The humble soybean is a highly nutritious legume. It has a nutty texture, is quite bland in flavour and provides a number of essential ingredients. If we are talking about the soybean then the debate is simple – it is good for you in normal quantities. We are however, talking about soy products, which in today’s accessible society are readily available in abundance. We are now able to purchase soy milk in the local store in the middle of nowhere.
Soy products now extend to every non-meat and meat alternative product imaginable. You can purchase soy sausages, soy schnitzel and even soy sashimi salmon. Soy yoghurt, soy cream cheese and soy ice-cream is available in every supermarket across the country. Soy is routinely added to almost all packaged foods either as soy flour, soy protein isolate, soy lecithin or soy oil (commonly listed as vegetable oil). Gone are the days of thinking soy meant soy sauce or just tofu. We have entered a soy excess phase and do we actually know what we are doing?
Soy is one of the cheapest ingredients to manufacture and provides a number of food useable products. It is also one of the highest genetically modified foods available and has crops throughout the world. It is a staple food in most Asian countries but we need to acknowledge how they consume it vs. how the rest of the world has manipulated its usage. When you’re in Japan and they serve you freshly made tofu with a sprinkling of green tea and salt powder it is completely different to what you would buy in Australian supermarkets. The quality of the product, the texture and the taste all influence the quantity of what you consume. We all know that soy products are a great source of phytooestrogens (plant compounds with weak oestrogenic activity) but we have to consider that if we are changing soy from a wholefood into a manipulated food substance, we will only truly know the impact in a number of years. Focus your diet on wholefoods to ensure that you consume foods as nature intended.