I have posted this in response to Sunnys post "Soy and thyroid". In the hope more will read of this lethal stuff.... Here is a small section of the full article I have. The propaganda that has created the soy sales miracle is all the more remarkable because, only a few decades ago, the soybean was considered unfit to eat - even in Asia. During the Chou Dynasty (1134&endash;246 BC) the soybean was designated one of the five sacred grains, along with barley, wheat, millet and rice. However, the pictograph for the soybean, which dates from earlier times, indicates that it was not first used as a food; for whereas the pictographs for the other four grains show the seed and stem structure of the plant, the pictograph for the soybean emphasises the root structure. Agricultural literature of the period speaks frequently of the soybean and its use in crop rotation. Apparently the soy plant was initially used as a method of fixing nitrogen.13 The soybean did not serve as a food until the discovery of fermentation techniques, some time during the Chou Dynasty. The first soy foods were fermented products like tempeh, natto, miso and soy sauce. At a later date, possibly in the 2nd century BC, Chinese scientists discovered that a purée of cooked soybeans could be precipitated with calcium sulphate or magnesium sulphate (plaster of Paris or Epsom salts) to make a smooth, pale curd - tofu or bean curd. The use of fermented and precipitated soy products soon spread to other parts of the Orient, notably Japan and Indonesia. The Chinese did not eat unfermented soybeans as they did other legumes such as lentils because the soybean contains large quantities of natural toxins or "antinutrients". First among them are potent enzyme inhibitors that block the action of trypsin and other enzymes needed for protein digestion. These inhibitors are large, tightly folded proteins that are not completely deactivated during ordinary cooking. They can produce serious gastric distress, reduced protein digestion and chronic deficiencies in amino acid uptake. In test animals, diets high in trypsin inhibitors cause enlargement and pathological conditions of the pancreas, including cancer.14 Soybeans also contain haemagglutinin, a clot-promoting substance that causes red blood cells to clump together. Trypsin inhibitors and haemagglutinin are growth inhibitors. Weanling rats fed soy containing these antinutrients fail to grow normally. Growth-depressant compounds are deactivated during the process of fermentation, so once the Chinese discovered how to ferment the soybean, they began to incorporate soy foods into their diets. In precipitated products, enzyme inhibitors concentrate in the soaking liquid rather than in the curd. Thus, in tofu and bean curd, growth depressants are reduced in quantity but not completely eliminated. Soy also contains goitrogens - substances that depress thyroid function. Soybeans are high in phytic acid, present in the bran or hulls of all seeds. It's a substance that can block the uptake of essential minerals - calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc - in the intestinal tract. Although not a household word, phytic acid has been extensively studied; there are literally hundreds of articles on the effects of phytic acid in the current scientific literature. Scientists are in general agreement that grain- and legume-based diets high in phytates contribute to widespread mineral deficiencies in third world countries.15 Analysis shows that calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc are present in the plant foods eaten in these areas, but the high phytate content of soy- and grain-based diets prevents their absorption. The soybean has one of the highest phytate levels of any grain or legume that has been studied,16 and the phytates in soy are highly resistant to normal phytate-reducing techniques such as long, slow cooking.17 Only a long period of fermentation will significantly reduce the phytate content of soybeans. When precipitated soy products like tofu are consumed with meat, the mineral-blocking effects of the phytates are reduced.18 The Japanese traditionally eat a small amount of tofu or miso as part of a mineral-rich fish broth, followed by a serving of meat or fish. Vegetarians who consume tofu and bean curd as a substitute for meat and dairy products risk severe mineral deficiencies. The results of calcium, magnesium and iron deficiency are well known; those of zinc are less so. Zinc is called the intelligence mineral because it is needed for optimal development and functioning of the brain and nervous system. It plays a role in protein synthesis and collagen formation; it is involved in the blood-sugar control mechanism and thus protects against diabetes; it is needed for a healthy reproductive system. Zinc is a key component in numerous vital enzymes and plays a role in the immune system. Phytates found