How to avoid unwanted soy foods, why it’s not really a health food, and what makes it risky to eat


Wow, finally… this commentary is long overdue! I started drinking soy milk because I was allergic to milk, and because the “industries” out there said it was a good source of protein. I did this for 5 years almost on a daily basis. During that time, I began to experience painful breast symptoms that I had not had before, AND I finally ended up with a positive reaction (allergy) to soy. I hadn’t been allergic to it before, but it only took a few years of using it to get there. I am talking about 1.5 cups a day, not much. I have talked to every family member and close friend about the problem I had with soy. My elderly mom finally went off of it (she used it for her cereal on a daily basis) and her GI symptoms cleared up almost immediately. I plan to print this out and send this article to her. Keep up the good work, Dr. Mercola, in getting the word out about our health choices and what’s real. It takes dedication and expert knowledge to ferret out our real health options. Thank you.

Dr. Mercola

As a new reader you seem to be unaware that this is not overdue at all and there are articles on the site over ten years old that discuss this.


Excellent article, Doc. Soy, along with Corn and Canola are three of the food crop items that are among the four most predominately genetically engineered crops in the world (the fourth is cotton). And, in the U.S. in particular, they are found in a huge percentage of the food products on our grocer’s shelves. Just try finding a salad dressing or butter substitute which does not contain one or more of canola oil, corn oil or soy. In addition to being genetically engineered to withstand more Roundup (which is a relative of Agent Orange and contains some of the same compounds as the toxic dispersant Corexit), the crops are also engineered to produce their own pesticides. Recent research has found that GMO genetic material is transferring from one species to another, and is being taken up by intestinal bacteria in humans.

Man has such a terrible record of trying to manipulate and better nature. We are all living – and perhaps dying – experiments of what the long term consequences will be.


I think an important point is missed, in many soybean discussions. Conceding, for a moment, purely for the sake of argument, that the soybean is the world’s healthiest legume, it must be noted that the bean is not what people generally are eating. The soy products, on the store shelves, are made from soybean flakes, which are what is left after the beans have been subjected to all manner of indignity, to get the oil from them. The flakes are so denatured that no creature should eat them. Further processing, into ‘milk,’ textured vegetable protein and other tasty treats, probably does not result in any improvement. I think there is no food which would be healthy, after so much processing.

I ate a few steamed soybeans, many years ago. I decided they were not fit food, for a human (at least not this one,) because they were ugly, they smelled bad, and they gave me gas. I swore off. I tried soy ‘milk,’ only once. It was ugly and smelled bad. I’m not sure if it would have given me gas. I didn’t swallow it. And then there’s tofu. Yuk! Looks like someone already ate it.

I suppose some folk assume that any horrible unsatisfying ingestible substance, such as soy flake derived food substitutes, must be healthy.


While it may be true that naturally brewed soy sauce is healthy, the article fails to mention that the majority of soy sauce sold in America is not of that category. Most soy sauce in America is highly processed garbage oftentimes even with high fructose corn syrup added. Read your labels.


Excellent point, Liberty. I suppose that if the news about soy dangers gets too widespread they could pull the same trick that Canola and MSG producers did and which the corn syrup industry is trying to do now – just give it a different name.

Hey, I thought you got shot? : )


Yep, thanks to this site I found a brand of unpasteurized, oak barrel aged soy sauce that is imported from Japan. Before that I used San-J organic Tamari.


True. I use Pearl River brand naturally brewed light soy sauce. Not “lite” as in low salt, but “light” as in mild.


Now Iknow why…Non one else in my family has or had thyroid issues. I have bben eating soy for many years… in the form of soymilk. I have developed fatty tumors on my thyroid and am on my way so seeing an ) I could’t figure what was up with my skin. I stopped using petroleum based products like Vaseline for skin moisturrizers and replaced that with a mixture of soybean oil and olive oil. It seemed that my skin was getting worse. I thought it was the possible thyroid problem.

I WILL STOP ALL SOY. I was eaking SOYJOY bars washing them down with SILK SOYMILK thinking I am eating healthier. Since I stopped eating wheat SOY was the replacement grain. Whne I became lactose intolerant..I started using soymilk.

Hopefully, I am not too far gone to repair my thyroid and get my skin back to normal.

Thank you…for this invaluable information.


Nice article Doc. Don’t eat soy or any related products. Amazing how they are touting it as a health food.

Many vegans consume it and that may be part of their problem.

nursing case manager

Actually libertyvalance soy sauce often also contains wheat so I avoid it but Tamari is a safer version and I use it for my family . No HFCS but some wheat.

I’m vegetarian lac-to-ovo type so I do alright avoiding soy except Nato and Tempe.I believe I am allergic to regular soy and now wheat and can’t help but wonder if it’s the processing and GMO’s that started those in tolerances. I also wonder if Wheat is on the GMO tract unbe known by the general public. What haven’t they genetically engineered? I also think there is no organic corn, canola, or soy grown in the us. Recent news stories talk about GMO Canola growing by the road side. I’m a gardener, pollen spreads great distances. I find it hard to believe 80-90% of soy, corn, and canola can be Gmo and not be carried over to organic crops.


nursing case manager: yes, wheat is already being genetically modified in the lab and experiment fields :(


As a vegetarian, I have known about the health issues related to soy/soy products for years. I feel it is irresponsible to “lump” all vegetarians into this mindless group that will eat anything that’s been advertised as healthy just to avoid meat. Most vegetarians are far more health conscious and informed than the average meat eater. There are so many healthy sources of protein out there that don’t fall into the soy/meat/fish category. As a vegetarian, I have a far more varied and healthy diet now. The most important issue here is to KNOW your food. Where was it grown, what was it fed and how was it processed. Obviously, processed foods of any kind should be minimized and when chosen, the ingredient list should be scrutinized before buying. Why don’t you write an indepth article on the health affects of eating meat/fish/poultry from factory farms? Tell your readers about all the hormones and antibiotics that these animals ingest before they’re artificially fattened up before they go to slaughter. How the antibiotics that are fed to animals are a contributing factor to these new antibiotic resistant infections in humans.

The animal agriculture industry is powerful and corrupt(along with Big Agra producing the garbage corn and soy). The reason this info is not reported on most television programming is due to the threat of losing millions of dollars in advertising revenue and the threat of a lawsuit (remember Oprah and the beef industry?).

Yes, GMO’s of all kinds should be banished! Soy is only one of them. We should all be sourcing our foods from organic, sustainable and humane farms. Remember, organic does not always mean healthy and humane. The term organic, as it is used and owned by the FDA, only means hormone and pesticide free. The animals can still be raised in very crowded and unhealthy ways and even be fed the remains of their sick relatives that couldn’t be sold for their meat.

Dr. Mercola….please address some of these issues!

nursing case manager

Shari as a fellow vegetarian I agree with the points you have made about vegetarians. We really do research our foods , buy organic and buy local.

But I must point out that Dr. M. has addressed your issues previously. He is definitely aware of the contamination of meat. Look at some of his older issues.


Agree, Shari. Use the search box at the top of the page. CAFO conditions are well-known to Mercola members.


There are PLENTY of articles on Mercola’s site covering the issues you discuss. You did not look for them.


Meat quality is not the same from country to country. One must not think that the stupid way of raising animals in the USA is universally adopted worldwide. Then, the negative apects of meat often reported cannot be taken from granted everywhere. The Frenchs eat a lot of conventionnal meat, still they are much more healthy than americans.

If your refer directly to metabolic typing references, a protein type person MUST absolutely eat meat to stay well. The potential problems caused by the bad quality and raising methods comes second in priorities. That’s unrealistic to ask low income peoples to eat only alaskan salmon or grass fed beef only when they simply cannot afford it. And raw milk here in Canada is totally illegal and vitually impossible to find, unless you live in the north and your brother own a farm.

Personnaly, I cannot digest correctly any significant vegetal source of proteins. Legumes make me bloated and a methane production plant.


Shari_B, I would say that any vegan or vegetarian bashing is unnecessary to a discussion of soybeans, and would well have been left out. There is no need for this whole thing to be quasi-personal, but, for “Most vegetarians are far more health conscious and informed than the average meat eater” I must award you a good-natured Bronx cheer. I do give you a point, for the rest of your quite reasonable comments.


I was one of those who was trying to do the healthy thing and included a lot of soy in my diet. 4 years ago I developed severe hyperthyroidism (mine was Graves disease) and landed myself in the hospital twice. I am a very experienced nurse and it took my own personal skills to figure out what was wrong (no one bothered to test my thyroid in the hospital, my head, heart, everything but). It turned out I was borderline thyroid storm, it was so bad. The endocrinologist gave me 2 options, radiation therapy or surgical resection. I opted for neither and changed my diet. One of the things I discovered in my research about Graves disease (the autoimmune disease of the thyroid) is that unfermented soy contributes to autoimmune disease, and I was using a lot. As soon as I found out how bad the soy products were I completely eliminated them. BTW, I started out with macrobiotics, which took me a long way to healing, and finally went to a mostly raw diet with juicing (the juicer recommended by Dr Mercola is fabulous). I follow Dr Mercola and Dr Sears and abid by their dietary recommendations. My TSH and T4 have been normal for a year now, without medication and with a fully functioning thyroid. I am 56. It can be done. My endocrinologist is blown away.



I am hypothyroid and taking natural desiccated thyroid Rx. My condition was never extreme. (I think my highest TSH test result was 5.5 without medication and is now 1.7 on Rx.) My hope is to recover fully and get off the Rx. Is there one particular think you did that made a big difference?

I avoid soy, juice when I’m not too lazy, eat mostly raw veg and fruit. I’m definitely a work in progress.


This is such an important issue. Of course those of us who are now vigilant about avoiding soy find it ironic that the strong soy proponents attribute mystical “nutrition” claims to unfermented soy. Americans consume massive amounts of food. Replacing a substantial part of that food with unfermented soy does not in any way equate to the minute traditional consumption of non GMO fermented soy (about 2 teaspoons per day) in traditional Asian condiments or small amounts of natto etc. The supposed “health” that people feel when they begin to eat soy in many cases gives way to vague symptoms which include brain fog, aches, and digestive ills. It is a vicious circle of self-delusion and plays right into agribusiness’s hands.

Dr. Mercola may have written about this, but it is worth mentioning that the ROOT of the soybean plant was the most valued part until the 20th century–soy absorbs more heavy metals and toxins from the soil than any other crop, and was used mainly as a non-food rotation crop in Asia.

I eat fermented real soy sauce occasionally, but I now studiously avoid any other form of soy.


I started eating soy years ago. I was convinced it was a health food. And I thought I was allergic to milk, so I figured soy milk would be a good substitute.

I started with soy milk, and somehow managed to drink it. I told myself the bitter, flat, processed flavor must be good for me. I stopped drinking dairy products completely, and substituted soy where I had been using it. No more milk or cheese or cream cheese. I put tofu in my scrambled eggs and smoothies, drank soy milk, bought protein bars made of soy protein, and thought I was doing something great. I read books and web pages telling me how great soy was, and told myself it was all true.

During this period, I became prone to headaches. I lost interest in sex. I felt sick and drained a lot. I started losing my hair. My teeth hurt. It was a struggle to think. I was in a mental fog and felt like I was getting old. My son, who was eating all that soy along with me, started having similar health problems. I had to wonder about that. He couldn’t use getting old as an excuse.

I finally started reading some articles about soy that suggested it could be a problem. I was outraged at the authors. How dare they attack soy! I didn’t and couldn’t believe it. But as an experiment, I decided to stop eating it for a week and see what happened.

The day I stopped eating it I started feeling better. This was after eight years of misery. My headaches and irritability went away. Three days later, all of my symptoms had gone away. No more fatigue. No more brain fog. I haven’t had soy since then, and the symptoms have never come back.

