Mothering magazine published a story about the dangers of Soy consumption that has royal pissed off a number of high profile vegans and vegetarians. Most notably John Robbins who wrote a letter to the editor bashing what he considered a misleading approach to the topic.
From the Article:
How Much Soy Do Asians Really Eat?
Those who dare to question the benefits of soy tend to receive one stock answer: Soy foods couldn’t possibly have a downside because Asians eat large quantities of soy every day and consequently remain free of most western diseases. In fact, the people of China, Japan, and other countries in Asia eat very little soy. The soy industry’s own figures show that soy consumption in China, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan ranges from 9.3 to 36 grams per day.1 That’s grams of soy food, not grams of soy protein alone. Compare this with a cup of tofu (252 grams) or soy milk (240 grams).2 Many Americans today think nothing of consuming a cup of tofu, a couple glasses of soy milk, handfuls of soy nuts, soy “energy bars,” and veggie burgers. Infants on soy formula receive the most of all, both in quantity and in proportion to body weight.
In short, there is no historical precedent for eating the large amounts of soy food now being consumed by infants fed soy formula and vegetarians who favor soy as their main source of protein, or for the large amounts of soy being recommended by Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Christiane Northrup, and many other popular health experts.
What’s more, the rural poor in China have never seen-let alone feasted on-soy sausages, chili made with Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), tofu cheesecake, packaged soy milk, soy “energy bars,” or other newfangled soy products that have infiltrated the American marketplace.
The article’s author, Kaayla Daniel, repeatedly says that people of China, Japan and other countries in Asia eat very little soy, so there is no historical precedent for eating the amounts being recommended by people like Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Christiane Northrup. This is a misleading half truth. It is true that in parts of Asia, most notably China, soy consumption has been low. But Asia is a very large area with several billion people.
What’s important is not the average soy consumption for the whole of Asia, but the soy consumption in those parts of Asia which demonstrate the highest levels of human health. And there is no question about where that is. The elder population of Okinawa (a prefecture of Japan) have the best health and greatest longevity on the planet.
This is important because the highest soy consumption in the world is in Okinawa.
He goes on the talk about the benefits of having soy in your diet. Unfortunately in the end Robbins goes on his own diatribe against cows milk in which he makes some hideously misleading statements of his own, including:
-Cow’s milk provides more than nine times as much saturated fat as soy beverages, so is far more likely to contribute to heart disease.-Soy beverages are cholesterol-free, while cow’s milk contains 34 mg of cholesterol per cup, which again means that cow’s milk is far worse for your heart and cardiovascular system.-Soy beverages lower both total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, while cow’s milk raises both total and LDL cholesterol levels, providing yet more reasons soymilk is better for your health.
SKIM milk is not bad for you. EVERY study that ever said anything bad about the heart negative effects of milk used milk with fat in it. Period.
I lived in Japan as a kid, and grew up eating Japanese food all the time. Soy in the form of Tofu and Miso was a staple at my table. I love these foods, and I’m not about to give them up (any more than I’m giving up milk). But, as is true with so many things, moderation is the key. Too many vegetarians and vegans rely solely on soy for their protein intake, and that is where to problem lies.
If you are a serious weight trainer (if you’re reading this, that means you) then you have a very high protein requirement. Do everything in your power to keep your protein sources varied. Too much of a good thing is … well, you know the rest.
And here he is discussing Milk