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Why Is Soy Bad For Your Thyroid

Is Soy A Health Food

Soy and the Thyroid: Why Soy Shouldn’t Be In Your Diet! | TWW Quick Tips

Most people assume soy is a very healthy food because it is what most of the mainstream media tells us. Soy, soy flour and soy products are in almost every packaged food today. But is soy really a healthy food for us? Based on the holistic research we have done, we feel the answer is “NO“. This is an important question to ask because soy is everywhere in processed foods today, even pet foods. You do not have to be a vegetarian or health food “nut” who eats soy substitutes for dairy and meat, to have a lot of soy in your diet. Soy is a hidden ingredient found in many processed foods. It is used to extend fast food hamburgers, added to most supermarket breads and found in many dry kibble pet foods, even the premium brands. You will find even higher levels of it in the foods in health food stores, where it is promoted as a heart-healthy, cancer-preventing, menopause-alleviating ingredient.

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Why Soy Is Controversial

Lets take a trip back to the 1990s, when soy foods first started really hitting it big. At the time, many experts believed that soy had the power to fight problems like obesity, heart disease, and even cancer. After all, people in Asia eat a ton of soy, and studies showed that these populations had significantly lower rates of obesity, heart disease, and breast cancer compared to people in the U.S. Clearly, soy was the miracle food, right?

Not necessarily. Those studies only looked at associations, not causation. Just because people who consume a lot of soy also happen to be healthier than people who dont eat soy doesnt automatically mean that soy is the key to their superior state. Countless other factors including genetics, lifestyle and the rest of their diet could also play a role.

When researchers began taking a closer look to find out what made soy so healthy, they ran into some surprises. Soy, it turned out, contains estrogen-like compounds called isoflavones. And some findings suggested that these compounds could promote the growth of some cancer cells, impair female fertility and mess with thyroid function. Some health experts also trash-talk soy because of its potential to be an endocrine disrupter meaning it can mimic estrogen in the body, which may lead to a hormone overload.

Inhibition Of The Thyroid Hormone Actions

In addition to interfering with iodine entry into the thyroid gland, soy may also inhibit the action of thyroid hormones in the organs of the body. Some studies in humans have documented changes in thyroid function in response to soy, but the mechanism by which these changes occur is not clear. A 2016 study published in Public Health Nutrition, for example,concluded that the chances of having high TSH were quadrupled in people who ate two daily servings of soy foods versus those who didn’t eat any at all.

Most of the studies that have identified an association between soy and thyroid disease have shown that women are far more affected by this link than men are. The reasons for this different response between men and women is not clear.

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The Elevation Of Soy As A Health Food

When the USDA erroneously decided all animal fat and meat were poison, Americans were told to eat more plant foods, like soy. Soy was touted as a perfect protein and source of fat to replace meat, lard and butter. Soybean oil was marketed as a versatile cooking oil that wouldnt increase your cholesterol, textured protein crumbles made in a lab were smashed together and dyed to look like hamburger patties and soybean oil was hydrogenated to be solid at room temperature. Eat margarine, they said, its better than butter, they said.

Well folks, it turns out hydrogenated vegetable oil is a source of trans fat. And eating trans fat not only increases your risk of heart disease but the Food and Drug Administration now prohibits food manufacturers from adding the major source of artificial trans fat to foods and beverages .

But, I digress, lets get back to the soyification of the world. So the government declares all animal meat and fat bad, processed plant foods are better. AKA we know better than nature what is healthy. So, cheap soy floods the market. And now you can pick up 80% of the items in the grocery store and see soy in the ingredient list. Soybean oil, lecithin from soy, soy protein, textured vegetable protein , vegetable gum, vegetable broth, vegetable starch, this list goes on.

The organization food allergy and research education lists nearly all processed foods and even some personal care products as having a soy component:

Gluten Found In Bread Pasta And Rice

Is Soy Good or Bad? Health Benefits, Risks, and Myths ...

Those with hypothyroidism may want to consider minimizing their intake of gluten, a protein found in foods processed from wheat, barley, rye, and other grains, says Ruth Frechman, RDN, a dietitian in the Los Angeles area and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. And if you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, gluten can irritate the small intestine, and may hamper absorption of thyroid hormone replacement medication.

An article published in May 2017 in the journal Endocrine Connections noted that hypothyroidism and celiac disease are often present together, and while no research has demonstrated that a gluten-free diet can treat thyroid conditions, you may still want to talk to a doctor about whether it would be worth eliminating gluten, or getting tested for celiac disease. A study published in July 2019 in Experimental and Clinical Endocrinology & Diabetes found that a gluten-free diet may have clinical benefits for women with thyroid disease.

If you do choose to eat gluten, be sure to choose whole-grain varieties of bread, pasta, and rice, which are high in fiber and other nutrients and can help improve bowel irregularity, a common symptom of hypothyroidism. Also be sure to take your hypothyroidism medication several hours before or after eating high-fiber foods, to prevent them from interfering with the absorption of your synthetic thyroid hormone.