I still read articles online saying that soy is a wonder food. The authors post nasty, caustic, sarcastic comments about those who dare to say bad things about soy. They’re “sure” it’s a miracle food. In the same articles they talk about all the things they’re trying hoping to get some relief from the symptoms that they’ll never admit soy is causing.


People who praise soy will also love and defend chemo, fluoride,and flu shots.

They are conditioned, or perhaps its nature weeding out the dumb…(sarcasm)

I tried soy milk for about 2 months, (advice of allopathic doc) I was gagging from the first to the last sip. Since then I have gone from drinking 1% milk to whole organic milk.

I ditched the allopath, found a teaching herbalist and realized I AM responsible for my well being.

Of course Doc Mercola was there first to wake me up and teach teach teach !



Amen to that, unsheepled!!


Agree 100% with the article.

The Weston A. Price Foundation where Kaayla Daniels has been an active member have been researching and warning folks about soy for so many years. Those who believe soy is healthy should take the time to read all these research over many years and everything the non-profit foundation stands for.

See everything here:

Most recently, they’ve been trying to fight Cruel and Unusual Punishment: Soy Diet for Illinois Prisoners

See here:…/1624.html


I wonder if fermenting GM soy makes it safe? Has anyone addressed that?

Dr. Mercola

Good question, but fermenting GMO soy doesn’t help. You need to avoid all GM soy, fermented or not

Even fermented non GMO soy has phytoestrogen hormonal influences, like isoflavones, that can be problematic if you consume them in large quantities.


Whether or not “fermenting GM soy makes it safe,” it encourages the opposition by increasing sales of their diabolical product.

Just Say No to all things that are artificially* genetically modified.

*Note that humans have indulged in “natural” genetic modification for some 16,000 years! Hybridization and selective breeding is a safe and natural way of “modifying” organisms to have characteristics we desire. Too bad this process is just to darn slow to satisfy corporations, who have their eyes glued to next quarter-year results, whereas selective breeding typically focuses on quarter-century results.


Why exactly is it reckless for humans to consume a vegan diet ? Is there some nutrient which is found only in animal tissues ? As far as I can tell there is no scientific reason many humans cannot thrive on a plant- based diet. I am not asking about theories of nutritional types or diet recommendations, or personal observations, but if there is serious scientific evidence of nutrients that humans cannot obtain from plants. I know I get a good amount of B12, protein and essential amino acids from my vegan diet, feel better than I ever have before when I ate flesh and I’m still waiting for the health disaster that the nutritional expert Angelina Jolie has warned us about. Basically I’d like some hard science explaining why humans can’t thrive on plants, when many people seemingly have and are currently doing so. I’m not talking about living to be extremely old or a perfectly balanced diet either, just curious what is/are the missing nutrient(s) that animals produce from plant foods, and why can’t humans (omnivores) do so ?


Hi, mcpullish! Shame this discussion, about a bean, has devolved into a mudslinging contest between vegans and meat eaters. I give you a point for being reasonable, even if as off topic as the rest of the veg vs. meat discussion. Your questions are sensible and neutral. I will try to point to answers to the questions, with no intent to denigrate your chosen path.

At the link below, is a description of the ruminant (grazer) digestive system. Many things it can do are things I know that my digestive system cannot do:

An image search for “ruminant digestive system” will provide diagrams that make the explanation easier to grasp.

The next link describes some of the missing, or nearly missing, nutrients that you ask about, in your last question.

That’s a start. If you want more, I’ll leave you to find it for yourself. To your health, sir!


Thanks as always for excellent investigatory health info. Also of note: it was the soy industry that demonized coconut oil — one of the healthiest oils in the world — back in the 70’s. They used flawed “scientific” studies that used partially hydrogenated coconut oil rather than pure virgin coconut oil to “prove” how bad it was. The soy industry decimated the coconut oil industry with its negative propaganda about so-called unhealthy saturated fat. Luckily the tide is turning somewhat today and people are waking up to the health benefits of coconut in its many forms.


I have to agree with this article. Although I believe the good doctor’s wish that the way animals are raised has to be changed is a pipe dream. The inhumane way animals are raised, fed and slaughtered will never change. There’s just too much profit in factory farming. In our American obsession with profits uber alles, raising healthier foods is just too uncapitalistic. If you do eat soy products (I eat some tofu at oriental restaurants to avoid carrion) make sure they are from organic soybeans and nothing else. I do eat tempeh and fermented soy sauces (be careful of the “soy sauces” you buy. Make sure they are real and organic). I do enjoy edamame for a snack on occasion. I have yet to try natto. All the natto I can find is loaded with MSG. I do have to admit, I do on occasion enjoy a tofu dog with the “works”. Notice I said on occasion. Tofu cheese…yuck! GMO soybeans (as are any GMOs) are an insult to a loving god. I find it interesting that the corporations that push GMO foods also fight tooth and nail so they don’t have to acknowledge them on food ingredient labels. Avoid nonorganic soy products like the plague, whether fermented or not. Monsanto is the very devil!


I bet a lot of people here do not know that most chickens are being fed soy. In fact their food is 63% soy. After I became allergic to eggs and started having thyroid problems, I happened to look at the bag of poultry feed that I was feeding my chickens and became aware of the amount of soy in it. A friend of mine who has both his doctorate in chemistry and one in botany told me that what the animals are eating, we, in turn are eating. Thus, those of you who do not think you are eating soy, might be without knowing it. Soy is being fed to all poultry and to cows. Unless, you know who raises the meat you eat, you really don’t know what you are getting. Furthermore, I read recently that 99% of the meat in the U.S. is factory farmed.

Thus, I don’t think we are protected in America because there is too much greed involved.. Dr. Mercola, I hope you will print this.


I was diagnosed with breast cancer (stage 2b) a little over two years ago. I had been taking a soy pill to help with menopause symptoms (I was 45 at the time). I have to wonder if that didn’t contribute to my cancer. Fortunately I found a doctor in integrative medicine at Ohio State University and he has me on a better diet, diagnosed my gluten intolerance and has me on a lot of supplements. Thanks for all the work you do Dr. Mercola, I read your articles faithfully and forward them to family and friends. I really think our farming practices and diets have to change. My whole family is now eating healthier. Back to basics!

Healthy Family

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All I know is that I am gluten intolerant. When I heard the marketing saying that people who are gluten sensitive can eat sprouted wheat, I stared eating Ezekiel bread. I ended up having a severe reaction to it (bloating and body aching).


Funny why Dr. Mercola has bashed Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s China Study (with over 25 years of research conducted by 3 very respectable universities) and accepts Dr. Kaayla Daniel’s book as the gospel…

Dr. Kaayla Daniel happens to be on the board of Weston A. Price Foundation, a foundation that is openly anti-Vegetarian/vegan and very open about it, heavily promoting the consumption of animal products….

I have lived in Asia for most of my life and I know that (at least in the region that i lived in) soy was eaten almost as a staple in the diet, and tofu was a big part of that, yet we did not hear anywhere near as much about the diseases that affect the western cultures where meat is the staple diet.

I can accept that if you eat nothing but soy it may not be too healthy but taken in moderation surely it is still healthier than any meat….


There’s one thing Dr. M forgot to mention in this article (I expect it’s in one of the linked articles, but it’s worth mentioning): Unfermented soy is a mineral-DEPLETING food. Yes, if you eat it, you will have fewer minerals in your body. I got this information from Dr. Gabriel Cousens, who advises us to avoid ALL soy products for this reason. I even switched misos to unpasteurized chickpea miso after I learned this, and rather than the unpasteurized organic soy sauce I used to use, I switched to coconut aminos.

I couldn’t swallow “formula” as a baby (my mother was told not to breastfeed us) back in 1954. I would throw it up as soon as I swallowed it. I was put on a soy formula, and although I was okay with it, my mother’s ObGyn wasn’t (“She’s not gaining weight fast enough” — this was the fifties, and fat babies were in fashion). My mother paid 75 cents a can for goats milk to make my formula (a lot of money in 1954, when apart from the goats milk, $10 bought a weeks’ worth of groceries for our family of five). Now, I’m glad she was forced to switch!


All nuts, grains, seeds, and legumes have this mineral depleting substance called phytic acid. It is not just soy. Even coconuts will have phytic acid. I think many vegans and raw foodists fail to realize that just because its raw and unprocessed doesn’t mean it is good for you!


Have you forgotten the pets? I have a macaw parrot, and the soy in his parrot pellets almost killed him with seizures.

I don’t think it is any accident that those who benefit the most from soy in pet food — those in the veterinary community — peddle the foods that contain it.


I’ve been anti soy for at least 20 years when I learned its major contribution was estrogen. As a male I was not interested and thought at the time that a warning to men should have been posted on it. I do believe it is part of the erectile dysfunction we have been seeing lately.

More recently, I’ve been reading little snippets about the dangers to women. Yet our supermarkets are full of processed foods whose ingredients contain soy oil. I just can’t believe a good meditterranean cook would use soy oil instead of olive oil. Give me a break.

Sad, that our country is stooping so low in order to be the best in profits.


Thanks for getting the word out. I would say you have new readers who have not been informed of this before. Up until 5 years ago I drank a lot of soy milk believing it was healthful and ended up with low thyroid and estrogen dominance with all the symptoms. There are still MDs out there saying that it is an “internet myth” that soy is bad for you, and this will help refute that.


The FDA! What a joke! I am glad that Dr. Mercola keeps promoting the anti-soy message. My brother and I both started replacing breakfast with a soy protein drink. He was drinking it for about 6 months and I was drinking it for even less. We both had growths, thankfully both benign, and my hair started falling out. I even stopped feeding my chickens the stuff and their eggs got much better, deep orange yolks and tasty.


Thanks for the soy warning, especially about the large dose of female hormones in soy baby formulas!

I’ll immediately switch to fermented soy, especially Natto.


Unfortunately, most organic chicken food has soy in it. In fact, it contains 60% soy. I know this because I keep chickens and developed an allergic reaction to their eggs. Anyway, I also found out that other animals such as cows and other fowl are being fed soy as well as animal renderings (dead animals that are ground up). No wonder so many of us have thyroid problems. (I never have corn syrup!)I don’t think most of us know the truth about our food and how it is being kept! We need to speak out so rich and poor can have good food and we can have a clean planet. Also, did you know that Ron Paul is a vegan?


To: Dr. Mercola

Is the presence of SOY in Vitamins detrimental? I would like to read your answer in an upcoming email


That’s a good informative article.

By the way, Nattokinase from Natto is a proteolytic enzyme and fibrinolysin and is produced by fermenting soy with bacillus subtilis and extracting it from Natto.

Most people are low in essential circulating enzymes such as plasmin, which is the only anticoagulant enzyme produced by the body.

Nattokinase is an excellent enzyme, it is taken orally, dissolves clots and protects against heart attacks, thrombosis and strokes. It helps combat plaque and improves all over blood circulation by reducing circulating fibrin, viscosity and red cell rouleaux (stacking) that results from high levels of fibrinogen, the precursor of fibrin, which causes obstructions and poor oxygen transport.

Nattokinase works much, much better than aspirin and unlike aspirin is completely safe as it works at the end of the clotting cascade and doesn’t cause scouring and vessel rupture, nor does it interfere with the intermediate stages of the clotting system like medical anticoagulents do.

Just eating Natto is not sufficient as the Nattokinase enzyme levels are too low to have a therapeutic effect.


I challenge anyone to read “The Dark side of Soy” and not hesitate to consume soy again. I can testify as to soy based baby formula adverse effect on male’s gender development. Her description of what happens in male’s who were raised on soy based formula precisely describes what happened to me.


