It’s a complicated question. To answer it, we have to divide soy foods into two different categories.
There’s processed soy that comes in the form of soy “cheese”, soy “meat”, soy as an ingredient in soy “yogurt” shakes, cookies, energy bars, bread and even infant formula.
Let’s consider these fake foods. They lack many of the benefits of soy in its more natural form. Since they’ve been processed to resemble other foods, they likely are missing the fiber, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals that exist in a real soy bean.
Manufacturers isolate and concentrate the protein from soy beans and repackage it as soy protein isolate, which you can probably find in any health food store. Ironically, soy protein isolate is not a health food. Nutrition expert and bestselling author Dr. John McDougall says that “concentrated, isolated proteins burden the liver and kidneys, which play a key role in excreting surplus protein from the body.”
In other words, fake soy foods that are created by isolating the protein in soy beans make your liver and kidneys work extra hard to get rid of the excessive amounts of protein in them. In simple terms, these fake soy-based foods are not healthy, despite the fact that they are made from soy.
Is all soy harmful? Not at all! Unprocessed soy beans in the pod, called edamame, are a high quality plant-based food. Other forms of soy that are cooked, sprouted, ground or fermented are also still healthy choices. You may know these foods as soy milk, soy sauce, tempeh, tofu and miso.
Like all foods, real soy, as close as possible to the original soy bean, can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy diet. If it comes in a package with the words “soy protein isolate” or if it’s something made from soy that’s supposed to resemble a meat or dairy food, it’s probably best to stay far away.
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Author: Rebeca Espinoza
Rebeca Espinoza writes about health, fitness and weight loss for Spatz Medical, makers of the Spatz3 Adjustable Gastric Balloon. You can find her on Google+ or at email@example.com.[:]