Unfortunately most soy products today are highly processed (almost all processed foods contain some form of soy), genetically modified (which can kill off the good bacteria in your gut) and full of phytoestrogens – which can lead to hormone imbalances.
On the contrast – fermented soy foods like tempeh, natto and miso can be super healthy in moderation as the goitrogens and anti-nutrients are significantly reduced.
If you don’t think you consume much soy – it’s important to know that soy is in almost every processed food as either a cheap thickener, flavour enhancer and/or preservative.
If you see “soy lecithin, soy protein, soy protein concentrate or isolate, texturized vegetable protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein or any other phrase containing the word “soy” – it’s important to know that you are consuming soy.
How can consuming soy lead to a hormone imbalance?
Soybeans contain phytoestrogens, which mimic the body’s natural estrogen hormones and when consumed in excess, can lead to estrogen dominance.
Soy can also be harmful to those with thyroid dysfunction as the high levels of goitrogens found in unfermented soy contain anti-thyroid compounds that can lead to endocrine disruption and worsen thyroid disorders.
Take home message: Soy isn’t unhealthy, but it is best to consume only high quality sources in moderation for optimal balance.