Thank you for a very informative article. So what does one do now? I can drink milk but don’t because the mucuous wreaks havoc with my ear tubes. Rice, almond and oat milk are not an option as I don’t care for all the additives they put in the milk. So just what does one have with their cereal or latte? Any suggestions?


I switched to raw milk, stopped eating cereal, and now order an americano, instead of latte or mocha. Raw milk feels and tastes a lot better than pasteurized. I find no mucous problem, with raw milk. Breakfast cereal is not an optimal food. Coffee and milk are mutually ruinous.


In Wisconsin our politicians have decided that raw milk is too “dangerous” for us. I use hemp milk and swear by it. Funny thing is, if I eat any cereal (I’m talking whole grain organic here), I almost always go hypoglycemic within a couple of hours. It’s my body yelling at me.


Try this link. It tells you how to make your own nut milks (almond, etc) at home. Very quick and easy.


I had long been a vegetarian in the 90’s and I was very healthy. At that time I tried to drink soy milk and immediately became nauseous. I hated the taste of soy milk and tried other soy items and could not stand the smell or flavor. So, therefore, I never again tried it. Maybe being healthy (i.e. eating organic fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, fresh foods and no processed foods) helps your body tell you what foods are unhealthy, even poisonous, for your body.

nursing case manager

Your right the healthier I get the less tolerant of junk I become. I avoid the meat counter if I’m in a market because the smell nauseates me. I think your body tries to help you avoid foods that are not healthy for you. It sounds like you are listening.

Recently I was thirsty when I was out in the community seeing patients and the only easy place to go to was a very popular fast food place. I ordered ice tea thinking it might be safe and it was so bad I threw it out.


If you can’t have milk, try to drink rice milk without sugar and with added calcium.


So what should I do about bread almost all bread has soybean oil in it or high fructose corn syrup.


Get a bread maker and make your own bread. It is very easy once you get used to it. then you know exactly what your family is eating.


There is a recipe in the LaLeche Leage Cookbook “Mother’s in the Kitchen” that is for a whole wheat bread you put in the refrigerator to rise. Amazing thing seeing that bread bloat like a pig IN the refrigerator. It makes 4 loaves that you can put on to bake at say 6am and have fresh bread for breakfast. Bad for your waistline if you love bread like I DO. LOL


About bread? Stop eating it! Not healthy stuff.

ASD quotexpert momquot

Thank you very much, Dr. Mercola, for this excellent article!

An effect of soy that I’ve seen in vegetarian men eating a high-soy diet is feminization in both body and behavior. A couple of virile young men I know who became vegetarian and began eating high levels of soy have changed dramatically. They are very much like men who are undergoing estrogen treatment in preparation for sex-change surgery! These men are now quite isolated socially — even when people can’t identify “what’s wrong”, there’s a dissonance between “This is supposed to be a man” and the obvious breast development, feminine fat distribution, and feminine characteristics in speech, gesture, and gait. In short, these men have become “freaks” and neither men nor women want to interact with them.

I know that studies have shown decreased testosterone levels and sperm production in men due to high soy intake. Have there been any studies of feminization of body and behavior? If not, there certainly should be. I daresay few men would eat high levels of soy if they knew about the feminizing effects of soy phytoestrogens!


Dr. Mercola, I am concerned about the non-GMO lecithin capsule that I am taking. Is this bad soy? I recently started taking 2-3/day because it seems to help me digest fats better (takes away nausea and gives me energy). Your reply and any feedback is appreciated.

Dr. Mercola

Would definitely avoid it as it is loaded with other petrochemicals as a result of its processing. Only lecithin I recommend is from organic sunflower which is the type we use in any of our supplements or foods that contain lecithin.


Thanks for pointing out this important detail about soy. It proves my point about the benefits of consuming a wide variety of different foods. That way, any particular variety is less likely to cause one harm. The actual taste of fermented soy isn’t bad, just not tasty. But there are some delicious recipes using fermented soy.


Soy is a major problem in my diet. It causes my blood pressure to go sky high. Because of that, I’m unable to eat at most restaurants, making travel a major problem. Restaurants have got to learn that they are losing business because of the soy based precooked foods that they purchase, and then reheat or fry in more soybean oil.

Almost all fast food restaurants use soybean oil in their fryers. Arby’s is an exception using corn oil.

Please continue fighting against soy so that I can travel and enjoy eating out now and then.

Thanks for your information, and for spreading the word about this poison in our food.

Tom K.


I have to wonder if my son’s health was affected by the fact that when he was little, in an attempt to be “healthy”, I would by flavored tofu and cut it up in chunks for him. When I was pregnant with my next child, I drank a lot of soy milk.

I found the Weston A. Price society when he was 3 and she was 1, and ditched all soy. It made sense; when I first found out about it it was being heavily marketed to menopausal women. Why I thought what was good for 50-year-old women would be good for my toddlers is now a mystery to me. Where was my head??

We started raw milk then, and by the time my last child was born, my other two where 8 and 5, and had been drinking raw milk and eating pastured meat and eggs, drinking kombucha, eating only sprouted grains etc. for about 4 years. My youngest is so much healthier and calmer than the first two, who both have ADHD.

I do use soy in my cooking, but only naturally-fermented soy sauce, usually. And for my menu service, the only soy product I call for regularly is soy sauce.


First and foremost, I have to praise Dr. Mercola again, for broadcasting all over the world to the interested parties such substantiated and deep research on nutrition and health matters. The pool of information is priceless to all even to those who already know a few things about the matter. One aspect, that I must mention is the uncomfortable and quasi terrorising circumstances one can be placed when eating out or drinking in the West, in general, but particularly in the US. Once I approached a juice squeezing machine in a shopping mall in LA. It was manned by an assistant and it was making fresh smoothies from banana and strawberries. Nothing can be better! The only problem was that they would sell it to you in a plastic container if you wanted to take it home with you. Not that I did not have a juicer at home, I thought I would buy it, but I had an empty glass bottle of Perrier with me and I told the assistant that although I would pay for a container, I would ask him to pour the strawberry and banana smoothie in my glass bottle instead. Problem 1: he refused point blank. Problem 2: He told me that it was not just strawberry and banana but I had to have soy sauce mixed with it and I had to have it. In other words, although they squeezed the juice there and then, they had to add soy sauce to it. Of course, I did not buy any of that. The impression I got was that somebody up there in their management programmed that poor soul to force unwanted stuff on the general public. I have encountered several examples like that throughout UK and US, which makes one wonder.


I’ve been downing a carton of soy milk every week along with daily soy Boca burgers made to taste like chicken for several years. I thought any plant product you can consume would be better than meat or dairy. I have yet to notice any negative health issues and I’m pushing 40. Then again I used to eat a lot of junk food and never noticed anything negative except some extra pounds. Maybe I’ll cut back by half and drink real milk and eat chicken.

The one thing that makes me really wonder is the FDA endorsing a health food. Since they’re a corrupt corporatist entity it makes me wonder if that isn’t just to support their GMO soy growing cronies at Monsanto.

Karma Singh

When one studies macrobiotics (human appropriate nutrition) one learns not only that the yellow or white (as opposed to the black) soy bean as such is poisonous unless fermented but, further, that the fermented soy (tofu) must be cooked before eating or it will be indigestible. The much rarer black soy bean, however, is very different and should not be included in the warnings about the commoner bean.

Just like an occasiona glass of whisky, an occasional soya ice presents no problems but large quantities consumed regularly are definitely not to be recommended.


But, as 91 percent of soy grown here is GMO, I wouldn’t even want the “occasional” soya ice cream. Why risk it?


But tofu isn’t fermented soy…



I love your dachshunds!


Should I only buy organic natto thus assuming that it will be from a GMO source if it’s not organic?


Soy foods have long been touted as a health food and to the extent at which they have become an inseparable part of modern diets. It has become an extremely convenient ingredient mainly because of the fact that it is one of the cheapest sources of protein and also because every part of the bean can be put to commercial use. What makes soy such a controversial ingredient? Unfortunately, the latest research has linked soy to fertility problems, auto immune diseases, thyroid disorders and even cancer. The western world mostly eats soy in an unfermented form in which the hazards far outweigh the benefits. Let us uncover the truth about soy foods and their profound ill-effects on the body.…/the-problem-with-soy-foods


what about sprouted organic tofu? is that ok to eat? i have been seeing it more lately.


This is a great article about soy but avoiding soy 100% is harder than it seems. I’m allergic to soy. I can avoid foods with soy by cooking from scratch but it’s a lot more difficult avoiding supplements with soy. I’m sorry, I think your products are great, but I can’t afford them so I buy what I can afford. I always check with the pharmacist to make sure that there’s no soy in the supplement I’m looking at purchasing but I hear over and over that you can never be 100% sure. That’s scary for me because I want to stay healthy but the only way I can know for sure is to try the product. My reaction to soy depends on how much of and what form I eat but it ranges from breaking out in a rash from head to toe to my blood pressure going dangerously high (this reaction happens mostly when I take supplements with soy on a daily basis, probably because it stays in my system). I’ve tried looking on line for soy free products but they are mixed in with the other products they sell so it’s hard to know for sure. Are there any sites or places that sell all soy free products? If there are places such as this how do you know for sure the manufacturer is completely honest about the ingredient list or that there isn’t any cross contamination? I know they can hide the soy ingredient with some complicated chemical names. By the way, I used to eat soy because I heard it was good for you. Can you help me?


Here’s a good link to Eden Foods which tries address and further the conversation…/view.php


So confused. Been struggling with 15 lbs that I cannot seem to lose despite daily exercise, good diet. In peri-menopause. Out of desperation went to the Visalus 90 day challenge, being touted as the next big great weight loss shake. 2.5 weeks into it haven’t budged an inch or a pound. It’s a NON GMO soy product….is that still bad? The people associated with Visalus are telling me it’s the healthiest thing I can be putting in my body, the shakes are so nutritious, etc. You can’t convince anyone who’s losing weight on Visalus othewise, but I’m sure not losing despite adhering to program. Years ago when i saw a naturoopath, she suggested soy protein. Who do you believe??


what about non gmo lecithin????


Dr. Mercola casts a wide net when implicating soy products. Speaking of tofu in the same sentence with soy burgers is misleading, at best. I have never been a processed soy protein advocate and certainly products such as Soy Pups, soy burgers, carageenan laden soy beverages, foods containing hydrolyzed vegetable protein, etc. are anything but healthy. Organic tofu, however, is a very different kind of product that should not be chucked into the barrel with the rest of the lot (I have been eating it for years, my thyroid is perfectly healthy, and I am a very slender postmenopausal female).

His contention that “soy is linked to breast cancer”, while not a new one, is nevertheless suspect considering that Asians consume large quantities of soy (Dr. Mercola does not agree with that statement) and yet their breast cancer rates are among the lowest on the planet. I work with a large number of Asian students (born in China) for whom soy milk is a staple in their diets, and while I question the benefits of soy beverages saturated with texturizers and sweeteners, still they are popular among Asians, as is tofu.

Dr. Mercola is also a meat and dairy enthusiast who considers simple and complex carbohydrates, alike, the enemy. While I am not a vegetarian, I prefer to avoid the so-called “red meats” and stick to poultry and fish. I keep my protein intake to a minimum as I am already a full-grown adult whose protein needs cannot be compared to that of a growing infant or child, and concentrate my meals around complex carbohydrates. I avoid all forms of sweeteners, including honey, and do not drink fruit juice, although I eat an abundance of fresh fruit, vegetables and grains, preferably organic. Dr. Mercola’s vilification of carbohydrates and his less than discerning appraisal of soy products smacks of fanaticism. Moreover, his website with its perpetual in-your-face “Subscribe Now” advertising is more than enough to alienate this reader.


