Meat-heads For Soy?

Quick way to fail out of a philosophy class: arguing that your position is stronger by virtue of someone who is against your views, endorsing part of your views. It isn’t logical. It also isn’t necessarily true. Your opponent may not have any better grasp of the facts than you do.

On an emotional level, it is impressive.

Fitness buffs and fitness professionals tend to highly biased against vegan diets. This is particularly true of bodybuilders, power lifters and strength athletes of all kinds. So, I was very surprised to find an article on Testosterone Nation being fairly positive about soy.

Soy beans have been cultivated and eaten since the 11th century b.c.e. Starting in 1995 genetically modified soy beans (GMO) were introduced in the United States and today are about 90% of the crop. I was very impressed that the article mentioned this. BTW, you can avoid GMO soy by buying organic.

I was also impressed that the article mentioned that two of the lead “anti-soy” scientists have modified their views to be far less anti-soy.

Being an online bodybuilding magazine, Testosterone Nation had this interesting quote:

In terms of protein content, the soybean is roughly 41% protein. And the PDCAA score (a measure of protein quality) for soybeans is just below 1.0, with soy protein isolate at 1.0. Since 1.0 is the highest score a protein can get, soy ranks right up there with milk, beef, and eggs.

and this one ….

When someone swallows a mouthful of soy, the PE’s are modified by intestinal bacteria and taken up into the blood. Once in the blood, these chemicals can weakly attach to the body’s estrogen receptors. The body recognizes this binding of its estrogen receptors as a signal to produce less of its own estrogen.

That’s one way that soy can actually lower estrogen production.

Also impressive for a bodybuilding magazine, or anything else online, Testosterone Nation made the distinction that rats are not people. What happens in animal test is not a guarantee of what happens in a human being.

The article mentioned that a high intake of phytoestrogens could lower testosterone in rats. However, the authors of the article calculated what a similar dose would be for man and such a dose was ludicrously high.

If the same mechanism held true between rats and people, a man would have to consume 1,720 mg a day of phytoestrogens to lower his testosterone. A chart of phyotestrogen content in various soy foods showed that the most concentrated source was soy protein powder with only 102 mg of phyotestrogens per serving. All of the other soy foods in the chart, natural as well as highly processed soy foods had numbers much lower than that. It would be very hard to eat enough soy to produce the effects found in rats, assuming that human bodies would react the same way as rat’s bodies do.

I also found this quote interesting:

Chronic alcohol intake is one of the most powerful mediators of sex hormone levels. Ethanol is a testicular toxin. Chronic male alcoholics develop an assortment of endocrine disorders, including infertility, testicular shrinkage, and feminization, caused in part by elevated production of estrogens and inhibition of Testosterone biosynthesis in the testis.

Also, alcohol increases the activity of aromatase, an enzyme that converts Testosterone to estrogen in the body.

In the 30 something years I have been a vegetarian I can’t tell you how many times I have been razed by gym rats about soy……all while they were chugging down the next beer on their benders.

In that regard, I also found this quote, from a bodybuilding magazine, EVEN MORE INTERESTING:

The major source of animal-derived estrogen in the human diet is whole milk and dairy. In the Western world, 60 to 80% of the dietary intake of estrogens originates from whole milk and other dairy products.

In a Western diet, milk is produced predominantly by lactating cattle, and gestation is under the control of steroid hormones, including estrogens. Thus, high levels of milk-borne estrogens can be expected.

The milk that we now consume is quite unlike that which was consumed 100 years ago. Authors have hypothesized that milk is responsible, at least in part, for some male reproductive disorders. Other authors have stated that, “The Western diet (characterized by dairy products and meat) causes a trend of increasing levels of estrogen.”

Maternal beef consumption (specifically, beef containing hormones) may also alter a man’s testicular development in utero and adversely affect his reproductive capacity.

The point?

Well, it’s odd that soy is getting hammered for hormonal implications when many of our dietary staples might also have an impact on our hormonal levels if we’re not conscientious about ensuring adequate exercise and a varied diet.

I have seen that contradiction so many times. Well meaning fitness buff friends worried about my hormones, consuming soy a few times a week, while they in turn have been guzzling down cow’s milk and eating hamburger — a common destination for worn out dairy cattle. How refreshing to read such a quote from such a magazine!

To read the full article, click on the link below

“Soy: What’s the Big Deal?”
by Dr. John Berardi and Ryan Andrews

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