in soy products interfere with zinc absorption more completely than with other minerals.19 Zinc deficiency can cause a "spacey" feeling that some vegetarians may mistake for the "high" of spiritual enlightenment. Milk drinking is given as the reason why second-generation Japanese in America grow taller than their native ancestors. Some investigators postulate that the reduced phytate content of the American diet - whatever may be its other deficiencies - is the true explanation, pointing out that both Asian and Western children who do not get enough meat and fish products to counteract the effects of a high phytate diet, frequently suffer rickets, stunting and other growth problems.20 SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE: NOT SO FRIENDLY Soy processors have worked hard to get these antinutrients out of the finished product, particularly soy protein isolate (SPI) which is the key ingredient in most soy foods that imitate meat and dairy products, including baby formulas and some brands of soy milk. SPI is not something you can make in your own kitchen. Production takes place in industrial factories where a slurry of soy beans is first mixed with an alkaline solution to remove fibre, then precipitated and separated using an acid wash and, finally, neutralised in an alkaline solution. Acid washing in aluminium tanks leaches high levels of aluminium into the final product. The resultant curds are spray- dried at high temperatures to produce a high-protein powder. A final indignity to the original soybean is high-temperature, high-pressure extrusion processing of soy protein isolate to produce textured vegetable protein (TVP). Much of the trypsin inhibitor content can be removed through high-temperature processing, but not all. Trypsin inhibitor content of soy protein isolate can vary as much as fivefold.21 (In rats, even low-level trypsin inhibitor SPI feeding results in reduced weight gain compared to controls.22) But high-temperature processing has the unfortunate side-effect of so denaturing the other proteins in soy that they are rendered largely ineffective.23 That's why animals on soy feed need lysine supplements for normal growth. Nitrites, which are potent carcinogens, are formed during spray-drying, and a toxin called lysinoalanine is formed during alkaline processing.24 Numerous artificial flavourings, particularly MSG, are added to soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein products to mask their strong "beany" taste and to impart the flavour of meat.25 In feeding experiments, the use of SPI increased requirements for vitamins E, K, D and B12 and created deficiency symptoms of calcium, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, copper, iron and zinc.26 Phytic acid remaining in these soy products greatly inhibits zinc and iron absorption; test animals fed SPI develop enlarged organs, particularly the pancreas and thyroid gland, and increased deposition of fatty acids in the liver.27 Yet soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein are used extensively in school lunch programs, commercial baked goods, diet beverages and fast food products. They are heavily promoted in third world countries and form the basis of many food giveaway programs. In spite of poor results in animal feeding trials, the soy industry has sponsored a number of studies designed to show that soy protein products can be used in human diets as a replacement for traditional foods. An example is "Nutritional Quality of Soy Bean Protein Isolates: Studies in Children of Preschool Age", sponsored by the Ralston Purina Company.28 A group of Central American children suffering from malnutrition was first stabilised and brought into better health by feeding them native foods, including meat and dairy products. Then, for a two-week period, these traditional foods were replaced by a drink made of soy protein isolate and sugar. All nitrogen taken in and all nitrogen excreted was measured in truly Orwellian fashion: the children were weighed naked every morning, and all excrement and vomit gathered up for analysis. The researchers found that the children retained nitrogen and that their growth was "adequate", so the experiment was declared a success. Whether the children were actually healthy on such a diet, or could remain so over a long period, is another matter. The researchers noted that the children vomited "occasionally", usually after finishing a meal; that over half suffered from periods of moderate diarrhoea; that some had upper respiratory infections; and that others suffered from rash and fever. It should be noted that the researchers did not dare to use soy products to help the children recover from malnutrition, and were obliged to supplement the soy-sugar mixture with nutrients largely absent in soy products - notably, vitamins A, D and B12, iron, iodine and zinc. Don`t quite know what to say, Love Pat.