Disclaimer for Shirley's Wellness Cafe

Hidden Dangers of Soy in your Diet

Contrary to popular belief that soy is a health food, evidence reveals that consumption of soy has been linked to numerous health disorders including infertility, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and cancer. According to studies, soy contains phytoestrogens that can affect your pets endocrine system if fed long-term. Soy contains phytates which can inhibit the absorption of other minerals.

Contact Shirley for Assistance

Soy: The Dark Side of America's Favorite "Health" Food

For several decades, soy was promoted as the miracle food that will feed the world while at the same time prevent and cure diseases. But Dianne Gregg, author of "The Hidden Dangers of Soy" is sounding the alarm about soy in your diet, in your animal feed and about soy infant formulas.

According to authors Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, the soy industry knows soy is poisonous, and “lie(s) to the public to sell more soy." They say that soy is “the next asbestos." They predict that there will be huge lawsuits with “thousands and thousands of legal briefs.

Researchers at Cornell University Medical College said that children who got soy formula were more likely to develop thyroid disease and that twice as many diabetic children had received soy formula in infancy as compared to non-diabetic children. In fact, in other countries such as Switzerland, England, Australia and New Zealand, public health officials recommend highly restricted medically monitored use of soy for babies and for pregnant women.

Soy Experts "While even in 1966 there was considerable research on the harmful substances within soybeans, you'll be hard pressed to find articles today that claim soy is anything short of a miracle-food. As soy gains more and more popularity through industry advertising, we are moved once again to raise our voice of concern. Soybeans in fact contain a large number of dangerous substances."

  • One among them is phytic acid, also called phytates. This organic acid is present in the bran or hulls of all seeds and legumes, but none have the high level of phytates that soybeans do. These acids block the bodyís uptake of essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron and especially zinc. Adding to the high-phytate problem, soybeans are very resistant to phytate reducing techniques, such as long, slow cooking.
  • Soybeans also contain potent enzyme inhibitors. These inhibitors block uptake of trypsin and other enzymes that the body needs for protein digestion. Normal cooking does not deactivate these harmful "antinutrients," that can cause serious gastric distress, reduced protein digestion and can lead to chronic deficiencies in amino acid uptake.
  • Beyond these, soybeans also contain hemagglutinin, a clot promoting substance that causes red blood cells to clump together. These clustered blood cells are unable to properly absorb oxygen for distribution to the body's tissues, and cannot help in maintaining good cardiac health. Hemagglutinin and trypsin inhibitors are both "growth depressant" substances. Although the act of fermenting soybeans does deactivate both trypsin inhibitors and hemagglutinin, precipitation and cooking do not. Even though these enzyme inhibitors are reduced in levels within precipitated soy products like tofu, they are not altogether eliminated. Only after a long period of fermentation (as in the creation of miso or tempeh) are the phytate and "antinutrient" levels of soybeans reduced, making their nourishment available to the human digestive system. The high levels of harmful substances remaining in precipitated soy products leave their nutritional value questionable at best, and in the least, potentially harmful.

There was considerable research done in 1966 about the harmful substance within the soybean. Soy contains several naturally occurring compounds that are toxic to humans and animals. The soy industry frequently refers to these toxins as anti-nutrients, which implies that they somehow act to prevent the body from getting the complete nutrition it needs from a food. The soy toxins (such as phytic acid) can certainly act in this manner, but they also have the ability to target specific organs, cells and enzyme pathways, and their effects can be devastating. As with any toxin, there will be a dose at which negative effects are not observed.

Scientists have known for years that the isoflavones in soy products can depress thyroid function and cause goiters in otherwise healthy children and adults. A combined research team of Cornell University Medical College and Long Island Community Hospital medical experts have found that children who develop Type1 diabetes are twice as likely to have been fed soy formulas as those fed all other foods This confirms concerns based on animal studies raised in the 1980's and 1990s by Health Canada researcher Dr Fraser Scott and led to the American Academy of Pediatrics issuing their warning to pediatricians against any use of soy based formulas.

