What are your feelings on Soy?

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I commonly get asked in my practice, Eleven Eleven, “What are your feelings on Soy?” My thoughts are as follows:

  • Do not eat soy if you have an allergy.
  • I do not recommend feeding infants soymilk.
  • If you experience gas and bloating when eating soy, try a digestive enzyme that contains alpha galactosidase (like Beano). You can also try eating fermented soy products. Fermentation breaks down the hard to digest oligosaccharides, so those foods shouldn’t produce gas.
  • Avoid soy if you have a low thyroid function, an under active thyroid (hypothyroidism) or are on any thyroid medications.
  • Avoid genetically modified soy products. Look for products marked “non GMO” – if it’s not marked, consider it most likely genetically modified. Most soy grown today in the USA is genetically modified and unfermented (i.e. tofu), attributing to the reason for why I am not a big fan of soy.
  • Avoid supplements containing soy isoflavones, which are very concentrated sources of soy and should be taken only when indicated by your doctor.
  • If you are a menopausal woman there are definite advantages to eating soy, however try to use fermented soy products like tempeh, miso, natto, fermented soy and tamari. The fermentation process neutralizes the anti-nutrients that affect mineral absorption. All fermented soy products have lower levels of these nutrient blockers and miso has almost none.
  • If you do choose to include soy in your diet, aim to eat only fermented soy products and make sure that you take a good multi-mineral supplement. It is important to remember that you should not rely on soy for your protein, but to think of it as a small portion of a balanced diet.

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