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Email Monday: 5 reasons to skip soy

Here's what irks me most about soy.

It thinks it can be anything.

Soy thinks it can be sandwich meat. It thinks it can be Chorizo's vegetarian cousin, Soy-rizo. It thinks it can be cheese, milk and Bac-Os. (No, Bac-Os aren't made of bacon.)

But I call foul. Soy was once considered a fabulous vegetarian protein source, with the justification that traditional cultures across the world had been eating soy for centuries. Well, that's true. But they haven't been eating soy bacon for centuries.

What I'm talking about here is that version of soy that's used as a substitute, a binder, and as a fake animal product. It's refined into Soy Protein Isolate and used as filler in processed foods. Here are five reasons to avoid soy as we know it today.

Reason #1: It's almost always Genetically Modified.

Over 90% of soy grown in the United States is genetically modified. This means its genetics are tweaked to make it, for example, "Roundup-Ready," which has been blamed for breeding Roundup-resistant "super-weeds." Mess with nature, and nature bites back.

Reason #2: it's linked to scary health problems in animal models.

Because we don't generally run controlled experiments on humans, animals must fall victim to testing of these GMO products. Jeffrey Smith, an anti-GMO activist, discusses reproductive issues from GMO soy studied in Russia several years ago. (Click here) Interestingly, genetically modified soy and the recent "Monsanto Protection Act" has received extreme negative publicity from Russian authorities. It's clearly an ongoing issue overseas.

Reason #3: Unrefined soy contains goitrogens.

Goitrogens are compounds that can interfere with thyroid function. When concentrated, as in highly-processed soy "meat" or "milk," these goitrogens become much more likely to affect the thyroid.

Reason #4: Soy in people food is a by-product of soy in animal food.

Most of the soy grown in the United States is diverted to the by-product animal feed industry. This means it's feeding the factory farms and the confined animal feeding operations that prevent animals from eating their natural diets.

Reason #5: It's just not as good as the real thing!

Soy is used to replace other foods we were told were unhealthy: soy milk to replace cholesterol-containing milk, soy meat to replace animal protein, and soy oil to replace saturated fat. Now that we know that cholesterol, meat, and fat from appropriately-raised animals is actually a health food (see my book, out in October, for more) there's no reason to make that switch!

With lots of love (and absolutely NO soy!),

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