Val77777, you have expressed my thoughts exactly. You and I are remarkably similar in our diet styles. I was first introduced to tofu while living in Japan in my late 20s. My experience with the Japanese diet is quite different than that painted by Dr Mercola. While in Japan I ate Tofu daily with my friends. They enjoy it plain with a small amount of soy sauce or fried but mostly just plain and they ate a lot of it. Dr Mercola says that they eat mostly fermented. While we did eat some Natto, we ate far, far more Tofu. I was vegan for 15 years until I married a non-vegan but still eat a lot of Tofu, no red meat, a little fish and a little chicken, keeping my protein intake low. I am now 52 and have been eating Tofu and drinking organic soy milk for over 25 years and am in perfect health and have no fertility issues whatsoever (my youngest is 2). I will never eat anything with highly processed soy protein in it because …yuck. With everything I know about the Japanese and Chinese and their love for Tofu and my personal experience I find it very difficult to believe what people and Dr Mercola are saying on this site and their vilification of tofu. Thanks Val77777


What about soy lecithin? Why is it in herb teas? Is the amount in herb tea at ‘bad’ levels?


You mention drinking even 2 glasses of soy milk daily for a month can alter menstrual cycles & impair fertility–Is this permanent damage? Or if I stop drinking soy milk/consuming soy products will my fertility be repaired?


what about soy lecithin


Dr. Mercola:

Thank you for the information about soy. As a consumer of soy products, I read some of the data you presented regarding the dangers of soy. As I get my information from a number of different sources, however, I have some questions that you may be able to answer for me. Medical News Today in an article on Sept. 15, 2011 reported that Soy-based Natural S-Equol and SE5-OH Supplements (with Natural S-Equol) did not increase the risk of Estrogen Sensitive Breast Cancer. As I am sure you are aware, S-equol is a metabolite of daidzen, one of the isoflavones the FDA is worried about. Certain bacteria must be present in the large intestine for this conversion, and mnot everyone can produce S-Equol after consumption of soy.

Can you shed some light on this for me? I am currently researching the alledged link between soy consumption and inhibition of thyroid peroxidase which produce T3 and T4. Im definitely agree that GMO-produced soy is dangerous, but I know the source of my soy is GMO free. Thanks for yourtime and efforts.


I wonder if sprouted soy is okay to eat or not?


I wholly disagree with you about TUFU…it is a powerfulo food that fights cancer as it has for me and others I know


I have never been one to seek out soy….and I am not a vegetarian…however….as I battle metastatic thyroid cancer, I have trouble gaining weight and keeping my energy high. I have a friend who is a vegetarian and swears by shakes made with Soy protien with spirulina from Whole foods. I use one scoop a day in my shake which is split between my husband and I. It is organic but I am not sure how to tell if it is fermented or not. Since I began my cancer drugs, I am lactose intolerant so I cannot use Whey protien and quite honestly the plant protiens are just nasty. This Whole foods brand (vanilla flavored with spirulina) is the most pleasing to the taste. I do consume it daily….but that is the only “soy” i seek out. I am sure I am injesting soy lecithan as well from some prepackaged foods. My endo did not have a huge issue with soy and may synthroid either. He said to just take them at different times of day.

So confusing!!!!


so all the soy milk even from WholeFoods that says NO GMO is bad then???


does this mean that taking lecithin which is derived from soy is no good for you


According to Bragg web site, Bragg Liquid Amino’s are not fermented, so why do you recommend using them? G Helm


How do you reconcile the benefits of fermented soy listed in your article with the results of the following meta-analysis from Medline:

Cancer Sci. 2011 Jan;102(1):231-44. doi: 10.1111/j.1349-7006.2010.01770.x. Epub 2010 Nov 10.

Fermented and non-fermented soy food consumption and gastric cancer in Japanese and Korean populations: a meta-analysis of observational studies.

Kim J, Kang M, Lee JS, Inoue M, Sasazuki S, Tsugane S.

SourceCancer Epidemiology Branch, Research Institute, National Cancer Center, Goyang, Korea.


Soy food is known to contribute greatly to a reduction in the risk of gastric cancer (GC). However, both Japanese and Korean populations have high incidence rates of GC despite the consumption of a wide variety of soy foods. One primary reason is that they consume fermented rather than non-fermented soy foods. In order to assess the varying effects of fermented and non-fermented soy intake on GC risk in these populations, we conducted a meta-analysis of published reports. Twenty studies assessing the effect of the consumption of fermented soy food on GC risk were included, and 17 studies assessing the effect of the consumption of non-fermented soy food on GC risk were included. We found that a high intake of fermented soy foods was significantly associated with an increased risk of GC (odds ratio [OR] = 1.22, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.02-1.44, I(2) = 71.48), whereas an increased intake of non-fermented soy foods was significantly associated with a decreased risk of GC (overall summary OR = 0.64, 95% CI = 0.54-0.77, I(2) = 64.27). These findings show that a high level of consumption of non-fermented soy foods, rather than fermented soy foods, is important in reducing GC risk.



in 2009 i check my blood, and the result is T3 = 1.58.T4 =99.5.TSH=0.60.TIROGLOBULIN =16.20,result USG is Lump on the right with SIZE 33.3 x 34.4 x 85.2 mm,accompanied by a slightly increased internal echo,but no visible cystic degeneration,otherwise invisible infiltration into the soft tissue / thyroid pen ,i hope you can understand because i can’t translate in good English,from Dr he gave me medicine euthyroid,10 mm once a day in the morning before meal,after 1 year on Nov 2010 i check my blood and rusult is FT 4 = 1.26 NG/DL. TSHs =1.08 UIU/ML,and now Dr stop my medicine,only check every six month,and now i drink supplement brown seeweed 700 mg, soy bean = 300 mg,doses is 3 x 3 per day,calcium 1000 mg,ginseng 1 pil /a day and multi vitamin/mineral,and morning i drink juice from carrot 500 gram and 1 apple, and almost every day i eat tempeh ,i stop drink soy bean milk,tofu just recently i make self tempeh from organic soy and organic soy sauce,and one experts chinese herbal said i must stop all soy bean ,and will make became larger my thyroid gland ,could you give me suggest what i must do,ok thanks for help and GOD bless.


A few days ago I switched to a vegan diet from a lean meat, fruit, and vegatable one. Tofu replaced meat, and I thought I was being healthier than ever, but on the first night I switched to tofu, the packet claims organic, I started to recieve MASSIVE headaches along with irratability. In fact, I have a massive one right now. Tonight is the first time I have even become aware of these issues. These headaches are very unusual for me, and before switching to tofu I cannot remember the last time this happened.

Now of course it’s possible my headaches and inability to concentrate is caused by something else, however, my vegatable and meat diet NEVER ever gave me these horrendous headaches, and these headaches occured literally an hour after eating this tofu. I even remember thinking how strange it was how I was having a tough time concentrating, as I am now. I’m not even exagerating or embelleshing upon how severe these migranes are, and how it started right when I began consuming tofu.


Doc, I want to thank you for educating us, we need more people like you.


A few days ago I switched to a vegan diet from a lean meat, fruit, and vegatable one. Tofu replaced meat, and I thought I was being healthier than ever, but on the first night I switched to tofu, the packet claims organic, I started to recieve MASSIVE headaches along with irratability. In fact, I have a massive one right now. Tonight is the first time I have even become aware of these issues. These headaches are very unusual for me, and before switching to tofu I cannot remember the last time this happened.

Now of course it’s possible my headaches and inability to concentrate is caused by something else, however, my vegatable diet NEVER ever gave me these horrendous headaches, and these headaches occured literally an hour after eating.

Thanks Doc for opening our eyes.


any GMO is not going to be good for you. God create food as we should eat it. that includes soy. many health gouros want to knock Vegetarians. However if soy is organic and not there for GMO it has less estrognic compound genistien then peanuts, black beans, and lima beans and is also a God create food. Seed baring plant. so if you are going to say don’t eat tufo or non fermented soy then say don’t eat peanuts,, black beans, and lima beans.


I read in an earlier article, Dr. Mercola put soy sprouts in the same harmless category as fermented soy. However, there is no mention of soy sprouts in this article. So I was wondering does Dr. Mercola now consider soy sprouts to be harmful or harmless?


Hi there

Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (Bragg Live Food Products Inc. Box 7 SANTA BARBARA, CA 93102) is very proud of itself, and states that it has NOT FERMENTED soya protein as its main ingredient. (The other ingredient is simply purified water.) This is confusing. Please would you enlighten me.

Many thanks

Tamar Pretorius

South Africa


I am very concerned re your recent advice on soy. In many previous articles you have extolled the use of FERMENTED SOY products, including NATTO (a wonderful source of Vit K) with then no warning on FERMENTED SOY products re hormone mimics which can disrupt hormones and cause cancers, etc.

I have read the many warnings re UNFERMENTED SOY and heeded these, in fact I have not used UNFERMENTED SOY for many years since reading the Weston A Price article by Mary Enig, but started using NATTO a year ago on your advice, which I have generally found to be very reliable.

Now the article in your newsletter of about a week ago with the above “hormone mimic” warning.

How dangerous is FERMENTED SOY? I have been using NATTO every day, so you can understand my concern after

reading your recent article. Hoping for definitive help from you re this.

Thank you.


Why are there so many studies that show soy protects against cancer?…/20956506…/20591221…/20591221…/20056634…/19996398…/19789300…/19403632…/19353280…/19321587…/19318430…/14628433

Walter T.

I would like to know what Soy Lecithin is.

Thank you kindly, Walter T. Wynn


What about having soymilk if you are not going to have any children. Is it still bad for you. Someone told me that it actually helped her with her hot flashes. She didn’t have them and continues not to have them because she still drinks soy milk. I use to have it instead of milk. I wonder if it is better. I am post menopause, but still get somewhat warm at times.


Well, I read these articles all the time. At times I cringe at the info I wish I didn’t have to know but am ultimately grateful. This conversation is close to my heart and caused me to join in. I am a 50 year old woman with both my parents still alive and relatively healthy. I am the oldest of 3 girls, have a 10 year old boy ( the love of my life) and a 55 year old husband whom I adore. Middle Sis has been allergic to cows milk all her life, drank soy and has a few health situations. 2nd Sis was on soy for a while until her stomach was so bloated she ended up in the Doctors office. Mom is off meat and thinks soy is great for her. She’s 78 and was also on hormone replacement for way too long.

Closest to my heart right now is this, my Husband has discovered my Kellog’s Special k protein plus. I thought this cereal was fantastic! It gave me energy for the whole morning with very little calories and tons of protein. Basically it helped me to lose 10 pounds this past year. Dear H discovered it’s power about the time I went over the ingredients after reading an earlier soy article. So much soy!!! And on an everyday basis… As I seem to be the bearer of bad (health) news in my Family and also the preparer of foods this is hard for me. My family thinks I am too intense and always trying to find the bad news. My Son is always telling me he wants to eat what a normal boy eats. H goes nuts when I mention danger from cell phones, etc. I try to do the best I can but I make mistakes all the time. Any input on this cereal? I have since given the cereal up but am I allowing my handsome husband to compromise his health by continuing to keep it in the pantry? He has previously enjoyed stopping for the devil’s breakfast at a fast food place on the way to work. Ciao! I hope someone will answer this post, me in between (all the people i love)


Would like to know if fermented soy milk is okay and healthy.


My questions re soy were banned. Any reason?


Find your article on soy rather hard to believe. After suffering menopause for over 7 years, increased soy and linseed to my diet. Tried all natural remedies first (at a great cost) then even HRT. Nothing worked. I add soy to just about anything I cook, instead of salt, in the hope that it will help. Was also told that broccoli helps, so eat heaps of that too. Should I now delete soy from my diet? Any other suggestions? Thanks for your continued help.


