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Soy. Good or bad?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Since April is National Soy Month, I thought it was a good time to open a discussion about it. My two sisters and my mother are both lactose intolerant and have been 'on soy' for about 2 years. They have taken some flak during this time for consuming a supposedly unhealthy product. What do you think?
Eric V.
Real. Good. Living.
Eric V.
Real. Good. Living.
post #2 of 10
Could you please be more specific for those who read this thread who don't know much about soy?
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Good point MudBug.

To summarize, people who are lactose intolerant have used soy milk (a product of the soy bean) as a substitute. There has been a lot of debate about soy in the past. 10 years ago there wasn't a market for it but today it is a huge industry. It is thought by some to be a marketing gimic, by others to be a health risk (because of Genetic Modification, GMO), and still others use it every day.

Here are some great references for soy:


Hope this helps!
Eric V.
Real. Good. Living.
Eric V.
Real. Good. Living.
post #4 of 10
Asians have been consuming soy in all its many forms for centuries with no apparent ill effect. I won't stop eating it.

post #5 of 10
Milk and Soy are two of the top food allergens. I can eat milk products but soy has a real bad effect on me. Skin breaks out, itchy, headachy...

I quit eating anything with soy, except occasionally soy sauce, years ago.

post #6 of 10
It depends on the person, and the selection of product as to whether soy products are a boon or a hazard.

Most commercially available soy products are organic and contain no GMOs, except for what you might purchase in an asian supermarket (not guaranteed organic, pesticide-free and GMO-free).

Some people are allergic to soy like the poster above. However, some survivors of cancer must not eat soy of any kind because it contains phyto-estrogens which can trigger tumor formations in fatty tissues. My sister and good friend happen to be breast cancer survivors who cannot eat soy.

On the other hand, soy products like tofu, tempeh, soy milk and such (but not soy sauce) contain isoflavones which have shown to be beneficial in avoiding heart disease and stroke.

I have lactose tolerance problems, so I avoid dairy, but hate soy milk in my coffee. I use almond or hazelnut milk instead-it's delicious and very creamy with comparable fat and carbohydrate values to soy or regular low-fat milk.

It's hard to know what to eat or avoid sometimes, so just eat lots of different stuff until one proves that it doesn't like you.


Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!



Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your post foodnfoto. I didn't realize that most soy products are guaranteed GMO-free. That's good to know as this has been the strongest refutation to soy at this point. I personally believe that if a person is going to jump on the GMO bandwagon, they should stay away from bread too (wheat). :)
Eric V.
Real. Good. Living.
Eric V.
Real. Good. Living.
post #8 of 10
I don't like to call it something as frivolous as "bandwagon". It's far from just bread. Between 1997 and 1999, genetically modified ingredients suddenly appeared in 2/3rds of all US processed foods so you've been consuming it for almost a decade if you've been going to the grocery store to get your food. Now it's almost 10 years later... and this isn't even addressing topical treatments to the plants or chemical additives to food products. If it increases the shelf life of the product, it decreases your shelf life.

The only way to know for sure what you're eating is not genetically modified is to grow it yourself - literally.

Genetically modified foods are a serious health and environmental concern. And it's not just wheat, wheat still has a chance: Stop Genetically Modified Wheat

It's corn that is the worst, (look up Starlink Corn) and corn is in everything from candy to soda pop to cookies - just look for high fructose corn syrup. It's a huge topic with serious issues. In fact, it may be easier to ask ... what isn't genetically modified? GMO plants were incorporated and grown while the public had little to no knowledge of it's existence or effects on the human body or environment. Farmers were threatened into submission, forced to grow them. Now they are here to stay because you couldn't get rid of the plants if you wanted to and they are effecting native plants and organic farms, see Percy Schmeiser. Environmental issues are enormous and, as I see it, as serious as the inevitable pandemic and global warming. None of which should be taken lightly and all of which could affect us in our lifetime.

