Complaints About Soy


We’ve received a number of letters over the years from readers who have come to realize that their health problems stemmed from soy. We’ve reprinted their letters here.

The Dangers of Soy

I’ve been medicated for hypothyroidism for 27 years now and I’ve just gone into menopause. Over the years, because of being under medicated for thyroid disease, I gained a great deal of weight–nearly 100 pounds; despite eating what I thought was a healthy diet. My doctor put me on the American Heart Association diet in efforts to lower cholesterol (which, incidentally, is a sign of insufficient thyroid hormones) and to lose weight. This diet allowed virtually no cholesterol from foods and had a high carbohydrate content compared with the low protein and low fat. I didn’t eat an egg for 5 years! Despite my efforts of counting calories, cutting out as much fat as possible and exercising, I gained weight! I couldn’t believe it because I had been so careful on the prescribed diet.

This diet allowed no eggs, only the leanest of meats and fish, fat-free products like salad dressing, skim milk and yogurt and lots of “complex carbohydrates.” It’s amazing that I learned to cook without fats and thought that this diet would finally allow me to lose weight. Not so, in fact, gaining weight made me more frustrated.

A friend mentioned the Protein Power diet and the Zone diet. These diets, in comparison with the AHA diet, had high levels of protein and fat with very low levels of carbohydrates. In a year’s time I did lose 40 pounds with these diets and exercise and felt I was on the road to good health. Not so, for I began to substitute soy protein in the form of tofu, soy milk, soy powder, soy “nutrition” bars, tempeh, soy burgers, soy sausage and so on. Unbeknownst to me, soy interferes with thyroid hormone absorption and utilization. For three years I foolishly ate more and more soy products, thinking I was doing something good for myself, convinced by not only the media hype about soy but with my doctor’s blessing. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia along with my autoimmune thyroid disease. In the spring of 1999 I was so very sick with hypothyroid symptoms but my doctor said my TSH level was still in range–but at the top of the range. I couldn’t understand what was happening to my body, since I was eating a healthy diet and exercising the best that I could under the circumstances. Hypothyroidism causes a slowing of the metabolism and the symptoms include weight gain, exhaustion with exercise, painful muscles, digestive problems (constipation), hair loss, excess sleep needs, loss of libido, and much more. I was miserable! An article by Mary Shomon at the Thyroid Disease website pointed out that soy was evil for thyroid patients! As soon as I tossed out all the soy in my house, I gradually became better and more energetic. In fact, it was a miracle how well I felt! I’ve searched on every type of weight loss diet and the only thing that has helped is to eat a diet with normal amounts of animal fats, good oils, complex carbohydrates and good protein sources. In the last year on this diet, I have lost 20 more pounds, I’m exercising more than before, my body feels healthy and there’s no goitrogenic interferences to block the absorption and utilization of my thyroid medication. My cholesterol has dropped into the normal range and I believe I’m healthier than I have been in decades.
I eat butter, cheese, whole milk dairy products, meats, and use olive oil in my cooking and salads. I eat lots of vegetables and whole grains. My skin looks younger, my hair is stronger and not shedding. While I lose weight slowly, I continue to feel more alive and energetic, which allows me to exercise more. A very important fact I’ve learned about cholesterol-containing foods is that cholesterol is necessary for the structure of the grey matter in the brain and for producing hormones necessary for life, like cortisol and reproductive hormones. Saturated fats are also high in Vitamins A and D.

It is amazing to me that the American Heart Association diet not only tells patients to cut out as much fat as possible but to eat soy to reduce cholesterol. This is counterproductive because soy products can cause hypothyroidism, which makes cholesterol levels rise! They also stress lots of carbohydrates like pasta and high glycemic foods, which in reality cause insulin resistance and excess carbs are stored as fat. No wonder I gained weight on that diet! In fact, when I was on that diet I had symptoms of diabetes.

Our bodies were designed to eat foods from the plant world and the animal world. While having high cholesterol is not healthy, the approach of many diets is the wrong approach. If the body is deprived of cholesterol, it will hold onto whatever cholesterol it has, making the levels rise beyond the normal range. It’s a Catch-22 situation–reducing fat makes the body hold onto fat, so there is a constant struggle with weight loss.. In the last year I have gone off my diuretics and blood pressure medicine and my blood pressure is normal for the first time in years.

The way I’m eating now is the same way that my mother and grandmother cooked their meals. They were careful with fats but did not eliminate them. They ate vegetables and whole grain breads. They would have never even touched soy!

