I've often heard metrosexual males referred to disparagingly as "soy boys". I've heard the same epithet applied to those who regularly consume "gourmet" coffees from places like Starbucks and the like. Now we learn that soy may, in fact, have some relevance to that.
The use of soybean oil has increased dramatically over the last few decades, to the extent that is has become the most widely consumed edible oil in the US and other Western nations. However, its rise has coincided with an alarming escalation in metabolic conditions like diabetes, insulin resistance, and obesity, and a new study indicates that this may be down to the way that soybean oil causes genetic changes in the brain.
. . .
Writing in the journal Endocrinology, the study authors explain that soybean oil was found to modify the expression of around 100 different genes in the hypothalamus, affecting processes such as metabolism, neurological disease, and inflammation.
Among the altered genes were some that are associated with schizophrenia, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease, although by far the most affected was a gene that codes for the production of a hormone called oxytocin.
. . .
Future research will now need to focus on determining which ingredient is responsible for these genetic changes, although study author Poonamjot Deol of the University of California, Riverside says that while many questions remain unanswered, some very concrete statements can be made off the back of this study.
"If there's one message I want people to take away, it's this: reduce consumption of soybean oil," she said in a statement.
There's more at the link.
There are a few foods - and vendors - in particular that one might want to reconsider after reading that article.
- If you enjoy coffee made with so-called soy milk, remember that it's not milk - it's "a stable emulsion of oil, water, and protein". The more of it you drink, the more soybean oil you ingest.
- If you eat food made with so-called "textured vegetable protein" or TVP, the same consideration applies, because most TVP is made from soy beans. I'm told Taco Bell serves a lot of food containing TVP - something to consider. (It's also served a lot in school lunches, apparently, so you might want to check whether your children are eating more of it than may be healthy for them.)
- Many cooking oils labeled simply as "vegetable oils" have a high proportion of soybean oil in them. It might be safer to buy "pure" vegetable oils such as olive, avocado, etc.
It's soytanly food for thought!