There is non-genetically modified wheat you can buy as well. What's good is that consumers are slowly becoming educated. What's bad is that it is not well regulated, largely because places like Monsanto fund our government so the government takes care of them.

When five companies in the world own and control 90% of the world's wheat production and most of those companies if not all are pharmaceutical companies, it's something to seriously worry about. If you're noticing more people with allergies, birth defects, weight issues, cancers, etc... it's no doubt that what we eat directly affects our health. Set your Tivo or DVR's to record those shows that discuss genetically modified or GMO topics, learn everything you can so you can make an informed decision for yourself, such as the Future of Food. Some of these you may be able to track down online.

As for soy beans, look for Non-GMO edamame and soybean products and eat them as you would anything else, in moderation. Eating soybeans is still healthier than eating Hershey's chocolate bars, Oreos, Saltines, rainbow colored cereals. Your sisters may be taking "flak" but those giving the flak are not ingesting the soy. It's always easier to criticize someone else. Your sisters have a right to try and make the best decision for themselves and their own bodies.

Too much of anything can kill you, even water Hyponatremia, and then there's the effect of humans using the water.

Fun, eh?
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
GMO is largely blown out of proportion. Countries like China refuse to import GMO products. Since 90% of Canada's wheat is exported do you truly believe that most of it is GMO?

GMO and Global Warming are examples of stories being made into news. Though I won't dispute that both are issues that require attention, I believe they've both been inflated.

Aim the arrows and fire back. :)
Eric V.
Real. Good. Living.
Eric V.
Real. Good. Living.
post #10 of 10
GMO and Global Warming issues were issues 10 years ago and more. You just happen to be seeing it in the media now because people are finally realizing just how serious these issues are. They weren't any less serious 10 years ago in 1996 just because you didn't notice them in the media. And they aren't going to be any less serious 10 years from now in 2016. Think of 50 people you know in life. How many of them go out of their way to do their part in reducing global warming?

This isn't about "firing" anything. This is about education, ignorance, withholding information, political control, global monopoly dominance, and choice.

It's not just China that refuses to import GMO products. It's Algeria, Australia and New Zealand, Brazil, Czech Republic, All 15 countries of the European Union, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Norway, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Taiwan, and that's not all.

GM products pose a threat to the economies of countries.

You seem to be focusing on wheat. I never said anything was mostly GMO. I actually said that wheat is one category that still actually has a chance - unlike corn. Please at least read about Starlink.

I would have written the same things five years ago though sources might have been slightly different and these have been issues for over a decade now. And I do not believe they are "blown out of proportion" in the least. In fact, I don't feel they've reached any level of it. There is very little media on the topic. I do however feel the terrorist threat was "blown out of proportion" long ago. It's always good for the government to keep their citizens paranoid so they can have an excuse to push the boundaries of privacy while they can. ;)

GM crops are not required to go through any type of independent safety peer review to determine if they are safe for either human consumption or the environment. Have you noticed that even when items are regulated by the FDA, they aren't necessarily safe? (fen-phen, Vioxx, Cox-2, Iressa, etc). The ramifications of GM products in humans won't be realized until much time has passed, by then it will be too late.

Countries requiring GMO labeling as of April, 2004:
U.K., Belgium, France, Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Denmark, Ireland, Paraguay, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Austria, Poland, Australia, New Zealand, China, Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, Italy, S. Korea, Japan, Czech Rep., Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Ethiopia, South Africa, Hungary, Philippines, Brazil

Is it that they know something that we don't? Is scientific evidence of health problems as a direct result of consuming GM foods blowing the issue out of proportion? Is the US blowing the whole GMO thing out of proportion by keeping it's citizens ignorant?

If you purchased a bread made from wheat - or to stay on topic, a soy product which said it was not sprayed with pesticides, you'd be happy to know you aren't ingesting chemicals - correct? But what they don't tell you is that they literally modified the wheat to include the chemicals inside the plant. Do you want to feed that to your five year old? Since they don't apply it externally, they are not required to tell you anything else. The point is consumers don't have a choice even if they want one. Labeling is getting "better" but it isn't regulated. Even if it says it's organic or certified organic, that's not a guarantee.

