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Old 11-26-2008, 08:00 AM   #1
Chris Salvato
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Default Soy - Benefits and Risks

I am a bit surprised that when I did a search for "soy" i got "No Results" on all of P-Menu...

I am just a bit in the dark about Soy. Soy is a common ammunition used by vegetarians as their defense that they can get ample protein. However, most people deny that this is valid because of the "health risks" of consuming soy in abundance, especially as the only source of protein.

Steve Low and I had a conversation about protein sources, this was pretty much the result of said conversation:

Originally Posted by Steve Low
Re: protein sources.

NITROGEN. All amino acids have nitrogen in them and they must have nitrogen in them to make peptide bonds. Nitrogen is highly toxic to our bodies (like most other things), so we have a pathway called the urea cycle which processes amino acids into urea which our body excretes into urine.

UNFORTUNATELY, since nitrogen is toxic, there are pretty much no other biological sources of nitrogen that we can intake besides proteins that our body can process. Therefore, if you have no extra nitrogen sources, your body cannot make amino acids which is the take 99% of the time (the few exceptions are DNA which have nitrogenous bases.. but this is very, very, very small amount compared to how much you get from meat, fish, eggs, etc.). Thus, these protein metabolism pathways are mainly for getting rid of nitrogen OR if you have too much of say one amino acid it can convert it into another non-essential amino acid.

All humans MUST have adequate protein intake... not just essential amino acid intake. You can't just randomly "create" amino acids like you're thinking of because the parts are scarce (nitrogen) and only really abundant in meat, fish, eggs, etc.
In short, without nitrogen sources, we cannot take convert amino acids to protein bonds as easily. Someone, however, refuted this claim by Steve saying:

However I don't think I follow you at all on nitrogen, because animal sources are not any different in terms of nitrogen. You also don't need extra nitrogen in any form to make peptide bonds, you just need to put any 2 aminoacids close together.
Animals don't produce nitrogen either, generally the only thing that fixates nitrogen and creates new aminoacids are plants and bacteria, not animals (they simply consume it and store it).
The whole ordeal confused me, so I went to PubMed to look at any studies that examined Soy. Something else I wanted to investigate was the claim in Greg's O-lifting book that Soy studies have alarming results for the CV system. After thumbing around for a bit I found nothing but data that says soy may not be beneficial -- but its certainly not harmful.

If anyone has any thoughts/data they can share on this to refute the claims I see on PubMed and support Steve and/or Greg, then that would be great....but right now I fail to see the problem with Soy even though I have discouraged people from eating it for a long while.
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Old 11-26-2008, 08:16 AM   #2
Emily Mattes
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Chris, I think soy suffers from the same ailment that affects most nutrition-related studies--lack of human data. These kinds of studies are difficult to design and control and require massive numbers of participants tracked over a long period of time to produce really definitive results, and that's difficult to do (and get funding for). So soy is like the debate between low-carb and high-carb diets, vegetarian vs. non-vegetarian, fish oil supplementation vs. not: not many studies, the studies that exist often don't include large populations, and in the end the debate surrounds the anecdotal evidence of people on both sides of the issue.

For my anecdotal evidence, when I started lifting years ago I was an ovo-lacto vegetarian, and took great strides to ensure I was getting at least one gram of protein per pound bodyweight from egg, milk, and soy sources (though it mostly came from milk and soy). After a year of vegetarian lifting, I added fish and it made a world of difference, and I saw similar improvements when I added the rest of animal meats in a year after I started with the fish, though the improvements were not to the same degree. For me, I found soy to clearly be a less superior protein. Whether it caused health effects, well, I never experienced any, but who knows, maybe there is some cancer cell out there with my name on it that targeted me because of my soy consumption.
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Old 11-26-2008, 08:55 AM   #3
Steven Low
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That quote does not refute what I said at all. It adds clarification. Poor reading comprehension there.

If you're not getting enough ESSENTIAL amino acids from your dietary intake you're screwed cause you can't make any of those. If you're getting enough non-essential ones you can generally interconvert to get the ones you need.

As you know, soy doesn't have a huge amount of amino acids like meat (and/or poor absorption). Whatever the case, if you're wanting to put on muscle mass or get to some macro ratio of P then you're going to have to supplement whey or eat some form of meat, eggs, fish, etc.
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Last edited by Steven Low; 11-26-2008 at 08:57 AM.
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Old 11-26-2008, 09:14 AM   #4
Garrett Smith
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The sickest and weakest I've ever been was as a heavy-soy-consuming-lacto-ovo-vegetarian. As in, probably upwards of 75-100g/day of protein of the stuff.

Fermented soy products are fine, no one will argue with that, at least not anyone I've seen.

I'm sure there's quite a bit of research that went into "The Whole Soy Story" and the other book on the potential dangers of excessive soy consumption. A little bit is fine, too much could potentially be disastrous long-term. I believe the WAP has a big article on soy, they always reference their work extensively.

I use miso and tempeh on occasion, both fermented soy products. I might eat some edamame on the rare occasion I go to sushi. I would not depend on soy as a significant portion of my dietary protein.
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Old 11-26-2008, 09:20 AM   #5
Mike ODonnell
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Originally Posted by Chris Salvato View Post
I am a bit surprised that when I did a search for "soy" i got "No Results" on all of P-Menu...
and that's why I stick around.

Weston Price has some good info (and a brochure...hand out to all your friends)
* High levels of phytic acid in soy reduce assimilation of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. Phytic acid in soy is not neutralized by ordinary preparation methods such as soaking, sprouting and long, slow cooking. High phytate diets have caused growth problems in children.
* Trypsin inhibitors in soy interfere with protein digestion and may cause pancreatic disorders. In test animals soy containing trypsin inhibitors caused stunted growth.
* Soy phytoestrogens disrupt endocrine function and have the potential to cause infertility and to promote breast cancer in adult women.
* Soy phytoestrogens are potent antithyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism and may cause thyroid cancer. In infants, consumption of soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.
* Vitamin B12 analogs in soy are not absorbed and actually increase the body's requirement for B12.
* Soy foods increase the body's requirement for vitamin D.
* Fragile proteins are denatured during high temperature processing to make soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein.
* Processing of soy protein results in the formation of toxic lysinoalanine and highly carcinogenic nitrosamines.
* Free glutamic acid or MSG, a potent neurotoxin, is formed during soy food processing and additional amounts are added to many soy foods.
* Soy foods contain high levels of aluminum which is toxic to the nervous system and the kidneys.
brochure: http://www.westonaprice.org/brochure...ertTrifold.pdf

Also another good piece of info:
The healthy alternative: Fermented soy products, on the other hand, ARE good for us in moderation. These include miso, tempeh, natto and tamari sauce. The fermentation process removes the phytates, trypsin inhibitors and heaglutinin. Fermented soy foods have long been a staple in Asian diets and are generally beneficial when combined with other foods such as rice, sea foods, fish broth, organ meats and fermented vegetables. The traditional Asian diet contributes to lower levels of cancer, heart disease, and increased bone density.
from http://www.fitnessspotlight.net/2008...a-health-food/
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Old 11-26-2008, 01:50 PM   #6
Blair Lowe
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On another thread somewhere, I believe it was scientists in Sweden took notice that in a certain amount of soy ingestion per day it would act like the pill on a woman's mentral cycle. You can google this as I did.

Soy protein is heavily processed to get into the form it is used as. All sorts of chemicals are used in it's processing. Yippee.
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