Soy’s Dirty little secrets, episode 2: Attack of the thyroid

We all know an under over over active thyroid glad isn’t good. It plumps us up if we turn it off and it makes us sickly skinny if it’s too active. It releases hormones (T3 and T4) to regulate how much we eat weigh and feel. I’d go as far to say that the thyroid runs our metabolism. It’s an important son of a gun.

One of the main illnesses that effects the thyroid gland is goiter. Goiter is an inlarged thyroid gland that can be caused by a tone of stuff (low iodine levels, graves disease blah blah blah…), but the skinny is that it can cause uncomfortable breathing, a noticbly larger neck (that’s where the gland is), and a bunch of uncomfortable treatments (here).

It’s not something you want. Anything that’s going to screw around with your metabolism probably isn’t something you want to play around with.

All that said let’s see where soy plays into this whole game. The FDA even came out against some of the things in soy. There are two isoflavones (please don’t ask me what those are, I don’t want to do the research. Just know they’re in the food) in soy called genistein and equol that go muck around with the estrogen in your body and in the thyroid. ¹

Those some isoflavones restrict the T3 and T4 hormones released by the thyroid. When those aren’t released the petuitary glad yells at the thyroid to make more, when it can’t use all the other stuff that it gets because it’s trying to make T3 and T4 they build up and voila goiter.

So not only does soy not let you digest your proteins that well it can make you have a chubby neck.

Happy New Year!

Make a resolution you can achieve, if you live in the SF valley anywhere think about Fitness Cross to help you reach your fitness goal



(don’t complain because I didn’t use APA or MLA)

  • Kian

    I forgot to put the book sources I used, if you want them put a comment up

  • Ruth

    So are you saying avoid all soy altogether or is there a certain amount that can be eaten without these affects? What’s the deal?

  • Kian

    I wouldn’t go as far as to say to eliminate it from your diet, but watch how much of it you eat. I know you’re on a vegetarian (vegan?) diet and a lot of your protein options come from soy, but taking into account how much marketing and advertising is put into the sale of soy I want to even out the information out there between pro-soy and ant-soy.

    If you look at the Asian cultures that eat a lot of soy most of there consumption is from fermented products. I’m still doing my research as to how much soy to eat, mainly because I really don’t like the taste, but the fermented versions have a lot fewer ill effects than the whole soy (which blows my mind, usually the less processing the better).

    All that said, if soy’s one of your major protein sources don’t leave it out and not get your protein, but I would encourage you to look into other vegetable protein sources (nuts, beans, etc, even Millit and quinoa have a higher protein content than whole grains).