I received this inquiry today and decided to answer in a post so the answers are archived. The question is about our recommendation to eliminate both soy and pasteurized milk form one’s diet. The two topics are actually related. Cows in confinement are routinely feed soy meal and other grains, which is not a natural diet for cows who were designed to eat grass, and people who have an allergic reaction to pasteurized milk often turn to soy milk.
“Nourishing Our Children,
Are you saying that it is best to eliminate all forms of soy from our diets? This would include eliminating tofu, soy sauce, bread that contains soy, cashew butter that contains soy, and all the myriad of other things that contain soy? Yes, we are!
It seems that you are promoting raw milk, but don’t really have an argument against organic pasteurized milk? Just that it may come from animals in confinement? So if we found an organic pasteurized milk from free range cows, that would be healthy too? No it would not.
But you are saying do not drink low fat, only whole milk? Yes, we are!
Thanks so much. Very interested in your research. Jenny N.”
The Ploy of Soy
Due to the increasing number of people who are having an allergic reaction to pasteurized milk products, soy dairy has emerged as an often sought out alternative. Although widely promoted as a health food, hundreds of studies link modern processed soy to malnutrition, digestive problems, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders, immune system breakdown, and even heart disease and cancer. How could soy be linked to all this disease? Because the soybean contains many naturally occurring toxins. All legumes contain toxins but the problem with soy is that the toxins are found in very high levels and are resistant to the traditional ways of getting rid of them. Long, slow fermentation (as in the traditional production of miso, tempeh and soy sauce) gets rid of the phytic acid and other digestive inhibitors but not the phytoestrogens in soy.
Myths About Isoflavones
One of the most common myths is that soy estrogens (isoflavones) are beneficial for your health. Isoflavones are the estrogen-like compounds occurring naturally in soy foods. They act as the plant’s natural pesticides, causing insects to become sterile. Research has shown that isoflavones can prevent ovulation and stimulate the growth of cancer cells. As little as 38 mg isoflavones per day (less than the amount found in 1 cup of soy milk) can result in hypothyroidism with symptoms of lethargy, constipation, weight gain and fatigue. The isoflavones in soy have been shown to cause reproductive problems, infertility, thyroid disease and liver disease in mice, rats, cheetahs, sturgeon, quail, sheep, pigs and marmoset monkeys.
Traditional Versus Modern Soy Foods
It is important to distinguish between traditional and modern soy foods. In Asia, traditional soy foods were consumed in small amounts, usually as a fermented condiment. Traditional fermented soy foods include miso, soy sauce, tempeh and natto. Tofu was prepared by a precipitation process that gets rid of some of the anti-nutrients, and tofu was often then fermented. Tofu was usually consumed in small amounts in fish broth, which provided lots of compensating minerals and compounds that support thyroid function. Soymilk underwent a very long preparation process to get rid of anti-nutrients and it was consumed with shrimp or egg yolk, ingredients that helped compensate for the many anti-nutrients that remained. Mostly a food for the elderly, it was sometimes given to nursing mothers but never to growing children.
Problems with Soy Protein Isolate
Modern soy foods are very different. Most are made with soy protein isolate (SPI), which is a protein-rich powder extracted by an industrial process from the waste product of soy oil manufacturing. It is the industry’s way of making a profit on a waste product. The industry spent over 30 years and billions of dollars developing SPI. Soy Protein Isolate is produced at very high temperatures and pressures. This processing does get rid of some of the anti-nutrients in soybeans, but unfortunately many of the proteins are denatured in the process, including lysine. That is why growing animals fed soy must be given a lysine supplement. In feeding studies, SPI caused many deficiencies in rats. That soy causes deficiencies in B12 and zinc is widely recognized; but the range of deficiencies was surprising. Although SPI is added to many foods, it was never granted GRAS status, meaning “Generally Recognized as Safe”. The FDA only granted GRAS status to SPI for use as a binder in cardboard boxes. During the processing of soy, many additional toxins are formed, including nitrates (which are carcinogens) and a toxin called lysinoalanine. It was concerns about lysinoalanine in SPI that led the FDA to deny GRAS status for SPI as a food additive. In spite of all these problems, SPI is the basic ingredient of soy infant formula and the FDA even allows a health claim for foods containing 6.25 grams SPI per serving.
The Dangers of Soy Infant Formula
Infants on soy formula receive dangerously high levels of soy isoflavones. On a body weight basis, this can mean ten times the level that can cause thyroid suppression in adults after three months, and eight times the level that can cause hormonal changes in adults after just one month. According to a Swiss report (see references), adult women consuming 100 mg isoflavones (about 2 cups of soy milk, or 1 cup of cooked mature soybeans) provide the estrogenic equivalent of a contraceptive pill. This means for a baby that weighs 6 kg (or just over 13 pounds), 10 mg provides the estrogenic equivalent of a contraceptive pill. Thus, the average amount of soy-based formula taken in by a child provides the estrogenic equivalent of at least four birth control pills. Because babies are more vulnerable than adults to the effects of dietary estrogens, the effects could actually be much greater than that of four birth control pills. Hence the statement, “Babies on soy formula receive the estrogenic equivalent of at least five birth control pills per day.”
