PSA: How Soy Turns from a Healthy Bean into Something Pretty Scary - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 06-25-2005, 11:42 AM
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We talked about this in detail yesterday at my school, and since I know a lot of people on this board eat soy meats and other processed soy frequently, I thought I'd post some of the things I learned. Here is a step by step explanation of how they make some of vegetarians' favorite soy foods.



1. The soybean itself. An organically grown soybean is a wonderful thing, contain many essential amino acids, natural protease inhibitors, and vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately, about 80% of the soybeans grown for commercial use in America are genetically modified. GM soybeans contain more of the typically allergenic compounds than do organic soybeans, so more people react badly to eating GM soybeans. Also, GM soybeans are often sprayed with a great deal of pesticides, because they are modified to be able to grow amidst high levels of chemicals. When you buy soy, BUY ORGANIC.



2. Breaking down the soybean--removing the fat. To make a processed soy product, the fat must be removed. The vast majority of the time, this is done through the application of toxic chemicals, such as hexane and benzene, two known carcinogens. Though it's possible to remove fat from the soybean through less toxic methods, it is usually not done.



3. Breaking down the soybean--removing the carbohydrates. Once the fat has been removed, the carbohydrates and fiber must also be removed. This is usually done in one of three ways: soaking the beans in extremely acidic solutions, soaking the beans in extremely basic solutions (think Drano here), or soaking the beans in alcohol.



We now have what is known as "Soy Protein Isolate" (SPI). A highly allergenic (if not made from organic soy) isolated protein containing dangerous chemical residue. This is now put into protein powder, meal bars like Luna and Clif, veggie burgers and hot dogs like Boca, Yves, Gardenburger, etc., and used in certain soymilks (like 8th Continent.)



4. Extruding the SPI--making TVP. If manufacturers want to make TVP, they will take the newly made SPI and extrude it through a metal form at very high temperatures and pressure. This can cause the proteins to become malformed.



So you guys...please watch out for your health and avoid processed soy protein and products that use it. I am not an anti-soy person; I think whole soybeans and tempeh (and to a lesser extent, tofu) are wonderful, healthful products, but you are potentially causing some serious damage to your health by consuming SPI products. Benzene, hexane and other harsh chemicals are not something you want in your body, and we absorb enough toxins from our environment as it is.



I'd also like to shout-out for Turtle Island Tofurky products, which use NO SPI in any of their foods.
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#2 Old 06-25-2005, 11:51 AM
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Great. Now you've ruined the only soy chicken burger I like that helped me get off the real cbicken burgers
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#3 Old 06-25-2005, 11:53 AM
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Sorry



I'm sure chicken burgers have their own set of horrible disgusting problems though, so maybe you should stick with the soyburger.
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#4 Old 06-25-2005, 11:53 AM
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Thanks for the info Molly! I was wondering about soy bean production just the other day. How many soy beans does it take to create a standard soy burger I wonder?
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#5 Old 06-25-2005, 11:55 AM
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Sorry



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#6 Old 06-25-2005, 12:19 PM
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Humbug.
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#7 Old 06-25-2005, 12:29 PM
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Krista, you're not supposed to be eating burgers of any kind anyway. You're supposed to be eating kidney beans and lettuce.



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Humbug.

Care to expand?
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#8 Old 06-25-2005, 12:55 PM
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Awesome post! All these meat analogues are fine for short transition periods but are definitly not part of a healthy diet! (still better than meat though!)
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#9 Old 06-25-2005, 01:02 PM
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I went out and bought myself a bag for when I'm off the allergy diet



molly - You are heartless!
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#10 Old 06-25-2005, 01:12 PM
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I think an organic hamburger or chicken burger (healthwise) is healthier then a boca burger or a processed chicken burger.
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#11 Old 06-25-2005, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreshTart View Post

I think an organic hamburger or chicken burger (healthwise) is healthier then a boca burger or a processed chicken burger.



I agree. Meat analogues are essentially junk food.



Referring to the original post, I would think that tofu would be less processed than tempeh since tempeh needs to be fermented. Is there a reason that you think tempeh is more healthy? I'm just curious... I was only just now looking at how to make my own tofu... it seemed to be a long, but not very frankenstein-ish, process.
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#12 Old 06-25-2005, 01:40 PM
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Tofu is much more processed then tempeh.



