Well Being

Should You Eat Soy? Top 4 Tofu Myths, Demystified

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One diet plan instructs you to eat tofu like a champion, and the other says that soy will give you cancer. So do you get the soy protein added to your Jamba Juice, or not? There are tons of studies that say “no”, but consulting physicial Mark Hyman, MD, says that you shouldn't believe every bit of bad news you hear about soy. In a recent Huffington Post article, he explains that many studies on soy and health don't reflect normal consumption – many use the equivalent of over a pound of tofu or three soy protein shakes per day, an amount that isn't realistic for most people.

Here are some of the top soy myths, demystified courtesy of Dr. Hyman:

1. Soy Causes Breast Cancer – The logic goes that soy contains plan compounds called isoflavones that act like hormones, and increase your risk of breast cancer. But Hyman says that studies conducted on human populations prove this theory wrong: Most show that soy consumption reduces risk of breast cancer, and even some studies on mice suggest that soy reduces risk of breast cancer, as well.

2. Soy Infant Formula Can Harm A Baby's Development – Again, many people worry that soy isoflavones could alter development in babies and children. But we've been putting soy in infant formulas since the 1960's, and the only widespread study that has tracked its effect on development showed that there weren't any big differences in the health of men and women between the ages of 20 and 34 who'd been fed soy formula as babies. Though breastfeeding for the first year is ideal, if that's not possible, there isn't overwhelming evidence that feeding your baby a soy formula will have a significant impact on their health.

3. Soy Will Poison Your Thyroid – Hyman says that the few studies that indicate soy may effect thyroid function have been blown way out of proportion, and that most research indicates that soy doesn't significantly impact the thyroid, except in people who are iodine deficient (a rare condition in the U.S.).

4. Fermented Soy Is Better Than Non-Fermented Soy – This is the one soy rumor that Hyman says you should listen to. Fermentation breaks down soy, making it easier to digest, and it also adds extra nutrients and probiotics. Products like miso, natto, tempeh, tofu and some brands of soy milk are great ways to get fermented soy.

So should you eat soy? Yes. Just try to avoid processed soy products (stir-friend tofu wins over Boca Burgers or soy sausage) and try to stick with organic soy. Just like other fruits, vegetables, and legumes, you should watch for products that contain lots of junk along with the soy, and watch for soy that might contain pesticides and unwanted chemicals.

via Huffington Post