I met Nisha online and was a guest on her radio show. She has a great fitness program for expecting moms and is going to be doing some guest posts on my blog!
I apologise if this turns into a bit of a rant – I don’t intend it come out that way, but it might because I am PASSIONATE about this subject.
For years the “health food” industry has spent millions on positioning Soy as a health food and now it is in EVERYTHING! Even baby formula. And even though the Food Standards Agency has issued warnings about the dangers of Soy in infant / childrens food it is still allowed to go on today.
One of my Facebook Friends recently posted a comment on how her 4 month old baby is always hungry at around 1030pm and how she was planning to give him “goodnight milk” to see if it helped him go through the night.
I immediately posted on her update that goodnight milk is made with soya as is 99% of baby formula that you will find on the shelf in the supermarket and her comment back was, “Why is soya bad?”
It seems that although all the scientific evidence is to the contrary, the “health food” industry have done such a good job of marketing soya as a healthy alternative that the truth is drowned out in all the noise they are making.
Soya should not be part of your diet, especially during pregnancy and breastfeeding or given to your baby in formula milk or other baby food.
Soya was traditionally used in Asia as animal feed and only in times of extreme food shortage was it used by the very poor people. Even then it was used sparingly and only after lengthy fermentation – the Asians knew the dangers that we did not.
Soya is widely used as a vegetarian alternative to meat because it is high in protein BUT what the health food industry don’t tell you is that they are also high in enzyme inhibitors and antinutrients which actually block the action of your digestive enzymes in protein digestion. So the protein becomes useless to you as you cannot absorb it!
Protein is the building block of all our cells – you need it for repair and to grow strong lean muscle tissue and your baby needs it to form cells; so if unavailable protein is a regular part of your pregnancy diet, both you and your baby will suffer.
Now the health food industry has spent billions on investing in technology to eradicate these antinutrients from soya and have succeeded to a point, but in one success lies another problem.
Western soy manufacture uses high temperature manufacturing and caustic chemicals to destroy the antinutrients (trypsin inhibitors) in soy, to make it “safe” for human consumption, but in doing this the high temperature heat processing actually denatures the proteins in soy, making them difficult to digest and toxic. In addition, the process still does not remove trypsin inhibitors.
Trypsin inhibitors are particularly dangerous for pregnancy and infants as even in small amount trypsin inhibitors has been found to depress growth and cause enlargement and pathological conditions of the pancreas, including cancer.
Soybeans are also high in phytates and phytic acid blocks the uptake of magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc in the intestinal tract. During pregnancy it is vitally important that you get enough of all these minerals in your pregnancy nutrition to protect your immune system, prevent brittle bones, help your baby form properly within your belly and prevent premature labour and miscarriage. So anything which blocks the uptake of these essential nutrients is potentially extremely harmful to both you and your baby.
In children, high phytates in the diet have caused retarded growth and in babies it is especially serious as it delays the accumulation of lipids in the myelin, jeapordising brain development and proper formation of the nervous system.
Soy formula also increases the need for Folic acid and in early pregnancy this can result in neural tube defects such as Spina Bifida. It also block the uptake of fats, which also means that you cannot absorb fat soluble vitamins like Vitamin D.
But whilst all these things are harmful to your pregnancy health and the development of your baby, they pale into insignificance when compared to the effect that Soy has on your hormones and your baby’s hormonal development.
Soy contains isoflavones – a compound which mimics the effects of oestrogens. Isoflavonones are powerful endocrine disruptors and alter growth patterns and proper sexual development of your baby. Isoflavonones depress thyroid function, causing autoimmune thyroid disease and have a devastating effect on sexual development in infants.
Male infants undergo a testosterone surge in the first few months of their lives where the testosterone they are producing is equal to an adult male. Isoflavanones present in the diet at this time flood the bloodstream with female hormones. Peadiatric medicine has noticed a much greater number of boys who are showing a lack of physical development of the sexual organs and whose physical maturation is greatly delayed.
Within girls, puberty begins much earlier with 48.3% of girls showing physical signs of puberty at age 8, (such as breast development or pubic hair).
So why do the government food agencies still allow Soy to be promoted as a health food to pregnant and lactating mums and worse as the main ingredient in the majority of infant formula?
Soy is cheap and it allows the food industry to make huge profit margins that would be unachievable without the volumes they produce. The governments GDP depends upon the taxes to keep the economy going the way it should and until a suitably cheap alternative is found this will just keep on happening.
And it’s no wonder that the majority of the experts within the government run food agencies are also major shareholders in the manufacturing companies that benefit from the profit margins that soy manufacture gives them.
So please, check everything! Like I always tell you, if you are not cooking from scratch and fresh and organic ingredients, you need to recognise everything on the label as a wholefood and if soy is one of those things – don’t use it!
Nisha is the UK’s leading prenatal fitness expert and the author of The 9 Month Club, the online Pregnancy Fitness Coaching System. For more information on how to eat safely and effectively for your baby’s best potential development grab your free copy of the Pregnancy Elimination Diet