The soybean, also known as the soya bean, is a plant native to Eastern Asia. It is often used in the production of vegetarian-friendly foods, such as soy milk or infant formula. It is also a source of vitamin E. Soy milk is used as a mild alternative for people suffering from lactose intolerance or chronic heartburn, and soybeans are the primary ingredient in a foodstuff called tofu, frequently used in East Asian cuisine. Soy sauce, made from fermented soya beans, is important as a condiment and ingredient in East Asian cooking. Solvent extraction can be used to extract the fat out of soybeans in order to make soybean oil.
Raw soybeans (known as edamame) are also used as a feed for livestock, especially pigs and poultry. Soy has become a major crop in the United States but is not as commonly cultivated in Africa, Europe or South America.
Soy contains large quantities of phytoestrogens, which can have similar effects to the hormone estrogen. These seem to offer both helpful and harmful affects. They seem to help women balance their hormones during and after menopause, thus helping reduce issues like hot flashes. They also may help reduce the rate of bone density loss in later life. However, they are also possible causes of cancer, reproductive problems, endometriosis, fibroids, nonviral toxic hepatitis, and hormonal imbalances. Additionally, some say that phytoestrogens tend to fight obesity, while others say that they have the opposite affect.
At least 90% of soy produced by the U.S. is genetically modified by Monsanto to resist glyphosate-based herbicides such as their Round-Up product. Farmers of these GM soy crops then spray their fields with glyphosate, which kills everything but the soy plants (and any other plants which have been contaminated with the resistant gene). As a result, at least 90% of U.S. soy contains glyphosate. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is an arm of the World Health Organization, has determined that glyphosate is a "probable human carcinogen" (Class 2A rating) However, Jess Rowland, of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, maintained in 2015 that glyphosate is "not likely to be carcinogenic" to humans. There is significant suspicion that this declaration was made due only to unlawful relations between the Jess Rowland and Monsanto.
Other potential health issues also include Malnutrition, Kidney stones, digestive distress, immune-system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, food allergies, reproductive disorders and infertility, infant abnormalities, and heart disease.
- The Whole Soy Story by Kaayla Daniel, Ph.D.