What are your feelings on Soy?

I commonly get asked in my practice, Eleven Eleven, “What are your feelings on Soy?” My thoughts are as follows:

  1. Do not eat soy if you have an allergy.
  2. I do not recommend feeding infants soymilk.
  3. If you experience gas and bloating when eating soy, try a digestive enzyme that contains alpha galactosidase (like Beano). You can also try eating fermented soy products. Fermentation breaks down the hard to digest oligosaccharides, so those foods shouldn’t produce gas.
  4. Avoid soy if you have a low thyroid function, an under active thyroid (hypothyroidism) or are on any thyroid medications.
  5. Avoid genetically modified soy products. Look for products marked “non GMO” – if it’s not marked, consider it most likely genetically modified. Most soy grown today in the USA is genetically modified and unfermented (i.e. tofu), attributing to the reason for why I am not a big fan of soy.
  6. Avoid supplements containing soy isoflavones, which are very concentrated sources of soy and should be taken only when indicated by your doctor.
  7. If you are a menopausal woman there are definite advantages to eating soy, however try to use fermented soy products like tempeh, miso, natto, fermented soy and tamari. The fermentation process neutralizes the anti-nutrients that affect mineral absorption. All fermented soy products have lower levels of these nutrient blockers and miso has almost none.

If you do choose to include soy in your diet, aim to eat only fermented soy products and make sure that you take a good multi-mineral supplement. It is important to remember that you should not rely on soy for your protein, but to think of it as a small portion of a balanced diet.