According to Joanna Blythman from the Daily Mail, the horsemeat scandal has reduced sales for meat products. This has been great news for vegetarian foods in general and imitation meat products.
Meat ‘replacements’ include products such as ‘lamb-style roast’, ‘meat-free turkey’ to ‘fish-style steaks’, ‘duck pate’ and veggie ‘mince’.
Andy Clarke, Asda boss has said that sales have increased for vegetarian meals due to the horsemeat scandal. Holland & Barrett reported that sales of its veggie burgers were up by 17%, and it’s vegetarian ‘beef roast’ had increased by 50%. Is this a good thing for our health?
Well, the main ingredient in these fake meat products is a modern type of soya which is produced using a fast-track chemical method. Soy processing involves acid washing and neutralisation solutions, leaching aluminum tanks and high temperature heating, all of which is not good for health.
On top of this, artificial flavourings, colourings, flavourings and MSG are added to many soya products such as soya milk, soy nuts and soy snacks.
Soya is labelled as vegetable protein, textured vegetable protein, soya protein isolate or soya protein. You can find soya in many food products such as cheese spreads, ice cream, ready made beef burgers and many snack products.
Soya protein was previously (before the Eighties) promoted by soya companies as a health food. They claimed eating soya could give you stronger bones, control the menopause and make you less likely to develop breast, colon and prostate cancer. It’s no surprise however, that the research was sponsored by the soya companies and the studies were epidemiological in nature so only shows that two things have an association with each other, not that one thing is causing the other.
Top 6 Reasons to Avoid Soya?
- Soya beans contain naturally occurring toxins which makes it difficult for us to absorb essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc, therefore causing mineral deficiencies.
- Soya bean oil is heavily refined and is basically a junk food. It is found in most processed foods. Most soy bean oil contains some level of dangerous trans fat.
- “Another potential concern is the chemical solvent hexane — a component in glue and cement — is used to extract the oil from soya beans. It is known to poison the human nervous system“.
- “Soya is one of the eight most common food allergens, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration”.
- Soya has been linked to breast cancer (mainly) – soy isoflavones is a plant hormone that mimics estrogen in the body. Some research has shown that isolated isoflavones help to develop tumors in the breast. There are further studies to show that soy inhibits fertility.
- Soya also has one of the highest pesticide contamination levels of any crop.
So, those trying to avoid meat products and buying vegetarian meals instead are not really helping their health in any way.
There is a lot of conflicting information on the Internet about soya. Modern soya consumption has only been in our diets for the last 3 decades so, there is no track record of safe use. However, when taking all of the above into account, I believe it’s better to be on the safe side and avoid soya/products containing soya. Stick to whole, fresh, natural, organic (where possible) real food.