Hidden Soy Products in Your Food

Food processors are always looking to increase profits. Substituting cheap soy products as a filler for part of the volume is one way that food processors "extend" a natural food like beef or chicken.

If you read labels at the grocery store, you’ll find soy protein isolates or textured soy protein in non dairy ice cream, whipped toppings, non fat dry milk, preformed hamburger patties and ready to bake meat loaves.

Soy is heavily used by the fast food and snack industries to extend profits. You can find it in chicken nuggets, energy bars, low carb snack foods, vegetarian meatless products and other processed foods.

How Soy Products are Made

Take a look at how these additives and soy products are made, and remember 89% of the soybean crop in American is genetically modified to withstand extremely heavy applications of pesticides, so you'll be getting a healthy dose of both with your soy products:

  • Soy Protein Isolate: Defatted soybean meal is mixed with a caustic alkaline solution to remove the fiber (and any other useful nutrient) then washed in an acid solution to precipitate out the protein. These protein curds are then dipped into another alkaline solution and spray dried at extremely high temperatures.

    Soy protein isolate has never received GRAS (Generally Recognized As safe) status as an additive to food. It was not originally developed as a food but as an industrial product to bind and seal paper products. Soy protein isolate contains a number of toxins and carcinogens introduced by the high temperatures, high pressures and chemicals used to manufacture it, not to mention the danger of soy's natural anti-nutrients.

  • Soy Protein Concentrate (SPC): created from defatted soy flakes, it consists of 70 percent protein and most of the soybean's fiber. It is made by precipitating the solids with aqueous acid, aqueous alcohol, moist heat and/or organic solvents. These immobilize the protein, which is then removed along with some of the soy carbohydrates, isoflavones and salt residue. Soy protein is used for emulsification and texturizing. Specific industrial applications include adhesives, asphalts, resins, cleaning materials, cosmetics, inks, pleather, paints, paper coatings, pesticides/fungicides, plastics, polyesters and textile fibres.

  • Textured Soy Protein: TSP is used as a meat replacer in vegetarian products. It’s made by forcing defatted soybean flour through a special machine called an extruder. The temperature and pressure are extreme and change the structure of the soy protein into a dried, fibrous product, much like foam packing peanuts.

  • Hydrolyzed Soy (or Vegetable) Protein: Soy flour is again subjected to alkalines and acids to isolate the amino acids and peptides. This extraction and isolation process also releases glutamate and aspartate, better know as the excitotoxin MSG (monosodium glutamate). MSG consumption can cause shortness of breath, chest pain, burning sensations in the neck, face and arms, headache, nausea and a number of other symptoms collectively known as "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome, in reference to the large amounts of MSG used in Chinese food.

  • Soybean Oil: Although soybean oil does contain some beneficial fatty acids, the processing methods destroy much of it. In addition, soybeans contain copious amounts of lipoxygenase, an enzyme which causes rapid oxidation of oils. In short, soybean oil spoils or goes rancid very quickly. Rancid oils are very dangerous when consumed, causing cellular and DNA damage and promoting inflammation. You’ll find soybean oil in most margarines, shortening, mayonnaise, salad dressings, vegetable oil, fast food French fries, baked goods and other processed foods.

  • Soy Lecithin: this product comes from the leftover muck after crude soybean oil goes through a filtering process. It is essentially a waste product containing solvent and pesticide residues. Because of its dirty color, manufacturers bleach it before using it. It is used to prevent the separation of water and fats in chocolate bars and other processed foods. Lecithin used to come from egg yolks, and in that form, has been promoted as a health food for many years. But today, most lecithin is instead made from soy and no longer healthy.

  • Soy Milk: Traditionally, soy milk was just the leftover residue from making tofu. Only recently has the soy industry cleaned it up and marketed it as a health drink.

Resources for Reading on Soy Products and Health

Done with Soy Products, Back to Processed Foods