumption of soy, how, in all conscience, can Australian household brands like Herron, Novogen and those self-proclaimed icons of good health, Blackmores and Sanitarium, continue to promote the use of soy and isoflavones extracted from soy as ‘tonics’ for middle-aged women in menopause? Or health professionals endorse claims that soy is a safe, natural alternative to HRT? What they are pushing is neither safe, nor natural and they should be ashamed for suggesting that it is either.
Phytic acid totally destroys the credibility of the manufacturers’ claims that soy products are a good source of calcium and help prevent osteoporasis. Because soy contains more phytic acid than any other grain or pulse, and because phytic acid impairs absorption of all minerals especially calcium, soy actually strips your body of calcium. The enzyme inhibitors in soybeans block trypsin and other enzymes essential for good health. This can produce serious gastric distress, reduced protein digestion, and cause chronic deficiencies in essential amino acids.
Bringing the covert actions of the soy industry into the public arena has been an undertaking of truly David and Goliath proportions. The public relations machine extolling the virtues of soy has been global and relentless. It has to be – there are at least 100 million acres of soy under cultivation in the United Stares alone, much of it genetically engineered.
In Australia it is estimated that about 50,000 acres are being cultivated. Displaying the kind of ingenious duplicity which even Machiavelli would surely applaud, and conscious of the public unease regarding genetically modified foods and the trend towards organically grown produce, Monsanto Corporation has 45 million acres of Genetically modified soybeans growing in the United States. American law permits these crops to be mixed with a small amount of organic soybeans, and the resultant combination may then be labeled organic! And you still think the government wouldn’t let them lie to you?
With these levels of production at stake a market must be found, increased and maintained. To this end, American soya bean farmers contribute approximately US$80 million per year to finance what is one of the most effective propaganda campaigns ever known to the Western world. The resultant high-powered publicity blitz ensures that ‘news’ stories about soy’s benefits are everywhere, reinforced by multi-million dollar advertising campaigns.
Thumb through any popular women’s magazine, read the newspaper, watch the television commercials and count, for example, those for soy drinks alone. Soy producers, processors and manufacturers spend billions of dollars advertising the ‘goodness of their products.
Consider the words of Dr Raymond Peat, the noted endocrine physiologist at the University of Oregon who was one of the first to blow the whistle on the dangers of HRT, years before it finally made headlines:
“There is a distinct herd instinct among people who ‘work in science’ which makes it easy to believe whatever sounds plausible, if a lot of other people are saying it is true. Sometimes powerful economic interests help people to change their beliefs. For example, two of the biggest industries in the word, the estrogen industry and the soy bean industry, spend vast amounts of money helping people to believe certain plausible-sounding things that help them sell their products.”
We could add to that the tendency for people to believe what they want to believe, especially when it’s comforting, reassuring and comes from ‘someone who knows’.
The Asian Myth
We’ve all read glowing press releases on soy; listened to what health professionals have told us; and surely there’s no question about the ‘fact’ that Asian women do so well on soy food and have few problems with menopause or osteoporosis.
These arguments are fallacious and so dependent on what the world’s most effective commercial publicity machine would have us believe that it’s hard to know where to begin. But here goes:
Soy does not comprise a major part of the Japanese, or any other Asian diet. And it is likely that little of the domestically produced soy is grown from the genetically modified cultivar which dominates the Western market.
Except in poverty and during times of famine, Asians consume soy in tiny amounts – 7 to 8 grams per day – and most of this has been fermented for from 3 to 5 years to remove the toxins. The fermentation process also reduces the growth depressants in all soy products, but does not remove them entirely. The Japanese eat a small amount of tofu and miso as part of mineral-rich broth, followed by meat or fish, which offsets some of the dangers.
Dr Raymond Peat and others have show that tofu (a soy derivative) consumption is associated with dementia. In a major US study, eight thousand Japanese-American men from Hawaii were assessed for mid-life tofu consumption and its relation to brain function and structural changes in later life.
Researchers performed radiologic brain neuro-imagining, extensive cognitive function studies, and post mortem follow-ups. Among the subjects of the study, an increased level of tofu consumption was found to associated with indications of brain atrophy and cognitive impairment in later life. They even found, at autopsy, swelling of the brain cavities and a decrease in bran weight among heavy tofu eaters. This study was reported in The Journal of American college of Nutrition, April 2000,
Whilst on the subject of soy consumption in Asian countries, one real and bitter truth that does not appear in the producers’ handouts is that an abnormally high incidence of cretinism in parts of China where soy is widely consumed because the people are too poor to get other forms of protein, has been linked to brain damage caused by the iodine-depleting effect of soy-based goitrogens on the thyroid.
New Zealand toxicologist Dr Mike Fitzpatrick says, “An epidemiological study in China has shown that high soy intake is not protective against breast cancer. There have been several similar studies, which have refuted the theory that soy helps prevent breast cancer.”
Furthermore, Asians, unlike Westerners, do not guzzle soy protein isolate as a milk substitute. Milk is not a part of their culture.
So how do these ‘myths’ originate? In recent years, several studies have been published regarding the soybean’s effect on human health. While soy-funded studies boast that Asian women suffer far fewer cases of breast cancer than do American women, they neglect to point out that these Asian women eat a diet that is dramatically different from that of their Western counterpart. The standard Asian diet consist of more natural products, greater amounts of vegetables and more fish. Their diets are also lower in chemicals and toxins, as they eat far fewer processed foods. It is likely these studies are influenced by the fact that cancer rates rise among Asian people who move to the US and adopt American diets. Ignoring the remarkable diet and lifestyle changes, to assume only that reduced levels of soy in these American-Asian diets is a primary factor in greater cancer rates, is bad science.
