Food Myth: Are soy products really a healthy alternative?

Essay by weeping_bloodHigh School, 12th grade March 2006

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A food myth that I am aware of is that soy products are believed by some to be a good alternative source of nutrients that are found normally in meat and dairy products. Soybeans also have the benefit of being perceived by the general consumer as a great source of iron, zinc, protein and calcium and have the extra benefit in being low in cholesterol.

Facts not know by many is that soy products also have several, if not more, negative effects compared to the positive. Freshly picked and untreated soybeans are toxic and have a high level of phytic acid. To remove the toxins from the soybeans, the soybeans need to be placed through an intensive chemical process which consists of treating the soybeans with many chemical washes and high heat treatments. By removing the toxins found in soybeans with these chemical processes, the protein found in the original soybean becomes denatured and therefore making the soybeans difficult to digest.

Many soy product consumers believe that soybeans are a great a source of iron, zinc, protein and calcium, but they may not know what important nutrients the soybeans lack. Soybeans do not contain cysteine, methionine and tryptophan which are all essential amino acids. Lacking the vitamins A and D hinders the body's ability to digest and make the best possible use of the protein available. Adding to the toxic aspect of the soy product controversy is the fact that the neurotoxin MSG is added to make the soybeans taste similar to the food they are imitating and replacing.

Even if all of the toxins found in unprocessed soybeans were all taken away in the chemical processes, the fact that this very process destroys the protein found in the soybeans, that additives are used to make to soy products taste right and the lack of important vitamins and amino acids proves the myth of soy products being a healthy alternative to consume the nutrients found usually in meat and dairy products wrong.