I’d like to bring up that one of your products “Pro-Optimal Whey” contains Phosphatidylcholine from soy lecithin. Can you say that this is completely harmless?


How would Medifast products fit into the soy products? It has been used for 30 years and I have not heard about any of these symptoms in individuals who have been on the product for many years. Any thoughts?


@Winter: Monks and nuns in Asia “shrink the sexual urges” not by consuming soy but by avoiding consumption of garlic and onions. They take soy for the protein, just like everyone else.

To those who asked, instead of dairy milk or soy milk in your coffee, you can use coconut milk or cream and raw black cane sugar. Instead of drinking milk or soy, you can make nice, tasty lassi or yoghurt drinks at home. Or drink herb tea and get your protein from other foods, like nuts and dairy products.

It is easy to make your own soy milk. Start from scratch with organic non-GMO soy beans (not soy powder), soak in plenty of water, then liquidise, strain and boil it for 5 minutes. Tofu can also be made easily at home from soy milk. I think edamame should be okay if it is non-GMO and you cook it well.


I am Asian, born and living in Asia. Asians have consumed soy (or soya, as we call it) for millennia. This is soy in all its forms, fermented and unfermented. It has been and still is the primary source of protein for a large part of Asia, mainly China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Indo-China. The fact that Asians have lived healthily for thousands of years on all forms of soy must mean that soy in itself can’t be bad.

Point #1

But, we have rules about soy. It *must* be cooked, to deactivate components of soy which are toxic if taken in raw form. Soy milk must be heated to boiling. Tofu must be boiled or fried. Sprouts are blanched or stir-fried, although I personally think the sprouting also has the same deactivation effect.

Fermentation is another way to break down the toxic components into safer ones, without having to cook it. Raw soy in any form is never eaten in Asia.

I suspect soy products sold in the West are prepared from raw soy which has been highly processed and stripped apart and then reconstituted to make them appear and taste like the original thing, but still containing the unsafe components as well as any additives put into it.

Point #2

This is an even bigger problem. Almost all of the soy grown in the US is GMO, thanks to Monsanto. You can read all about (the horrors of) GM soy here and elsewhere on the net.

So the soy products in the West are doubly unsafe. First, they are GM soy, and second, they may still contain the toxic components of raw soy and other additives.

Unfortunately, GM soy (from Monsanto) is now grown in China. It’s just a matter of time before the same health issues crop up in Asia.

Also, please be aware that ‘organic’ is not always so, and this term is now being abused. There are companies in the US selling products made from “organically grown” soy and Canola. Just because they use organic farming methods to grow GM soy and GM Canola or any GM crop does ^not^ make those crops ‘organic’, they are still GM


Dr. Mercola-

The Russian studies seem to compare GMO vs. non-GMO, both non-fermented, soybeans. Would fermentation of GMO soybeans make them any healthier, or should they be avoided in this form, too? I want to make home-made natto and wonder if I should find Japanese beans. I have bought a bag of organic soybeans, product of U.S., but it appears that organic labeling does not imply non-GMO.

Keep up the good work.


Can you recommend a good source for soy sauce? I am especially interested in wheat free soy sauce.


Does edamame good for our health?

lisa marie


i think claiming that “only fermented soy” is a bit too exclusive.

24 hour soaking as well as sprouting of the soybean (non GMO) is sufficient to breakdown soy’s powerful ‘anti-nutrients’.

Therefore, (products made by) EdenSoy actually know about this, and practise it, and therefore produce decent soy foods (note: i am not a spokesperson for EdenSoy).

Also it was also my understanding that edamame is immature enough that it has not yet built up the estrogens and anti-nutrients yet to make it harmful to eat.

Can you please elaborate on these as I was aware of most of what you wrote of already in your article but am having trouble accepting its exclusivity of only fermented soy. Afterall, soaked (then made into milks/tofu) and sprouted soy are a traditional food too (along with Natto, tempeh, etc.). These are also foods that Asian’s have subsisted on healthfuly for millenia.

Lisa Marie RHN


Dr. Mercola I have a question for you about BRAGGS Liquid Aminos being safe to consume or not? It is a liquid seasoning from soy protein(I’m sure you heard of it)It states on the bottle it is NON-GMO and not fermented and contains 16 amino acids(listed at wondering if this is safe to consume. I am breast cancer survivor of three years now and want to stay healthy by what I eat for the future. Thank you so much for all you do and telling us the truth. I too thought soy was healthy and have consumed silk french vanilla creamer for several years everyday in my coffee. Any suggestions on a healthy alternative? Thanks again.


Dr. Mercola what do we do if our child was given soy formula until 1 year old? She was lactose intolerant? 9 years old now and in good health. Recommendations please.


I’d like to know your opinion about the soy yogurt.


Ms Clarfield


Our son as an infant…now 9 was BF for about 6 months and then put on soy formula….Due to some personal health issues of my own we completely changed out diet about 3 yrs ago. Is there any way to know if the soy formula has caused any damage to him and is there anything he should be getting now because of being on the soy as an infant?



After reading this, I must admit I learned something about soy. We used to put soy milk on most things, but quit buying it for some reason or such. Thank you Dr. Mercola for this excellent article. I also downloaded the articles you have here. I ESPECIALLY enjoy the one about the flu vaccines. I WILL be sure to pass that one around.


I am growing soy beans in my garden. I plan to eat them steamed (edamame). Would this be considered unhealthy?


Doctor Mercola,

I would think that natto, tempah and miso all contain the same harmful constituents as regular soy…unless the fermented source is organic. No?


Dr. Mercola,

Other sources rather say that asians eat unfermented soy products as well as fermented soy. Still, they are generally more healthy.

Is it possible that over the centuries, they have developed a genetic tolerance or adaptation to it?

(which is not the case with most of us)

Is it just a recent habit for them (unfermented soy products) and they will get the bad effects later?

A naturopath even told me once that phytic acid is not dangerous and even healthy.

Is it possible that a huge adaptation variation could be present from individual to individual?

Is there a metabolic type more suited (or tolerant) for soy than the others?

Whatever the food we look at, radical change in a short period is always potentially problematic.


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Stewie dear, you are just off the friggin’ hook. I’ve grown wormwood (Artemesia absinthium) in my herb garden for 30 years. It’s one of the “bitter herbs” in the bible and is thought to be anti-helminthic, among other things. It is the main flavoring in vermouth and the source of Absinthe, a rather addictive drink that can be toxic in excess, which is why it has been banned in many places. (I’ve read that it is enjoying a revival). “Space manufactured” indeed. Geez.


What about the TVP in the organic storage foods from sundance and efoods?


What about black soy beans. They do not even taste like soy beans. Are they the same as the other soy beans?


“Some soy propagandists have suggested that the solution to this is for all of us to become vegetarians—a reckless recommendation rooted in total ignorance about nutrition”

With respect Dr Mercola, I believe your statement is reckless and ignorant. Eating a balanced vegetarian diet reduces your risk of cancer and heart disease as well as significantly reducing your footprint, anti-biotic use, and factory farming. It has to be a balanced diet for sure, but nevertheless be careful what you say to you subscribers. You may be offending people like me, who are far from ignorant about these issues.

Dr. Mercola

Seems like you failed to read the last article on vegetarianism which more carefully details why I believe this is true. Believe you are confusing this statement for me saying that no one should be a vegetarian which is not the case. That would be equivalent as stating all should eat meat, which is not the case.

We are all different and there is no perfect diet for everyone, whether it be meat or vegetarian. However do believe that everyone should have vegetables as the basis of their diet.


I am tired of this pro meat anti vegan stance. the Asians have been eating fermented soy for centuries. Also, the insulin-resistant/ prediabetic/diabetic patients I know who do best are the ones that adopt the raw food diet, with chol falling to 140.


Don’t sweat it so much. If a vegetarian/vegan diet works best for you go for it and enjoy.


Doctor M–There have been several posts including my own asking for you or your associates to elaborate on Edamame. It’s popular with children so this is certainly important. I’m confused because I thought it was a raw health food. Now I’m thinking if it’s organic then it’s okay–is the problem that it may be GMO? Anyway a little help please we’re all guessing.


I’m guessing too, but if it’s organic, then an occasional snack of edamame is probably okay.


Agree totally with everything in this article.

I started to drink lots of soy milk a year ago and a half ago. I suddenly developed thyroid problems along with ‘female’ problems. I felt terrible having problems with my memory and my words kept coming out jumbled and wrong. I then read Dr Mercola’s information and stopped the soy. After 5 months, my thyroid has returned to normal and the other problems have gone!



On your list of soy foods to avoid you have included edamame. It is unprocessed. Why is it on this list?


Possibly because it is likely to be genetically modified (GM).


Yea, Gm, and my understanding is that there is also a protein that is toxic. Fermentation breaks that protein down. The last time (years ago now and by accident) I ate edamame, my throat and mouth began to itch and I became dizzy. I am extra cautious now.


What about sprouted organic tofu?


It is very important to also mention that not only the overuse so many soy products is causing so much havoc on women’s estrogen levels but when also combined with overuse of Peruvian Maca which is presumed to have hormone-normalizing effects due to the roots unique nutritional profile providing optimum levels of nutrients utilized by the body’s endocrine system, women are actually sitting on a ticking time bomb.

Also be careful that both of these foods are often added to other foods so unless we very careful about reading the contents of ingredients they may slip by us undetected.


Making soy as an origin of the breast cancer is ridiculous. Every time I saw this I will laugh.

US has the highest rate in breast cancer around the world, if you looked at the breast cancer distribution rate in any resources, you will clearly be notified that countries who are proud of the “Diary food” (milk, cheese) and meat have higher breast cancer rate. For example: looked at Japan, who eat ‘Tou fu’ as their major dishes, the rate is only 1/3 of the US.

It is clearly that fewer American realized this. It is not the ‘Soy’, it is from all the daily food we eat. If all meat or diary or food has low hormone and other substances and if American eat less sugar, a lot of the health problem will disappear….

Therefore, the major reason is the meat and the diary food, why people are fear of blaming these food? But just blame ‘soy’, which only counts on less than 20% of the American’s daily food. It is stupid result without looking around the world. Too narrow to be true.


There is a lot of evidence supporting the theory that Japan has significantly lower levels of breast cancer due to their tremendously higher levels of iodine compared to the U.S. See to read some of the research.


ssshh88, I totally agree. Think Dr. Mercola and many of the commenters are identifying the wrong villain. Noting that soy is “loaded with the phytoestrogestrogens genistein and daidzein” as proof this “wrecks your brain” and causes heart disease and caner is absurd. Phytoestrogens are not estrogens but are natural substances that have a weak estrogenic effect, certainly not enough to feminize males or cause estrogen dominance in females. Better to be concerned about the xenoestrogens and other toxic chemicals found in common household products (plastics of all kinds, especially food containers) and the synthetic hormones and GMO corn based diets fed to factory farmed animals, which make up 95% of the American food supply. As other commenters have pointed out, organic tofu and other soy products are available. I would also like to point out that a sensitivity or allergy to soy is a far cry from making it a dangerous food that is bad for everyone. There are also plenty of people who are sensitive or allergic to wheat, dairy, and meat.

