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In the first two posts in this series, I shared with you how to avoid GMO sugar and how to avoid GMO Corn. Today I’m going to talk about avoiding GMO soy. Exactly like GMO corn, it’s extremely difficult to avoid GMO soy.
The State of GMO Soy
Genetically engineered soy was first introduced in 1995. In 1997, approximately 8% of soybeans grown in the US commercial market were genetically modified. Today, that figure has shot up to 94%. Talk about a loss of biodiversity.
Is GM Soy Safe?
Although there are only a handful of studies on the safety of GMO soybeans, there is considerable evidence that the herbicide glyphosate—especially in conjunction with the other ingredients in Roundup—wreaks havoc with the endocrine and reproductive systems. It literally destroys your hormonal system.
A 2009 study in The Anatomical Record showed that female rats fed GM soy for 15 months showed significant changes in their uterus and reproductive cycle, compared to rats fed organic soy or those raised without soy.
In 2005, Irina Ermakova, with the Russian National Academy of Sciences, reported that more than half the babies from mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks. This was also five times higher than the 10% death rate of the non-GMO soy group. The babies in the GM group were also smaller could not reproduce.
When Ermakova fed male rats GM soy, their testicles changed from the normal pink to dark blue! Italian scientists similarly found changes in mice testes (PDF), including damaged young sperm cells. Furthermore, the DNA of embryos from parent mice fed GM soy functioned differently.
Soy allergies skyrocketed by 50% after GM soy was introduced in the UK.
If you Google, “Is GMO soy Safe,” you’ll find a myriad of studies to evaluate. There is enough information out there against soy that we’ve decided to avoid it.
Tips for Reading the Label
Since soy is one of the top crops grown in the US, it’s in nearly everything. It is used to derive a crazy number of ingredients used in processed foods, and it’s also one of the most common feed products for livestock.
Processed foods often have hidden GM sources (unless they are organic or declared non-GMO). The list wasn’t nearly as easy to procure as it was for GMO corn or sugar beets.
The following are ingredients likely derived or made from GMO soy:
- Bulking agents
- Carob, emulsifiers
- Guar gum
- Kyodofu (freeze dried tofu)
- MSG (monosodium glutamate)
- Natural flavors
- Okara (soy pulp)
- Shoyu sauce
- Soy protein, isolate and isoflavones
- Soy Sauce
- Soy supplements
- Soya, Soja or Yuba
- Teriyaki sauce
- Tocopherols / Vitamin E
- TSF (textured soy flour) or TSP (textured soy protein)
- TVP (textured vegetable protein)
- Tofu, tamari and tempeh
- Vegetable broth
- Vegetable gum
- Vegetable oil
- Vegetable protein
You’ll find these ingredients in so many food products from the grocery store, including (but not limited to):
- Meat substitutes
- Milk substitutes
- Protein bars and powders
Unfortunately, this is not a complete list, but it gives you a good idea of how many food products contain ingredients that are derived from soy! Fortunately, it’s not nearly as long as the list for GMO corn.
In addition to these ingredients being added into nearly all processed foods, GM soy is fed to commercially raised chickens and other livestock. So if you’re buying non-organic meat that wasn’t pastured, you’re likely eating an animal that was fed on a GMO diet. So you need to be aware of that if you’re trying to avoid GMO soy.
Is Organic Soy GMO Free?
Yes, it should be. Unlike corn, soy is a self-pollinating plant so cross-pollination is much less likely with soy than corn. However, some studies have shown there is a potential for cross-pollination with soybeans even though they are self-pollinating.
Check Your Cabinets
Now that you know more of the ingredients that may be derived from soy, I challenge you to go look in your pantry and inspect the foods you have on hand. How many of them likely contain GMO soy? Will you read labels more carefully next time you shop?