When livestock farming became unfashionable, soybeans stepped up to become the darlings of the alternate food world.
Soy was the key to life without meat, vegetarians and vegans declared. Tofu was delicious in spite of having no taste, others said. As for soy milk, the hordes of hipsters and blue and green-haired eco activists in love with their ‘chai-soy lattes’ ensured no coffee shop could fail to offer it.
Even the advent of genetically modified soybean varieties failed to stop the love affair. Soybean oil is currently the second most consumed vegetable oil in the world.
That love might soon be tested though. A University of California Riverside study published in the journal Endocrinology in 2020 found that feeding soybean oil to mice not only leads to obesity and diabetes, but could also affect neurological conditions like autism, Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, and depression.
The same group previously found soybean oil induces far more obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance, and fatty liver than coconut oil or fructose. They identified pronounced effects of the oil on the hypothalamus, which regulates body weight, body temperature, is critical for reproduction and physical growth, and response to stress. It appears a number of genes in mice fed soybean oil did not function correctly, including the one that produces the hormone oxytocin. In soybean oil-fed mice, levels of oxytocin in the hypothalamus went down.
This follows research in 2000 which showed that a soy-based diet at any age can lead to a weak thyroid, which commonly produces heart problems and excess fat.
All of which raises an interesting question: does soy deserve its hero status? Indeed, might soybean consumption be contributing to social changes, particularly in males?
It has long been known that soybeans contain phytoestrogens known as isoflavones. These mimic the actions of the female hormones and, at a certain level, can have a feminising effect. The term ‘soy-boy’ is a pejorative to describe men perceived to be lacking masculine aspects or who adopt effete characteristics attributed to soy consumption.
Adults are able to resist low levels, but babies are not so fortunate. It is suggested that a baby given soy formula receives the equivalent of five birth control pills a day. An infant’s endocrine system cannot cope with that kind of massive assault.
In males, soy is feminizing and can cause a decrease in the size of the penis. It is not proven, but some claim it also creates sexual confusion, transgenderism and even homosexuality. Homosexuals often argue that their homosexuality is inborn because "I can't remember a time when I wasn't homosexual", but nobody can recall the formula they received as a baby.
Also in men, oxytocin levels influence libido, penile reflexes, and orgasm. A reduced level has the opposite effect. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the birth rate is declining and obesity is rising.
Plant-based alternatives to dairy milk, including soy, are also low in protein, vitamins and minerals. Vitamin B12, an essential nutrient, only occurs in animal products. Unless the dairy alternative is supplemented, consumers risk becoming deficient. That would aggravate any ‘soy-boy’ signs.
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