Best in health,
Leslie Blumenberg
Maine, USA
Posted 03/02/03

More from Leslie:

I was diagnosed and treated for hypothyroidism in my 20s. In my mid-40s, I decided to add soy to my diet to replace some of the meat and dairy in my diet. I read all the media hype and was sucked in, especially since I was on a high protein/low carb diet. Even my doctor encouraged it as she used soy every day. I had no idea that I had been poisoning my body for 3 years with something everyone, doctor included, suggested was healthy for me. It’s in every health magazine, every talk show, every infomercial, website, etc. Dr. Weil likes it, Julia Roberts likes it.

The upshot of it is that I have never been so ill with hypothyroid symptoms in my life, except at my initial diagnosis 20 years before. This was before I started browsing the Internet for information about soy. In April 1999 I came across Mary Shomon’s article at the Thyroid website about the dangers of soy for those with hypothyroidism and bells and whistles went off in my head! I had been literally poisoning myself for over 3 years with increased amounts of soy. I didn’t even like the stuff yet I was consuming it to keep my protein intake high. By the way, I couldn’t lose any more weight on the high protein/low carb diet at all after adding the soy and I was following the diet strictly. Before adding the soy, I had lost 40 pounds on this diet and was hoping to lose the next 40 by the soy replacing meats and dairy. As soon as I stopped eating soy, my TSH, which had been creeping up to the top of the normal range (hypo), suddenly dropped into the hyper range. Just by eliminating the phytoestrogens and other components in soy, I have restored my health. The revelation about what soy can do to thyroid hormones shocked both my doctor and me!

The symptoms I experienced were typically hypothyroid: exhaustion, severe muscle pain and cramping, sleep problems, physical sensitivities like skin that was sore to the touch, glare sensitivity and aversion to loud noises. Exercise became almost impossible because of the sharp pains in my legs. My menstrual cycles became constant PMS and periods with severe cramping and pain.

Most disturbing, my mental acuity was lost, I had mental confusion and decreased word retrieval. My hair was falling out, my skin dry and cracked, my fingernails and hair barely grew at all. I was often found lost somewhere in space while the world continued on without me. My digestive system was a mess and my body temperature was often below 97°F. I was so cold at times I had to jump in a hot shower just to raise my body temperature to normal. Living like this can only be described as a fate worse than death at times.

All this was due to soy consumption.

My mother was coming for a visit and I picked her up from the airport. The nearest airport is an hour and a half drive from my house, a route I had taken many times. Of course, once in the car headed home, we were chatting away. On the major highway I kept driving, looking for the all-important exit sign that would take the coastal route home rather than the interior route. I drove and drove, thinking to myself, that sign must be really soon. I even asked my mother if she had seen the sign, but she had been busy chatting.

Pretty soon it dawned on me that not only had I missed the exit and driven a good 20 or more miles, but we were heading inland, not the familiar coastal route. As panic entered my soul, I started looking for familiar signs. I got off an exit, pulled out the map and figured if I just follow this road….I can find my way home.

What should have been an hour and a half trip became a 4 hour trip, guessing my way home in an unfamiliar landscape. It was winter, so soon the sun was setting early and the dark descended upon us. With the sun behind us at least I knew I was headed east. All I kept thinking was that we were hopelessly lost in the wilds of Maine. Who would ever find us? The roads on the map blurred together and nothing made sense. I kept looking for anything familiar until finally!!!… a road I knew suddenly appeared.

During my mother’s visit, I also got lost a number of times going to surrounding towns for shopping and lunch. I felt exhausted and my brain just wouldn’t cooperate. Of course we could laugh at it all but privately, I wondered if I was losing my grip on reality. Much later, once learning about how soy affects thyroid functioning, I realised that these episodes of getting lost and being confused were a direct result of consuming soy products. Once I stopped consuming all soy products, my mind and directionality returned. Interestingly, throughout this time, my TSH levels never went out of range but just stayed near the top (meaning hypo symptoms) where of course, my unknowing doctor said, “well it’s in the normal range so it must be something else.” The “something else” was then diagnosed as fibromyalgia.