I’m also in complete agreement with McPullish–it is not reckless to eat a vegan diet. I suspect Ms. Jolie’s problem was an inadequate, unbalanced diet period, having little to do with it being vegan. As a vegan myself and a student of holistic nutrition, I have no problem eating an optimal diet, and believe me, I’m not missing a thing. There are thousands of delicious vegan recipes on the Internet and in cookbooks. One other note: while people may eat a totally plant based diet for health reasons, health is a secondary benefit for the true vegan. Ethical and moral reasons (not wanting to intentionally harm or exploit any living creature for one’s own purposes) are the primary motivators. While raising animals on an organic family farms is better than factory farming, in the end those animals, too, are exploited when they are slaughtered for human consumption.


ssshh88, I totally agree.

The reason that i think that people have fear of blaming these foods (meat and dairy) is that they have a huge lobby, there are a lot of studies out there that proves that meat and dairy are closely related to plenty of health problems, but yet they will never be blamed, instead blame a product and life style that may threaten the colossal meat and dairy sector.

healthy111 – very well said! I too am Vegan and see absolutely no problem with my health because of this, in fact i only see benefits and improvements with my health since i made the change, and it is true that most vegan will have their drive based on non-violence and not wanting to exploit other living beings hence not wearing animals products, something that does not influence health.

Considering that nobody will live for ever is it not extremely selfish to terminate another beings life to benefit your own so that you may have a few extra minutes of life (even though a lot of research points that in reality you will probably have less time alive if you do eat meat)…


Great article Dr. Mercola….

When my daughter was born with some eczema and I couldn’t breastfeed…my GP said we should give her soy formula, which we did. This was 10 years ago…she has many allergies and other health issues…makes me so mad.

I was surprised to see edamame in the foods to be avoided. We buy organic frozen edamame, steam it then eat the beans out of the pods with some salt. Is this bad?

Thanks in advance for the clarification.


Can the application of fermented supplements such as’phyto soya’ be addressed here. Is the use of oestrogen mimicing hormones of value to a menopaual woman.


How about Cho Tofu? I don’t know how to say it in English, but this is a fermented (or slightly rotten?) tofu cake. They have street vendors in China who sell it, usually fried with some hot sauce or something. Smells like an outhouse, but once you get past the smell it can be pretty good.

Mark Fletcher

“Stinky tofu” is definitely fine to eat. It is highly fermented.


Does anyone know anything about edamames. I’ve been adding them to my salads. Are these good or bad soy beans?


I think unless they are organic they are most likly GMO


I used to eat the veggie burgers too, until I learned about GMO’s & the soy……but then I found a brand called Quorn that uses morels from the mushroom family…..and they taste amazing!!! I think these are okay health wise….


I just saw where former President Clinton is on a vegan diet for his heart disease. He says if the claims are true and his tests show a difference in six months that he will endorse the diet. Somebody please caution him to try to live the diet for 3 years before he endorses this diet. Sure, it works wonders in the beginning, but after a while is impossible to sustain and other health problems pop up. Dr. Mercola, you have in clout and medical experience to warn him. Please write an informative, cautionary letter to Bill Clinton, not just for him but for thousands that his endorsement will influence.


I added my comment an hour ago…number 6 or so and it is no longer here. What’s with that? I was hoping for a response not elimination. Is my story not good enough. I know I left it. I checked here for it after I did.


Please read.


Have not had time to read all comments so apologies if this has already been covered:

I hardly ever eat any Soy products deliberately so this is not an issue for me however I am aware that many products contain soy protein so will be more mindful in the future. Can you tell me if having organically produced soya lecithin is harmful? This was recommended when my husband had gall stones which we treated conservatively with many supplements and a change in diet and thankfully he has been symptom free now for 2 years.

We also started living in the Philippines about three years ago and in Asia a lot of Soy Tofu is eaten as a cheap form of protein. Is this a different form of Soy plant and do you think that in Asia people are more acclimatised to eat Soy as it seems to be a large part of their diet?

Thank you for your interesting and informative and thought provoking articles which help us to make informed choices about lifestyle.


ok, i totally agree with the Doc’s assessment, but does anyone have any idea about the new organic sprouted tofu? last year my son, then 10 decided to become a vegatarian and i worry about him getting enough protein as he is an athlete and of course growing.


Hi there. I asked Dr. Mecola about sprouted Tofu a number of posts before this one. You can see his reply there. I eat the Organic Sprouted one too. I think he is concerned about the excess processing to produce the Tofu. I plan to contact WildWood (Org Sprouted Tofu brand) to see how they do it.

Davey G.

I get your point cluelessintacoma – a bit funny but also a bit more degrading…


Huh? This makes no sense out of context. Please use the Reply function .

nursing case manager

Islander the reply button is only available with the original posts not replies. It just says send message which is rejected unless you are on that persons friend list.


Actually, all of the replies must be attached to the original post, even if you intend to respond to one of the replies that have been posted. That is how we get a long string of replies to a post.


Exactly. And if there are miltiple replies, specify to whom your reply is addressed, as in @cluelessintacoma.


I’m not sure which point you mean. That soy products on the shelf are so extremely processed that they couldn’t be healthy, even if the bean were the greatest food on earth, or that the ready availability of an item, in stores, is no indicator that it’s harmless, or that what soy or soy derivatives I’ve experienced were awful. I’m sorry, if I have offended you.


Clueless, I thought all your points were, well, pointed. Thumbs up!


I’ve heard you should not EAT too many almonds (some poison in them?) so is Almond milk created minus this (poison?)


Jen, this is only the bitter almond. The type that is used in milk and baked goods is the sweet almond and perfectly safe. Whole almonds sold in stores are also the sweet almond…. no cyanide byproduct in them.


My daughter was born in 1953 and had severe milk allergies. We put her on infant soy formula at that time and she gained weight and became a much happier baby.

I do agree with you now regarding soy because as a vegetarian myself, I found soy gave me a night cough. I changed to almond milk and it seems to be good for me.

Thanks for keeping us aware of changes.


I thought edamamme was so good for you! Really it’s not? I mean it’s a natural bean still in it’s shell, how can it not be good for you?


It’s probably GMO soy because 93% of the soy in the U.S. is GMO soy; thus, it is poison!!!


Oh my Gosh ….Very good article , I wish it would be published earlier . It is trough soy is advertised very heavily and now I understand why .

The same I guess with the milk , it is better to drink fermented , rather than fresh one …


Can someone tell me if this applies to Edamamme, soybeans purchased in the pods whether purchased fresh or frozen?


Are the edamame beans in salad bars most likely GM? Ruby Tuesday has a nice variety in its’ salad bar.


I have a small backyard flock of chickens for eggs and it sure is hard to get the mfr of the “layer granules” to tell you exactly WHAT they are made of. They tell you about all the vitamins and minerals that are in there, but for the actual protein base, they won’t tell you. All they say is that there’s no animal products. Well, I am 99.99% sure it’s just stupid old crushed soybeans, and I will not feed my animals that. I therefore trouble myself to buy grain for them. Of course, I also give them fresh greens and other things too, as well as allowing them outside to pick at the ground for worms. They have been known to consume small mice, etc. I may be a vegetarian, but chickens are NOT vegetarians and I don’t believe that a vegan diet is healthy for them.

I don’t think that soy is good for chickens, I really don’t. Virtually all commercial laying hens and chickens for eating are fed this soy stuff, I suspect. Inasmuch as they just get killed (to please the kind of people who read this site) when they are barely a year old, then the egg producer does not care if the poor bird is fed crap.

Good info, Dr.


I agree with your post. The other thing that goes into the chicken feed is rendered chicken! The kind of chicken meat that was too sick to be sold for it’s meat. When chickens get sick and die before they’re due to be slaughtered or have cancerous tumors, this meat is then processed and dried and added the chicken feed! To me, that is far worse than organic soy products. I agree with GMO soy. That’s so loaded with pesticides and yet we feed these to the animals too. It’s such a vicous cycle. I applaud what you’re doing with your chickens. I wish you were my neighbor so I could buy my egss from you!


I’d love to be where I could have a garden and let hens loose in it to get the insects and turn up the dirt and fertilize it. LOL


The only problem is that while the chickens turn up the soil and fertilise it, they also destroy the garden. Growing plants in a garden and keeping chickens are not compatible. If you want to garden succesfully and keep chickens, you will need to be ale to exclude the chickens from the growing area. The ideal of course, would be to rotate the land between chickens and growing.


I have heard that ducks will not tear up your garden but do eat bugs (including Japanese beetles.)

Some types of ducks are particularly good egg layers, too.


Am I on risk if I eat the unprocessed soy bean?


You are probably MOST at risk, as none of the toxins have been eliminated.


Dr. Mercola, you said that Tofu is not recommended, but what about Tofu made from Organic, Sprouted Soybeans?? Wild Wood makes an Organic ‘sprouted Tofu’ that seems like it would be as heathy since sprouting is like fermenting, right? This product is now available in Whole Foods and might be a good Protein source. Thanks for any replies ….

Dr. Mercola

Highly unlikely as though it is possible to make Tofu without massive amounts of processing such as high temperatures and acid baths nearly all commercial facilities use this type of processing. You would have to contact company directly to see if they are any different.


I have three young children and fellow parents like myself have always giving our kids Edamame. Kids really like them, part of it is you get to peel the beans out and squirt them in your mouth–kid fun. I’m big on grass fed beef, raw milk–(all my children have been raised on it) but for some reason I blocked out Edamame. I think because of the way it’s served in the pod–that I some how thought it was a raw healthy soy product–unprocessed. Can somone elaborate specifically on Edamame? Is it processed? My ultra cool friends/fellow parents are going to need some solid points to stop Edamame.


There is a product we use for smoothies and to mix with cereal named Almond Dream. NOT Almond Breeze (has carrageenan), but Almond Dream. It is excellent to our taste and one can purchase it at Walmart at a reasonable price.


Question? Carrageenan is from seaweed, isnt it? Why is it bad?


I agree with Jen. Carrageenan IS from seaweed. There should be no conflict there with being veg or vegan. It’s gelatin that’s derived from animal collagen.

nursing case manager

I see everyone is recommending Almond drinks. Where those Almonds pasteurized? And if so how would be my question.


I understand that as of last year ALL almonds are irradiated now, so that would mean that any Almond milks or roasted almonds or even raw almonds are not fit to eat. Can anyone else confirm this???


Carageenan is MSG. Just because something is from the “natural world”, doesn’t automatically mean it is healthy to ingest– poisonous mushrooms, arsenic, etc. I buy Almond Dream too for the same reason and Hemp is another good source of a complete protien for anyone looking to switch from soy.


i did find an article that carrageenan is bad while googling it. WOWZER, did not know this.

***A Note About Carrageenan

“Carrageenan increases free radicals. It is a polysaccharide made from a seaweed, the substance is known to produce intense inflammatory reactions when injected into tissues. In fact, the intense reaction is so reproducible it is used when researchers want to study inflammation. Inflammation is strongly associated with intense free-radical production within tissues. It also may promote accelerated bowel cancer growth.” Carrageenan is used as a thickener. When even small amounts of carrageenan are injected near developing tumors in animals, tumor growth, and eventual metastasis, increases dramatically1.”

-Source: Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills by Russell Blaylock M.D.



Yes, all almonds grown in the US are now required to be “sanitized” with either a toxic fumigant or high-temperature heat. For truly raw almonds you will have to buy them imported, and these are costing about $15/lb in the US.

Also, you will want to make sure that your source is a reputable one and not just selling the fumigated/pasteurized almonds at a higher price. Technically, the packaging could say “non-pasteurized” but the almonds could still have been fumigated, for example.

I believe you can tell if your almonds are “live” by trying to sprout them, but I don’t have the details. Although if they start to mold/rot after a few days, they are probably *not* live…


OK, so now what do we do? After I weaned my daughter we started giving her soy formula, then when she quit that she drank soy milk. I was so worried about all the horrible junk in regular milk that I assumed soy milk was a SAFER choice!!! She’s 7 now. Is there anything I can do to reverse any damage that may have been done??? We switched to almond milk a couple months ago because of other articles I read and discussions I had with people. But THIS article is quite a bit more alarming!!!! :(

-Concerned Mom who was trying to do the right thing!!


