SOY: REAL food or not? Soy milk, soy cheese, soy yoghurt, soy-milk formula, edamame, tofu, tempeh, veggie burgers, miso, soy sauce…it’s everywhere, but is it good for you? Does the end product bare any resemblance to the soya bean in its natural state? Or is it just another heavily-processed product, adulterated by human intervention and heavily marketed as a health-food?
For many vegetarians and vegans, soy may form the basis of their diet or for people trying to avoid dairy, soy products may fill the void left by dairy. Babies that cannot tolerate a cow’s milk formula may be fed a soy-milk formula. Just because a product is available or is derived from something that once was “natural” doesn’t mean that it’s full of the goodness that marketing gurus would have you believe. Sure, it is high in protein but it also contains potent compounds that may hinder the breakdown and absorption of that protein and cause gastric distress. Soy is generally loaded with phytates which can also block the uptake of essential minerals. There’s also research to suggest soy can have an oestrogenic-effect on the body which basically can wreak havoc with our hormones.
Should we really be feeding our babies and children this food?
If you are looking for the oestrogenic benefit of soy or a good quality vegetarian protein, then fermented-soy foods such as tempeh, miso or natto are the way to go. These are health-foods, lacking the inhibiting compounds, in a form that the body is better able to digest and utilise.
So, in my opinion, NO, non-fermented soy is not a REAL-food and YES, fermented-soy can contribute to a healthy diet for many people.