Milk Soy Protein Intolerance is commonly acknowledged and diagnosed by both pediatricians and family physicians. In the medical field the occurrence is also known as eosinophilic gastroenteritis or protein intolerance. MSPI is diagnosed through the history of an infant who displays irritable, colic-like behavior, poor growth, and abnormal stools, some of which visibly show blood. Confirmation of the diagnosis is made by a biopsy of the intestinal tissue showing an increased amount of eosinophilic cells, eroded intestinal villi, and hemorrhagic tissue. An increase in the level of eosinophilic cells may also correlate with an allergic response of the intestinal tissues due to the introduction of an allergic compound. Many physicians request that parents alter the infant's formula, or the mother's diet (for breastfed infants) prior to having a gastroenterologist perform an invasive biopsy, then if the symptoms diminish, or even cease, the diagnosis of MSPI is assumed.

Both formula-fed and breast-fed infants can develop an intolerance to cow's milk protein and also soy protein. For infants fed with the formula, it is easy to change to a different formula, but more specialized formulas are more expensive. For many families the costs of these formulas are prohibitive. For an infant who is breastfed, the mother's diet must be altered to avoid milk and soy proteins in order continue breastfeeding. This approach is certainly a much less costly solution to the dietary demands of an MSPI infant.

Page Divider

Newest Research On Why You Should Avoid Soy

by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD

> Home base business opportunity "...the soybean contains large quantities of natural toxins or "anti-nutrients". First among them are potent enzyme inhibitors that block the action of trypsin and other enzymes needed for protein digestion. These inhibitors are large, tightly folded proteins that are not completely deactivated during ordinary cooking. They can produce serious gastric distress, reduced protein digestion and chronic deficiencies in amino acid uptake. In test animals, diets high in trypsin inhibitors cause enlargement and pathological conditions of the pancreas, including cancer. Soybeans also contain haemagglutinin, a clot-promoting substance that causes red blood cells to clump together. Trypsin inhibitors and haemagglutinin are growth inhibitors. Approximately 25 per cent of bottle-fed children in the US receive soy-based formula - a much higher percentage than in other parts of the Western world. Fitzpatrick estimated that an infant exclusively fed soy formula receives the estrogenic equivalent (based on body weight) of at least five birth control pills per day. Scientists have known for years that soy-based formula can cause thyroid problems in babies."

Early in 2007, the Weston A. Price Foundation began hearing from inmates who were suffering from a myriad of serious health problems due to the large amounts of soy in the diet. These prisoners had found us through the Soy Alert! section of our website. Complaints include chronic and painful constipation alternating with debilitating diarrhea, vomiting after eating, sharp pains in the digestive tract, especially after consuming soy, passing out, heart palpitations, rashes, acne, insomnia, panic attacks, insomnia, depression and symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as low body temperature (feeling cold all the time), brain fog, fatigue, weight gain, frequent infections and enlarged thyroid gland. Since soy contains anti-fertility compounds, many young prisoners may be unable to father children after their release.

Soy May Cause Cancer and Brain Damage

Two senior US government scientists have revealed that chemicals in soy could increase the risk of breast cancer in women, brain damage in both men and women, and abnormalities in infants.

"Dr Fitzpatrick's literature review uncovered evidence that soy consumption has been linked to numerous disorders, including infertility, increased cancer and infantile leukemia; and, in studies dating back to the 1950s, that genistein in soy causes endocrine disruption in animals."

The health claims of the soy industry have one purpose and one purpose alone - to sell more soy! That's why you'll only hear about the benefits of soy from the industry, but all consumers deserve the right to make an informed choice about what they are eating and feeding to their children, their household pets and their livestock.

Frequently consuming foods containing soy may contribute to memory loss, British experts say.

Experts at England's Loughborough and Oxford Universities researched the impact of soy consumption in 719 senior citizens on the Indonesian island of Java, the Daily Mail reported Saturday. Researchers determined people who ate soy at least twice a day had 20 percent less memory function that those who ate it significantly less. "Soy consumption is on the increase in the West and is often promoted as a 'superfood.' Soy products are rich in micronutrients called phytoestrogens, but it is not entirely clear what their effect on the aging brain is," said Professor Eef Hogervorst of Loughborough University. Hogervorst said vegetarians and elderly women seemed to be highly susceptible to potential memory loss from soy consumption.

