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Soy prejudices - myths about tofu

Soy Myths – The 10 Biggest Myths About Tofu & Other Soy Products

You want to know everything about typical soy prejudices and find out whether the myths surrounding soy products like tofu, tempeh or soy milk are really true? Then you are exactly right here! One thing in advance: I personally think that tofu in particular is one of the most important and versatile vegan foods, which is the Change from meat fanatic to vegan much easier. However, soy products currently also have a bad reputation. A fundamental skepticism, as well as a multitude of myths, surrounds the foods that spring from the soybean.

In this article, I would like to clear up the existing misconceptions and prejudices about soy - and refute the biggest myths about the hotly disputed and much-discussed plant with facts. Let's go!

In advance you can find here an overview of the prejudices:

  1. Tastes like nothing
  2. Consumption is unhealthy
  3. Rainforest is cut down
  4. Genetically modified food
  5. Results in thyroid problems
  6. Upsets hormone balance
  7. Causes breast cancer
  8. Gets boring quickly
  9. Is the only meat substitute
  10. Extremely expensive food

1. tastes like nothing

Seasoned tofu on a skewer - soy prejudice that it tastes of nothing

Tofu tastes, like biting into an old shoe box or a wobbly shoe sole... we've heard it all before. But is that really true? If it were, then I would probably no longer use it regularly. in all colors and shapes integrate into my meals. The "secret" lies in the seasoning. Even animal meat, which is actually tasteless, would probably only be eaten by a few people if it had not been "properly seasoned".

With the right spices, you can easily prepare tofu so crispy that it really tastes good - I promise! Very good are especially Curry, paprika, garlic, chili, oregano, ginger, nutmeg and turmeric. Also Coconut milk, soy sauce and lemon juice give tofu another delicious, aromatic note.

2. consumption is unhealthy

Another soy prejudice is that it impairs the development of infants, for example, and is generally unhealthy. This misconception persists. Yet tofu, for example rich in proteins, polyunsaturated fatty acids, fiber, essential amino acids, iron, calcium, folic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, B vitamins and also vitamin E. - and also has hardly any calories.

Tip: Okay, tofu may be quite healthy. But is the vegan diet perhaps generally unhealthy? You get the answer in the linked article!

3. rainforest is cut down

Since at first glance mainly vegetarians and vegans consume soy products and - already common knowledge -. Soy destroys the rainforest, is the culprit quickly found for many meat eaters. However, the fact that the rainforest is cleared for food like tofu is a big misconception that really stubbornly persists. Also because it is gladly fired by the meat industry and many politicians.

But in fact About 80 percent of the global soybean harvest ends up as crushed animal feed in the industrial Factory farming.₁ Around 18 percent is processed into biodiesel or frying oil. Only a fraction is used to produce soy products for human consumption, which are then usually made from European soybeans grown as organically as possible.

4. genetically modified food

Soy prejudice - A soybean in the field

It is often said that there is a lot of genetic engineering in soy. This is also basically not a misconception! But the genetically modified soy plants end up mainly as Animal feed in the so-called livestock farming. Ultimately, it is meat eaters who consume genetically modified soy via the "animal detour".

And tofu & co. are not genetically modified? That can also happen. But in Europe, genetically modified ingredients in food must be very clearly labeled - in German supermarkets, tofu is usually certified organic, which means that genetic manipulation can be ruled out.

5. results in thyroid problems

Now and then it is claimed that soy contains secondary plant compounds - the so-called Goitrogens or isoflavones - and that they are harmful to the function of the thyroid gland and even cause thyroid cancer. The latter is an erroneous rumor, which is mainly due to individual cases where people have eaten almost exclusively soy products, which, of course, is not practical.

Isoflavones belong to the group of flavonoids - and thus in the world of plant substances to the Health-promoting detoxifiers, cancer fighters, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories..₂ Therefore, the link between thyroid problems and tofu is one of many prejudices against soy products.

Tip: Many diet-related diseases are due to the consumption of animal-based foods. You can find out which ones in the linked article.

6. upsets hormone balance

For example, sage, hops and even soy are sources of so-called "soy". Phytoestrogens (e.g. isoflavones) are present. These are plant substances that have a similar mode of action as the hormones produced by our body itself. They are also able to increase and decrease estrogen levels. Accordingly, it is often assumed that Phytoestrogens in vegan diet - and consequently the consumption of soy products -. Men "feminized or even makes them infertile.

