disclaimer: you would have been hard pressed to find a more enthusiastic propenent of SOY than me, so i admit that when i came across http://www.truthaboutsoy.com i was more than a little sceptical. with an open mind i quickly plunged into the site.

at first i was more than a little put off by the anti-SOYness of the site and it's railings against the "flailing Vegetarian" movement. so much so that i suspected the evil hand of Dairy to be behind this nefarious plot. (cue homer voice: the dairy council got to you too eh?). a quick whois run and the site's anti-pasteurization rant subdued my suspicions for the time being.

the author of the article seems to take issue with a few things about soy:

  • SOY is not a complete protein and should not be relied on as the sole protein in a person's diet
    well DUH! i want the "truth about soy." i want expose. shock me. don't tell me what i already know.

  • SOY is not a "Natural Food." "Soybeans are not like other beans, like lima beans and pinto beans, that people can just cook and eat."
    *cough* *cough* Edamame *cough*

  • SOY is "contaminated" with phytic acid, hemaglutin and aluminum
    ok, this sounds interesting, but where are the figures? show me some numbers. what are the levels contained therein? and comparatively what are the levels/consumption required to produce the mentioned symptoms? why is this information conspicuously absent? sarcasm I tell you, air is "contaminated" with carbon-dioxide! clearly we should stop breathing air!

  • oils(i.e. soybean oil) oxidize during processing when exposed to air and light and produce trans-fatty acids(page then goes into the evils of trans-fatty acids.
    ok, interesting again, but it i myself have never processed soybean oil so i cannot say(and the website does not either) whether soybean oil is ever exposed to "air and light" during processing in the first place. and even if so we're back to the content level problem above.

  • cold pressing the beans for oil extraction exposes the beans to light unless it is immediately bottled.
    ah, well this answers part of the one above. but then, if it's immediately bottled there's no problem though. "A very small percentage of soybean oil is processed in this way." i'd like a factual number buddy, not your own valumetric assesment of it.

  • the site goes on to debase more of the purifying processes with a minimal understanding of chemical reactions/properties(the "Dranoburger" reference is a personal favorite) that i don't care to pick apart individually. let me just say this: Bananas are high in Potassium. Potassium as an alkali earth metal reacts violently with water. NEVER let bananas come into contact with water or they'll explode!

  • hydrogenation
    interesting ideas again, but still no facts backing the claims

  • "A few problems right off the bat. Soy protein is a by-product of oil processing. Originally it was either thrown out or used as animal feed."
    really. exactly what part of that is a problem?(that statement is then followed by the incomplete protein argument again)

  • Genetic Modification
    i'll let this node handle that

    intriguing, but a pesticide problem, not specifically a SOY problem

    i dunno, maybe beause IT SAYS SO RIGHT HERE ON MY BOX OF SOYMILK! thank you for exposing this vast conspiracy.

  • Soylent Green comparison at the end
    credibility, you'll find the exit behind you and to the left.

"Disagree? Cite your sources. Journal articles in slick Alternative Lite magazines don’t count. They tend to favor contributions from their own advertisers’ junk science writers."

SOY! SOY! SOY! SOY makes you strong! Strength crushes enemies! SOY!. Disagree? Cite facts, numbers, case studies. Junk science websites need not apply.

thoughts from my fellow friends in SOY?

From the writeup above: "SOY is "contaminated" with phytic acid, hemaglutin and aluminum".

This is actually true, but only "from a certain point of view". Most staple crops - the majority of the calories that keep humanity alive - contain phytic acid.

"Phytic acid, mostly as phytate in the form of phytin, is found within the hulls of seeds, including nuts, grains and pulses." (Wikipedia)

Diets high in phytates are usually diets high in nuts and whole grains, and these are usually well correlated with good health and longevity (e.g. the Mediterranean diet).

...so saying that soy is "contaminated" with phytic acid is like saying that beef is "contaminated" with dihydrogen monoxide.

The main human problem with phytic acic - from any source, not just soy - is that it can inhibit the absorption of iron. This issue can be reduced or cancelled in several ways:

- preparation (sprouting or dehulling)
- cooking
- adaption (mechanism unknown - possibly from upregulation of phytase enzyme)
- have vitamin C in the same meal

Most of these are incidental; most people eating a lot of soy would be doing the last one already, just incidentally. That is, if you eat anything green or fresh with your source of phytates, the vitamin C in that food will boost iron absorption (or, more accurately: stop iron absorption from being inhibited).

The main animal problem with phytic acic (from any source, not just soy) is that it reduces the FCR, feed conversion ratio, harming profits. Since almost 100% of all soymeal goes into animals via feed lots, this is, for the soy producers, a much bigger issue. For this reason, a lot of money is being sunk into developing low phytate crops.

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