John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America writes: "There are legitimate questions about certain soy foods, and much we have yet to learn. Becoming soy-a-holics and automatically downing anything made from soybeans is not the road to health, but neither is shunning and stigmatizing soy foods. The anti-soy crusade has needlessly frightened many away from a food source that has long been a boon to humankind, a food source that can, if we are respectful of our bodies and of nature, nourish and bless us in countless ways."

Page Divider

Soy as a Male Contraceptive

Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD - "In September of this year, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health presented evidence at the 63rd annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine showing that soy phytoestrogens can seriously lower a man’s sperm count. This is old news to Weston A. Price Foundation members. This research that links soy consumption to poor The dangers of soy sperm quality, lower testosterone levels and sagging libidos. Dr. Chavarro and colleagues studied 100 men whose partners were having trouble getting pregnant. Semen analyses showed that the men with the highest levels of soy food intake-approximately a half serving per day-had 41 million sperm per milliliter fewer than men who did not consume any soy-that’s 41 million fewer sperm per milliliter on just one-half cup of soy food per day! The researchers used a questionnaire listing 15 soy-based foods to determine soy consumption over the preceding three months."

Soy also contains a natural estrogen, which is why it is recommended to women at menopause. The president of the Maryland Nutritionists Association, Mary Enig, Ph.D. stated that "The amount of phytoestrogens that are in a days worth of soy infant formula equals five birth control pills." Dr. Enig believes that soy infant formula may be associated with early puberty in girls and slower physical growth in boys. Others say it may effect fertility and normal brain development.

The rise of Soy Allergies

In the 1980s, Stuart Berger, MD, labelled soy one of the seven top allergens—one of the "sinister seven"

Soy is one of the top allergens—substances that cause allergic reactions. In the 1980s, Stuart Berger, MD, labelled soy one of the seven top allergens—one of the "sinister seven". At the time, most experts listed soy around tenth or eleventh—bad enough, but way behind peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, shellfish, fin fish and wheat. Today, soy is widely accepted as one of the "big eight" that cause immediate hypersensitivity reactions.

Allergies are abnormal inflammatory responses of the immune system to dust, pollen, a food or some other substance. Those that involve an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE) occur immediately or within an hour. Reactions may include coughing, sneezing, runny nose, hives, diarrhoea, facial swelling, shortness of breath, a swollen tongue, difficulty swallowing, lowered blood pressure, excessive perspiration, fainting, anaphylactic shock or even death.

Delayed allergic responses to soy are less dramatic, but are even more common. These are caused by antibodies known as immunoglobulins A, G or M (IgA, IgG or IgM) and occur anywhere from two hours to days after the food is eaten. These have been linked to sleep disturbances, bed wetting, sinus and ear infections, crankiness, joint pain, chronic fatigue, gastrointestinal woes and other mysterious symptoms.

Food "intolerances", "sensitivities" and "idiosyncrasies" to soy are commonly called "food allergies", but differ from true allergies in that they are not caused by immune system reactions but by little-understood or unknown metabolic mechanisms. Strictly speaking, gas and bloating—common reactions to soy and other beans—are not true allergic responses. However, they may serve as warnings of the possibility of a larger clinical picture involving allergen-related gastrointestinal damage.


The soybean industry knows that some people experience severe allergic reactions to its products. In a recent petition to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Protein Technologies International (PTI) identified "allergenicity" as one of the "most likely potential adverse effects associated with ingestion of large amounts of soy products". Yet PTI somehow concluded that "the data do not support that they would pose a substantial threat to the health of the US population". This statement is hardly reassuring to the many children and adults who suffer allergies to soy products. And it ignores a substantial body of evidence published during the 1990s showing that some of these people learn for the first time about their soy allergies after experiencing an unexpectedly severe or even life-threatening reaction. Severe reactions to soy are rare compared to reactions to peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish, but Swedish researchers recently concluded that "Soy has been underestimated as a cause of food anaphylaxis" (Foucard T., Malmheden Yman, I., Allergy 1999, 53(3):261-265).11

Just How Much Soy Did Asians Eat?

