My anecdotal experience is that soy gives me a headache. Not from eating it, but from reading about it!

Too much about soy sources, the fermentation processes, and oh those isoflavones. Way too much bloviating here, here, and here about the pros and cons of soy.

Sometimes you just have to cut through the fog and ask, What’s the bottom line on soy?

Thanks to a Washington state food market chain, here it is.

Like so much about Asian culture, moderation is the key with soy. Traditional Asian cultures consume fermented soy products or tofu in small amounts as condiments but not a main source of protein.

  • Soybeans are hard to digest. Fermentation makes them more digestible and adds flavor to a meal
  • Fermentation deactivates soy’s natural phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors, which can affect mineral and protein absorption
  • Tempeh, miso, tamari and shoyu are fermented
  • Tofu is not fermented, but this doesn’t affect mineral or protein absorption because of the way it’s made
  • Highly processed soy foods (eg, burgers and products with isolated soy protein or soy flour) are best as occasional treats

There’s more at the PCC Natural Markets website.

Illustration: Soya

8/10/06 11:13 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.