What is the real scoop?
Soy has been featured in news headlines for several years. The most common of these news stories revolves around soy’s apparent near-miraculous abilities to aid in weight loss efforts. Is this all it is cracked up to be, or is there more to the story?
What’s in The Fine Print?
Reading studies online, or in medical journals or fitness magazines, often leads to a conclusion differing somewhat from the rosy news bites featuring soy as the super weight loss champion.
One of the first inconsistencies of note are statements claiming soy has an effect on the ‘fullness’ receptors in the brain. The actual truth is that researchers have a lot more work to do to find out how soy proteins affect the body in ways that result in weight loss- if they do at all.
Some studies designed to prove the hypothesis that soy has ability similar to leptin, which tells the brain it is full and thus curtails appetite, have concluded with interesting results. The findings were not so much that soy had a diminishing effect on appetite. Instead it seems that soy might have a simulative effect on metabolism. Preliminary studies are favorable to soy’s inclusion in a weight loss regimen.
Before all of overweight America runs out and begins a three-week soy burger feast, there is more to know. Men, for example, should limit their soy intake. Soy is naturally high in the female hormone estrogen making it an unwise choice for high levels of consumption in a male system. However, it's important to note that soy does not reduce testosterone levels in men, nor does it affect sperm quality.
Soy is also not such good news for anyone who suffers form thyroid issues. It might not even be considered great in large amounts for those with healthy thyroids. In the media storm surrounding soy, consumption in general has increased. With this increase hypothyroidism has also gone up. It is now suspected that there is a correlation between these two events and soy is being implicated as an accomplice. Generally, those with hypothyroidism are advised to limit their soy intake.
Soy might have a few dietary boons, as well as red flags, but one thing that is certain is that soy sellers want to sell their product. Scrupulous hucksters stop at nothing to sell their wares. One example is fabricated study results. It is not unheard of for sellers to create poorly designed or fictional studies in an effort to boost sales.
One soy seller's study published the findings that their soy product helped 60 plus women to lose over 7 pounds in four weeks. These claims were all true, but dietary changes such as the complete substitution of all junk foods, late night snacks, and sodas with soy chips only, as per study conditions, was more likely the reason these women lost weight. It wasn’t necessarily magical components unique to the soy chips, but rather the marked decrease in calories that resulted in the shedding of excess pounds.
Whenever you're looking into soy, or any other product for that matter, make sure you're getting your information from reputable sources or articles that cite reputable sources. Your Aunt Vicky's latest Facebook post probably isn't the best source for the right information on soy. This is especially true as conspiracy theories float around regarding soy's supposed dangers.
You'll likely see posts from people claiming that soy has dangerous effects on men, and that it's being pushed as a tool to harm or pacify men. As we discussed above, there is no scientific evidence to support these claims. People are often nervous about new advancements in science; while soy is not new, its popularity as a food ingredient has grown rapidly. This has caused some to wonder about its safety. If you have any questions or concerns about soy that you can't find a good answer to, speak to your doctor.
The content of this article should not be taken as professional medical advice. Always consult with a qualified, licensed medical professional before making any decisions that affect your health.