Is soy milk helpful to the diabetic, or do the soy milk dangers outweigh the benefits? If you search the words “soy diabetes” online, you will find two sides of the coin, represented fairly equally. Will soy benefit our health, or is it a detriment to our health?
Soy is packed with protein; it tastes great, has a low glycemic index, is low in fat; and has been shown to lower cholesterol levels. Recent studies also show that soy can help reduce the risk of renal (kidney) disease and cardiovascular disease, two common side effects of diabetes.
In 2009, studies were published that show that diadzein, an isoflavone in soy, metabolizes into equol which has a positive effect on insulin sensitivity. Proponents of soy milk claim it is a wonderful substitute to cow’s milk, which loses nutrients through homogenization and pasteurization. For someone sensitive to dairy, soy milk and other soy products can be tempting.
Soy Milk Dangers Are Real
However, soy contains several anti-nutrients that cannot easily be eliminated. Until recently, only fermented (soy sauce, tempeh, miso, and natto) or precipitated soy (tofu) was consumed by humans. These processes remove or destroy many of the toxins in soy. Most of the soy products consumed today, including soy milk, are processed in such a way that toxins are actually added or created.
Here’s the short list of the worst offenders present in unfermented, unprecipitated soy: Phytic acid, enzyme inhibitors, and isoflavones. Additionally, genetically modified soy, which consists of up to 91% of the soy grown in the United States, contains even higher concentrations of pesticides. The GM soy has unquestionably been linked to extremely low birth rates and extremely high death rates in hamsters.
Phytic acid (also found in grains) prevents the absorption of zinc, iron, magnesium, and calcium. Zinc deficiency has been linked to the onset of diabetes. Diabetics are also generally deficient in magnesium. Vegetarians, too, who eat substantial amounts of soy frequently suffer from these deficiencies.
Enzyme inhibitors are toxins found in soy that prevent the proper absorption of protein. Protein is converted to glucose over several hours, preventing blood sugar spikes. Eating something that interferes with this process is counterproductive. The protein is wasted and the needed amount of protein each day is not absorbed by the body.
Other toxins in soy include the isoflavones which increase insulin sensitivity and mimic the hormone estrogen. The effects of eating even 2 tablespoons of soy per day have resulted in infertility, early onset of puberty in girls, development of breasts in boys, thyroid problems, fatigue, and lethargy. Since soy is already found in so many unsuspecting places, two tablespoons is easy to eat without even knowing it.
Do The Soy Milk Dangers Outweigh The Benefits?
Which “experts” should be believed? When doing your own research, check out the sources. Soy producers are often the sponsors of many of the pro-soy publicity. Also, many of the soy proponents haven’t really done their homework. After learning that soy is high in protein, low in fat, and low on the glycemic index, they proclaim it “good”. Even if the experts don’t completely convince you, isn’t it better to be safe than sorry? Avoid unfermented and unprecipitated soy products, including soy milk. Find alternative ways to get your protein and fix your insulin sensitivity and therefore cure diabetes naturally.
“Soy Nutrition”, sponsored by SILK
“Soy News: How Soy Reduces Diabetes Risk”, October 2009
“Newest Research on Why You Should Avoid Soy”, Fallon, Sally and Mary G. Enig, PhD, Nexus magazine, Vol. 7, Number 3 (April-May 2000).
“Genetically Modified Soy Linked to Sterility, Infant Mortality in Hamsters”, by Jeffrey Smith