One of the first important things to remember about soy is that it actually needs some form of preparation before it is safe to eat. For Paleo dieters who base their food-safety standards on whether a food would have been consumed naturally; Soy definitely has some problems. This also leads to the tendency of soybeans nowadays to be genetically modified. GMOs are something that our bodies just don’t know what to do with. On the other hand, some research suggests that a soy organic compound isoflavone called genistein may contribute to heart health and reduce inflammation by increasing the flexibility of blood vessels.
On top of that, these isoflavones act very similarly to synthetic estrogen compounds like tamoxifen. Which may improve bone density and prevent osteoporosis, according to some studies.However, I’d encourage you to read the previous sentence again. “Synthetic” and “estrogen” are two things that shouldn’t be appearing in anyone’s food, Paleo or otherwise. There are large amounts of phytoestrogens, which can throw off the hormones in your body.
Even long, slow fermentation practices that reduce or eliminate soy’s other toxins cannot get rid of the phytoestrogens. And some scientific studies challenge the findings that soy isoflavones are beneficial to you; one report links soy with an increased incidence of hypothyroidism. If that is the case, then it seems that maybe the negatives outweigh its benefits.
What Do Other Paleo Experts Say?
Mark Sisson says: “It’s potentially phytoestrogenic, mildly carcinogenic, mineral-binding, and goitrogenic. Its oil is in everything nowadays, and most of our animals are a third soybean meal. Bad stuff all around. Not Primal.”Chris Kresser says: “Although widely promoted as a health food; Hundreds of studies link modern processed soy to malnutrition, digestive problems, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders, immune system breakdown, and even heart disease and cancer. How could soy be linked to all this disease? Because the soybean contains many naturally occurring toxins. All legumes contain toxins but the problem with soy is that the toxins are found in very high levels. They are resistant to the traditional ways of getting rid of them.”
So is Soy Paleo?
No.You should do your best to avoid when possible. If you simply must consume it, opt for organic that has undergone a long fermentation process, such as natto. The toxins in soy, especially its phytoestrogens, far outweigh its potential (though disputed) health benefits.
Issue No. 31