There’s never been a more glaring example than soy to prove that our government cares more about its ties to big agribusiness than protecting the health of its own citizens.
Over the past few years, other countries like Switzerland, the UK, France, Israel, and Germany have issued public health warning against soy consumption, especially for children. But here in the US, the FDA is refusing to budge when it comes to reversing their stance on the so-called health benefits of soy.
Back in 1999 the FDA gave the green light to claim “consuming 25 grams of soy protein may reduce the risk of heart disease.” But this sweeping proclamation came on the heels of a single meta-analysis that linked soy protein to decreases in LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
Also worth noting: That research was bankrolled by DuPont — one of the biggest players in the US soy trade. So the results should really have been taken with a grain of salt — and not turned into government propaganda.
But in an effort to expose soy for what it really is, the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) filed a petition urging the FDA to withdraw soy’s health claims. The petition included studies and comments from researchers highlighting serious problems with soy, suggesting that it would be better identified as a health hazard rather than a heart supporter.
Specifically, the WAPF claimed (and I agree with them wholeheartedly) “scientific research shows that the benefits of consuming soy protein are putative and unproven, and that soy protein actually poses certain risks to health.”
The foundation also pointed out that “soy protein is not soy in its natural form.” Truer words have never been spoken.
While organic, GMO-free forms of soy won’t necessarily kill you in small amounts, you’d be hard-pressed to find them here in the US. In fact, over 93% of all soybeans grown in this country have been genetically modified to be “Roundup Ready.” Which means they come prepackaged with a healthy dose of endocrine-disrupting pesticides.
But let’s get back to the FDA saga.
The WAPF filed its petition back in 2008. By law, the FDA had six months to respond.
But a full 6 years went by — and it was still crickets from the FDA. So the WAPF decided to take things a step further.
In 2014, they sued the FDA in an effort to get them to respond.
The WAPF submitted six scientific studies as part of the evidence that soy needs to be removed from the “heart healthy” list.
This January (two years later), the FDA finally got around to responding.
In its response, the FDA asserted that it is “actively reviewing the entire body of scientific evidence to allow the Agency to make a more well-informed decision regarding next steps for this health claim.” Of course, they instantly tossed aside the evidence provided by the WAPF, claiming the studies were of “moderate quality” and didn’t provide sufficient evidence.
And the FDA also dug in its heels and refused to strip soy protein of its heart-healthy label.
If you’re curious why the FDA is so adamant about promoting soy, consider this: Soy has become the backbone of the Standard American Diet.
Nearly every processed, packaged product you see on the supermarket shelf contains some form of soy. Just try to find a product label without soy protein isolate, soy protein concentrate, textured vegetable protein, or hydrolyzed plant protein listed in the ingredients.
So you do the math. Soy has catapulted from a lowly bean into a cash cow for the food industry.
And THAT’S why the FDA is reluctant to withdraw their health claim.
But make no mistake, soy protein isolate is not — and never will be — healthy for us to eat.
For the record, the only forms of truly beneficial soy come from the traditional, non-GMO, imported Japanese fermented varieties: tempeh, which is a fermented soybean cake; miso, a fermented soybean paste, commonly used in soup, and natto, which are fermented whole soybeans.
Ultimately, this is one case where you don’t want to buy American. The Japanese government won’t even let our soy crop to be imported into their country. That should tell you something.
When it comes to soy, the buck needs to stop somewhere — but obviously it’s not with the FDA.