Soy will affect my hormones! – Vegan Myth Busting

Not so fast, firstly we need to look at these two types of Estrogen:

  1. Phytoestrogen
  2. Mammalian Estrogen

These two are regularly confused and are not the same, but easy for mainstream media to bundle together, which then muddies the water.

Phytoestrogen is a plant-derived xenoestrogen not generated within the endocrine system but consumed by eating phytoestrogenicplants. Its name comes from the Greek phyto (“plant”) and estrogen. Estrogen created and found in the body is the hormone which gives fertility to female mammals, also known as Mammalian Estrogen.

There are many foods that contain Phytoestrogens and if you’re going to throw Soy out because of this then you’d also have to throw Linseed (flax), Sesame seeds, Wheat berries, Fenugreek, Oats, Barley, Beans, Lentils, Yams, Rice, Alfalfa, Mung beans, Apples, Carrots, Pomegranates, Wheat germ, Rice bran, Coffee, Licorice root, Mint, Ginseng, Hops, Bourbon whiskey, Beer and Fennel.

There has been much scare mongering regarding soy and its effect on estrogen levels in males and females, increasing the risk of hormone related illness etc but far from it, they may actually have the opposite effect.

Plant estrogens do not eliminate all of estrogen’s effects, but may help to minimize them, maybe even reducing breast cancer risk and menstrual symptoms. For men and boys, the phytoestrogens in soy may not appear to have an effect on hormone levels and have not been shown to affect sexual development or fertility, in fact some research studies show that men consuming soy have less prostate cancer and better prostate cancer survival. However I must say that much of the evidence seems to be conflicting and inconclusive.

But I would always look for organic non-gmo varieties of Tempeh and Tofu where possible, thus reducing any other issues to do with the farming of them.

Just like any other food group, if you do have a genuine intolerance to Soy, like Wheat, Gluten, Dairy etc, then just don’t eat it and if you don’t then as my granddad once said to me…

“Everything in Moderation, Including Moderation!”

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