Food and Drink 

Swimming in truth


I love things that promise to deliver the truth. There’s something captivating about anything that can be so singular and simple and earnest, as if there’s a great big lake of truth out there we only have to stumble upon to guide us in all matters, dietary and otherwise.

So Felicity Lawrence’s article, “The truth about soya”, in a recent issue of The Guardian really grabbed me the other day as I ate my porridge swimming in soy milk. (“Soya” is British; “soy” the North American variant, all from the Dutch “soja”, from the Malay “soi”.)

As I breakfasted away and poured myself more organic, GMO-free soy milk, it was with a half-cocked eyebrow that I pored through Ms. Lawrence’s article as it effectively poked more needles into the ever-inflating soy balloon. Many of these arguments aren’t new, but they’re ones that vegetarians, lactose-intolerant people, menopausal women and all-round general health-food eaters, including myself, don’t like to hear.

Soy is big food business. In 1965, worldwide soy production was around 30 million tonnes; last year nine times that amount was produced, or about 270 million tonnes.

In Britain, they estimate about 60 per cent of all processed food contains soy in one form or another. It can be whole soy or one of its many components, including soy flour, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, soy protein isolate, textured vegetable protein, vegetable oil (or some form thereof, such as hydrogenated veggie oil), plant sterols or lecithin, the latter which is worshipped by health junkies for staving off dreaded oxidants and free radicals, and by chocoholics, for lecithin is the emulsifier in cocoa butter.

Besides the obvious soy milk and soy-based weenies, if you read your food labels you might be surprised to find soy in cakes, noodles, pastries, breakfast cereal and cereal bars, sandwich spreads, desserts, sausage casings and even dog and cat food.

Of course, in vegetarian and vegan food, soy is regarded as the panacea for delivering protein without meat. But many people, vegetarians included, are blissfully unaware that cheap soy feed has also made the factory farming of livestock possible.

Soy is also used to enhance protein content in processed meat products. It’s added to commercial baked products to keep them from shrinking and, evil of evils, once it’s hydrogenated, soy oil is used by the tonne — 34 million tonnes last year alone — to deep fry all those super-sized fries and more.

Readers also liked…

Latest in Glenda Bartosh on Food

More by Glenda Bartosh

© 1994-2020 Pique Publishing Inc., Glacier Community Media

- Website powered by Foundation