The treatments for fibromyalgia didn’t help at all. So, I began my Internet research first on fibromyalgia and then thyroid disease. When I read Mary Shomon’s article, I stopped the soy immediately. Within 3 weeks, I was energetic,the muscle cramps started to melt away, I even lost a few pounds and I was on my road to recovery. Since then I have been very careful to avoid all soy products, along with other goitrogenic foods which interfere with thyroid hormone utilization. With a few changes in my thyroid medications, I now feel better than ever and I’m approaching menopause with none of the typical symptoms. Of course my doctor got a copy of that article and she was flabbergasted!

The proof was in the numbers as my TSH dropped back to the lower range of normal. Since that time I have been spreading my soy/hypo experience story so that others, especially those with thyroid conditions, will be alerted to the extreme dangers that soy can inflict on unsuspecting thyroid patients, especially those with undiagnosed thyroid disease. This problem is not limited to thyroid patients either. Many with normally functioning thyroid glands can be affected as well, particularly if the soy consumption is high. My poor husband was subject to my soy extravaganza and felt awful while eating it–and he has no thyroid problems. I’d like to praise all the geniuses who got us to where we are now in computer technology. My doctors would have never dreamed of the interrelationship among the thyroid and soy. I did my research, I asked questions, I came to conclusions. Then I took the information to my doctors. This is how I convinced them that something was just not right with my thyroid meds. Because soy blocks the absorption and utilization of thyroid hormones, it is especially important for thyroid patients to not consume these products.

Leslie Blumenberg
Maine, USA
Posted 03/02/03

To Hell and Back (Under the Influence of Soy)

I was diagnosed just over 30 years ago with what was described as mild hypothyroidism. I had very little problems with mental ability but suffered mostly with weight problems. During 1991-92 I became pre-menopausal and that was when my problems started. Spasmodic at first but over the years I got progressively worse. I suffered from short-term memory problems, inability to concentrate, couldn’t even comprehend what I was reading. I would have to read one page over and over again before I could absorb the details. I spent more time in “Brain Fog” than I did in reality. Watch TV one night and the next day I couldn’t tell you what I had seen. I am a Receptionist/Word Processor operator and I was making so many mistakes in my work I was eventually verbally threatened with dismissal. I was to learn much later that what in fact saved me from being dismissed was a work colleague, who had worked with us years before and had returned to work with us once again, insisting that something was wrong and what was happening was not Jenny. I was also to discover that I had been put on monthly Adverse Reporting and I was so ill I was not even aware of it.

Despite having the spellchecker on my computer I still was not able to pick out spelling mistakes. More often than not as the years passed I would type words backward without even realizing I had done so. I would proofread my work and would just ‘read’ right over my mistakes. Horror of horrors, I was also forgetting to pay my bills. I had no idea what was happening to me, and neither did my doctor. He was just as puzzled. TSH tests revealed I was within normal range and so we both put it all down to the menopause, but I eventually became so ill that it was obvious that something else was amiss. He referred me to an Endocrinologist at my local hospital to arrange for me to have tests done for possible onset of Alzheimer’s disease. A brain scan was clear and psychology tests showed that I was above average for my age with everything except the problems I was having. No help there. As time wore on I got to the stage at work where I couldn’t even remember how to answer the phone when it rang!! The phone would ring, I would pick up the receiver and…blank…what do I say, I couldn’t even remember where I worked!!

By this time my speech was slurring, and still no one could come up with an answer. I was also starting to withdraw into a shell, especially with my work colleagues, because I could not understand what was happening to me. It all came to a head one day when I was shopping. I was walking down the street and was still some distance from an intersection controlled by traffic lights when I saw the pedestrian “Cross Now” light up for pedestrians to cross the way I wanted to when I reached the corner myself. I can remember thinking to myself that by the time I reached the corner the lights would have changed and I shouldn’t have to wait too long before I was able to cross. The next thing I knew I was walking across that very busy intersection AGAINST the lights with the drivers of vehicles trying desperately to miss me. I have absolutely no recollection of even getting there. I had completely “blanked out” and I can only think that what may have brought me out of it was an irate motorist tooting his horn at me! (I shudder to think of the carnage I could have caused if I had been driving!) Even when I “came to” it was not until I had fully crossed the road that it dawned on me what had happened. My first thought was I had had a mild stroke. I was shaking so much that shopping was out of the question. I made my way back to work and telephoned for an urgent appointment to see my GP.