As for the osteoporosis/menopause protection myth, it is absurd to infer that soy protects Asian women. Their habits and diets, as mentioned above containing little junk food, are totally different from hose of Westerners. Further, they rarely smoke or drink alcohol, and have not replaced vitamin D-containing butter with the damaging soy oil margarine so popular with misguided Westerners.
Other popular arguments in support of soy state that fermented soy products like tempeh or natto contain high levels of vitamin B12. This is actually an inactive B12 analog, not utilized as a vitamin in the human body. Some researchers speculate this analog may actually serve to block the body’s B12 absorption.
It has also been found that allergic reactions to soybeans are far more common than to all other legumes. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics admits that early exposure to soy through commercial infant formulas may be a leading cause of soy allergies among older children and adults.
Truth Will Out
The UK government is considering restricting the sale of the soy-based infant formula, and the US congress is now taking seriously a plethora of complaints and legal actions being instituted against Monsanto on behalf of millions of Americans whose lives have been ruined through the corporate greed of this legalized drug pusher. This is largely due to the efforts of the Weston A Price Foundation, a Washington public interest charitable organization which has conducted an unrelenting political lobbying campaign in Congress committees.
The words of one former soy user are well worth considering. Here are some extracts from a letter sent by Us hospital dietician Joyce Gross, MA, RD, LD/N to her own patients and friends, which she has kindly allowed me to publish below.
“Some of you may remember that last year I was touting soy along with the rest of the medical profession regarding its beneficial effects. I was consuming soy for its phytoestrogen effect of alleviate menopausal symptoms. I was duped like so many other non-suspecting consumers.
“I have developed Hashimoto’s Disease or acute Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis which is an acute autoimmune disease that effects the thyroid gland. (In basic terms this means that my thyroid is attacking itself and I can no longer produce thyroid hormone). My initial symptoms included things like severe joint pain especially in my hands, “trigger” fingers, carpal tunnel syndrome, excessive weight gain (I gained about 25 lbs. In 3-4 weeks . . .”
After describing how her self-diagnosis and research established the cause and condition that physicians she consulted had at first failed to recognise, Joyce advised her friends:
“. . . I have since found out that Hashi’s can take 8 years to diagnose (we don’t build up the antibodies overnight to it) . . .
“The soybean industry is a multi-billion dollar industry in this country so they are trying to keep this quiet, even though there have been doctors in the FDA who have written position papers regarding the dangers of soy”.
“With so many new products coming out containing soy, the continued ‘touting’ of it as a major benefit, more and more women are going to become hypothyroid. I am currently working as a nutrition expert in treating depression, bi-polar disorder and substance abuse problems. I can’t tell you how many of the women who are admitted for depression are also hypothyroid to the point now that the medical doctor automatically first checks their TSH before the psychiastrists even start prescribing their meds. If I hadn’t been so adamant about taking over my own health issues last August, I could have very easily wound up being a patient in my own hospital.”
The Sanitarium Health food Company a commercial, tax-free offshoot of the SDA church makes a wide range of products containing soy all of which are claimed by Sanitarium to proved health benefits.
In 1998 the NZ Commerce Commission launched a prosecution against Sanitarium for publishing over 150 misleading advertisements of its So Good soy milk, in which various unsubstantiated health-related claims were made. The NZCC action was settled out of court after Sanitarium signed a consent decree and entered a Deed of Trust promising not to repeat the claims.
Soy Protein Isolate (SPI)
The stuff is poisonous! If you doubt that it is possible for the “authorities” to allow such a substance to be mixed in almost every processed food, read THE WHOLE SOY STORY, in which Dr. Daniel explains that Soy Protein Isolate contains “… some 38 petroleum compounds including, but not limited to: butyl, methyl and ethyl esters of fatty acids; phenols, diphenyls and phenyl esters; abietic acid derivatives, diehydroabietinal, hexanal and 2-butyl-2octenal aldehydes, dehydroabietic acid methyl ester; dehydroabietene and abietatriene”.
Dr Daniel exposes the way SPI increases the requirements for vitamins E, K, D and B12 and details the way carcinogenic nitrosamines and lysinoalanines are created during processing, Not surprisingly, severe mineral deficiencies appear in test animals fed SPI.
Yet, if you buy processed food, you will not be able to avoid SPI and it will not necessarily appear on the label. This deadly “food” belongs in the toxic waste dump, but the multi-nationals are disposing of it in YOU, YOUR FAMILY AND IN BABY FORMULAS. I call this genocide.
All the foregoing assertions, and more, are well-documented, and have been available for many years, with new evidence becoming available almost every day. Detailed references for all the papers and extracts on which I have drawn from this chapter are too numerous to be included here, but many of them can be found in a special section on my website, which contains the equivalent of 16 A4 pages of references (almost the length of this chapter) to scientific studies attesting to the dangers of soy, covering a 50 year period to date.
About the Author…
Elaine Hollingsworth, author of “Take Control of Your Health and Escape the Sickness Industry” and doctorsaredangerous.com, has been campaigning to expose the dangers and failings of the so-called health industry and the manipulation and dishonesty of the food and drug manufacturers for more than 50 years.