Is Soy In Our Food Making Us Sick?
Earlier this year, an itchy rash appeared on my left arm, then my right arm. The appearance of the skin indicated to me that it was an allergy. I had not eaten anything unusual, so was very puzzled what could be causing the reaction.
Then, my doctor placed me on an anti-biotic. The rash went away. Also this year, I’ve had recurring sinus infections more than usual. The rash on my arms reappeared about two weeks ago. It was worse than the first time.
Last week Friday while getting ready to take my second dose of Vitamin D3, I happened to read the ingredients. Mostly, I order vitamins and supplements from a company that advertises no preservatives, artificial coloring, etc. In fact, I’ve ordered from that same company for years and trusted their products. Such it was with Vitamin D3 which I began taking this year.
For those unfamiliar, Vitamin D3 contains vitamin D, calcium which is necessary for the body to process vitamin D, and magnesium.
On the label of the Vitamin D3 was “calcium source; oyster shells”. I am allergic to shellfish! So all year, I’ve been consuming something in the Vitamin D3 that I am allergic to and didn’t know it. It’s been 6 days since I took that brand of Vitamin D3. The rash is clearing. My breathing is no longer shallow. Then I noticed another ingredient in my vitamins. Soy.
That caused me to start researching soy, and I was shocked by what I found. I stopped taking those vitamins that contain soy and since doing so, my sinuses have immensely improved. I began to check the ingredients on other things in my cabinets and refrigerator. A short list of what I discovered contains soy, or soybeans, or soybean oil includes:
Canned tuna in water; Green Giant brand frozen broccoli, including with cheese, and with carrots; Three different brands of salad dressing; Miracle Whip; Worchester Sauce; bread, including hamburger and hot dog buns.
It’s all in the garbage now.
Since part of my reason to learn about soy is to decide on what is best for me as a cancer patient, I began by researching soy and breast cancer. Is soy safe or not? That depends on what you read. The Mayo Clinic says:
“Studies show that eating a moderate amount of soy foods does not increase risk of breast cancer — or other types of cancer. A moderate amount is considered one to two servings a day of whole-soy foods, such as tofu, soy milk and edamame. Soy contains protein, isoflavones and fiber, all thought to provide health benefits.”
“So where did the idea come from that soy increases breast cancer risk? Isoflavones, which are found in soy, are plant estrogens. High levels of estrogen have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. However, food sources of soy don’t contain high enough levels of isoflavones to increase the risk of breast cancer.”
Well, that’s great! But, what about when the vitamins you take contain soy, the sandwich you made for lunch has soy in the bread and Miracle Whip or mayonnaise, and the frozen vegetables you might have for dinner contain soy? If you have a scoop of ice cream for dessert, chances are that it also contains soy.
Then I went to WebMD where it says;
“These plant-based chemicals are similar in structure to estrogen. Most breast cancers are sensitive to estrogen (or, as doctors say, “estrogen-receptor-positive” or “ER-positive,”) which means that estrogen fuels their growth.
“So there was a fear that soy could act as estrogen in the body and stimulate cancer cells,” Meyers says. “It was spread on blogs, and people would tell each other to avoid soy.”
But a steady stream of studies showed that a diet high in soy didn’t increase the chances of developing breast cancer and may even reduce that risk.
In one study of more than 73,000 Chinese women, researchers found that those who ate at least 13 grams of soy protein a day, roughly one to two servings, were 11% less likely to develop breast cancer than those who got less than 5 grams.
“In Asian cultures, where people eat a lot of soy from a young age, there are lower rates of breast cancer,” Meyers says. And in those societies, people still eat soy in its traditional forms.”
Okay, does this mean that I need to keep a daily diary of how much soy is in each foodstuff that I eat and vitamins that I take in order to know if it’s more than 13 grams? How do I figure out soy content by serving size because I’m not going to eat an entire bag of frozen vegetables, or an entire can of tuna?