When I saw him later that day his exact words to me were “At long last, the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle fits”. He told me that my serotonin levels were way down because of my thyroid gland and the only medication he could put me on was Prozac, as I needed the serotonin contained in that medication to increase my levels back to normal. He actually diagnosed it as being “Classic ‘A’ Depression”. I told him that no way did I feel depressed. Disoriented? Yes. Living in a world of my own? Yes. I suffered a lot from depression before my diagnosis of hypothyroidism and this was nothing like that. (How many folk, women in particular, are swallowing anti-depressants when it could well be their thyroid gland which is the problem, especially if they are consuming lots of soy) I had been on Prozac for a couple of weeks but found that my appetite increased so much I couldn’t stop eating. With hypothyroidism, that was the last thing I needed, so I decided to take the chance and come off it. Incidentally I had put on a lot of weight during those years and no matter what I did it just wouldn’t budge!

Now I have absolutely no idea why, but at the same time I also stopped eating commercially made bread. I just had no desire for it. It was a few weeks later that I realized I was feeling really great again. Had all the memory I wanted, no problems with concentration, etc. My ability at work had returned to what it was pre-menopause. In the meantime I had gone online so decided to do some research on thyroid disease and in the process I came across an website for thyroid disease by Mary Shomon of America. I was so impressed with the information she had in her website that I registered to receive her email newsletters. It would have been during April 1999 that she put out a newsletter warning us all to avoid soy as the compounds in the soybean had the ability to block our medication. Within that newsletter she had also listed several links written by scientists who were also writing warnings about soy, especially in regards to phytoestrogens and the thyroid gland. I was horrified about what I had read but I wasn’t consuming any soy (I thought) so I didn’t worry too much about it. Two months or so later I was back in “Brain Fog” with the short-term memory, concentration problems, etc. A work colleague was quick to pick it up and suggested that maybe it was something I was eating, therefore what could have I eaten that I hadn’t for a few months? I then realized I had gone back to eating commercial bread.

I remembered the warning that I read about soy and the thyroid gland so when I returned home from work I checked the ingredients label on the bread packet to find that I had been eating bread laced with soybean flour. In fact when I checked the ingredient labels on all varieties of bread at my local supermarket there was not one that didn’t contain soybean flour. I then realized that surely it had to be the build up of phytoestrogens in the soybean flour contained in the bread I had been eating all those years that had caused my problem by binding my medication. What wouldn’t have helped either would have been soy in one form or another that was contained in other commercially packaged food I had been consuming.

Once again I stopped eating bread, brought myself a bread maker and stopped consuming all forms of soy. I had never been so ill in all my life and the outcome of all this is that in order to make sure I avoid soy I now avoid all processed foods. As a result I am back to eating what my mother and my grandmother ate and I have to admit that I have never felt so healthy for many many years. I am off all margarines and vegetable oils, consuming butter and olive oil instead and my cholesterol, which was high, reduced in the first three months, much to my doctor’s astonishment! Nine months on, my cholesterol had dropped down to ‘low risk’ and continual tests since have shown that my count is still in ‘low risk’ category, and I am losing weight. I am often asked if I am on a diet and my reply is; “I now eat what God has provided [whole foods] and not what man has decreed we eat [processed foods].”

Jenny Smith
New Zealand
Posted 03/02/03

Unsuspected Cause of Thyroid Problems?

Dear Weston A Price Foundation:

A few days ago I came across Stephen Byrnes’ article on “The Myths of Vegetarianism,” and was astounded to learn about the adverse effects of the goitrogens and phytoestrogens in soy. References in that article led me to your website where, this morning, I read the articles about the negative effects of soy. . . and everything fell into place.

I just threw out the so-called healthful soy protein powder and tofu and toasted soy nuts in my refrigerator, because I now realize my eating soy products is probably related to the fact that a recent blood test indicated I’m hypothyroid, with a TSH level of 7.

For many years I’ve tried to figure out the cause of frequent headaches, fluid retention, weight gain, fatigue, mood swings and hypo-glycemic reactions to carbohydrates. While I have reduced the frequency and severity of these systems by eschewing most of the dietary recommendations of the food establishment (I eat plenty of meat, lots of vegetables, fruit, nuts, butter, olive oil, take supplements including fish and flaxseed oils, and avoid grains and other highly concentrated carbohydrates), I’ve been struggling for the last two years with recalcitrant though mild weight gain (I’m about 10 pounds over my normal weight) and chronic tiredness.

