What about Soya?

If you are vegetarian, chances are that you end up leaning toward soy as a source of protein. Soy Milk, Tofu or Edamame, which are the young version of soybeans may be your friends. However, there is always that niggling doubt. That question mark about whether it is indeed safe or whether the risks of consuming soy outweigh the potential benefits? You might ask yourself, what is the problem with soy after all and why do so many nutritionists urge you to tread with caution?

Soya has high levels of phytic acid. Many other foods come with similar problems, for example, rice needs to be thoroughly washed and soaked before cooking. The standard processes used to remove these harmful elements, such as soaking, sprouting, long cooking, do not work with soya. Therefore, soya ends up affecting the ability of the body to absorb calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc, all of which are essential vitamins and minerals. Soya can also end up inhibiting the digestion of protein, the very reason why you likely have it in the first place. Soya can disrupt your endocrine function causing infertility and breast cancer. Soya can also cause hypothyroidism and thyroid cancer. Soya can increase the need for Vitamin B12 and D by affecting their absorption. Finally, long-term consumption of soy can also result in cognitive decline.

Soya has an astonishing way of showing up in your food. From being consumed directly as an ingredient to being used to make bread (soy flour), being sold as milk (soya milk) to being the ingredient for meatless chicken or as more commonly known meatless chicken. I recently ate a burger in Menlo Park that claimed the be the best version of vegetarian chicken made from soy. The only acceptable way to consume soy is once it is fermented such as Miso soup or Tempeh. If you are eating other forms trying to play healthy, you might want to do some more research.


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.