Then, I continued reading and it says:
“Researchers aren’t certain how large amounts of soy affect breast cancer risk. In one early study, soy supplements were shown to “switch on” genes that encourage cancer growth in women with early-stage breast cancer.”
Back to square one. However, the above seems to agree with information on breastcancer.org;
“While past research results have been mixed, a small study done by researchers at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Weill Cornell Medical College suggests that for some women, adding a medium amount of soy to their diets turns on genes that can cause cancer to grow.”
So now we’ve gone from “13 grams” not being dangerous to “a medium amount” turning on genes that can cause cancer to grow.
A test, study was performed, and according to the researchers, women were given about 4 cups of soy milk per day. They believe that is the equivalent of what people regularly eat of soy in one day. So, going back to WebMD, the doctor there said that most women intake the equivalent of one cup of soy milk a day whereas the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Weill Cornell Medical College say that the average person takes in the equivalent of 4 cups of soy milk per day. In other words, if we rely on the studies performed by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Weill Cornell Medical College, then we are getting too much soy in our foods and condiments.
Men, you are not exempt from the concerns about soy. A man, Steve Del Gardo wrote an article titled “Soy and Breast Cancer. Neither is a Friend. “, where he shares his diagnosis of breast cancer and his use of soy;
“Anyway, the reason I am talking ill of soy is because it is likely the very reason I got breast cancer. Before I was diagnosed, I was drinking soy protein milkshakes twice per day for more than a year while I was exercising. Apparently, soy mimics estrogen and increases estrogen levels in our bodies. My cancer was estrogen receptive. (I had high levels of estrogen.) By the way, there is no history of breast cancer in my family and I tested negative for the BRCA gene (no mutations).”
Steve Del Gardo tells his story on his website. Wow! Can I relate to what he says about the wait. In 2013, Steve started an awareness foundation for men with breast cancer. According to his research, since 2013, 14,000 men have been diagnosed with breast cancer, and 2,300 have died.
People process natural soy in tofu, miso, and soy milk differently than the kind that’s added to processed foods. The soy protein in supplements, protein powders and meat substitutes IS NOT the same as what is called “natural soy”. It’s a more concentrated form of soy which means, it’s a higher dose.
And, why can’t consumers find all information about soy on one website? This is what I mean. The study involving soy, breast cancer and women was conducted on Chinese women. It says “traditional forms” which means there must be untraditional forms, right? The soy added to food sold in America’s grocery stores, and in our vitamins, is not the “traditional form” of soy found in China.
In 2014, Mother Jones reported that soybeans are the second largest U.S. crop after corn. The U.S. grows more soybeans than any other country with the exception of Brazil. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 90 percent of the soybeans that are grown on U.S. farms are genetically engineered.
“After harvest, the great bulk of soybeans are crushed and divided into two parts: meal, which mainly goes into feed for animals that become our meat, and fat, most of which ends up being used as cooking oil or in food products. According to the US Soy Board, soy accounts for 61 percent of American’s vegetable oil consumption.”
By 2017, soy accounted for 70 percent of food products in the U.S., including meat, because farmers feed livestock with genetically engineered soybeans. GMO. The Mother Jones’ article goes into what that is.
So, there we have it. The soy that Americans are getting in their food is GMO type – not “traditional, not “conventional,” not “natural”.
GMO soy is in our cereals, breads, tuna, frozen vegetables, salad dressings and vitamins. How do we get away from it?
On Friday when I received my diagnosis, I happened to mention to the nurse about soy and breast cancer. She shared some of her health information with me and said that she was told after surgery to reduce or eliminate the amount of soy in her diet. It’s my impression that had I not brought up the subject, she would not have told me what that medical system believes about soy.
On Saturday, what normally takes an hour to shop for grocery took more than 2 hours because every label was read and everything with soy was placed back on the shelf or in the freezer. I spent about $5.00 more than usual because of purchasing soy free brands. As I identify brands that are soy free, shopping should be easier and faster. I’m making a list and like Santa, when going into the grocery store, checking it twice.