The soybean is one of the most well-known crops. At first, it was hailed as a vegan alternative to many animal products, but there are growing concerns and prejudices against soy. We examined six myths about soy.
Cosmetics, animal feed and biodiesel – it can be used in many different ways and at the same time is heavily criticized. But are the accusations against soybeans as a food justified?
We examined six widely held theses.
There Is Always Genetic Engineering In Soy
Genetic engineering plays a significant role in soy – but primarily affects feed production for livestock farming. In Europe, it is mandatory to label genetically modified ingredients in food clearly.
If you don’t want to look for the information, you can use certified organic products because they must not contain genetically modified soy. Vegans are acceptable: The likelihood that they will unknowingly eat genetically modified plants is close to zero.
On the other hand, in the case of animal products, one cannot be sure whether the cattle were fed with genetically modified crops (e.g. corn, rapeseed and soybeans). Here, too, it helps: buy organic goods!
It Causes Breast Cancer And Feminizes Males
Fears that soy might negatively affect testosterone levels were based on cell culture studies and animal studies.
However, studies on humans showed no changes in hormone levels and sperm quality for men at the normal consumption levels. There is also an all-clear for breast cancer: Leading cancer and nutrition societies agree that the consumption of soy products does not increase the risk of breast cancer.
Women with breast cancer can also eat soy. Potentially, the studies even showed protective effects – especially if soy consumption had been moderate since childhood.
A Vegan Diet Destroys The Rainforest
Sadly, large tracts of rainforest have been and are being cleared for soybean cultivation. However, most of the global harvest (80 percent) is used as animal feed in intensive livestock farming.
18 percent is used in the form of soybean oil – as vegetable oil, additive for convenience food, and in the cosmetics and automotive industries. Only two percent of the soybean harvest is consumed directly by humans in tofu, burgers or drinks.
None of the typical producers of tofu, soy milk and other soy products in Germany, Austria or Switzerland purchases soy from the rainforest areas – instead, 90 percent come from Europe, the rest from Canada.
Never Soy For Infants And Children
Soy infant formula has been in use for around 100 years. Since the addition of iodine began in 1959, there has been no evidence that it is inferior to that made from cow’s milk.
Studies have shown that infants with soy formula develop the same within the first year, and there are no significant differences in size, intelligence or fertility even in adulthood.
In the meantime, however, there are also soy-free alternatives for vegan starter food – e.g. B. from almonds or rice. And for the first six months of a child’s life, the WHO recommends maternal breastfeeding as the “gold standard” anyway.
Soy Is Bad For The Brain And Thyroid
Clinical studies show no adverse effects on the thyroid gland in healthy people with an adequate iodine supply.
Like broccoli and kale, Soybeans are among the foods that promote goiter formation – but only if there is a simultaneous iodine deficiency.
According to clinical studies, there is also no risk of impairment of cognitive abilities. The assumption that soy damages the brain is based on the thesis that aluminum promotes the development of Alzheimer’s.
This metal was also detectable in the soy products used in the study. Aluminum accumulates through food and cosmetics – soy does not play a significant role.
Soy Is An Allergy Trigger
According to the European Center for Allergy Research Foundation (ECARF), 0.3 percent of people in Europe suffer from a soy allergy. Specific proteins in the soy plant are probably to blame. These resemble a protein responsible for the immune system in the body but is very sensitive to pollen allergens.
Cross-reactions with pollen can therefore occur in adulthood. On the other hand, an isolated soy allergy is more likely to occur in childhood.
Common symptoms of an allergic reaction to soy include swelling and tingling of the mouth and throat, which can progress to anaphylactic shock with shortness of breath. The digestive system can also be affected; in this case, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea occur. In addition, flare-ups of neurodermatitis with reactions such as itching and redness can be triggered or intensified by soy.