Dangers of Soy: Advertising and Your Health
Qur'an is filled with wisdoms about every aspect of life from praying
and sleeping to eating and drinking. However, no matter how powerful
the wisdoms of the Suras we read, sometimes the suggestions of advertising
and media ring stronger in our minds.
is especially true in the case of dietary needs. In the Qur’an and
Hadith (sayings of the Prophet Mohammad) there are numerous guidelines
for diet. Muslims are told which foods are halal (lawful) and which
are haram (forbidden). Muslims are also given suggestions on how
to follow a healthy diet. Muslims are told to eat whole and natural
foods in moderation and to be careful of what they eat that they
do not cause illness in themselves:
children of Adam! Attend to your embellishments at every time of
prayer, and eat and drink and be not excessive; surely He does not
love the extravagant (Qur’an 7:31).
you who believe! eat of the good things that We have provided you
with, and give thanks to Allah if Him it is that you serve (Qur’an
stomach is the source of many diseases (Hadith).
oftentimes, advertising or articles in journals can convince people
to forgo what they know. This is apparent in the case of the health
benefits of wine. Some Muslims, reading the articles about health
benefits of red wine decided it was wise to try this medicine (see
The Misleading Health Benefits of Wine by Dr. Wagdy Sawahel). However,
studies later showed that grape juice was actually healthier than
the red wine. Similarly, soy producers have recently touted the
benefits of soy as a healthy, estrogen balancing, allergy-free bean.
Yet, researchers are beginning to find that soy is harmful in many
people and that excess soy is harmful to everyone.
Muslims are told in the Qur’an and Hadith that breast milk is the
best milk for babies, many Muslims have given their children soy
milk on a regular basis. And although Muslims are told that fresh
cow’s milk was one of the Prophets favourite drinks, they have still
decided to follow the trend away from milk products and drink soy
instead. Last, but not least, even though Muslims are told not to
eat or drink anything in excess, some people have adopted soy products
for medical reasons and are consuming three or more servings a day.
is common knowledge that soybeans are loaded with plant compounds
that mimic estrogen, a female hormone. Many post menopausal women
use soy products to help control hot flashes and other problems
caused by hormonal imbalances. However, this same estrogen surge
can wreak havoc in the systems of young children, men and even some
women who already have sufficient estrogen levels.
studies on the effects of soy products on humans have been in progress
for 40 years. Researchers are now examining the brain tissue of
the deceased and there are many recent studies done on animals.
They noticed that birds fed soy developed their adult plumage at
two months old instead of the normal 18 months. At first this was
an advantage because the young chicks could be marketed better with
their full adult colour. Then they noticed that the early maturing,
soy-fed birds aged prematurely and died young. This caused much
consternation among bird handlers, for they also noticed a great
increase in growth disorders, thyroid problems, infertility, and
then started asking, “If soy does this to birds, what is it doing
to us?” National health agencies and physician associations of some
countries have warned their populace to exercise caution in using
soy based infant formulas (Malloy). In the U.S., two of the Federal
Drug Administration’s (FDA) own researchers, Daniel Doerge and Daniel
Sheehan, have stepped forward to protest their own agency’s allowance
of health claim labelling regarding the effects of soy protein on
coronary health. In a letter to the FDA, they cite their deep disturbance
over potential risk to the public by the FDA’s failure to require
that the same safeguards be put in place for soy use as for estrogenic
(prescribed hormone substances) and goitrogenic drugs (thyroid medication),
They suggest that people be informed of the risks and be under a
physician’s care while using it (White).
studies on children indicate even more disturbing news. Studies
show that children given soy formula go through puberty much earlier
than children who were not fed soy products because the phytoestrogens
and isoflavones in soy act like a hormone in the body, causing the
infant to have hormones like the adult body. A 1994 study done in
New Zealand revealed that, depending on age, potency of the product,
and feeding methods, infants on soy formula might be consuming the
equivalent of up to ten contraceptive pills a day (Ross). Phytoestrogens
(substance in soy) are now strongly implicated, through research,
in thyroid disorders, behavioural and developmental disorders and
cancer. Theodore Kay of the Kyoto University Faculty of Medicine
noted in 1988 that “thyroid enlargement in rats and humans, especially
children and women, fed with soybeans has been known for half a
the hormone issue is not the only concern. Research now in progress
strongly ties aggressive behavioural problems in children to soy.
Soy formula has manganese levels that are 50 times higher than the
level found in mother’s breast milk (Ross). Research is now showing
that high levels of manganese found in soy beverages may be neurotoxic
to babies, causing brain damage. These studies suggest a correlation
to the dramatic increase in Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
(ADHD) and violent behaviour seen in adolescents today (Mercola).
are also a growing concern. Soy is one of the most allergenic foods
in modern diets. It is reported in several research reports to contain
at least 30 allergenic proteins. Many prepared foods from MSG to
crackers and cookies, to frozen fish sticks, and T.V. dinners, drinks
and many things in-between contain soy. In addition, many soy products
are listed as natural ingredients or natural flavourings (Malloy).
also believe that the trend toward lower male fertility may be due
to environmental estrogens, including the soy phytoestrogens. There
is strong evidence that soy phytoestrogens inhibit an enzyme which
is required for the synthesis of testosterone and the development
of the CNS-gonadal axis (White). Much research is now being done
to determine the effects of soy on male animals (even male insects)
of all sorts. Research with animals and insects from the grasshopper
to the cheetah, are showing that soy affects males by making them
less confident, less aggressive, indecisive, show less sexual interest,
lower sperm count and in some studies less everything male.
there is much positive information written on soy, as well, this
is one of many cases where following the suggestions of the Qur’an
would be wise:
and drink and be not excessive.”