The Chinese and Japanese consumed soy and avoided dairy for thousands of years until recent times. There was no obesity crisis in either country until they were flooded with western fast food chains. Over 20 years ago when I discussed the dairy debate and the benefits of plant-based proteins with Dr Hilary Jones and Lorraine Kelly on GMTV they looked at me in disbelief.
Now it’s accepted, finally, that a plant based diet is far healthier. Shares of vegan burger maker Beyond Meat rose by more than 160% after making their stock market debut recently and it’s been the fastest growing IPO in years. However VBites foods have been making vegan burgers for years. Soy burgers are currently the only plant-based burger with a complete amino acid chain.
The benefits of soy include lowering cholesterol and protecting heart health. It also provides you with good protein and B vitamins. There were a lot of sensational headlines created by those who wish to demonise the soybean – such as man boobs caused by the increase in oestrogen. However this is a myth. Instead, we overlook the fact we pump massive doses of phytoestrogens, which are plant hormones, into animals. The oestrogen in dairy and meat is thousands of times stronger than that found in soy.
What we should be concerned about is that science shows milk and dairy intake is proven to raise levels of IGF-1 (insulin growth factor 1), a hormone that controls growth and development in cows and humans. However, we do not grow at the same rate as a cow so these large doses have been linked with breast and prostate cancers.
Now I am 51, I’ll be going into the menopause soon but my doctor says that having consumed soy for over 20 years I probably won’t feel the same effects of hot flushes. In fact, he regularly prescribes soy tablets to decrease these symptoms in patients. Surely that alone is a good enough reason to reduce meat consumption and go for more soy alternatives.