When I had my blood tested last month at a local health fair and found out I was hypothyroid, I started eating dulse seaweed and taking l-tyrosine to support my thyroid gland. I’ve had thyroid problems in the past, including two cysts, one in the mid-1980s which was drained easily by needle, and another recent one that spontaneously subsided after I massaged it gently for a few days.

My husband and I were vegetarians in the early 1980s, but I didn’t feel all that well on that diet so we reverted to eating meat. I thought my failure to do well on the vegetarian diet was because I didn’t know how to combine foods properly to obtain complete proteins.

Like many people, I was taken in by the hype about the health benefits of soy, so have used soy powders and tofu frequently though intermittently over the last 20 years or so. Fortunately I never gave up meat as I discovered the Atkins diet in the late 1980s and found his high protein/low carbohydrate regimen helped me considerably. Interestingly, I also read Dr. Price’s book in the mid-1980s, and the information I gleaned from his book and the Atkins diet information confirmed my personal observations that I do better on a meat-based diet. So I never stopped eating meat, but while avoiding grains and most carbohydrates helped reduce many of my symptoms, it didn’t solve all the problems, and I never was able to figure out why some of my symptoms continued.

I NEVER suspected soy and its goitrogens and phytoestrogens. In fact, I’d been eating MORE soy products recently, thinking that might help! So, now I’ll see whether my thyroid recuperates and my energy returns on my already good, sensible, this-is-what-nature-intended diet. . . sans soy! Thank you for making this information available!

L. B.
Lakewood, CO

This letter appeared in the Summer 2002 edition of Wise Traditions.

More Soy Problems

If it weren’t for the work of the Weston A. Price work and especially that of Dr. Enig, I’d be dead! Her article on soy saved my life. Subsequent research on soy also saved my father from a diarrhea problem he had suffered from for years until I was directed to soy as the culprit. If I eat a certain combo of soy and soy protein and I will go into shock.

We have been off soy now for over a year and we are so much healthier and better for it. Our biggest problem is finding the no-soy products, but we keep looking and working at it. The health food stores are inundating their shelves with soy products, so it makes it difficult for us. Sure wish they’d read up on soy– they wouldn’t touch the stuff if they did.

We have discovered that once off of soy, there’s no turning back. The body then starts rejecting and reacting to all other neurochemicals and additives. We are down to bare basic natural foods when we can find them. Again, keep up the good work. You are our voice out there.

Marlene Waylett
Missoula, MT

This letter appeared in the Summer 2002 edition of Wise Traditions.

Soy and Fibromyalgia

There is a great need to make public the dangers of soy, not only in infant formula but in any product containing soy. I personally have suffered from consuming soy protein shakes for a period of 2-3 years, once a day for breakfast. There are no warning labels on these products! I had been hypothyroid for many years and was taking Synthroid at the time. In spite of the medication I became ill as the result of the effect the soy had on my thyroid. I developed fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, which by the way is due to low thyroid function. (I will wager that 99 percent of all medical doctors are not aware of the connection.) My doctor did not find any change in my lab work so he never suspected that my thyroid was the source of my illness. (I have since found out that blood tests are a poor way to determine thyroid function, but that’s another subject.)

Not only did the soy affect my thyroid, it also affected my digestion and brain function! I developed cognitive problems and had difficulty spelling and figuring out basic problems that before had never been a challenge. My memory was steadily going downhill, which at age 45 was a scary prospect, especially since my dad has Alzheimer’s disease. As the result of my illness I decided to leave my job.

Many people apply for disability as the result of fibromyalgia. Through prayer and two years of research I am fortunate to be 95 percent symptom-free, part of which is due to avoiding soy products.

Oregon is a leader in recognizing dangerous health issues. I would like to see our government take a stand and make it a requirement that warning labels be printed on any product containing soy. If this were current law, I could have avoided years of misery not to mention the economic damage this situation created. I wonder how many more people out there are experiencing health problems and are clueless that it is the soy in their diet! After all, we have been brain washed for years that soy is good for us! I know one doctor who decided to experiment on herself by using soy daily and within 10 days she became hypothyroid! Even though I was hypothyroid to start with, this problem can happen to anyone.

Soy is dangerous and the public has the right to know what the dangers are so that they can make informed choices. Think of the many helpless babies that are exposed to this toxic chemical every day and their mothers are totally unaware of the damage that may result!

Colleen Witzel
Eugene, OR

This letter appeared in the Summer 2002 edition of Wise Traditions.

