Conscious Consumerism

Eat This Planet: Soy What?

eat, sustainableNick OgdenComment

I am a simple kind of guy; I really enjoy the bad "dad" jokes and the puns that stick with you until dessert. Sorry not sorry for this articles tittle. 

This week I wanted to take time and discuss the heart and soy of the matter, the oh soy good food, the soyl of the earth like stuff. Soy.

Soy is an easy fan favorite for all those people who choose not to eat meat or choose to eat less meat and substitute something with a good amount of protein. Also, soy is a cheap alternative right now compared to Clean Meat, and the other plant-based protein meats that I have brought up this month. I do know however, that soy has been given a bad rap by a lot of people, predominately those people who argue that soy contains high levels of estrogen that could affect male hormones (in particular). I would also like to discuss the elephant in the room and discuss the amount of hormones and other administered drugs that people ingest through their meat and dairy that they don't always realize!. So lets delve in,

The biggest argument I get against eating soy is that it has high levels of estrogen that will alter the hormonal makeup of a person, altering their balances between the main two: estrogen and testosterone. Studies have shown that this is not entirely true. The science behind the human bodies absorption of estrogen is broken down into a few parts. Estrogen is only absorbed by the body when isoflavones bind to the estrogen receptors in out bodies, when there are little or less receptors (as in the male body) there is less of an impact on that body. The two isoflavones in soybeans are genistein and daidzein, which our estrogen receptors do not receive. However, our bodies can be tricked into absorbing the alpha isoflavones, which have a better chance of being absorbed. If you are a healthy male, with a close to normal weight, the alpha's will most likely not be absorbed. This being said, the studies that I have found do say that if you are a man that is over-weight or have already lowered levels of testosterone, your body can absorb some levels of isoflavones. This is a complicated issue, research is somewhat split as to what isoflavones can and cannot be absorbed and by who. My best piece of advise is to not over-do-it on anything. If you eat to much steak your bad colesteral will go up and you are going to have some bad news come your way. If you eat to much kale, the vitamin K will slow your kidneys are probably going to have a bad day. So, mix up your diet and stay true to the old adage: diversity is the spice of life. (Sources: Effect of Soy in Men With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Subclinical Hypogonadism: A Randomized Controlled StudyClinical studies show no effects of soy protein or isoflavones on reproductive hormones in men: results of a meta-analysis

Oh bud, there's WHAT in my WHAT?! 

Ya, so sorry to break it to you (if you don't already know and if you're meat ain't "happy") but you are eating hormones pal. Heck ya! The beef industry uses hormones to beef up their beef and make them as beefy as beefilly possible. They swinedle you into thinking you are getting all this great protein, you are but with a few secret ingredients. Often, cattle raised for meat production is injected with antibiotics that have been linked to health risk and have only been given approval if the animal is under some sort of health risk. With that being said, there has been major advances in livestock antimicrobial, antibiotic, and hormone research. In the past, pre 2010, there has been very serious concern about the specific antimicrobial, antibiotic, and hormones used in the raising of livestock. This is still a concern but this has been a lesser concern recently. Hormone, antimicrobials, and antibiotics are still being used in livestock farming and this is a concern. This is due to the fact that using antimicrobials and antibiotics increases antibiotic resistant bugs as well as antimicrobial resistant bugs. This is cause for concern because due to the fact that when a microbial or bacteria becomes resistant to the drugs that are produced to fight them off more powerful medicines are concocted to fight them. This is the same for human focused antibiotics, using to many antibiotics actually leads to stronger antibiotic resistant bacterias that will be fought with harder and harder antibiotics... and soy the cycle continues. Again, I am not here writing this article to make people switch their entire diet but more so open people's minds about the food they eat and be aware of others. (Sources: Risk Assessment of Growth Hormones and Antimicrobial Residues in Meat, Antibiotic Resistance Doesn’t Just Make Bacteria Harder To Kill – It Can Actually Make Them Stronger

This have gotten a bit muddy and a little scientific this week, I know, but when talking about human diet and understanding what is in our food the discussion often does. As I have stated, I am not here to try and make anyone feel insecure or inferior about their diet; I am simply trying to expand people's understanding about the offerings that are put in front of them and their choices. I have stated and even harped about how much power we have as consumers on the global market and the economy. We have the power to rise business and cripple it. If you take anything from this article and anything from this month's topic, understand that you have power. Your buying power, your buying influence, and your buying choices impact global economies and global ecosystems more then your political vote ever will. I hope that you finish this article with a bit more understanding about protein choices and protein components that might deter you from buying certain proteins. I hope that you take the time and be a little more critical about your protein choices. 

As always, thank you for reading and don't forget to SUBSCRIBE