Millions of people consume soy products, and many of these people do so because they think soy is healthy for them. However, soy is one of the most common allergens, and it is also is a known goitrogen, which means it inhibits thyroid function. As a result, when a patient of mine begins a natural treatment protocol, I recommend they lay off all soy products for at least the first 21 to 30 days. And of course many will need to stay away from soy permanently if they want to remain symptom free and achieve optimal health.
Why is soy thought of as healthy by many people? Well, part of it has to do with good marketing by the soy industry. After all, many people are allergic to dairy products, and due to this, soy is often labeled as being a good alternative to many of these dairy-based products. For example, there are a lot of people who drink soy milk instead of cow’s milk. Now truth to be told, I personally try to avoid both cow’s milk and soy milk. But many people consume a lot of soy products on a daily basis, including soy milk, soy protein bars, protein drinks, and many other soy-based foods. Part of the problem is that many people aren’t aware that they are allergic to soy, and many people with thyroid conditions don’t realize that soy is a goitrogen and therefore can make their thyroid condition worse.
How To Identify Soy In The Products You Buy
While some foods which contain soy are obvious, such as soy milk, many other foods contain soy as an ingredient without being so obvious. Soy is commonly found in processed foods, and such foods frequently don’t include the word “soy” in the names of these ingredients (although sometimes they do). Here are just a few of the more common names that soy goes by:
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
Isolated soy protein
This is just a small sample, and if you eat a lot of processed foods, you’re sure to see these if you were to read the ingredients. This is yet another reason why it’s important to minimize the amount of refined and processed foods that you eat. While someone who is not highly allergic to soy can most likely get away with eating some soy-based products in moderation, too much soy can definitely create some health problems. So if you currently eat soy products on a frequent basis, you very well might want to make some changes.
Some infants are given soy-based formulas, which also can have negative consequences on their health. Sometimes this is done because it’s discovered that the infant has an allergy to dairy, while other times the parents mistakenly think that a soy-based formula is a healthy alternative. While breastfeeding is the best option in my opinion, I understand that not every woman is able to breastfeed, and so they have no choice but to give formula to their baby. In these cases, it’s best not to give a soy-based formula to avoid potential health issues with your baby.
But how about organic soy? Certainly this must be better than genetically modified soy? Yes, organic soy is definitely a better option, but it still doesn’t mean it’s a healthy option. Let’s use breakfast cereals as an analogy. Eating an organic cold cereal that has natural ingredients is definitely a healthier option than a cereal with a lot of sugar, along with artificial ingredients and preservatives. But those who think having organic cereal for breakfast (with or without soy milk!) is a healthy option are once again mistaken. Even though it’s organic, it still is refined, probably has a decent amount of sugar in it, and the best option would be to eliminate all cold cereals from your diet. And if you find this extremely difficult to do, keep in mind this is coming from someone who grew up eating “Froot Loops” and “Apple Jacks” for breakfast every single day for a couple of decades! In any case, the same concept applies with organic soy, as while it’s better than genetically modified soy, it still is best to be avoided.
Should People With Hyperthyroidism Take Soy?
Since soy inhibits thyroid function, some people might wonder whether it might be a good idea for someone with hyperthyroidism to consume soy-based foods. While taking soy in this case might not be as detrimental as it would be for someone who is hypothyroid, I still wouldn’t recommend that someone with hyperthyroidism intentionally take soy to inhibit their thyroid function. Then again, I guess it’s a better option than taking anti-thyroid drugs or receiving radioactive iodine therapy! But seriously, being someone who dealt with an autoimmune hyperthyroid condition, I can tell you that consuming goitrogens to inhibit thyroid gland function isn’t necessary, as this can usually be accomplished through a natural treatment protocol, and without having to consume thyroid-inhibiting foods.
If you really want to learn more about how soy can affect your health, you might want to read the book called “The Whole Soy Story”, written by Kaayla T. Daniel. This book will pretty much tell you everything you want to know about the affects of soy not only with regards to your thyroid gland, but how it can impact your overall health. You also might want to check out the website http://thyroid.about.com/cs/soyinfo/a/soy.htm, as this also contains some excellent information on how soy might affect thyroid health and possibly cause hypothyroidism.