Does Soya Slay your Sperm?

Posted by on Jun 4, 2013 in Blog, Food | 0 comments

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Has Soya been Lost in Translation?

In the east, it is typically fermented – eradicating the antinutrients like phytic acid present in its raw form – and consumed in fairly limited amounts. In the western world, Big Food spindoctors hit a home run out the gate with a reference to soya as a contributor towards vastly lower cancer rates in Asia (amongst other magical benefits of course). Naturally this resulted in sending soya to the top of the nutritional nirvana charts back west.

In the filming of Cereal Killers, the London based PR guru Paul Blanchford had explained to me exactly how the public’s perception of a foodstuff could be manipulated.

Soya is a case in point – it fits the bill beautifully as PR fodder.

In what was a highly commendable piece of commercial strategy, Big Food painted a compelling picture of a mysterious looking foodstuff from the far east with untold implications for our health. The message to the public was simple…

“Soya sounds cool, looks strange, tastes bland and may help you avoid cancer, heart disease and other nasty illnesses.”


But the message to shareholders was even better…

“Soya sounds cool, looks strange, tastes bland and appears to have considerable health benefits when fermented. The fermenting part doesn’t suit our agenda so we’ll just refer to “soya” in our PR campaign. It also costs next to nothing to mass produce GMO’d soya so we can use it to increase margin as a very cheap protein filler in any of our processed food products.”

In the western world, soya is typically not fermented. Big Food’s processing of soya for use in processed food actually makes a pig’s ear from a traditionally fermented silk purse and introduces a whole new set of issues along the way.

Processed soya can be found in cereals, crisps, confectionery, deep-fried take-aways, ready meals, pasta, ice-creams, mayonnaise and there’s that spread that must be butter again. This is not a good thing on a whole lot of levels. It can wreck havoc with your Omega Index (the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids that influences inflammation levels in the body), toy with your thyroid and if you’re male….well let’s just say you really won’t like this next part.

From a guy’s perspective, this is not just a cheap filler for crap food. Thanks to some friendly sounding plant compounds called isoflavones (they do a great job of mimicking the female hormone oestrogen in the body) we’re talking about a full blown raid on your manhood here.

The fact that processed soya is everywhere and it’s called a bunch of different things on labels means you can’t even tell if it’s there in the first place! That roll of honour includes -

  • hydrolysed vegetable protein
  • protein concentrate
  • textured vegetable protein
  • vegetable oil
  • plant sterols
  • the emulsifier ‘lecithin’

Don’t believe the hype? How about the director of reproductive medicine at my alma mater, Queen’s University, Belfast, Dr Sheena Lewis.

“What we have shown is that if men are consuming large amounts of soya products, for example, there is a negative relationship between that and the quality of their sperm.”

Admittedly, most guys I know don’t go buying blocks of tofu for dinner, but they do consume pretty much everything on the aforementioned processed food list.  Soya, like added sugar, is a more of a drone than a missile. Without knowledge of, or reference to the list above it can be very tough to detect.

Fortunately Dr Lewis goes on to conclude that the best way to protect your sperm quality and avoid excess oestrogen has nothing to do with reading labels.

“Eat fresh food.”

Amen to that.

By avoiding processed, soya ridden crap and eating real food with an emphasis on high quality, naturally occurring animal (saturated) fats, your testosterone levels will actually get a serious boost. The powerful metabolic benefits that come with that include an increase in energy, lean muscle mass, lowered bodyfat and a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and CVD.

And then there’s your sex drive :)

Still Lost in Translation?



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