More Soy Woes

I’m an over-50 natural bodybuilder who was always looking for a good source of protein. I also shied away from all fat except some olive oil. I won the Mr. Oregon over-50 title and of course thought I knew what i was doing. I reached a point where I had changed my protein intake to pure soy protein isolate, because it was inexpensive and at first made me feel good. I was also drinking soy milk and my wife and I were both eating a lot of fake soy foods.

In the spring of 1998, I spent three months away from home in Hawaii, running a gym and testing whether we wanted to move there. I was eating what we are told is the “perfect” diet, oatmeal, nuts, raisins, some fish and a lot of soy protein isolate. When I came home, I had reached a point where my energy levels were so low I would often spend a day or two doing nothing. My libido was also at an all-time low, and this was unusual and depressing. I didn’t have a clue what was wrong, until my wife accidentally ran across your articles on soy foods. She followed up by visiting the Weston Price website. We decided that we had been following the wrong drummer. Far from doing everything right, we had been doing a lot that was wrong.

We quit soy cold turkey! We adopted the principles of eating advocated by the Weston A. Price Foundation. Today my old self is back: energy levels, libido and thought processes. I am a personal trainer who now preaches the traditional ways of eating, including a lot of natural saturated fats (with no increase in body fat or cholesterol levels!). We have started a local Weston A. Price chapter and we have discovered that many people, when presented with the facts, are very open to the idea of traditional foods. Most people simply have no clue what the processed foods industry is doing to us.

This information is vital, and I have no problem walking up to perfect strangers in the supermarket and healthfood stores, and telling them to stay away from soy. In fact, I have one healthfood store owner very upset with me. Young mothers and fathers have even put soy milk back on the shelf and asked me about alternatives. I’ve given them my card and told them how to find the Weston A. Price website. After attending the seminar in Portland, Oregon, I’m even better informed, giving me more credibility. Or it could just be my silver hair! Keep up the good work!

Walt Wagner Dallas, OR

Another Soy Tragedy

Our six-year-old daughter has small developing breasts and strong underarm odor. The diagnosis is premature sexual development. I consumed soy products, especially soy milk, for twelve years, including during the time I was pregnant and nursing. Our daughter then consumed soy directly for three years. When she was three years old, I noticed an underarm odor but didn’t pay much attention to it. At two years old, she suffered a leg stress fracture, but that did not set off alarm bells. Both our girls weighed thirty pounds at a year old so they tend to be chubby, but when she was 4 1/2 years old, it was clear that our daughter was starting to develop breasts.

It finally hit home when I read the Soy Alert! articles. Her endocrine system had received soy estrogens from the beginning and was grossly out of balance. My husband and I have felt much grief with this situation. Searching the Internet, my husband turned up lots of information pointing out just what I’ve read in these pages about the dangers of soy.

Now we are consulting with a physician in our area who knows about the soy problems and the principles of good diet. He has given glandular supplements to my daughter but so far this has not arrested her premature development. I was also affected by the soy. My hormones have been on a roller coaster and I found I had virtually no iron in my bone marrow. I was severely anemic. After two months of iron supplements, I hemorrhaged, making matters quite serious. I read the women’s health issue of Wise Traditions and immediately started taking vitamins A and D which stopped the heavy periods. And I realized how important it was to me that my physician know about the principles of good nutrition, so I switched to the physician we were consulting for our daughter. It has been almost nine months but I am getting better, building myself back up. My hormonal swings are much less extreme and my energy is slowly returning.

Fifteen years ago I kept two Jersey cows. After I sold them and moved, I didn’t know where to find good raw milk and I knew I couldn’t stomach the store-bought variety. One of the biggest and most far reaching mistakes in my life was to turn to “healthy” soy milk. It has turned out to be a poison in our family. We are grateful for the work you are doing at the Weston A. Price Foundation and thank you for your wonderful publication, Wise Traditions.

JH of NH

Phytate Hell

Dr. Andrew Weil just did another paean to soy in his most recent newsletter including the statement, “Until we have stronger research about possible drawbacks, I will continue to recommend consumption of whole soy foods (such as tofu and soy milk) in sensible amounts. In addition, I see no reason for infants now using soy-based formulas to discontinue them. However, I should note that we don’t yet know about the long-term safety of isoflavone supplements, which may provide higher amounts of these compounds than soy foods.” Pretty weasel-worded.