Once a child is weaned, there is no further need for milk of any kind. You certainly don’t want it for breakfast cereals, which are nothing but varnished sugar. There is ample calcium in green leafy vegetables.


As Islander indicates, there is no specific need for milk post-weaning. Though I think that would only be true, if the girl were weaned at age-two or older. Milk is; however, a convenient source of many things that are essential in human nutrition. Raw milk. Pasteurized milk is less than optimal. I wouldn’t drink pasteurized milk, save for to stave off dying of thirst, if no water were available.


Thanks for the article. What if you have a milk allergy? What can you drink instead of soymilk?


Almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk/water, raw or plain goat milk, juice…the HUROM slow juicer makes good fresh fruit/vegetable juices, and the Vitamix works well to make almond milk, cashew milk, pumpkin seed milk….


Soy has been genetically modified with a pansy plant. Pansies are a nightshade. Many people are allergic to nightshades, which have been linked to arthritis. I believe it is important to warn people about this issue, as well. I am allergic to night shades and when I ingest them, my joints become swollen and stiff and achy. It takes 30 days to get all of the nightshades out of your system once you stop eating them. Nightshades are potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, chilies, eggplant, and spices from the chili family, like cayenne and paprika. The are many hidden nightshades in prepared foods under the label of “spices”. Hannah Eagle, Classical Homeopath in New Mexico and co-founder of Green Psychology.


I’ve read that some people crave the very foods that they are intollerant of. Did you crave nightshades?


I live in the Dominican Republic and normally do not eat soy products. There is a Soy Sauce Ranchero (Salsa China) made from Baldom. Does not state that it contains soy only: Water,sugar, salt, caramel color, hydrogyzed vegetal protein, monosodium glutamate, citric acid, potassium sorbate, yellow color.

Surely not all good ingedients but is there Soy? Other questio”: I am taking a supplement from Mason natural – Extra Strenght LECITHIN 3500. Is this safe?

Thanks for replies.


I think (someone may know for sure) that hydrogyzed vegetal protein is soy.


my son’s pediatrician had recommended Pediasure. He now has the habit of drinking one or two bottles a day.

He also likes to eat soynuts. What can I do to replace these items? I have tried diluting the Pediasure but it doesn’t always work.


Have you read the ingredients in Pediasure? ANYTHING has to be better than that, even a McDonald’s milkshake.


Maybe you could try inputting 1/5th “other? milk in the pediasure for one week then upping it to more next week and the wee one might not notice the difference and accept it?


I think he may like the vanilla almond milk. You could always put a little chocolate syrup in it if that’s what he’s used to. Then augment that with a children’s vitamin. I agree with Hector….Pediasure is just soy and sugar!


Almost three years ago, after much reading, and literally overnight, I changed my diet completely. I started discarding manufactured food substitutes, one evening, and started eating real food, the next day. I was lucky that it occurred to me that trying to find things to take the places of bad things would make the change difficult or impossible. I didn’t look to replace soda, boxed mac & cheese, breakfast cereals, cookies, chips nor any other unhealthy items. Bad things don’t need to be replaced. I simply started choosing from healthy foods. That was easy! I would have gone crazy trying to replace things. An important shopping caveat: Junk that says “organic,” on the label, is still junk. Read the labels, especially the fine print. Actually, most good food doesn’t really have labels.

He might like drinking raw milk. My junk-food-junkie grandchildren love it. Consider discarding the Pediasure. It’s a bad thing.

Snacks are bad. Humans are set up for batch feeding, not grazing. Toss the soynuts. Never look back.


What about non-GMO soy and soy lecithin?


That’s what I consumed for a year. I developed thyroid problems and other problems. After reading this site, I stopped it thinking it would do nothing. 5 months later, however, I’m back to normal with no health issues. Any non-fermented soy is dangerous, even non-GMO.


It is a curse. Ever since I read about soy from Weston A Price, I’ve made it my business to warn people about consuming soy that is not fermented. Everything has soy in it, even my favorite mayonaise. It has been use in all mayonaises since 1950. I contacted one company and they are so blind to the truth I got back a generic response that told me they did not care. It’s cheaper than using the really good oils like olive oil and coconut oil. All cereals and meal replacement bars that I have read labels have soy even Atkins. Their response was that there is no proof that soy is detrimental to health. WHAT??!! Obviously they are not on top of everything healthy like I thought. Why are the Atkins meal replacement bars so expensive when they are using such cheap ingredients. Would Dr. Atkins be pleased? Maybe. Maybe not. Thank you again, Dr. Mercola, for being the voice of truth again. Truth is truth. Opinions are not always based on truth.


Totally avoiding any soy product, including soybeen oil, is impossible unless you live as an hermit.

It’s maybe not necessary to become that compulsive.


Campeau.serge, that’s just not true. If you are not buying processed foods, there is no need for you to be exposed to soy products or canola oil. I’m not a fanatic but I choose to eat healthful organic foods and avoid things that come in cans, boxes or pre-cooked. It takes only a few minutes to make salad dressings and mayonnaise that will last for a week. Has everyone forgotten how to cook?


Question about vit K1 & K2…

Is it correct that K1 helps with clotting, but that K2 helps dissolve clots?



That is my understanding, but check to make sure.



What would be the brand name(s) of a soy oil product?


Do you see brand names for corn oil or canola oil? Possibly (I walk right past them) but the brand is not prominently displayed. Where you need to look for soybean oil is in the labels you should be reading; you’ll find “soybean oil” listed as an ingredient in salad dressings, mayonnaise and a host of other products (all of which you can EASILY make yourself, in your own kitchen, using olive oil).


There are products that say “Non-GMO”. Are these still safe? Like Silk brand milk or Zen-Joy soy pudding? My daughter is allergic to cow’s milk and I have been using these products. I knew about the GM Soy products being bad, but are the ones that say Non-GMO okay to give still?

Thanks for any input!


How about goat’s milk products? They are quite different from cow’s.


I’ve wondered this same thing.

However, there are products made with Almond milk. I use almond milk and instead of soy based products.

Dr. Mercola

ALL non fermented soy is best avoided. GMO is just worse


My kids are now drinking organic coconut milk. Whole Foods and other health food stores carry a brand called So Delicious.


Dr. Mercola, if this parent can get A2 milk (goat’s, sheep’s, Geurnsey cow’s milk, preferably raw) might find she find that her daughter is not allergic?


I’m in the same boat- my 3 year old can’t have cow dairy and won’t try almond milk or coconut milk (I know about the benefits of raw milk but it still scares me. ) I’ve been using soy milk and granola bars with soy to make sure my daughter got enough calcium. I’m worried now about what else to use?


I use hemp milk. It is very nutritious and easy to digest


Check the labels. I hope you will find it shocking how much sugar is in these products. If you don’t have a package handy, look to and “Evaporated cane juice” is typical table sugar. The corn starch, in the pudding, will be sugar, just after you put it in your mouth. Organic, yes, but still junk food.


I am now TERRIFIED !!!

I am a male, live in the UK, aged 54, a Vegan and have been for over 40 years becuase I can not tolerate meat of any description.

My diet consists mainly of fresh fruit and vegetables (5 to 8 portions per day), bread, couc cous, spinach/Brocooli and dare I say it several ‘unfermented’ soy products i.e. I have at least one pint of soy milk per day (on my breakfast cereal, tea etc.) and I eat Soy custard, cheese and Mousse during the week.

As I said, I cannot tolerate dead flesh (meat) i.e. the look, the smell, the texture, let alone the taste so what do I do?

What alternatives are there for people like me?

Do I need to Detox because of consuming soy products over such a long period of time, if so, what for and how?

I recently had my Thyroid function and Vitamin levels tested, all was fine except for Vitamin D which has now reached normal levels.



As for protein try organic whey and organic raw eggs in a protein drink, you can’t tell the raw eggs are there. Use a little imagination for other ingredients to make it really taste great if you want. You can use a few ground up nuts and organic berries or a banana for instance.

Relax, your state of mind is every bit as important as what you put into your body.


I empathise with you. I only started eating red meat after grass fed beef became available at my local Whole Foods. It tastes entirely different. Afterward I found a farm source where I buy a few ounces of steak every week to share with my husband. Still not a big meat eater, but I am feeling a lot better and able to isolate and correct the health problems that have cropped up. Nuts and seeds contain a lot of protein too.

ASD quotexpert momquot

When one of my doctors recommended that I start eating RAW meat, I used EFT to overcome my revulsion. For me it took only a few minutes of EFT to get the desired result. I suggest that you use EFT to clear your intolerance for the look, the smell, the texture, and the taste of meat (whether you eat it cooked or raw). You might want to work with an EFT practitioner, if you aren’t already experienced with doing EFT for yourself.

Please be sure to read Dr. Mercola’s recommendations on how to choose and prepare meat for best health results. Good luck to you!


First, I would drink almond milk instead of soymilk. I think it tastes better too. There’s ricemilk, but I, personally, don’t like it.

Another excellent vegan protein source is quinoa. It’s the one perfect protein, having all essential amino acids, that is not animal related. Do a quick internet search on the subject to learn more. You cook it the same way you would rice, but it only takes about 15 minutes. If you like couscous, you’ll love quinoa. The other plus to quinoa is that it’s gluten free too.

As far as detoxing…. I would just stop eating it and turn to other foods.


Soy be it!


Another great article to add to the growing archive here of the dangers of soy. Thanks again Dr. Mercola!


I am living in China for 6 years and tofu is regularly eaten here; you can buy tofu and products from it on every food market and in the food stores. Of course it is not GM, yet. Otherwise I agree with the general message you posted.


I have lived in the USA, for 58 years. For all my years, one has been able to buy cigarettes in every grocery store and convenience store. Tobacco has been used regularly, here, for centuries. Still, tobacco is suspected of being unhealthy.


Yes my wife is Chinese and Asians have been eating tofu in huge quantities for many years. Where is the evidence that this is harmful to them?

Mark Fletcher

The Chinese eat small amounts of tofu as a side dish with a meal, not a huge plate of it like American vegans do.


Chinese eat a lot of different ‘Soy’ food, but China has very low ‘breast cancer’ rate. Most Chinese drink ‘soy milk’ for ‘centuries’ instead of ‘cow milk’. In recent years, when Chinese began to drink ‘milk’ and eat more meat in some big cities, the ‘breast cancer’ rate increased a lot or almost doubled. Why? After you are doing some ‘real’ research, someone should give me an answer for this.


Ssshh88, the low breast cancer rate is most likely due to their much higher levels of iodine. See or google the subject to see the research supporting that.

And the big city diets probably became much more processed with more Western style food and preparation.


Ssshh88, there is plenty of evidence cited in the foregoing readings–you just have to realize that in the US, the massive amounts of soy consumed by “vegetarians” is non-fermented and from genetically modified soy. In China this has not been the case until recently when they began importing US-grown soy to keep up with the increasing consumer demand in the cities. The average traditional consumption of soy was fermented products and about 2 teaspoons per day, not a huge plate of unfermented gmo soy (as Mark Fletcher mentioned).


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The feeding of soy in Asian monasteries is because soy shrinks the sexual urges!


Being a scientist (though not in this area) and a human (not a rat, mouse or chimpanzee), I decided to test this out for myself. For 14 days I avoided all soy products (carefully checking all ingredients), then for the next 14 days I ate nothing but soy and drank soy milk only (a pint with every meal). I diligently kept a comprehensive diary during that period and constantly tested my aptitude at various tasks, such as mental agility, recall and memory tests (my area is psychology); strength and stamina (using weights, a slam-man and a running machine), energy, as well as other related areas, such as emotional intelligence and sexual factors.

