Tuesday, May 02, 2006

This Week's Healthy Tip - Soy Products

In addition to being a Clinic Supervisor at Irene's Myomassology Institute I'm also a Teacher's Apprentice for their Tuesday evening hands-on class. Assisting with this class allows me to work more closely with the students and keeps me connected to Irene's program from their perspective. Part of the hands-on class is a weekly healthy tip. The topics of these tips range from the dangers of microwave use to the downright evils of nutrasweet. In class, we pass out information on the weekly tip, read it and have a brief discussion. It's all pretty simple but lately I've been doing the healthy tips and I feel that they need to be flushed out a little bit more. With that said I elected to do a bit of extra research this week and post my finding on the Renegade blog.

Before I get into this weeks tip, here is a hold over from last week. The topic was Dairy Products and the question was about the fat content in skim milk. Here's a breakdown of the types of milk. Note how the % of fat is labeled by weight, NOT by calories:

Types of milk based on fat content from MedIndia

Milk is processed on the basis of the maximum content of fat and solid not fat (SNF) it would ultimately possess.

Whole milk: Whole milk must contain at least 3.25% milk fat and 8.25% milk solids by weight which means it derives about 50% of its calories from fat. Because of this relatively high fat content, whole milk is best used only for infants and young children up to age 2.

Reduced-fat milk (2%): This milk contains 2% milk fat. The percentage of milk fat refers to the percentage of fat by weight, and much of milk's weight is water. Once you subtract the water from 2% milk, for example, you're left with a product that contains 20% fat by weight; such milk actually derives 35% of its calories from fat. Drinking 2% milk is a good way to wean oneself from whole milk at first, but is too high in fat as a permanent choice, unless your diet is otherwise very low in fat.

Low-fat milk (1%): One-percent milk gets 23% of its calories from fat. Many people find low-fat milk more appealing and a good compromise.

Skimmed milk/non-fat milk: This type of milk has as much fat removed as possible. It may not contain more than 0.5% milk fat by weight, and usually contains less than 0.5 gm of fat per cup, deriving just 5% of its calories from fat. Skimmed milk has about half the calories of whole milk. It is the best choice for adults, and is the only type of milk that should be consumed by people on strict low-fat diets. Unfortunately, skim milk has a very "thin" flavor and an unappealing bluish cast.

OK, so with that issue dealt with, on to Soy.

This Weeks Healthy Tip: Soy Products

The Benefits of Soy Products is taken from Soy Info Online. They are selfdescribedd on their site:
"Soy Info Online is dedicated to providing you, the consumer, with accurate, verifiable and scientific information about soy products and related protein issues.Soy Info Online! is not funded by or associated with soybean seed companies, soybean growers, soy product manufacturers, food manufacturers, or food resellers. This givesSoy Info Online!the independence to cut through the "soy hype" and provide the accurate information that the consumer is looking for."
This sounds pretty good and looking over their site they appear to have both pro and con info on soy. So, in addition to the Benefits essay we're reading tonight I looked at their Dangers of Soy Products. Here we find rational advice in answer to the claims about the dangers of soy products:
"A person whooccasionallyy ingests traditionally-processed soy products (miso, tempah, natto, tofu) and otherwise has a balanced, healthy diet and lifestyle will not have to be overly-concerned with the potential dangers of soy. However, those who eat soy regularly, especially products with heavily-processed or genetically-manipulated soy ingredients should pay close attention to the issues relating to the potential dangers of soy products."
They also refer the reader to a number of external sites for research. They conclude with a fewrecommendationss for getting the best out of soy:
Avoid non-organic, genetically-manipulated soy ingredients.

Avoid heavily-processed soy ingredients such as soy protein isolate, soy protein concentrate, hydrolyzed soy protein, texturized soy protein. These ingredients are will not provide any significant health benefits and may cause health problems as discussed above. Instead use traditionally-processed soy products such as miso, tempeh, tofu, natto, and soy milk.

Use soy products ocassionally. Eating miso soup several times per week and having tempeh or tofu in a dish a couple of time per week is fine. Use other legumes or lean meats to get the bulk of your protein.
So, that's all fine and dandy, right? Well sure, save the fact that I opened the closet on the GMO nightmare. So now go read their article on Avoiding Genetically-Manipulated (GMO) Food Ingredients and quake in horror at what some folks round her call Franken Foods. There are a number of reasons to avoid GMOs but my favorites are that some genetically-manipulated crops are changed so that they produce their own high levels of pesticides and that the genetic manipulation greatly increases the risk that the plant (e.g., soy) will develop toxic or allergy-causing compounds. Read the full article for more.

Our next article is from the well respected and over marketed Dr. Andrew Weil. Now, don't get me wrong, I appreciate Dr. Weil, especially for his support of MDMA research, but I think he's at risk for becoming the next Dr. Phil. Regardless, try as I may I couldn't locate our article Weighing the Benefits of Soy on his site and came to the conclusion that it is out dated anyways. The major thrust of his article is to avoid taking soy supplements which, as far as I know, has fallen out of vogue. He addresses similar issues in Women's Health & Soy?, Do Soy Foods Cause Cancer?, and the wonderfully titled Can Soy Feminize a Boy?

So, there's my first online approach to our weekly Healthy Tip. Feedback and further info is appreciated. You can use the comments to add more links and flush this out as you see fit. Thanks ~G

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