Homemade Baby Formula
For adopted infants, or as a solution for mothers who aren’t physically able to breastfeed or who aren’t able to produce enough milk, we’d like parents to know that there are nutrient dense, homemade baby formula recipes in the book Nourishing Traditions which have been used with great success by parents all over the world since 1995!
- Homemade baby formula recipes, video and frequently asked questions:
- For sources and more information, read this article.
We recommend you eliminate all industrially produced soy from your diet.
Soy Dangers Summarized
- High levels of phytic acid in soy reduce assimilation of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. Phytic acid in soy is not neutralized by ordinary preparation methods such as soaking, sprouting and long, slow cooking. High phytate diets have caused growth problems in children.
- Trypsin inhibitors in soy interfere with protein digestion and may cause pancreatic disorders. In test animals soy containing trypsin inhibitors caused stunted growth.
- Soy phytoestrogens disrupt endocrine function and have the potential to cause infertility and to promote breast cancer in adult women.
- Soy phytoestrogens are potent antithyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism and may cause thyroid cancer. In infants, consumption of soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.
- Vitamin B12 analogs in soy are not absorbed and actually increase the body’s requirement for B12.
- Soy foods increase the body’s requirement for vitamin D.
- Fragile proteins are denatured during high temperature processing to make soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein.
- Processing of soy protein results in the formation of toxic lysinoalanine and highly carcinogenic nitrosamines.
- Free glutamic acid or MSG, a potent neurotoxin, is formed during soy food processing and additional amounts are added to many soy foods.
- Soy foods contain high levels of aluminum which is toxic to the nervous system and the kidneys.
Next Topic …
We do have an argument against pasteurized organic milk!
What harm is there in pasteurization? First lets define the process. The National Dairy Council states: “All milk intended for direct consumption should be pasteurized – it’s a matter of food safety.” They claim pasteurization is a simple, effective method to kill potentially harmful bacteria without affecting the taste or nutritional value of milk. With standard pasteurization, milk is heated to a temperature of at least 161 degrees Fahrenheit for no less than 15 seconds, followed by rapid cooling. For ultra-pasteurization, the temperature is 230 degrees, above the boiling point. What isn’t as widely published is the fact that pasteurization destroys enzymes. Enzymes are specialized proteins that assist in the breaking down and digestion of foods into useful elements that can be utilized, absorbed, or stored by the body. Without those vital enzymes, one cannot properly utilize the nutrients found in milk and many people develop an allergic reaction when the body rejects this altered substance. Pasteurization also diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamins C, B12 and B6, kills beneficial bacteria, promotes pathogens and is associated with allergies, increased tooth decay, colic in infants, growth problems in children, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease and cancer. Calves fed pasteurized milk do poorly and many die before maturity.
Raw milk sours naturally but pasteurized milk turns putrid; processors must remove slime and pus from pasteurized milk by a process of centrifugal clarification. Inspection of dairy herds for disease is not required for pasteurized milk. Pasteurization was instituted in the 1920s to combat TB, infant diarrhea, undulant fever and other diseases caused by poor animal nutrition and dirty production methods. But times have changed and modern stainless steel tanks, milking machines, refrigerated trucks and inspection methods make pasteurization absolutely unnecessary for public protection.
- Raw Milk vs. Pasteurized Milk
- Abstracts on the Effect of Pasteurization on the Nutritional Value of Milk
- Pasteurization Harms Milk
I captured a photo of whole, raw milk above at The Abbey Farm. The milk is not pasteurized, it is not homogenized. It is in it’s natural, unadulterated state. Milk and dairy products like yogurt and cheese can be very healthy foods, but only if the milk contains all the fat. The butterfat in milk provides important vitamins like A, D and K2, which are needed to help you absorb the calcium, phosphorus and other minerals in the milk. In addition, the butterfat in milk makes it much easier to digest and also less likely to cause illness. The best milk comes from cows that live outside and eat green grass, and that is unprocessed, that is, it has not been pasteurized or homogenized. Pasteurization is a type of heat treatment that destroys much of the goodness in milk and makes it very difficult to digest. Homogenization breaks up the fats in milk and makes the components of the fat less healthy. Unprocessed milk is called “raw milk.”
Read more about the diet we recommend.
I recommend this article that offers an overview on fats.
Personally, I would not consume or recommend that anyone else consume low-fat dairy. It isn’t what I consider to be real food. It has been denatured, meaning it isn’t found in nature that way. All of the vital nutrients are in the fat. I would consider low-fat dairy to be processed food. I completely trust that the way we are intended to eat is as food is provided in nature. Low-fat, pasteurized milk is not how it comes from the cow, the goat, the sheep, or the camel. It is made that way in a factory. Historically, we never ate such foods look at what has happened to us: Read How the teeth tell the tale.
Read more about raw milk in this books recommended via our Amazon affiliation:
- The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America’s Emerging Battle over Food Rights
- The Untold Story of Milk, Revised and Updated: The History, Politics and Science of Nature’s Perfect Food: Raw Milk from Pasture-Fed Cows.