Soy A Staple in Our Diet: Its Dangers

Soy has become part and parcel of our food chain in ways we can’t envision! Most processed foods seem to have soy in one form or another (mostly soy-lecithin as an emulsifier) and Soy is the “manna” for anyone looking for a meat / diary substitute when going vegan or vegetarian.

The US has almost 90% of its soy from Genetically modified soybean! It was only in 1996 that the first GM soy made an appearance in the US farms, since then it has virtually taken over the Soy production. We also consume a third of the world’s soy produced! According to GMO Compass, in 2007, more than half of the world’s soybean crop was genetically modified, making it the most genetically modified crop in the world! Soybeans are one the main components of livestock feed and it is said without GM soy it would be tough to maintain livestock production.

GMO soy is mostly herbicide resistant and farmers plant it for the high yield and pest resistance. Interesting fact is that the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) treats GM soy the same as traditional soybeans, which means farmers need not worry about any other regulations for the GM soy.

I read this article in Green Living about the dangers of Consuming soy and why we need to use our judgment. It was based on this article in the Guardian.

The article in the Guardian says

” Cottonseed oil, a byproduct of the cotton industry, was the main edible oil used in the US. But then the combination of disease in mono-cropped cotton and demand from European allies in the first world war for oil both to eat and to make the glycerine needed for nitroglycerine in explosives, stimulated American soy oil production.

It was not until the 1940s that industry worked out how to deactivate the enzyme inhibitor in the protein meal sufficiently for animals to tolerate it, and it was only technology taken from the Nazis at the end of the second world war that solved the problem of the oil’s horrible smell and flavor. That left the way for the US to promote the soya that suited its agricultural conditions as part of the reconstruction of Europe through the 1950s. Soy oil exports to Europe tripled under the Marshall Plan, and heavily subsidized exports of surplus US soya ensured the commodity’s dominance in animal feed. The subsidies continue. Between 1998 and 2004, US Department of Agriculture figures show that its soy farming received $13bn in subsidies from the American taxpayer.”

Next time I pick up soy-milk or tofu or any processed foods with soy listed as an ingredient I will ask myself “Do I really need more  SOY?”
Read more in the article in the Guardian or the Green Living
For More information about Soy National Soybean Research Laboratory
A 2008 endeavor from Just Food Co-op

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