Medical advice: Is soy really good for you?

 Soy products are now widely available in a range of health food items. Soy milk is promoted as a healthy option and is easily found in a variety of flavours. Soy based baby foods and formulas are becoming more common. 

Controversies around soy products

  • It has been argued that all soy products contain a quantity of toxic chemical compounds called anti nutrients which are dangerous to both humans and animals as the absorption of other nourishing compounds is interfered by these anti-nutrients. This may lead to a shortage of necessary nutrients in the body. 
  • Soy toxins can also negatively affect organs, hindering enzyme action and causing cell damage. 
  • Phytic acid, a protease inhibitor found in soy can delay the body from processing proteins in the diet. This leaves the body malnourished and lacking in protein.


  • Animal studies, which tested soy toxics effects on rats, revealed that the rats experienced suppressed immune systems and became more susceptible to cancer of the pancreas and other pancreatic problems. However these results cannot be assumed as applicable to humans as no human testing has been conducted so far.


The Effects of Soy on Children

Infants and children are most susceptible to environmental and dietary issues. Manganese is absorbed by soy plants from the soil they are grown in. While a limited amount of manganese is vital for nutrition, extreme quantities in the body are associated with neurological damage. This is important information since soy baby formulas have nearly two hundred times manganese as compared to manganese content in breast milk.

Soy based formulas also have estrogen mimicing, plant based hormones called phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens have been connected to pre-adolescent female sexual development including breast growth and pubic hair. The combination of phytoestrogens and hormones in food and the environment can promote premature development in girls as young as eight. 

Baby boys can also be affected by phytoestrogens. Oestrogen interferes with normal testosterone development. Within the first three months of a baby boy’s life their bodies produce testosterone essential for the development of male characteristics. If testosterone production is interfered during this period, baby boys may not develop properly. 

It has been stated that one day’s worth of soy based infant formulas provides roughly the same amount of female hormones found in five birth control pills. As much as 22,000 times more oestrogen compounds have been noted in the bodies of soy formula fed babies than those who consume breast milk or traditional formulas. 

Although soy may seem like a healthy option, you may want to reconsider excessive use of soy in your diet.

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