97% of the varieties of vegetables grown at the beginning of the 20th century are extinct. Genetic uniformity leads to great vulnerability to insects and disease. Look up the potato blight which occurred in Ireland which was a problem because there was no diversity in varieties.

Do you think it's only coincidence that the same company which sells the herbicide sells the seed that farmers plant that puts food on consumer's dinner table? That corn which is sold for human consumption is registered as an insecticide? That these same companies are patenting living organisms and buying seed companies for seeds which haven't yet been modified? That these same companies are patenting genes which go into plants, animals, and inevitably humans?

If a company patents seeds modified or not, then they can choose the one seed they want to replace the rest and they will own the marketplace. The controller of the seeds controls the food - and we're talking world wide level. Billions of dollars worth, more than enough to affect the economies of countries - not that these facts are blowing anything out of proportion. And it's happening now.

If you don't think the governement is working hand in hand with the producers of GM products, check this out:

David W. Beier . . .former head of Government Affairs for Genentech, Inc., . . . became chief domestic policy advisor to Al Gore, Vice President of the United States.

Linda J. Fisher . . .former Assistant Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Pollution Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances, . . . then became Vice President of Government and Public Affairs for Monsanto Corporation and became Deputy Director of the Environmental Protection Agency 2001.

Michael A. Friedman, M.D. . . former acting commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Department of Health and Human Services . . . became senior vice-president for clinical affairs at G. D. Searle & Co., a pharmaceutical division of Monsanto Corporation.

L. Val Giddings . . . former biotechnology regulator and (biosafety) negotiator at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA/APHIS) . . . became Vice President for Food & Agriculture of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO)

Michael (Mickey) Kantor. . . former Secretary of the United States Department of Commerce and former Trade Representative of the United States, . . . member of the board of directors of Monsanto Corporation.

Marcia Hale . . . former assistant to the President of the United States and director for intergovernmental affairs . . . became Director of International Government Affairs for Monsanto Corporation.

Josh King . . . former director of production for White House events, . . . became director of global communication in the Washington, D.C. office of Monsanto Corporation.

Terry Medley . . . former administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture, former chair and vice-chair of the United States Department of Agriculture Biotechnology Council, former member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food advisory committee, . . . became Director of Regulatory and External Affairs of Dupont Corporation's Agricultural Enterprise.

Margaret Miller . . . former chemical laboratory supervisor for Monsanto, . . . became Deputy Director of Human Food Safety and Consultative Services, New Animal Drug Evaluation Office, Center for Veterinary Medicine in the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Michael Phillips . . . recently with the National Academy of Science Board on Agriculture . . . became head of regulatory affairs for the Biotechnology Industry Organization

William D. Ruckelshaus . . . former chief administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), . . . a member of the board of directors of Monsanto Corporation for over 12 years.

Michael Taylor . . . former legal advisor to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s Bureau of Medical Devices and Bureau of Foods, later executive assistant to the Commissioner of the FDA, . . . still later a partner at the law firm of King & Spaulding where he supervised a nine-lawyer group whose clients included Monsanto Agricultural Company, . . . still later Deputy Commissioner for Policy at the United States Food and Drug Administration, . . . and later with the law firm of King & Spaulding. . . . became head of the Washington, D.C. office of Monsanto Corporation.*

Lidia Watrud . . . former microbial biotechnology researcher at Monsanto Corporation in St. Louis, Missouri, . . . joined with the United States Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Effects Laboratory, Western Ecology Division.

Jack Watson. . . former chief of staff to the President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, . . . became a staff lawyer with Monsanto Corporation in Washington, D.C.

Clayton K. Yeutter . . . former Secretary of the U.S.Department of Agriculture, former U.S. Trade Representative (who led the U.S. team in negotiating the U.S. Canada Free Trade Agreement and helped launch the Uruguay Round of the GATT negotiations), became a member of the board of directors of Corporation, whose majority owner is Dow AgroSciences, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company.

