There are some of the main reasons why soy protein makes many health experts list of the 10 healthy foods you should never eat. But is all soy bad? The key thing to note is soy products fall into fermented or unfermented. Unfermented soy products include tofu, edamame and soy milk, while miso, natto, tempeh are fermented soy products. All soybeans (even organic, non-GMO ones) naturally contain antinutrients, toxins and plant hormones. However, fermentation is what makes soy products health-promoting. Without fermentation, tofu is just a rubbery, white piece of questionable vegan protein.
Tofu is made from soy, and the majority of the time soy is bad for you for many reasons. Numerous scientific studies link soy to digestive troubles, malnutrition, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders, as well as heart disease and cancer.
Tofu is often called bean curd since it’s made by curdling soy milk (from soybeans) and then pressing the resulting curds into soft, white blocks. The process of making tofu is relatively similar to the way that cheese is made from milk. Tofu nutrition is impressive, and that’s why many people assume it’s such a great health food.
A few Reasons to Not Eat Tofu
- Genetic Modification
In 1994, the first genetically modified soybean was introduced to the U.S. market by Monsanto. While food prices continue to rise around the world, the availability of non-GMO soybeans is decreasing, which is leading more Asian and U.S. food manufacturers in Asia to use genetically modified soybeans to make soy foods like tofu. Today, at least 90 percent all soy grown in the United States is genetically modified.
- Phytoestrogens and Breast Cancer
Tofu contains phytoestrogens, these compounds have an estrogen-like effect on the body so they block normal estrogen production and have been linked to breast cancer.
- Thyroid Disruption
Tofu is made from soy, and soy contains goitrogenic compounds, specifically the soy isoflavone genistein. These goitrogens are thyroid hormone blockers that can interfere with thyroid hormone production and specifically cause hypothyroidism.
- Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D Deficiencies
Soy contains a B12 analogs, which means that tofu contains compounds that resemble vitamin B12. However, these B12 analogs cannot be used by your body the way it would use real B12. This is why soy foods like tofu can actually contribute to vitamin B12 deficiency, especially among people who avoid animal protein like vegetarians and vegans.
- Digestive Difficulty
Unfermented soy products like tofu contain strong enzyme inhibitors, which block the action of the pancreatic enzyme trypsin along with other proteopytic enzymes needed for protein digestion. This not only disrupts a healthy digestive process, but can also causes problems with the pancreas.