Tempeh: whole soybeans pressed into cakes and fermented.



Tofu: soybeans ground up with water, most of the bean strained out, the resulting mixture boiled and coagulated with a curdling agent.



Tofu has its place, it's not unhealthy, but it is NOT a whole food, and tempeh definitely is.
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#13 Old 06-25-2005, 01:41 PM
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Hey, thanks for that. I was in the supermarket just a couple days ago comparing the tempeh and the tofu and wondering what the difference is. Now I know! Thx.
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#14 Old 06-25-2005, 02:06 PM
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>>2. Breaking down the soybean--removing the fat. To make a processed soy product, the fat must be removed. The vast majority of the time, this is done through the application of toxic chemicals, such as hexane and benzene, two known carcinogens. Though it's possible to remove fat from the soybean through less toxic methods, it is usually not done.>>



Have we confirmed that there is significant residue of these solvents in the final product? Regardless, I'd be pretty wary of the benzene.



>>3. Breaking down the soybean--removing the carbohydrates. Once the fat has been removed, the carbohydrates and fiber must also be removed. This is usually done in one of three ways: soaking the beans in extremely acidic solutions, soaking the beans in extremely basic solutions (think Drano here), or soaking the beans in alcohol. >>



This should be fine as long as the solution is neutralized and/or the alcohol is evaporated completely.



>>4. Extruding the SPI--making TVP. If manufacturers want to make TVP, they will take the newly made SPI and extrude it through a metal form at very high temperatures and pressure. This can cause the proteins to become malformed.>>



Is there a problem with eating denatured protein? If I cook an egg, it's proteins end up denatured (not to say that I endorse eating eggs ). Hell, that may be true of cooking tofu (I don't know if it gets hot enough though).



>>and used in certain soymilks (like 8th Continent.)>>



8th continent soymilk incidentally tastes like ****.



>>I'd also like to shout-out for Turtle Island Tofurky products, which use NO SPI in any of their foods.>>



Turtle Island's products are incidentally delicious.



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#15 Old 06-25-2005, 02:07 PM
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I was wondering if there was any validity to the soy hating that goes on. It seems even worse than taking nice wheat and turning it into white bread.



Is Silk soymilk OK? I'm assuming soy ice cream is not...
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#16 Old 06-25-2005, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
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Is there a problem with eating denatured protein?

All protein ends up denatured anyway after the stomach acid and enzymes have their way with it.
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#17 Old 06-25-2005, 05:11 PM
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Is Silk soymilk OK? I'm assuming soy ice cream is not...





I know they make it from organic soybeans...and i think they're whole at that. But, I could be wrong.
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#18 Old 06-25-2005, 07:36 PM
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Quote:
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Have we confirmed that there is significant residue of these solvents in the final product? Regardless, I'd be pretty wary of the benzene.

This hasn't been studied (to my knowledge), but SPI is the only soy product that has a positive correlation with cancer, so I'd hazard a guess that it has something to do with this. Whether or not it's been "confirmed," I'd still personally rather not eat food that has been soaked in benzene or hexane.



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This should be fine as long as the solution is neutralized and/or the alcohol is evaporated completely.

The alcohol doesn't concern me as much as the other two. Whether or not the solution is neutralized, it's still going to contain the chemicals. Yeah, it's not going to eat a hole in your stomach like Drano would, but the food still has nasty extra chemical residue in it.



On denatured proteins: I'm not an expert on this, but my understanding is that high temperature/pressure extrusion changes the proteins in a way that makes them much less digestible.



HiY, soymilk is better than SPI because it's just strained ground soybeans (plus whatever additives there are in your particular smilk brand.) Personally I don't drink it because I like to have more variety in my diet and not drink soy every day, but I'd say it's more like tofu than SPI.



Most soy ice creams are made with soymilk, too, rather than SPI, so that's better too.
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#19 Old 06-25-2005, 07:39 PM
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I thought Gardenburger products were not GMO?
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#20 Old 06-25-2005, 08:00 PM
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I think that's true. But they still contain SPI--it is not usually made from organic beans, but it can be.
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#21 Old 06-25-2005, 11:42 PM
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I knew there was a reason I never liked TVP......
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#22 Old 06-26-2005, 12:04 AM
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Thank you for being the voice of reason ebola. Hexane and benzene do not exist in detectable amounts in SPI. Each of us is exposed to cancer and mutation causing substances every day in detectable amounts so I see no cause for concern.



