Luke Stanaway

Registered Nutritionist

3 Reasons To Avoid Soy

3 Reasons To Avoid Soy

3 Reasons To Avoid Soy

Key Takeways

  • Soy reduces nutrient and mineral absorption and utilization due to its phytic acid and oxalic acid content.

  • Soy contains phytoestrogens that mimic estrogen and can cause hormonal imbalances and disruptions to normal sexual development in males and females.

  • Soy contains goitrogens that interfere with iodine absorption, negatively impacting the thyroid gland and hormones that regulate metabolism, growth, and macromolecule metabolism.

  • Most soy is genetically modified and can cause digestive issues.

  • Almond milk is a great, healthier alternative.

So, a few weeks ago, I received a phone call from a client who is following one of my personalised nutrition plans. He has been following the plan for two weeks and is seeing great results, but his body isn't reacting well to the dairy milk I included in his plan (as is the case with some people). 

So I answer the phone. My client is overjoyed and can't wait to tell me that he has made a healthy nutrition choice by eliminating dairy and replacing it with soy. 

I immediately cringed, thinking to myself, big mistake. So, unfortunately, I had to deflate his enthusiasm and inform him of why I thought this was a bad idea. 

Here are the three main reasons I told him to avoid soy.  

1. Soy significantly reduces nutrient and mineral absorption and utilisation. 

Soy contains phytic acid, which binds to minerals and causes them to be excreted, inhibiting their digestion and adsorption. Soy also contains oxalic acid, which binds to zinc, magnesium, calcium, and iron, reducing their absorption. This causes a depletion of vital nutrients in the body and can cause serious problems for people who already have low levels of these minerals. 

2. It contains phytoestrogens. 

MANBOOBS. No, but seriously, phytoestrogens mimic the hormone oestrogen in the body, which can lead to males developing female traits if consumed in excess, and are thus a strong feminising agent. While it is harmful to males, it is especially harmful to infants, as it can interfere with normal sexual development and brain development. Ladies, you're not safe either; an increase in oestrogen levels in females can also disrupt natural circadian rhythms and hormone response. 

3. It contains goitrogens 

According to WHO, goitrogens in soy interfere with iodine absorption, which is one of the most common mineral deficiencies in the world (World Health Organisation). This iodine deficiency impairs the thyroid gland and the production of its hormones thyroxine (t4) and triiodothyronine (t3), which are involved in the regulation of resting metabolic rate, growth and reproduction, sexual development, and macromolecule metabolism (proteins, carbs and fats). As a result, low levels are more likely to result in fat gain and a lack of energy. 

So those are the top three reasons why contrary to popular belief, soy is not a healthy food. These are just a few of the reasons; there are many more, such as most soy coming from a GMO (genetically modified organism) and digestive issues. 

Don't get me wrong: while I don't recommend eating soy on a regular basis, that doesn't mean you can't eat it if you enjoy it; just don't eat it because you think it's a healthy food; it's not. 

P.S. If you have the same problem as my client, I recommend almond milk.