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How To Manage Iodine Intake When Switching To Almond Milk

Every person with Hypothyroidism is different and does not respond the same way to goitrogens. For some people, almond milk may be like poison when it comes to Thyroid function, but others may consume this milk without any significant adverse reactions. In such a case, it may be appropriate to have almond milk instead of cows milk but the issue regarding iodine still exist in such case.

Fortunately, there are ways to increase iodine intake without having to go back to cows milk. Supplements are one way to go not many supplements do include iodine, but some research would reveal options available int he local area.

When it comes to natural sources, switching regular salt for iodized salt is one potential option. Iodized salt is not, however, available in all countries. Seaweed is another good source of iodine, but should be consumed in moderation as the iodine levels in seaweed is quite high. Other important sources of iodine include prunes, eggs, tuna, shrimp, and cod.

Fatty Foods Such As Butter Meat And All Things Fried

Fats have been found to disrupt the body’s ability to absorb thyroid hormone replacement medicines, says Stephanie Lee, MD, PhD, associate chief of endocrinology, nutrition, and diabetes at Boston Medical Center and an associate professor at the Boston University School of Medicine in Massachusetts.

Fats may also interfere with the thyroid’s ability to produce hormone as well. Some healthcare professionals recommend that you cut out all fried foods and reduce your intake of fats from sources such as butter, mayonnaise, margarine, and fatty cuts of meat.

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Should People With Thyroid Problems Avoid These Foods

Soy: If you have hypothyroidism, yes. Eating too much soy causes problems only for those with hypothyroidism, which occurs when your thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormones, Dr. Nasr says.

The main problem is that soy may hinder absorption of the hormones that such patients take.

Some studies show that if you eat a lot of soy, or drink a big glass of soy milk, within one hour of taking a thyroid hormone, it might affect absorption, Dr. Nasr says. Many individuals depend on a consistent absorption of those hormones to achieve a steady state.

Generally, expertsrecommend that people who have a borderline thyroid one thats a littleunderactive but youre still trying to preserve thyroid function do not toconsume large amounts of soy every day, he adds.

Turnips and rootvegetables: No. These vegetables aresometimes thought to cause thyroid problems, but thats not the case, Dr. Nasrsays. They are good for your diet, regardless of any thyroid issues.

One root vegetable that is the exception is cassava, a common staple in certain parts of Africa. This plant is known to produce toxins that can slow an already underactive thyroid, especially in the presence of an iodine deficiency, Dr. Nasr says. But thats not relevant here in the United States, unless you cook cassava and you eat it every day.

Other Foods Containing Phytoestrogens

Should ALL Soy Be Avoided If you Have Thyroid Problems?

Foods other than soy that contain phytoestrogens include:

  • wholegrain cereals like oats, wheat, corn, barley, rye and buckwheat
  • nuts and seeds such as almonds, linseed, flaxseed, sunflower, pumpkin and sesame
  • sprouts alfalfa
  • oils extra virgin olive oil
  • other legumes chickpeas, lentils and kidney beans.

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Processed Foods In Packages And The Frozen Aisle

“Processed foods tend to have a lot of sodium, and people with hypothyroidism should avoid sodium,” Frechman says. Having an underactive thyroid increases a person’s risk for high blood pressure, and too much sodium further increases this risk.

Read the “Nutrition Facts” label on the packaging of processed foods to find options lowest in sodium. People with an increased risk for high blood pressure should restrict their sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams a day, according to the American Heart Association.

Spacing Out Thyroid Medication And Foods

Unlike some medications that should be taken with meals, thyroid hormone pills should not be taken with food or supplements.

If possible, take the medication on an empty stomach, or an hour before eating. If you eat foods that are rich in iron, such as fiber or calcium, meats, lentils or broccoli, it’s best to wait at least two hours after you have taken the medication.

If you take calcium or iron supplements, make sure to wait several hours before taking the medication. The American Thyroid Association calls a 4-hour separation between medication and supplements “traditional, but untested.” Make sure to speak with your health care provider before taking any dietary supplements.

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Foods That Are Making Your Thyroid Sick

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Of the over 20 million Americans suffering from thyroid disease, I’m sure most don’t think about their thyroid at the supermarket or their favorite restaurant

Yet those are EXACTLY the places where, I daresay, thyroid health is most vulnerable.

Because within your beloved comfort food crackers or favorite restaurant salad dressing lurk the very foods making your thyroid sick.

If you already know about your thyroid problem, or if you’re already aware that thyroid disease runs in your family, has your doctor discussed diet with you at all? Unfortunately, allopathic and conventional medicine is typically content to throw pills at symptoms rather than peeling back the layers to treat the heart of the problem.

