Oh Boy, Is It Ok To Eat Soy?

OK Ladies, I’m mostly talking to you here. I know you’ve heard conflicting information about whether or not it is ok to eat soy as a part of your healthy diet. Let me share with you what I’ve learned over the years about this plant-based bean that is rich in fat, carbohydrates and protein.

The hottest topic about soy right now is the fact that it’s near impossible to get non-GMO. 90% of soy produced in the U.S. is genetically modified. Just in case you live in a tiny bubble (like I do) GMO stands for genetically modified organism – which means it’s a new organism, not found in nature, created by scientists. It is NOT modified for nutritional reasons…it’s modified for economic reasons.

Pesticides were introduced in 1994 to lower the loss of crops due to insects. I don’t think you have to be Bill Nye The Science Guy to realize that eating foods that contain Roundup might wreak havoc on your health.

I get it Melissa, conventional soy is bad. But is it ok to eat soy that is non-GMO? Can it be included in my diet?

Let me first say that this is very controversial as well. I’ve noticed that some Doctors defend soy, they say its ok to eat soy and say that you can have certain types as part of a healthy diet. Whole soybeans are full of healthy micronutrients (Manganese, Selenium, Copper, Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Iron, Calcium, Vitamin B6, Folate, Riboflavin (B2), Thiamin (B1) and Vitamin K) and one would think it should absolutely be a part of a healthy diet…but here’s the catch: soybeans are also very high in phytates, which are substances that bind minerals and reduce their absorption.

Like any legume, they’re VERY calorie dense without a lot of nutrient absorption to make them “worth it.” This is why I don’t include ANY legumes (even peanut butter…I know, I know) in The M.A.D.E. Diet. We want every calorie you consume to be choke full of nutrition as well! It’s VERY difficult to get these days from the foods we eat. Some will say fermented soy can be beneficial to your health (in the form of tempeh, miso and tamari) but it is usually eaten is very small amounts and more like a condiment and not the main course of your meal.

It’s not just a nutrition thing either…

What really stands out about soy is its ability to mess with hormonal functioning. Soy contains large amounts of isoflavones that can activate estrogen receptors in the body. They’re classified as “endocrine disruptors” and can interfere with the normal function of hormones in the body that will either reduce or stimulate estrogen activity. Either way, it will throw your body out of whack having your hormones too high or too low. HELLO mood swings!

The last thing that really caught my eye was its effect on leptin, your satiety hormone. Our obesity epidemic has A LOT to do with our insulin resistance. Because of our Standard American Diets, we produce way too much of it and our bodies have become numb to it. Bad thing is, is that insulin is our fat storing hormone and why it’s getting more and more difficult for us to lose weight. We produce WAY too much and our bodies don’t know it.

Well, we are also becoming leptin resistant, meaning that our bodies are trying to tell us when we’re full and we don’t need food at this time but because of our diets, our bodies aren’t listening to that signal to stop eating…so we overeat. Do you always finish your plate or eat mindlessly only to realize you ate the whole bowl of popcorn or bag of pretzels? That’s leptin resistance.

The final verdict on whether its ok to eat soy

When it comes to soy, or all legumes really, I tell people that the foods they choose should first and foremost have the most bang for their buck. It’s obvious that Oreos will do nothing for your health, but I really don’t think any bean or grain is worth it either. Always start by filling your plate up with a ton of colorful vegetables and add some healthy fats to them. For breakfast add a couple of eggs. Go ape on a big ‘ol salad for lunch, and for dinner accompany your veggies with a few ounces of meat from an organic source.

As I always say, eat to live…don’t live to eat. Fuel, don’t just feed, your body!