Non-fermented foods contain only minor amounts of hormonally active isoflavones. Fermented soy products, such as tempeh or miso, are richer in ivoflavones, but even this has only insignificant effects on hormone balance. Who basically in moderate quantities and does not live exclusively and permanently on vast quantities of soy products, does not usually have to worry about their own testosterone levels or sperm quality suffering as a result.

7. causes breast cancer

Adding to the many soy prejudices is the belief that soy isoflavones increase the risk of recurrence in breast cancer patients. However, the current data from epidemiological studies do not yet indicate that the, that soy consumption worsens the prognosis of breast cancer patients.

Also the German Cancer Research Center reported that moderate daily consumption of soy yogurt, soy milk & co. with regard to a possible increased risk of breast cancer harmless is. There are even indications that the risk is reduced by foods containing soy.

8. gets boring quickly

The prejudice that tofu does not taste "like nothing", we had already "breakfast". Another misconception is that, as part of one's diet, it must become boring very quickly. Well, of course, if you Day after day always the same eats, probably any food becomes boring.

But for one thing, this is not the rule in our Western world - and for another, different ways of making Silken, natural or smoked tofu, as well as various forms of preparation and countless spices the food extremely versatile and exciting.

Tip: You really only have to dare to try Asian cuisine more often to discover the versatility of soy products for yourself.

9. is the only meat substitute

Soy products like tofu, they say, are the only substitute for beef steaks, pork cutlets and other, familiar foods made from animal flesh. Really? There are quite a few, Vegetable meat alternatives for burger patties, minced meat, gyros, schnitzel, sausage, bockwurst or meat salad. For example, from soy, but also based on wheat, peas, lentils or sunflower seeds. In addition, "meat-like" foods, such as dried tomatoes or oyster and porcini mushrooms. You really only have to find your way into vegan cuisine to gain new inspiration 🙂 .

Notice: Often I hear another prejudice! That Vegans yes always consume only meat substitutesthat look and taste like meat. That does happen - but soy products like tofu are in reality much more than just a "substitute" - in fact, a completely separate, versatile food.

10. extremely expensive food

Tofu with glass noodles and mushrooms

Every now and then I hear that the vegan diet a luxury problem would be because the food was so unaffordably expensive. But apart from the "hidden" costs (Climate change, animal suffering, rainforest deforestation, Environmental Refugees etc.), ensure above all the reduced tax rate, state subsidies and not least the (still small but strongly growing offer of vegan food) for the fact that animal products such as meat, milk and cheese are often even cheaper. But tofu and soy products in general actually only have the real and unadulterated - and not the artificially kept down - price.

Notice: Some vegan ready-made products may be somewhat more expensive. In principle, however, purely plant-based products such as vegetables, peas, beans, lentils, rice or pasta are among the cheapest foods in the supermarket.

Discard prejudices against tofu and soy products and enjoy them

Soy products on the supermarket shelf are neither carcinogenic, nor is the Amazon deforested for them. As a rule, they are not genetically modified either - but they taste incredibly good (with the right seasoning). Their diversity even ensures that we humans Feed ourselves more sustainably and preserve our planet for future generations.

We must remember that tofu, soy sauce, tempeh and other soy products have not been part of the Western diet for too long. Accordingly, it is not at all surprising that prejudices exist and misinformation wanders around. However, it is important to deal with them critically before sharing them with others.

I hope that in this article I was able to refute some soy prejudices and eliminate possible antipathies towards tofu - or the plant-based diet in general. And if not: you can also eat without tofu, bean sprouts and soy milk. vegan life. 😉

Do you have any questions, tips or other myths? Then I look forward to your comment.

Stay sustainable,

Christoph from CareElite - Plastic-free living

PS: You want to cook something with soy directly? Then try yourself with pleasure at the vegan tofu scrambled eggs off! Bon appetit!

References:
₁ Albert Schweitzer Stiftung für unsere Mitwelt: Why soy sausage does not harm the rainforest (as at: 01.06.2018). https://t1p.de/jzvz. [03.02.2022].

₂ Carina Rehberg: Soy and the Thyroid, available at https://www.zentrum-der-gesundheit.de/ernaehrung/lebensmittel/soja-uebersicht/soja-schilddruese. [22.04.2022].

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Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

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