Larry Zeph . . . former biologist in the Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, . . . became Regulatory Science Manager at Pioneer Hi-Bred International.

Margaret Miller, Michael Taylor, and Suzanne Sechen (an FDA "primary reviewer for all rbST and other dairy drug production applications") were the subjects of a U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) investigation in 1994 for their role in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval of Posilac, Monsanto Corporation's formulation of recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbST or rBGH). The GAO Office found "no conflicting financial interests with respect to the drug's approval" and only "one minor deviation from now superseded FDA regulations". (Quotations are from the 1994 GAO report).

So eveenend, if you had to choices to purchase fresh corn and they were the same price - which would you choose?

The one that without doubt was grown with all natural compost, good soil, non-hybrid, no sprays or other external treatments?

Or the one that was genetically modified to include Round-Up, sprayed with pesticides, and fertilized with chemicals?

You might choose the latter, but I'm sure most people would not. But what if you can't be sure of the source because they don't want you to know?

Nature has it's own methods which evolve with the pace of the seasons, year by year with it's own form of testing which is natural selection over time.

Man is introducing species never before seen on Earth practically overnight. The long term ramifications can not be good for nature. There is already evidence of this showing and the technology was only commercially introduced less than a decade ago. In the US, it was done without general public knowledge and resulting products on the shelves without labeling - so the public can't know even if they want to. If it weren't for StarLink Corn, to serve as a warning, who knows how much worse another form of contamination could have been.

Organic farmers with their own land and minding their own business have been sued for having "genetically modified" crops because the wind carried pollen from a nearby farm and contamination took place. Example, look up "Percy Schmeiser".

These topics are far too broad to be attempting to sum up in single posts. Genetic modification, genetic engineering, transgenic, they're all different.

Genetically modified crops were only introduced for commercial production in the United States in 1996. Quietly... by private companies which used surveillance and intimidation to force farmers to make the switch. Less than ten years later the United States accounts for nearly two-thirds of all biotechnology crops planted globally. They're not tested for long term environmental effects before being introduced in large scale into the ecosystem.

Of the over 900 patents on the world's five major staple crops. Only six agrochemical companies control most of these patents. Wheat has been cultivated by man for over ten thousand years - ten thousand years of wheat which has been improved by farmers over time already. Now, multi-billion dollar companies can throw a gene in it and say they own it. In the case of starvation, they're forcing technology on problems that don't need technological solutions. There is absolutely not a shortage of food on this Earth. The problem is that the existing food is not getting to the people who need it.

What's the hurry? They're doing because they can out of greed directly related to money.

The allergenicity of these genetically modified or engineered food needs to be carefully considered before they are used and consumed widely in foods. Certainly, allergy to peanuts seems to have risen in recent years in line with a dramatic increase in consumption, and therefore the important allergens of the future could be some of those foods and ingredients that are only now starting to become an important component of our diet.

Infants who are formula fed are already at increased risk for infectious disease, allergies, asthma and auto-immune disease such as juvenile diabetes and childhood cancer. The presence of genetically modified ingredients puts infants at even greater risk for developing allergies and possibly decreased immune capacity to resist disease...safety testing or labelling for foods containing GE ingredients is horribly inadequate.

"The number of American children suffering from life threatening peanut allergies has doubled in the past five years and the number of Americans with food allergies has risen from 6 million to 11 million. This runs parallel with the doubling of asthma, learning disabilities, ADHD; the tripling of diabetes and a 200 to 7,000 percent increase in autism in every state in the U.S. during the past 20 years. So the pharmaceutical industry produces drugs and vaccines that medical doctors sell to patients to try to "cure" the chronic illness that vaccines and suppression of all infectious disease helped to cause in the first place."

When the Human Genome Project began, scientists fully expected to find somewhere around 100,000 to 140,000 genes. Instead, they were stunned to find only 30,000. They now know the notion that one gene leads to one protein and perhaps one disease is false. It's how they work in combination with each other that determines the resulting organism - human or otherwise. Change one gene, you don't change one thing as many who are pushing genetically modified plants would have us believe.

