Soy is probably one of the most controversial foods nowadays and a food that even polarizes sometimes. Many think it is healthy and a good alternative to meat. Others believe that soy destroys habitats and contains harmful hormones. In the context of soy, there are also many articles in which the “soy lie” is discussed and the harmful effects of soy on our health are reported. In this blog post we would like to explain to you in more detail what soy is and highlight the health aspects of soy. We also want to show you four different reasons why we at Verival don’t use soy in our breakfast products.
What exactly is soy?
The soybean, which is often called soy for short, has its origin in Asia. Soy has been known as a plant in Japan since about 3050 BC and in Korea and China approximately since 1550 BC. Together with lentils, peas and beans, the soybean belongs to the group of legumes.
In general, soybeans contain a lot of fiber and various vitamins such as vitamin E, B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, iron and folic acid. In addition, the soybean is characterized by a high protein content and is therefore particularly popular in a vegetarian and vegan diet. In order to be consumed, soybeans must be cooked or somehow differently processed.
The long history of soy cultivation
For the first time soy was used as food in the Zhou Dynasty (1134-246 BC). However, at that time soy was only consumed in the fermented forms as tempeh, natto and tamari. At that time, soybeans, barley, wheat, millet and rice were among the sacred grains.
It was not until the beginning of the 18th century that the soy plant came to Europe. However, only starting at the end of the 19th century soy was first cultivated as a crop in Europe. Since the beginning of the 20th century soy has been cultivated extensively in the USA too.
What soy products are there?
A brief overview of the various soy products:
- Cooked soybeans
- Soy products such as soy milk and soy yoghurt
- Soy flour
- Soy protein
- Soy sauce
- Soybean oil
- Miso (soybean paste)
Is soy healthy for you?
Soy is a food which often divides the opinions of the health industry. Some studies confirm the health benefits of soy and others disprove them. Soy is a legume and therefore, like all legumes, it contains natural toxins. However, the problem with soy is that these toxins are comprised in high concentrations.
For example, soy also contains a much higher dose of phytic acid and therefore binds minerals such as zinc, calcium, iron and magnesium. This makes it more difficult for the body to absorb the various minerals and as a result, it is more difficult for our body to utilize them. The content of phytic acid and other toxins can be reduced by fermentation, soaking and germination of soy. Therefore, soy products such as miso or tempeh contain a small amount of these toxins.
In addition, the phytoestrogens contained can increase the risk of breast cancer, as various studies confirm. Soy can also have various effects on the thyroid glands. It contains isoflavones and these can also affect the thyroid function. Therefore, people with an existing thyroid disease should keep their soy consumption as low as possible. However, as with any other food, the saying “The quantity makes the poison” can be applied.
Soy as animal feed
As you can find more and more soy products in the supermarkets today, you might think that most of the soy produced ends up on our shelves and on our plates. However, by far the largest proportion of soy that is produced, namely about 80%, is used as protein-rich feed for industrial animal fattening.
Soy as feed is particularly cheap and is therefore especially popular for feeding animals. It has to be added here that the one that has been imported is problematic, since about 90% of the soy plants worldwide are genetically modified.
4 different reasons why our Verival breakfast products do not contain soy
1. Widespread soy allergy
In nutritional science, soy and soy products are a known allergen and the number of people with soy intolerances is also constantly increasing. For this reason, products containing soy must also be labelled according to the Food Labelling Ordinance (Allergen Ordinance). Our mueslis, crunchies and porridges are soy-free according to the recipe* so that our breakfast lovers with a soy intolerance can enjoy our products without any problems.
2. Hormones contained in soy
New studies confirm that the excessive consumption of soy can significantly influence the hormonal system of our body. Soy consumption can also increase the risk of breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. In the case of thyroid disease, it is also advisable to avoid consuming soy every day, as the isoflavones contained in soy can inhibit the absorption of artificial thyroid hormones. Therefore, for us, the debate about the hormones contained in soy is an important reason why our breakfast products do not contain any soy products.
3. Problematic cultivation of soy
In the main cultivation areas such as Brazil and Argentina, millions of hectares of rainforest are deforested and often monocultures are created for the cultivation of soybeans, which extracts the nutrients from the soil and makes it infertile.
Monocultures also promote fungi, bacteria and viruses. In monocultures, these pests and pathogens spread particularly quickly and easily, which leads to a higher use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides. Although soybeans can also be cultivated in our latitudes in Europe and could therefore be sourced regionally, the hormones contained in soy are a major argument against the use of soy products for us.
4. The taste of soy
The taste of soy and various soy products is also seen rather controversial. Some like the taste of soy products. Others, on the other hand, are not particularly enthusiastic about its taste. Since tastes can be quite different, we do not use soy in our products, so that all our breakfast friends can enjoy our products.
Breakfast without soy from Verival
Our Verival breakfast products are soy-free according to the recipe.* Our product manager Alexandra Mentil sums up our reasons why our Verival products do not contain any soy: “We have decided against the use of soy in the Verival breakfast products and sport range because soy is seen rather contradictory. Ultimately, however, it is always the quantity that makes the poison. Even if soy has high protein values, a good amino acid profile and is also available as European soy, we at Verival use several different vegetable proteins in our sports products, in the combination of pumpkin seed protein, sunflower seed protein, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. The protein content is comparatively lower overall, but absolutely sufficient and the combination of these vegetable proteins in our sports products results in overall great amino acid profiles”.
Our conclusion on the subject of soy
Due to the different opinions in the health industry, the soy allergy, the own taste of soy and the contained hormones, we deliberately decided not to use soy in our Verival breakfast products. So even with a soy allergy, you can enjoy all our breakfast products as well as our products from the sport range.
* “Except the product Chocolate Cereal Mix. Other products may also contain traces of soy for technical production reasons.”