In short, not that much, and contrary to what the industry may claim, soy has never been a staple in Asia. A study of the history of soy use in Asia shows that the poor used it during times of extreme food shortage, and only when the soybeans were carefully prepared (e.g. by lengthy fermentation) to destroy the soy toxins.

Soy is an important crop on American farms, and there is a strong soy lobby. The health claims of the soy industry have one purpose and one purpose alone - to sell more soy! But scientists have known for years that the isoflavones in soy products can depress thyroid function and cause goiters in otherwise healthy children and adults. Researchers at Cornell University Medical College said that children who got soy formula were more likely to develop thyroid disease and that twice as many diabetic children had received soy formula in infancy as compared to non-diabetic children. In fact, in other countries such as Switzerland, England, Australia and New Zealand, public health officials recommend highly restricted medically monitored use of soy for babies and for pregnant women.

Brain.com reports an ongoing study involving 3,734 elderly Japanese-American men. That research has found that the men who ate the most tofu during mid-life had up to 2.4 times the risk of later developing Alzheimer's disease. Lead researcher Dr. Lon R. White said that men who ate tofu at least twice weekly showed brain aging about five years faster than those who seldom ate tofu. Soy has also been implicated in interference with the absorption of zinc, calcium, protein enzymes and amino acids.

Page Divider

Beware of Infant Soy Formulas

Precocious puberty in children have been fed soy formula. Early maturation, such as breast development and menstruation as early as 6 years of age.

Dr. Mercola - "Soy formula is one of the worst foods that you could feed your child. Not only does it have profoundly adverse hormonal effects as discussed above, but it also has over 1000% more aluminum than conventional milk based formulas. It is becoming increasingly common for young children, even 5- and 6-year-olds, to go through precocious puberty (aka early sexual development). The introduction of this report even states that studies have found girls as young as 2 years old entering puberty! This is clearly a multi-faceted problem, but I believe one of its main causes stems from your environmental exposure to a whole slew of endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Even the conservative US government has recognized that soy formula is a potent endocrine disruptor. There is absolutely no reason to ever give your child soy formula or soy milk. It is one of the worst foods you could possibly give your child and the long-term health complications can be quite significant.

Prostate cancer and breast cancer, early puberty, endometriosis and infertility, irregular and painful menstrual periods are only a few of the things your children will have increased risk for if they are given soy formula or soy milk. If you have already given your child these foods the best way to reverse the damage is to have them rigidly follow the eating plan. The nutrition from whole organic foods is the most potent corrective force for these disruptions in hormones. If you still aren't convinced of the dangers of soy you might want to review the protest letter two FDA experts wrote earlier this year which points to studies that show a link between soy and health problems in certain animals."

Elaine Hollingsworth, director of the Hippocrates Health Center of Australia and author of "Take Control of Your Health and Escape the Sickness Industry", writes about the terrible effects of soy products on children:

"I am not exaggerating when I say that HUNDREDS of people have rung me during the past year to tell me about dreadful health problems that started after taking up the soy habit. Serious thyroid malfunctioning is one of the most common complaints. This is not surprising, since it has been known for years that isoflavones in soy can depress thyroid function, causing autoimmune thyroid disease and even cancer. It is a medically recognized fact that our body absorbs significant amounts of what we put on our skin.

With Certified Organic food rapidly becoming the nutrition of choice by the health conscious amongst us, why would you accept any less for your skin? of the thyroid. By far the worst calls are from women whose children have been fed soy formula. They tell me heartbreaking stories about baby girls who show signs of early maturation, such as underarm odour, breast development, body hair and even menstruation as early as two, three and four years of age! The risk appears to be greatest in girls who ingest soy formula for nine months or more. In baby boys, 12 months of soy feeding can lead to gross effects by the age of 11 or 12. Breasts can appear and testicles do not develop. Several women have rung asking what to do for these pathetic boys, who refuse to participate in sports, fearing shower-room ridicule, and who will be dependent upon thyroid drugs for life. I can't help, and I don't think anyone can.

