Cutting Down On Soy

Looking to cut down on how much soy you include in your daily diet? We suggest a few alternatives.

The November 2008 issue of COSMOPOLITAN magazine features an interesting feature on soy and the largely unknown truth about it. For many vegans and vegetarians, soy has become a protein alternative, but this ‘miracle’ food might be causing more harm than good.

The ‘Say It Ain’t Soy’ article reveals that too much soy may lead to a decreased sperm count and even possibly cancer. But it might not be that easy to cut down on how much you ingest.

‘Soy has been over promoted, overused and over-evaluated over the last two decades,’ says Heidi du Preez, nutritional therapist and co-author of Naturally Nutritious (Aardvark Press). ‘Global soybean productions have increased from 30 million tons in 1965 to 270 million tons in 2005, according to the Chicago Board of Trade.’

Because soy is used foods such as breakfast cereals, biscuits, cheeses, dairy desserts, gravies, noodles, soups, and sandwich spreads, it is very difficult to avoid soy in all its forms. But you can limit your intake.

In their book Food Allergy: Adverse Reactions to Food and Food Additives (Blackwell Science), authors Dean Metcalfe, Hugh Sampson and Ronald Simon say on food labels words such as ‘soy’, ‘soy protein’, ‘soy flour’, ‘shoyo (or shoyu) sauce’, ‘tofu’ and ‘miso’ indicate the presence of soy protein and should be avoided.

According to du Preez, you would do well to select whole food products and avoid processed ones. Here are her recommendations:

Dairy alternatives
– oat milk; rice milk; nut milk e.g. almond milk

Meat alternatives
– organic beef, venison, lamb or ostrich; free-range chicken

Pulse alternatives – aduki beans; chickpeas; mung beans; lupin

Seeds and nut alternatives – alfalfa, flaxseeds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds; almonds, cashew nuts and pine kernels

– amaranth; quinoa