Soy is a hotly debated product among those who promote and sell its nutritional value as well as consumers who eat it. The debate stems largely from the health value of non-fermented soy found in a great many processed foods in relation to those that use the much healthier alternative fermented soy.
Why? Non-fermented soy products contain phytic acid, which contains anti-nutritive properties. Phytic acid binds with certain nutrients, including iron, to inhibit their absorption. This is a direct, physical effect that takes place in the digestive system. Their ability to bind is limited by the milligrams of phytic acid present.
Products using non-fermented soy include:
What makes unfermented soy particularly unsafe: It’s hard to avoid soy in processed foods such as baby formula, meat substitutes, drinks and snacks. One can find it in a great many domestically-produced food products at the grocery store. Additionally, soy is sanctioned by groups like the Soy Protein Council and USDA that cite the presence of isoflavones scientists say reduces one’s risk of cancer.
On the other hand, fermented soy stops the effect of phytic acid and increases the availability of isoflavones. The fermentation also creates the probiotics, the “good” bacteria the body is absolutely dependent on, such as lactobacilli, which increase the quantity, availability, digestibility and assimilation of nutrients in the body.