I have no doubt that the scientists behind the technology are fully aware of the potential dangers. But they are working for private companies and likely under contracts which prohibit them from disclosing such information. This is the problem when such significant technology is in the hands of the private sector as opposed to free and shared information among scientists around the world.

From: The Council on Responsible Genetics

Q. How many genetically engineered foods are on the market?

A. At least 35 varieties of genetically engineered crops have been registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and/or the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Q. Isn't genetic engineering merely a minor extension of traditional breeding practices?
A. No. While farmers have used cross-breeding techniques to cultivate crop and animal species with desired characteristics, genetic engineering represents a radical departure from this practice. Cross-breeding can only occur within closely-related life forms. Genetic engineering allows scientists to cross the species barrier, mixing genetic material among of animals, plants and microorganism. The offspring of genetic engineering would never be found in nature. For example, fish genes have been placed in tomatoes, human genes in tobacco, bacteria in corn, and viruses in squash and fruit.

Q. Won’t genetically engineered foods cure world hunger?
A. No. Hunger is not caused by a global shortage of food. 800 million people suffer from malnutrition because they do not have access to the world’s abundance of food, they lack the money to buy it, and they lack the land to grow it. Private biotech corporations prevent small farmers from reusing their seeds, a traditional practice that provides food security for 1.4 billion people. Furthermore, since improvements on staples that feed the world’s poor such as cassava and potato do not have much potential for profit, the majority of genetically engineered crops are aimed at helping large-scale farmers in industrialized nations boost their yields and profits. Genetically engineered crops also reduce food security in the long run by decreasing biodiversity and increasing the use of ecologically damaging chemicals.

Q. Isn't genetic engineering a precise and predictable science?
A. No. Genes interact with each other and with their environment in ways that are complex and impossible to predict. Scientists cannot accurately predict how a foreign gene will be expressed in a new system. For example, splicing a gene for human growth hormone into mice produced very large mice, while splicing the same gene into pigs produced skinny, cross-eyed, arthritic animals. Splicing a foreign gene into an organism for a single desired effect may unintentionally cause unanticipated harmful effects within that organism. Dr. Ricarda Steinbrecher of the Women's Environmental Network writes about the unintended effects of genetic engineering, "Genes for the color red placed into petunia flowers not only changed the color of the petals but also decreased fertility and altered the growth of the roots and leaves. Salmon genetically engineered with a growth hormone not only grew too big too fast but also turned green."

Q. Do genetically engineered foods pose risks to human health and safety?
A. Yes. Genetic engineering may cause unintended side effects that make foods hazardous for human consumption. Unpredictable gene expression may result in the unanticipated toxic effects or allergies. We have indisputable evidence that genetically engineered foods may produce serious, even fatal, allergic reactions. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine proved that individuals who were allergic to Brazil nuts suffered the same allergic reaction when they consumed genetically engineered soybeans that contain Brazil nut genes. Under normal circumstances, consumers manage food allergies by avoiding those foods they know will cause allergic reactions. If genetically engineered foods are not labeled with the source of the foreign genes, consumers will not be able to identify these potential allergens.

Genetic engineering can also alter the nutritional quality of certain foods, making them less nutritious than their unmodified counterparts. In a study published in The Journal of Medical Foods, Dr. Marc Lappe found that genetically engineered soybeans contained less phystoestrogens than natural soybeans. Phystoestrogens are associated with protection against heart disease, osteoporosis (bone loss) and breast cancer. The genetically engineered soybeans were found to be 12 - 14% lower in phytoestrogens, a significant nutritional difference. Foods that have been engineered for a longer shelf-life may also exhibit counterfeit freshness. Genetic engineered may mislead consumers into buying fruits and vegetables that have the appearance of ripeness, without the accompanying nutritional quality or flavor.

