Soybeans are generally viewed as "healthy" food. They have even been touted as a "superfood" and the "ultimate source of protein" without the health risks of saturated fat contained in meat. Because of this, many people have been consuming soybean products without a second thought about how it can affect their health. Some even think choosing soybeans over meat is beneficial to their health. Unfortunately, it is not true. In truth, these people may be causing themselves more harm. Soybeans as a healthy food are just a result of a "successful" marketing strategy by the multi-billion dollar soybean industry.
Let me start with the history of soybeans. History tells us that soybeans are not something we should be eating; it is not even a food. Though soy was first discovered in China some time during the Chou Dynasty, the Chinese did not eat soybeans until they developed the process to ferment them. The reason is unfermented soybeans contain large quantities of natural toxins.
The problem today is that unfermented soybean products such as tofu and soymilk are considered healthy and form a big part of our modern diet. There is also "healthy" baby food made from unfermented soybeans. In other words, what was not even considered as food in the distant past is today considered safe enough to eat. Here are some reasons why consuming unfermented soybeans are bad for your health.
- Soybeans contain growth depressants such as trypsin and haemagglutinin. As such, growing children should never be fed unfermented soybean products. There is no such concern for fermented soybean products, though, since the depressants are deactivated during fermentation.
- Soybeans are high in phytic acid, which blocks the absorption of essential minerals such as zinc and magnesium. This is why vegetarians who rely on soybeans for their protein source often have zinc and magnesium deficiencies. This can result in muscle weakness, fatigue or slow cell growth. However, a long fermentation period can reduce the level of phytic acids in soybeans.
- Soybeans contain goitrogens, a chemical that suppresses thyroid functions. When thyroid function is reduced, weight gain comes easily, making losing weight all the more difficult. Being overweight or obese can lead to hypertension, heart attacks and other related problems.
- Most soybeans now are genetically modified. Not only that, the farming process also uses extensive pesticides to enhance their production output since soybean consumption is very high and thus a large output is necessary to meet the demand. All these mean that soybeans are highly contaminated with pesticides, which can cause cancer, among other diseases, in the human body. Even worse, fermentation does not in any way reduce the level of pesticide contamination.
- Soybeans contain phytoestrogens, which elevate the level of estrogen in men and women. Elevated estrogen generally means more fat storage in your buttocks and thighs. In women, elevated estrogen levels can disrupt the menopause cycle. In men, the effect is reduced sperm and testosterone production, as well as the development of fat in your chest, resulting in larger breasts (commonly known as "man boobs"). Basically, elevated estrogen in men means reduced masculinity.
But should we avoid all soybean products? Unfermented soybean products like tofu and soy milk should be avoided at all cost if you really want to lose fat and live healthily. Fermented soybean products, such as tempeh and miso, are fine if consumed moderately. However, for children, it is best to avoid all soybean products.
Jack Artha is a Singapore-based Certified Personal Trainer, specialized in natural fat loss, at-home cellulite reduction, posture improvement, and total wellness. He is known for guiding his clients to achieve their fitness goals as well as transforming their lives to healthy lifestyle.
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