To Soy or Not to Soy

You hear it all over the news and on the web. Eat soy for its health properties. Many women, especially those that are in the throws of menopause, swear by soy. But does soy really live up to all the hype that goes with it?

While so many people are flocking to the natural foods section of their supermarkets, many doctors and scientists are scratching their heads wondering what the fuss is about. In fact, some are even concerned that certain people may be jeopardizing their health by eating too much soy.

Soy products come from the soybean, a legume that is grown in the Midwest of the United States. For the past few years, manufacturers have been pumping out soy products with the news that soy will help lower your cholesterol, decrease your risk of heart disease and help women by easing the symptoms of menopause. What woman doesn’t want that!

Soy is also used in a variety of foods that dieters and menopausal women don’t eat. For instance, body builders will use high soy protein drinks to bulk up when they work out. Infant formulas are also made with soy when a baby is intolerant to other baby formulas. Should you stop giving soy baby formula to your infant?

Before you empty your shelves of all your soy products, keep in mind that some studies show that soy products do have health benefits to help reduce heart disease and even prevent prostate cancer. For babies that can’t take regular baby formula, soy formula is a perfect substitution.

However, like all good things, sometimes people overdo. The baby who is drinking soy formula will not be on soy over the long term and will eventually start eating table food to balance out a diet of just soy milk as he or she grows. The woman who is in menopause will eventually move beyond that point in her life and leave hot flashes behind.

Like everything, moderation is the key to staying. This is especially important for people who are following a diet high in soy products or for body builders who use soy products to increase their protein consumption.

On the outside, a plant based protein sounds fabulous. It’s low in fat, unlike some animal proteins. Since it is a legume, one would think it would be easy to digest. Not so fast! Too much soy consumption can lead to fatigue, bloating, constipation and sleeplessness. Some people find soy hard to digest.

Aside from the discomfort, there are some people who should watch their soy intake very carefully. For instance, if you have hypothyroidism, too much soy can interfere with thyroid production, even if you are on medication. This can lead to weight gain, hair loss, muscle fatigue and more.

Some people may not tolerate soy very well and even find they have allergies that are being caused by too much soy consumption. If you’re a person with unidentified allergies and you currently consume soy products on a regular basis, you may want to test whether your allergies are being caused by the soy products you eat. In some cases, the problem may stem from over consumption and reducing your soy intake may be enough to solve the problem.

Like with any diet, an imbalanced diet may cause problems with your health. The best diets include a well balanced menu that includes vegetables, grains, fruits, and proteins in the form of eggs, meats, fish and soy products.

Unless you’re allergic to soy or have some real adverse affect to soy you shouldn’t be frightened off by references that soy is not good for you. Soy has many wonderful properties. Just remember to balance soy with other healthy foods.

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