“Soy is making our kids gay”, or so says an article I read today on soy. The proof (although improperly applied) lies in truth, soy has large quantities of phytoestrogen. A protein compound similar enough to the human hormone estrogen that it binds to estrogen receptors, which in turn triggers increased estrogen production in the body. It is true this happens in both men and women. But the application is far more complicated than a simple influx of estrogen turning us all into sobbing overly effeminate messes. In woman the consumption of soy and subsequent estrogen-palooza usually manifests in pre-menstrual and menstrual side effects. In doing so it can trigger the same growth hormones that are triggered in pre-menstrual cycles that store fat for the possible embryo plantation (this is why weight fluctuates during monthly cycles). In a nut shell it can cause: hot flashes, mood swings, depression, weight gain and chemical imbalances in woman. In men by way of increasing estrogen production in the body, sperm counts are lowered, and long term damage to the testes from a correlating decrease in free testosterone and dihydotestosterone can occur.
What about Asian populations and their consumption of soy? Asian communities on a whole eat much less soy that we Americans are led to believe. On average about two tablespoons a day. If you are the type of person who eats fast food hamburgers you may be surprised to know that 40-80% of that meat burger is actually soy protein, and as most fast food burgers are at the very least a ¼ pound of “meat”, you are consuming about 8 TBL of soy. And that’s just the hamburger its self, not to mention the bi produced from soy used as bread preservatives, diets foods, dried milks, imitations and non dairy creamers, margarine and vegetable oils, and of course any vegan meat substitutes. At the end of the day a majority of a person’s diet could consist of soy without them realizing it. Aside from the frightening realization that one could eat for a whole day and not know exactly what types of food they have consumed, there is also the fact that most people of European descent are allergic to soy.
Soy requires certain stomach enzymes and bacteria to properly break down the complicated protein complexes and be absorbed into the body. Just like the first European man that consumed cow milk got sick, so to the first Asian person probably got pretty ill after having eaten the first soy bean. Over a long stretch of time, stomach flora evolves and the ability to eat foods common in geographic diets increases. Due to common eating habits, culture plus a very long history of experimenting and perfecting fermentation methods, Asians have not only evolved to digest soy products they have also created methods of properly preparing the food source. American treatment of soy products and bi-products are not as perfect, combine that with a low likelihood of having gained the digestive flora necessary to process the food, we are in for a serious stomach ache (also bloating, IBS, and a myriad of other less pleasant digestive side effects).
So does soy really make a person gay. I seriously doubt it. Though it does increase estrogen production and cause some pretty harmful chemical side effects. Obviously I would suggest to stay away from fast food, a suggestion that really has no root in the soy problem, just don’t eat fast food you’ll thank me later. My main message and concern is for all my vegan and veg friends. Yes eating meat does have negative health implications, but so does soy. If you make the switch to a no meat diet don’t fill your life with soy burgers, tofu ribs, soy cheese sandwiches, or soy milk. If you really want to do yourself a favor regardless of the degree of meat eating you engage in, your protein and food consumption should always come from the least processed forms available.