Of these 7 foods that are making your thyroid sick, a few are found on this list as well: 5 Foods That Are Compromising Your Immune System. And it’s no wonder! Thyroid disease is almost always autoimmune in nature.


Every cell in the body depends on thyroid hormones for regulation of their metabolism.

So if your thyroid is sick, your entire body will suffer.

Risks And Side Effects

Is Soy Bad For You, or Good? The Shocking Truth

Although soy foods may be associated with several potential health benefits, there are a few side effects and risks that need to be considered as well.

For starters, isoflavones act as phytoestrogens, meaning that they mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. For this reason, many people choose to avoid soy foods due to concerns about their effect on hormone-linked cancers, such as breast cancer.

Interestingly enough, however some studies have actually found that soy isoflavones could actually be linked to a lower risk of developing breast cancer. According to one 2016 review, higher consumption of soy products was linked to a 30 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer among Asian women.

Of course, its important to note that these populations typically consume non-GMO, fermented and minimally processed soy foods, which is a stark contrast to many of the highly processed products consumed in most western countries.

Because of the phytoestrogen effects of soybeans, many also wonder: Is soy bad for men? Studies have turned up mixed results on the impact of soy consumption on hormone levels for men.

Allergies to soy products are also very common, with one study estimating that soy allergy affects around 0.4 percent of children. Although many people do outgrow these allergies, its important to avoid soy products if you have an allergy to prevent adverse side effects.

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Foods To Avoid And Eat For Hypothyroidism

Because thyroid conditions can be difficult to manage, theres a lot to consider. What type or types of thyroid medication should I take? What is the right dosage of medicine? How do I manage through fatigue? What should I be eating? Hypothyroidism makes it hard to maintain and lose weight. Another reason to watch what you eat is that certain foods may interfere with your thyroid or your thyroid medication. By avoiding some foods and eating more of others, you may be able to improve your bodys absorption of these hormones.

*Doctors are familiar with a patients medical history. Always check with them before adding or eliminating any food or supplements.

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Second Generation Soy Products

Another class of soy-based food exists which in Australia we call second generation soy food. This includes tofu sausages and burgers, soy breads, soy pasta and soymilk yoghurts and cheeses. It also includes products that contain soy or soy-based ingredients such as lecithin which can be found in some chocolate and baked goods.

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Soy And Thyroid Health

This is one area that could certainly use more research.

In mice, soy has shown to deactivate an enzyme involved in the production of thyroid hormones. Surprisingly though, this doesnt lead to a decrease in thyroid hormone production or result in hypothyroidism.

Other studies in mice that have shown that a decrease in thyroid hormones with soy intake only occurs when the mice also have an iodine deficiency.

Similar results were shown in old studies of infants receiving soy formula.

These studies initially sparked concern when they showed an increase in the incidence of goiter, which is an enlargement of the thyroid gland.

However, more recent studies show that this only occurs when the infants are also iodine deficient. With supplementation of iodine, the condition is reversed.

May Lower Blood Pressure

Can Soy Suppress Thyroid Function? | Soy: Healthy or Harmful? | Fermented Soybeans

Soybeans and foods made from them are generally rich in arginine, an amino acid believed to help regulate blood pressure levels .

Soybeans are also rich in isoflavones, another compound believed to offer blood-pressure-lowering benefits.

In one study, eating 1/2 cup of soy nuts daily was found to reduce diastolic blood pressure by around 8% in some, but not all women .

Other studies link daily intakes of 65153 mg of soy isoflavones to blood pressure reductions of 36 mm Hg in people with high blood pressure .

However, its unclear whether these small blood-pressure-lowering benefits apply to people with normal and elevated blood pressure levels.

Some studies suggest both may benefit, while others suggest only people with high blood pressure would experience this effect .

Clearly, more research is needed on this topic, but for the time being, the blood-pressure-lowering effects of soy, if any, appear to be very small.

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Other Great Thyroid Resources

While this list of foods to avoid with hypothyroidism is helpful, there is so much more to know about thyroid disease. Following are two fabulous resources.

The book, The Root Cause, is a fabulous resource for those with thyroid issues. Did you know that itâs estimated that 90% or more of those with hypothyroidism have Autoimmune Hashimotoâs?

I devoured this book totally in just a few sittings after getting it. Itâs so full of great information and itâs one of those âkeeperâ books.

Other books I take out of the library, but âkeeperâ books are for buying and taking notes in and going back to over and over again.

I met the author this year and she knows what she is talking about.

One of the best books on thyroid health in my opinion.

This author goes way deeper than just a list of foods to avoid with hypothyroidism. She dives into many angles of the disease to help your body function as well as it can.

Also, this book by Aviva Romm, is a great overall discussion about underlying causes of both thyroid and adrenal issues.

Please remember: neither Adrienne nor I are doctors, so please do not make changes to your diet, supplements, or exercise program without first consulting with your physician.

Are you avoiding all of these foods to avoid for hypothyroidismâor would you add anything to the list?


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