ELLE Food Column – Soja, no thanks…?

Soy mimics the body's natural estrogen

Type in “soy” to Google and you’ll get an amazing amount of info. Numerous of articles about why soy is healthy and safe and also numerous ones about why you should avoid soy. So, what’s the deal here? Is it good or bad?? ELLE Food health expert Sophia van Sorgen explains..


Personally I think it is always best to be mindfull and cautios, because things a really black and white and also in this case there isn’t a simple yes or no. The main reason to skip soy from your diets is because soy contains phytoestrogens. These mimic the body’s natural estrogen. For men this can lead to testosterone imbalance, infertility, low sperm count and increased risks of cancers. For women, it can cause estrogen dominance, which has been linked to infertility, menstrual troubles and an increased risk of cancer, especially breast cancer.

Hey, but what about all those studies about Asian women who eat loads of soy and the low rates of cancer over there? Well, the Chinese for example, do not eat soy the way we do. They mostly consume fermented soy and that’s a whole different story, as with the fermentation process natural occurring toxins and antinutrients will be dismantled. Also, the intake of soy in the western world has increased dramatically in a relative short amount of time. One of the main reasons is that soy is in approximately 50 % of processed food products. Whereas Asian people like the Japanese and Chinese consume soy for already 1000’s of years, our western bodies are not used to soy and, in particular not such high amounts. So my carefull advise; a little soy is fine, but be aware if you consume big quantities.

Having that said, in all areas in the world where the western style diet is introduced due to economic prosperity (think of fast food, meat and large amounts of processed foods in supermarkets) cancer rates go up as well as for other diseases of affluence.

Besides that, soy also increases the body’s need for Vitamin D,B-12 and minerals such as magnesium. And then there’s the fact that soy is most of the time genetically modified these days. Soy is a very problematic crop and even organic soy cannot be trusted. And organic soy doesn?t change the natural toxicity of this bean. Soy has to go through some processes to remove some of the antinutrients. Most of the time the beans get an acid washing in aluminum tanks, which leads to high amounts of aluminum in the final product. Aluminum can have adverse effects on brain development and cause symptoms such as learning disabilities, Alzheimer and dementia.

If you?re using soymilk as a substitute for dairy, I would advice you to skip to organic and unsweetened almond or rice milk. I hope this clears the fogginess a bit when it comes to soy.

Lots of love, Sophia

Do you have a question about nutrition and how it works or want to know whether something is real or a nutrition myth? Send an email to actie@elleeten.nl o.v.v. “Sophia Sorgen” and Sophia might answer your question in a future blog.