Several years ago, I was diagnosed with acidosis, and although I tried valiantly to correct the problem via diet, nothing worked. I felt like death warmed over and had all kinds of inexplicable aches and pains. I cut back on meat and carbs and was eating huge salads every day. What I didn’t know was that certain recently introduced foods that I thought were the epitome of healthful eating were robbing me of vital minerals, and who knows what else. In my never-ending quest for good health, I had begun eating what I thought was a modified macrobiotic diet. Brown rice (unsoaked) and soy milk every morning and sometimes miso soup with tofu at other times during the day. A triple phytate whammy! My cholesterol plummeted to 135 and when I questioned my then doctor (via letter) whether that was not dangerously low, I never received a reply. It was not until I learned about traditional diets that I understood the problem. I am now back on eggs (organic) cooked in butter (organic) along with toast slathered with butter and whole cream (organic) in my coffee every morning. Salads are drowned in olive oil. Recent cholesterol values were so stunning, my current doctor remarked that he had never seen such wondrous numbers.

Sandy Rom Las Vegas, NV

Not Such a Good Idea

I am an inmate at Rockview State Correctional Facility. Approximately one year ago our institution changed the diet given to inmates to include “alternative meals.” Of course, they feed us as cheaply as possible-this is a prison, so the alternative meals were quite a surprise. Bean burgers, cottage cheese and lots of soy products-chili, faux scrambled eggs, tofu, barbecue, etc. I was ecstatic. Finally something genuinely healthy, filling and better than the D grade meat they feed us. I immediately started eating the alternative meals and liked the soy products. I was convinced for many years that soy was a wonder food and flabbergasted we expendable inmates would be fed it, but I chocked it all up to political correctness and the institution’s continuing placation of the various minority religious and gang groups, such as Muslims, which don’t eat various foods, such as pork or beef.

I lift weights, jog, stretch, etc. and consider myself in pretty good shape. The alternative meals made me healthier and feel even better. I thought. It was so gradual, I didn’t make the connection. Stomach problems-aches, pains, multiple bowel movements at ever increasingly inopportune times, and finally bloody stool all the time. I was scared. I thought I had colon cancer or was dying. The medical department had me scheduled for a scopology in a “real” hospital, outside the prison.

One year ago I read an article about soy not being all it’s cracked up to be and thought, “no way,” and promptly forgot about it. Approximately five months ago another anti-soy article in a health magazine, and another publication had a “soy-bad” story. I started to wonder, could I have been duped, all my life thinking soy was a health wonder? For goodness sake, it’s just a vegetable! Then again, I read an article in Nexus magazine. That was it. Time for an experiment. I stopped eating soy.

Within three days, all blood in my stool cleared up, bowel movements went back to normal and by the end of seven days, everything was fine. Not fine-great! I couldn’t believe it. Thank you at the Weston A. Price Foundation for making the truth about soy available. May God bless you in all your endeavors.

Name Withheld

The Skin Test

I quite accidentally found your article on the dangers of soy (“Tragedy and Hype“) while doing research on prostate cancer. I am shocked by this report and am now very concerned about using soy.

Ironically, I subscribe to Consumer Reports on Health and just received their May 2000 report with a two-page article stating the benefits of soy on the heart and osteoporosis, stating that the isoflavones bolster the bones.

You might find it interesting that I have psoriasis and recently visited the Canyon Ranch in Arizona, where soy is added to most of the food. After a few days, the skin rash flared up terribly. It took me a week to figure out that it was the soy. Once I stopped eating any food that contained soy, my skin improved. To test this, several months later I ate some soy beans and again my skin flared up. Needless to say, I now avoid all products containing soy.

Both of my children were given soy formula because they were unable to tolerate conventional formula. One developed severe asthma and the other was definitively diagnosed ADD. Is it possible that the lactose intolerance indicated a preexisting allergy and he would have developed asthma regardless, or was it the soy? I guess I will never know. However, your article certainly caught my attention. The biggest question is how to make this information more available to the general public.

Susan Fenton
New York, NY

Soy and Chronic Fatigue

Thank you for your exposé of soy. I believe it was one contributor to my five-year bout with chronic fatigue syndrome. It is amazing that even the health food stores have been deceived by the agri-business corporation cartels on this one. It is hard to find products that do not contain soy lecithin. Is lecithin a safe extract from soy?

Greg Gibson
Wakarusa, IN

Editor’s Note: Lecithin is extracted from the oil sludge left after removing the oil from the beans and is likely to contain high levels of pesticides and solvents. See the excerpt “Soy Lecithin: From Sludge to Profit” from Kaayla Daniel’s book, The Whole Soy Story.

