It must be tofu that drives so much discussion about soy. I can’t really figure it out, though I can’t avoid the topic either.
The facts are we grow more soy than other country than Brazil. Even though we don’t eat much directly, we consume it constantly in oils and a vast array of processed food products and various creations on labels we can’t pronounce.
The bride and I avoid it. We’ve never really thought much about it. We avoid process foods. We don’t eat tofu. We use soy sauce sparingly as a treat. Easy enough.
But apparently we’re a minority. The massive production of soy is big business — a monstrous Monsanto business that in many ways typifies all that’s wrong with our highly politicized, highly corrupt industrialized food economy in America.
So let’s sift the wheat and chaff a bit shall we? Let’s start with one of the best sources for environmental coverage, Mother Jones:
According to the US Department of Agriculture, more than 90 percent of the soybeans churned out on US farms each year are genetically engineered to withstand herbicides, nearly all of them involving one called Roundup. Organic production, by contrast, is marginal—it accounts for less than 1 percent of total American acreage devoted to soy. (The remaining 9 percent or so of soybeans are conventionally grown, but not genetically modified.)
Americans don’t eat much of these lime-green legumes directly, but that doesn’t mean we’re not exposed to them. After harvest, the great bulk of soybeans are crushed and divided into two parts: meal, which mainly goes into feed for animals that become our meat, and fat, most of which ends up being used as cooking oil or in food products. According to the US Soy Board, soy accounts for 61 percent of American’s vegetable oil consumption.
Given soy’s centrality to our food and agriculture systems, the findings of a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Food Chemistry are worth pondering. The authors found that Monsanto’s ubiquitous Roundup Ready soybeans, engineered to withstand its own blockbuster herbicide, contain more herbicide residues than their non-GMO counterparts. The team also found that the GM beans are nutritionally inferior.
If you like science, read the rest of the article. The bottom line is this: Monsanto makes Roundup, a pesticide that is used like Italians use olive oil. To combat it’s pesticide power, the company created genetically modified soy beans that now, as noted above, dominate the market. The combination creates a cycle of increasing health risks.
It really is that simple.
But so many want to make it so much more complicated than that.
Check out this cluster —- of a story:
Soy may lower cholesterol, prevent breast cancer, and reduce many, many other medical risks. Genetically modified soy may cause allergies or pose other risks. Or eating soy—genetically modified or not—may have no effect at all. After decades of research, thousands of studies, and countless millions of soybeans sacrificed on the Altar of Knowledge, the Bon Appétit Prize for Indeterminate Science goes to Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine for determining, in 2014: Soy consumption has possible health benefits and possible risks and more research is needed.
More research is needed? If you click to the story you’ll see its miles and miles of research. What’s the cause of confusion: billions of dollars in profits and a still undetermined impact of glyphosate that is ubiquitous in relation to Monsanto’s Roundup Ready soy seeds.
Charles Benbrook, a Washington State University researcher who documented the rise in glyphosate use that has accompanied Roundup Ready crops, told me that “human dietary exposure to glyphosate is now probably the highest ever for any pesticide used in the US.” When you consider the additional doses we get through water and air, the chemical stands “in a class by itself” in terms of human exposure. “I sure hope EPA is right in its evaluation of the toxicity of glyphosate,” he said.
Care to chance it?
I don’t and that keeps it very simple: lower soy exposure as much as possible for three very good reasons:
1) It could kill you
2) It is the primary industrialized crop along with corn that is ruining our diverse farming economy
3) We are already exposed to unknown health risks enough without adding it from a so-called “healthy” food