Soy; it’s everywhere!
It’s also very controversial.
But how is this possible? Soy has been a staple in Asian diets for thousands of years! And not to mention vegetarians and vegans swear by it!
Well, there are two different types of soy; fermented and unfermented.
This is the traditional form where the bean is still fairly intact and hasn’t been broken down into its components. Traditional forms of soy products include edamame, tofu/bean curd, tempeh, and miso soup. In Asia, soy products are used in their original form as condiments, and not an excess. Fermented soy is high in protein, fibre and calcium.
The forms of soy consumed in the West are the components of soy. Soy isolate is one of the big ones, where the protein is used as an ingredient, including soy milk, meat lookalike products, and protein shakes and bars.
The unfermented version of soy contribute to a number of health issues including weakening of the immune system, promoting kidney stones, contributing to thyroid disorder and food allergies and intolerances (ever notice nutrition labels which state ‘may contain traces of soy’?). Consuming soy in its unfermented form means consumers will miss out on the health benefits that exist in the pure form. Unfermented soy contains a chemical which block nutrients (zinc, calcium, iron) from being absorbed.
All processed foods will contain some form of soy, so make sure you check the ingredients list before purchasing; or better yet, purchase fresh ingredients!
Look out for words like soy lecithin, soy protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, hydrolysed vegetable protein, texturised vegetable protein, or just about anything containing the word ‘soy’.