Tofu, otherwise known as bean curd, has been touted as a miracle food especially by those practicing vegetarianism since the 1990s. After all, tofu comes from soy, a naturally protein-rich plant, and for once, individuals who were avoiding meat now found a substitute that actually tasted all right. But while tofu is indeed very rich in protein, it has components that pose considerable risks to your health.
Read further to know more about the negative effects of tofu, and why the Superhuman Food Pyramid recommends you avoid them as a source of protein.
Soy belongs to the category of phytoestrogenic plants for it contains compounds that mimic the function of the female hormone estrogen. These phytoestrogens in soy were first thought to be beneficial, especially for menopausal women. However, these very same phytoestrogens may further worsen certain cancers that afflict women such as breast, ovarian and uterine cancers. As it turns out, the soy-derived hormones may potentially cause the malignant tumors to multiply in number. It is for this reason that medical professionals now advise individuals afflicted with any of these diseases to refrain from ingesting any soy-based product such as tofu.
Soy’s phytoestrogenic effect in humans may potentially affect thyroid functions as well, and may pose risk for individuals with hypothyroidism. Whether or not soy-based products like tofu worsen thyroid diseases is still in debate. But medical professionals warn individuals undergoing hormone therapy for hypothyroidism to take the prescribed medications at least four hours prior to eating any soy-based products as the phytoestrogens are believed to potentially block the absorption of the synthetic thyroid hormone.
High levels of estrogen have been determined as a risk factor for dementia in women ages 65 or older. The result of a study conducted on elderly men and women who regularly ate tofu is not at all surprising then. In the study, it has been found that seniors who routinely include tofu in their diet exhibited dementia-like symptoms, which the researchers believe may be due to the high levels of phytoestrogens present in the tofu.
The soy-derived estrogen found in tofu does not only affect women. Cases of gynecomastia, or the condition characterized by the enlargement of breast tissues in men, have been reported after ingesting considerable amounts of soy-based products for an extended period.
Soy contains phytic acid as well. A known anti-nutrient, phytic acid binds to minerals like copper, calcium, zinc and magnesium thus blocking the intestinal tract from absorbing the essential nutrients. Phytic acid can be removed from soy by way of long and slow cooking in high heat, a process that is not employed in making tofu. Though the main ingredient soy milk is indeed heated during the process of curdling the proteins in soy, the length of cooking is arguably short thus failing to deactivate the phytic acid.
Also, soy is heavily cultivated and therefore is among the manifold crops that get bombarded with petrochemical inputs prior to and during harvest to ward off pests. The dried beans are sprayed with insecticides and chemicals that prevent the beans from sprouting to allow for years of storage as well. Pesticide exposure poses serious risks, among these are increased risk for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children, and birth defects, cancer, and nerve damage.
Soy is among the agricultural crops that have been genetically modified as well. GM foods have been linked to the increased incidence of food allergies. To this day, the long-term effects of GM foods like soy have not been fully studied yet so it would be best to err on the side of caution and avoid these food items altogether.
In the next post, I’ll tell you the negative effects of roasted nut butter and why you should avoid it to succeed in your quest to Become Superhuman.
In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the protein sources on Superhuman Food Pyramid:
• Organic Yogurt (Full-Fat)
• Soaked or sprouted beans and legumes
• Raw seeds and nuts
• Roasted Seeds and Nuts
• Regular or Canned Beans and Legumes
If you have questions, comments or feedback about the negative effects of tofu, the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this website, or other aspects of Becoming Superhuman, then leave your thoughts below, as well as any tips you have on the negative effects of tofu.