The Truth About Soy
A lot of people believe that soy products are a healthy addition to their diet. Would it surprise you to hear that this is a myth, and that there are actually multiple reasons to avoid it?
Most soy products are pretty high in carbohydrates, so from a keto perspective they aren’t something you’d want to eat on a regular basis or in anything but very small amounts.
The drawbacks to consuming soy far outweigh any possible benefits. Here are some of the problems (in no particular order) associated with its consumption:
– Soybeans contain natural toxins called antinutrients that block the absorption of various enzymes and minerals, especially calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium and copper. They interfere with thyroid and endocrine functions and have negative effects on the liver and pancreas as well. They contain a clot-promoting substance that causes red blood cells to clump together. Soy is also a common allergen, and so is problematic for a lot of people.
– The way soybeans are processed causes them to have a high aluminum content.
– The vast majority of soy (about 99%) grown in the U.S. is genetically modified (GM), which is reason enough to avoid it. It’s also one of the most heavily-sprayed crops out there. The pesticides (especially glyphosate, the main ingredient found in Round Up products) have a host of highly toxic effects, both to our bodies and to the environment.
Unfortunately, soy ingredients are everywhere, and can be especially difficult to avoid if you’re eating any processed foods. There are the obvious ones like tofu or soy milk that are easy enough to avoid. But there are a lot of less-obvious soy ingredients added to processed foods. As always, I highly recommend that you be a label reader.
Avoid ingredients like soy lecithin, soybean oil, soy protein/soy protein isolates and soya – basically anything that actually has the word “soy” in it. Some less apparent ingredients that are likely to be soy-based are vegetable oil, carob, gelatin, mixed tocopherals, mono- and diglycerides, vegetable solid proteins, vitamin E, and so-called “natural” flavors, just to name a few. Thankfully products that contain soy of any kind are required to be labeled, so be sure to look for that on any food you are considering.
Another place where soy creeps into the picture is in meats and poultry. Many conventionally-raised animals are fed an unnatural diet that contains soy, so when you consume their meat, you also consume the soy. It is not required that these products be labeled regarding their soy content, but you can pretty much count on the fact that they contain it. The same holds true for farm-raised seafood. Buying organic doesn’t necessarily ensure that you are avoiding it because the animals may still have been fed organic soy. This is where it’s important to do your homework on the source of your meats and poultry. One good option is to look for labels such as 100% grass fed.
Be wary of vague labels like “All Natural”; they are really meaningless, as there are almost no regulations placed on their use.
The Exceptions To The Rule
There are a few soy products that can be safely consumed. They are FERMENTED soy products, and there are only four: natto, tempeh, miso and soy sauce. The fermentation process destroys the toxins in the soy and makes the nutrients bio-available (meaning your body can use them). They must be organic to avoid genetically modification and pesticides. Of the four, soy sauce is the only one that’s relatively low in carbs. It tends to be high in sodium, however, so make sure to check out the label of any product you’re considering.
By the way, I know some people use a product such as Bragg’s Liquid Aminos in place of soy sauce. I used to as well, until I realized that it is made from unfermented soybeans. So, you’re actually better off buying organic soy sauce.
Soy is not ideal for the keto lifestyle, but if you choose to use it, I want you to be able to do so safely.
Take good care of yourself, friends! Make it an awesome day, and keto on!