Q. Do genetically engineered foods pose risks to the environment?
A. Yes. A study published in the scientific journal Nature proved that genetically engineered crops can transfer genetically engineered traits to weedy relatives, thus creating more aggressive weeds. The creation of "superweeds" may disrupt delicate ecological balances.

Additional studies have shown that crops genetically engineered with Bt cause harm to beneficial insects such as ladybugs. More recent studies published in Nature conclude that the pollen from Bt plants is deadly to Monarch Butterflies. What effects Bt will have on birds that eat contaminated insects is unknown.

The most common trait being engineered into crops is that of herbicide-tolerance. Crops that have been genetically engineered for herbicide-tolerance can withstand larger and more frequent applications of chemical herbicides. The long-term health consequences of these synthetic chemicals is unknown, but many of the chemicals are known to cause birth defects or cancer in laboratory animals and are toxic to fish.

Studies have already linked Glyphosate, the active herbicide ingredient used on RoundUp Ready© herbicide tolerant seeds, to non-hodgkins lymphoma, a form of cancer. Non-Hodgkins lymphoma, which is one of the most prevalent cancers in the Western world (occurances have risen 73% since 1973) has been linked directly to Monsanto's herbicide. This report, published in the New Scientist, was also published in the journal Cancer in 1999. Genetically engineered herbicide-tolerant crops will certainly increase the dependence of farmers on chemicals and will delay the development of alternative sustainable weed control strategies.

Q. Do genetically engineered foods raise other ethical considerations?
A. Yes. Vegetarians may not wish to eat vegetables that have been engineered to contain animal genes. Jews who keep Kosher may not wish to eat products that have been engineered with pig genes. Many consumers may not wish to consume foods containing human genes.

Many consumers also are concerned with the corporate ownership of seeds and genetically engineered food plants. Monopolistic business practices, the extreme consolidation of the seed industry, coupled with the patenting of seeds has led many consumers to question whether the agribusiness corporations have public welfare or private profit as top priority.

Q. Doesn't the U.S. government test genetically engineered foods to ensure that they are safe for human consumption?
A. No. In most cases, the FDA does not require premarket safety testing, or even notification that a genetically engineered food has been introduced in the market. Industry is essentially on an "honor system," deciding whether and when to consult with the FDA.

Q. What is the U.S. government policy on labeling of genetically engineered food?
A. The U.S. government does not require that genetically engineered foods be labeled as such unless they determine that the genetically engineered food is no longer "substantially equivalent" to the unmodified version. The FDA has considered most genetically engineered foods to be "substantially equivalent" to unmodifed food, regardless of reports detailing the substantial compositional and nutritional difference between genetically modified and unmodified foods. The "substantial equivalence" principle is vague and misleading, and encompasses most genetically engineered foods on the market today.

Q. Do consumers have a right to know that their food has been genetically engineered?
A. Yes. In light of the uncertainty regarding the safety and environmental impact of genetically engineered foods, many consumers want to take a precautionary approach. Governments should require mandatory labeling of foods produced by or containing genetically engineered organisms (GMOs). The labels should specify the source of the foreign genes.

In addition, the US already allows "process" labels on other products. Kosher foods, for example, are equivalent in nutritional value and taste to non-Kosher foods. The Kosher label refers to the process by which livestock is slaughtered or foods are prepared. Similarly, "dolphin-safe" tuna is equivalent in nutritional value and taste to other types of tuna. The "dolphin-safe" process label indicates that special nets have been used that do not entrap dolphins.

How is this when there is very limited media on it unless you go out and seek the information?

Are you saying it's OK for the government to work hand in hand with private pharmaceutical companies to bully and control farmers to grow genetically altered plants for human consumption without the consumer knowing so they can not make an informed choice? That it's ok for you to literally consume Round Up in your produce without knowing it just because they sell it at your local grocery store down the block - because the multi-billion-dollar company can keep facts to themselves, patent living organisms, portray naysayers as propagandists, and release only the information that will benefit their bottom line?

The countries listed above say no.
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