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Originally Posted by MollyGoat View Post


The alcohol doesn't concern me as much as the other two. Whether or not the solution is neutralized, it's still going to contain the chemicals. Yeah, it's not going to eat a hole in your stomach like Drano would, but the food still has nasty extra chemical residue in it.



When an acid is neutralized with a base, or vice versa, you get water and salt, this is nothing to be worried about.
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#23 Old 06-26-2005, 12:10 AM
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Quote:
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This hasn't been studied (to my knowledge), but SPI is the only soy product that has a positive correlation with cancer, so I'd hazard a guess that it has something to do with this.



I have a sneaking suspicion this correlation is demonstrated in a less than rock solid way but without the benefit of being privy to the methodology of the study I would offer that the simple fact that people who are at high risk for cancer are told that soy protein and isoflavones can reduce the risk of cancer and that these people are likely to use SPI since it has high isoflavone and protein content per volume/weight/whatever would give a correlation. Unless said correlation is in excess of what we would expect for the reason I give above I'm not sure it is even intuitive (let alone statistically valid) to suggest any causation.
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#24 Old 06-26-2005, 12:31 AM
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When an acid is neutralized with a base, or vice versa, you get water and salt, this is nothing to be worried about.



Exactly, my chem professor last year had some kinda acid (don't remember what acid) and neutralized it, and drank it to prove that it was only water and salt.
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#25 Old 06-26-2005, 01:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebola View Post

Is there a problem with eating denatured protein? If I cook an egg, it's proteins end up denatured (not to say that I endorse eating eggs ). Hell, that may be true of cooking tofu (I don't know if it gets hot enough though).



good point, i'm pretty sure it's fine, seeing as the acidity in our gut is not exactly an ideal environment for proteins in proper formation



i think we break down these proteins into smaller substituents (amino acids) which absorb into our blood and are then reconstructed into useable proteins (ie: we don't just absorb protein from soy and integrate it into our cells)
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#26 Old 06-26-2005, 01:44 AM
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Originally Posted by rainbow_clouds View Post

Exactly, my chem professor last year had some kinda acid (don't remember what acid) and neutralized it, and drank it to prove that it was only water and salt.



Hydrochloric Acid and Sodium Hydroxide

HCl + NaOH --------> H2O + NaCl (salt)
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#27 Old 06-26-2005, 01:47 AM
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another little blurb about acidity... for all you coke drinkers (or, carbonated beverages in general) the carbon dioxide in the drink providing the carbonation is acidic and one coke, for instance, requires 12 glasses of water to neutralize the acidity... lots of things are acidic, but our bodies can handle them in small quantities... remember our stomach acid is a pH of less than 2, which can burn holes through wood



(ps, i'm not advocating coke drinking, coke sucks)
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#28 Old 06-26-2005, 01:48 AM
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another little blurb about acidity... for all you coke drinkers (or, carbonated beverages in general) the carbon dioxide in the drink providing the carbonation is acidic and one coke, for instance, requires 12 glasses of water to neutralize the acidity... lots of things are acidic, but our bodies can handle them in small quantities... remember our stomach acid is a pH of less than 2, which can burn holes through wood/metal



(ps, i'm not advocating coke drinking, coke sucks)
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#29 Old 06-26-2005, 02:12 AM
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That's cool. If you want to eat SPI, be my guest! Go for it! Seriously. I just thought people who are of the "better safe than sorry" mindset (like me) might like to know what the process is.
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#30 Old 06-26-2005, 02:40 AM
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That's cool. If you want to eat SPI, be my guest! Go for it! Seriously. I just thought people who are of the "better safe than sorry" mindset (like me) might like to know what the process is.



I just though the info could be more complete.



Benzene is used in production is less complete than Benzene is used in production but does not exist in detectable levels in the final product.



Acids or bases (like Drano) are used, is less complete than Acids or bases are used but then are neutralized such that the only chemical compounds you are exposed to are water and table salt (or even better a potassium, magnesium, or calcium salt which would make the final product more nutritious).
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