Nature did not intend infants to be fed hormones, and life-threatening consequences occur when they are. Of course, these horrible problems do not occur with every soy-fed baby, but is it worth taking such a chance? Your child will not thank you, and you may never have grandchildren. Drinking soy milk during pregnancy can cause a failure to produce breast milk, which can lead to feeding the baby soy formula. By far the worst cases of soy damage are reported to us by women who have drunk soy milk while pregnant, and then fed their babies soy formula. This is a deadly combination. These women cannot restrain their tears when describing the dreadful health problems their children have. They keep repeating to me, "I didn't know, I just didn't know, the doctor told me to drink it for my bones and give him soy formula."

Page Divider

Are Soybeans Making your Animal Sick?

The health risks associated with soy products far outweigh any potential benefit, which is why pet owners should avoid exposing their dog or cat to any food containing soy. In the mid-1980s, 29 cheetahs in American zoos died, many from liver disease. Only 18 were born, and 7 of those died before reaching adulthood. Less than 10 percent of adult female cheetahs in captivity in North America produced live cubs but in other countries, 60 to 70 percent was the norm. North American cheetahs were fed a commercial feline diet of horsemeat and soy. Cheetahs living and breeding successfully in other parts of the world were fed whole animal carcasses.

Soy in parrot's diets results in bone and beak disorders The harm that soy causes animals has been known for decades, but this fact currently appears to be ignored by manufacturers of animal feeds who are ever eager to utilize cheap sources of protein in their products.

Do Soy Foods Negatively Affect Your Thyroid?

by Mary Shomon

It seems that there's isn't a newspaper, magazine or news program that hasn't recently featured a story on the amazing health benefits of soy food products and soy/isoflavone supplements. Soy is promoted as a healthy alternative to estrogen replacement for some women, as a possibly way to reduce the risk of breast cancer, as a way to minimize menopause symptoms, and as a healthier, low-fat protein alternative for meats and poultry.

But what all the positive stories fail to mention is that there is a very real -- but very overlooked -- downside to the heavy or long-term use of soy products. Soy products increase the risk of thyroid disease. And this danger is particularly great for infants on soy formula. This is not information that the powerful and profitable U.S. soy industry wants you to know. The sale of soy products is big business, and the increasing demand for soy protein products, soy powders and soy isoflavone supplements is making that an even more profitable business than ever before.

Thyroid Power Dr. Richard Shames, a Harvard and University of Pennsylvania graduate who served at the NIH, believes that we are witnessing an autoimmune low-thyroid epidemic. Doctors on the Thyroid Unit at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in NYC have revealed that 20 million Americans are currently being treated for thyroid problems. Synthroid, just one of the various thyroid medicines, is now either first or second most-prescribed drug in the US. The University of Colorado Health Sciences Center estimates that there are over 13 million more Americans who have undiagnosed thyroid problems that are causing many of their uncomfortable symptoms (fatigue, depression, excess weight, infertility, miscarriage, severe menopause, dry skin, constipation, hair loss).

Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD - "Oprah Winfrey’s announcement last month on Good Morning America that she “blew out” her thyroid brought much needed attention to the underreported epidemic of thyroid disorders in this country. Sadly, few commentators noted that Oprah’s consumption of soy milk and other soy products might have played a key role in the development of her thyroid problems. Oprah has told her viewers that she loves shakes made with soy milk and blueberries. She has applauded when guests such as Julia Roberts have talked about how much they “love” their soy milk. Unfortunately, soy can seriously damage the thyroid gland, most often causing hypo-thyroidism, with its symptoms of weight gain, leththargy, fatigue and malaise. In Oprah’s case, soy may have initially over stimulated her thyroid, causing a revved up metabolism and sleepless nights. With Hashimoto’s thyroiditis-the likeliest diagnosis for Oprah-it is quite common for someone’s thyroid gland to go hyper for a period before falling into the exhaustion of hypothyroidism.

The thyroid hormones regulate (1) metabolism, (2) growth and development,(3) the activity of the nervous system. An under production of these hormones is a hypothyroid condition, while an overproduction creates a hyperthyroid condition.