Soy Woes

Thank you for the work of the Foundation alerting people to the dangers of soy. If only I had known 20 years ago. But perhaps I can tell you something that will help others. I was diagnosed as clinically depressed and had chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia for 17 years. The doctor said it was all “in my head.”

Years later I went to a compliementary practitioner and he said to give up the soy as it showed strong in the allergy tests. I had no soy for two weeks. Energy was coming back, my mind was clearing and I felt like I had a future again. One Saturday at bedtime I drank the little box of soy milk to see what would happen. I went to bed to read and “dozed off.” (I now recognize the dozing off not as sleep but as an allergic reaction.) The next morning as I tried to get up I fell back onto the bed and was very weak and spacey and even the next day I had little energy.

It was hard to believe that soy could cause such a reaction so I did it again a few days later. Driving to work an hour or so after eating some soy product I began to be so sleepy I could not see the road. At the office I sat at the desk and passed out. After a half hour the worst passed but I was incredibly tired all day. My mouth tasted tinny, my ears felt stuffy and I had no appetite except later a craving for sweets.

I did not consciously eat any more soy but once in a while I would get it inadvertently, like in a corn muffin. I now read all labels carefully. If I have any tamari sauce flavoring, I get spacey and weak and sleepy and know it will peak in an hour and lessen and then coffee and passive work is all that will do until a night’s sleep. I am limited as to where I can get a meal because so many places use soy oil for cooking. I can literally go to sleep at the wheel. Many times I have pulled over and lain my head on the opposite seat for half an hour till the worst is passed. For years I believed I was going senile at a youthful time and missed a lot of activities and creativity that I could have enjoyed because of this farce of telling us that soy is good for us. I think it is a serious allergen and people need to know.

Sylvia Murry

Unloading Soy

I was wondering whether there are any links between soy’s adverse effects in humans directly and/or links between food crops, livestock and human diets with Alzheimer’s and other diseases like BSE. I live in a small port town on the east coast of the UK and some of us have noticed possible causal links between the unloading of the raw products (soya), certain complaints such as higher than normal asthma-like conditions and possible links to Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Some of us are also very concerned that food retailing interests and political vested interests are not being honest in these matters. Remember that this stuff now is now in almost two-thirds of all the food we eat. Thus a high dependency on cheap foods which have a high concentration of soybean derivatives carries an unacceptable health risk that should be made public.

Keith Scott
Great Yarmouth, UK

Editor’s Note: As a matter of fact, a study published in the March 1, 1997 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology described occasional days when large numbers of asthma sufferers, sometimes more than 200 people, sought treatment at the Charity Hospital in New Orleans over a period of nearly 20 years, between 1953 through the 1960s. Investigation into the weather patterns and historical vessel cargo data from the New Orleans harbor identified the presence of vessels carrying soy as the probable cause. Prevailing low winds carried the soy dust from two grain elevators to the area near the hospital. Similar outbreaks of epidemic asthma near the harbor in Barcelona, Spain were also traced back to the release of soy dust when shipments arrived.


Jill Nienhiser has been a Weston A. Price Foundation member since 2001, and has provided web maintenance, editing, and proofreading support for and for many years. She also helped launched the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund in 2007.

2 Responses to Complaints About Soy

  1. Adria Fernandez-Morel says:

    Surprise reading about soy alert; thank for this information

  2. John Burlingame says:

    I’m looking for a doctor that can help me. Soy/soy lecithin is poisonous to me. I’m so sensitive to it. It has destroyed my way of life, without becoming a bubble boy it’s almost impossible to get away from soy. Brain fog, sort term memory loss and panic attacks. My main issue, I’ve pulled it out of my food and products I use. The issue now is just a little of it attacks me. Walking into a Walgreen or Lowe’s is a chore. Cleaning supply or air born soy attacks me. I’m a mess before I can try to leave. I’ve built bikes for 25 years, soy is preventing me from my livelihood. The smell when I open the boxes up, contain soy, the oils on the parts contain soy. I’m a mess in 8 seconds. What should take me 5 min turns into 30 min with possible mistakes. I can tell you what contains soy, even if it’s not on the label. Almost all the drugs out there contain soy. I have to have my Neosporin and Ibuprofen compounded and all other meds as well. (Antibiotics)(Pain Meds).

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