At the end of the 28 days I compared the 2 groups, statistically (thanks to SPSS). I found that there was no significant difference between the two groups in any of the categories (though ‘strength and stamina’ increased slightly within the ‘soy’ group, whilst ‘concentration’ increased slightly within the ‘no-soy’ group – though neither was significant).

I conclude that soy does not have an adverse reaction on my mind, body or emotions. I will have no qualms about eating soy. I appreciate though that this may not be the case for everyone as we are all different. Some of the studies I have discounted as they were based on animal experiments and have nothing at all to do with people. It is also worth finding out who actually funded the published research. You will know only too well that a critically significant amount of research remains unpublished because it does not agree with the motivations of those funding the research. There is a vast amount of research that remains unpublished because it contradicts or disagrees with primary research of funding motivations. I strongly suspect that there is an equal amount of unpublished research (possibly more) which opposes the above criticism of soy.

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More signs showing what’s really wrong with the standard American diet


I’m sure that 50 years ago the American diet wasn’t more healthy, but that Americans just ate less (in general) AND ate far less processed foods. Sweets were considered a special “treat” or luxury, and were homemade or purchased from a corner bakery. The whole culture surrounding diet / meals has changed tremendously even as recent as the past 30 years.

While I don’t dispute what is posted here, I do think that so many of America’s dietary ills could be cured by a return to good old fashioned common sense, and a European mindset on the enjoyment of meals. Eat slowly, enjoy fresh foods carefully prepared, enjoyed in a pleasant setting with family, friends, and/or at your own kitchen table, and get a little exercise every day whether that’s walking, cycling, yoga, or some other enjoyable activity.

My Italian American ancestors were long lived not because they ate organic, grain-free diets, taking the “right” supplements, etc. but because they didn’t gorge themselves on garbage foods and then plop themselves down in front of the computer or television to veg their lives away. They walked to work (and worked hard), walked to the bus, cooked their own meals (because they weren’t wealthy), enjoyed their red wine, coffee, and pasta meals but in MODERATION. Many Americans had a good grasp on that 50 years ago because there was no other choice.

Our convenience-driven lifestyles are, I’m sure, a huge contributor to the current obesity epidemic.


Plaidsheep, I enjoyed your comment so much and I really agree with you. A lot of our ancestors who were very healthy and long-lived, didn’t worry about supplements or every bite they put into their mouths. They had home-made meals and ate at the table with conversation and family, they walked and gardened. It’s also not true that we have more stress today and that is why we need supplements. Some of those long-lived generations came from war times, depression and so forth. My Great Grandfather who lived to be over 100 (healthy and active until the last few months of his life)

had been one of the Czar in Russia’s bodyguards. He lived in hiding for almost a year and had to walk hundreds of miles into another country, work hard for his passage and eventually came here with nothing. His credentials meant nothing here and so he worked in a mattress factory. But he enjoyed life despite all that—he danced, drank, laughed, gardened, fixed cars and bicycles, and walked a lot. He enjoyed food but never ate fried foods or sugar. They weren’t to his liking. He also never “vegged” in front of the TV for hours. There were better things to do outdoors, he thought, or friends to talk to, or work to do for someone else who needed something done. I think the keys to a long life are attitude, wholesome foods, plenty of fresh air, service to others and hard work. My humble opinion!


50 years ago we didn’t have GMO foods, and chemical additives. We did, however, have pesticides that were sprayed on crops, just as now, only maybe worse kinds. My parents always had fresh fruits and vegetables in the house, almost no candy (only for Halloween), and we had to finish our plates for no waste. Waste not, want not. That’s because parents were raised during the Great Depression.


I’m surprised that nobody talks about the fact that US wheat is genetically modified and the gluten protein has been modified. Don’t you think it would play a factor? Well I did the test for you, it’s totally anecdotal mind you but while in France where GMO’s are outlawed I treated myself to a crêpe. I thought I would pay the price for it but nothing, no symptoms, no pain, no bloating.

Nothing scientific here, it was one crêpe and never repeated the experience but it let me to ponder.

No in the light of this new research, doesn’t it stand to reason to look more into the effect of GM wheat as more and more people develop Celiac disease in this country?


Yep, i have talked to many people, including my grocer who has noticed a sharp increase in the humber of people complaining that they have to stay away from wheat.

Thank you for mentioning that.


That’s enough to convince me. Imagine my surprise when we toured Europe in 2001, and the cigarette smoke did not give me asthma. In the U. S. it does. Europe doesn’t allow GMO tobacco, or added chemicals.


US Wheat is not GM yet actually.


Just wanted to correct a statement. Oats do NOT contain gluten. Sadly, most oats become contaminated with wheat during processing and transport. Make sure the oats you buy say gluten-free on the package, and you shouldn’t have any problems. Bob’s Red Mill has gluten-free oats.


The other issue with oats is that they will often plant wheat in the same fields as oats. Since the two grains look very similar, wheat will very often get mixed with the oats when they are collected.


OATS DO CONTAIN GLUTEN!!!!! My son is Celiac, I have thoroughly researched Oats and it contains gluten. In fact organic oats were one of the foods that made his little intestines bleed the most. Do not eat Oats if you have gluten intolerance.

cher bear

In most countries, they can label products as gluten free, even if they contain trace amounts of gluten. Some gluten free products are processed in plants that also process wheat. To be labelled gluten free it can contain 20 parts per million. The Canadian Celiac Association recommends you stay away from oats, even gluten free because there is a small amount of gluten in them. Glutino and El Peto have 100% gluten free factories.


An interesting correlation to think about is something else that has risen dramatically since the 1950’s: antibiotic usage. I suspect that several courses of antibiotics over a lifetime decimate the normal intestinal population of microbes to such a degree that digestion of complex macromolecules such as gluten (and its products) is compromised. Additionally, this leads to inflammation of the gut and increased permeability of the intestines to undigested particles like gliadin that may function as antigens in the circulation. Probably just another piece of a complicated puzzle with more than one answer.


Lots of misconceptions evident in these comments.

1. Wheat gluten intolerance is usually NOT due to allergy. Intolerance is simply your body’s inability to process gluten without ill effects. Think of it this way, many people who eat baked beans get gas. That does not mean they are allergic to beans. You can have many types of ill effects from foods that are moderate or severe, but not allergy. Realizing that the gluten issue is not related to allergies is an important distinction. You could do an expensive allergy test and be found not allergic to wheat, but still have gluten intolerance. Mercola’s advice that Americans eat far too much starchy foods of all kinds is most likely correct. Too much starch in our guts, including wheat, rice, sugar, etc., really harms the the chemical and biological balance in our guts, and thus our bodies. This is why I have switched toward a paleolithic diet consisting mostly of fresh unprocessed vegetables, nuts and meats.

2. This is NOT a GMO wheat issue. To date, wheat growers have been adamant about keeping GMOs out of wheat because they felt it would hurt their export markets. So there in no GMO wheat. This could change, however, as Monsanto keeps testing the market to see if farmers are ready to plant Roundup Ready and other types of GMO wheat. If it appears consumers will accept it, food processing companies will buy it and farmers will plant it.

3. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is in virtually all processed food now. Similarly to the sugar substitute Apartame (Nutrasweet), MSG acts as an excitotoxin, intensifiying flavor sensation by over-exiting the tastebud nerves on the tongue. The problem is that MSG and Apartame don’t just stop at the tongue–they go to your gut and get into all of your bodily systems.

Sheltie Lover

About ten years ago I was referred to an OLD doctor for my allergy problems. — He said: “Most allergies are caused by Hypothyroidism.”

He put me on Armour thyroid and shortly therafter my allergies started to improve, and now I have no allergies.

He treated me symptomatically, while other doctors missed the problem, because they were ignoring my hypothyroid symptoms and “treating my bloodtests”.

There is a type of hypothyroidism that does NOT show up on bloodtrests,. It is called Hypothyroidism Type 2.

A good book on this can be found on The fiull title is: “Hypothyroidism Type 2, The Epidemic”, by Dr. Mark Starr.


An interesting side note to your comment: one form of hypothyroidism, “Hashimoto’s”, is actually an autoimmune disorder AND there have been some studies done linking it to gluten intolerance.


Sheltie, thanks for your post. I am hypothyroid (I take T3 ) and of course am allergic to almost all foods. I will definetely get this book and see if my naturopath will change my prescriptiuon to Armour which has T1, T2, T3, and T4. I long suspected that my allergies were due to hormone disruption after I took a hefty dose of Cipro and ended up with major health problems.


Brazil123 – Armour also has calcitonin in it which protects your bones. For anyone who wants to learn more try: (in the forums)



I see you have a dog or dogs. I have a Min Pin female, that has weight problems and I noticed her starting to favor a rear leg. So after taking my self off of wheat and knowing how much less my joints hurt I thought I would take her off it as well . My husband says she is a new dog, she plays and runs instead of just laying around being lazy. She used to just watch while our other Min Pin ran and played. Now she plays and even chews on us. Every day My husband comments on how happy she is. I told him if he got off wheat he might feel like her too. ROFL.. He said he would work too hard if he felt that good. But really he sees it and he knows I am doing more now. It is just a matter of time, before he tries it too.


I also have hypothyroidism, and changed over to armour a year ago and was doing wonderful on it. However they “reformulated” the armour this spring and have been having problems with recurring hyp symptoms, checked online at the site and sure enough tons of people are having trouble with the new stuff. Corns starch is a filler now and many are not tolerating or utilizing the active ingredient as well. changed to naturethroid, and so far seem to be doing better. Have blood test coming up so will know more then, but its been a few weeks to get back to where i was at before the change.

Can’t imagine why a company would have such a history of short supplies and then go and change the product and never say a word about it to anyone. One reason I changed, they don’t seem to care much about the people who take their product


Dear Dr. Mercola

My name is Nikolaos Kyriakidis and I am a Professor Emeritus of Food Chemistry

in Agricultural University of Atthens.

I would like to make some contribution to gluten intolerance problem.

When I was young bread was considered as a kind of “sacred” food.

As you know very well bread was the staple food for centuries, even millienia.

Its consumption was without any problem to human health up to our years.

It seems to me that when we consume for long time protein with exactly the same

three-dimensional conformation of its amino-acid chains is considered as an attacking enemy by our

defence mechanisms leading as is well known to the development of allergies.

As we know very well in the previous century a very big effort was devoted in the

production and development of high yield hybrids.

These hybrids, ab initio, have a very stable three-dimentional protein system that will inevitably leed

to the development of human allergies.

I wonder why this well known information does not appear more often in peer reviewed scientific articles.

(I would like to add some more comments but I encountered some difficulties with the available free space.

In case you are interested please let me know).

Best Regards

Dr. N. V. Kyriakidis

life coach andy

Allergies, especially hayfever, sometiems are because of exhausted adrenals, which is epidemic nowdays. ALso lots of food allergies because gut flora is very bad state, which allows undigested protein to enter the blood stream and then cause allergies.

Regarding grains most of them got micotoxins, such as aflotoxin, which is very high in corn, and peanut butter (peanuts are legumes). Aflatoxin causes liver cancer, and candida.


I have Celiac Desease, Dermatitis Herptiformis, Sjogrens, and Reynaud’s. Before I was diagnosed four years ago, I was so healthy I had NEVER been to a doctor for illness until I was 38 — and that was for a mild case of shingles. Once ‘the damn broke’, I was crushed.

One thing I didn’t see mentioned yet (sorry if it was) is that wheat gluten is in EVERYTHING. Most prepared foods like ‘TV dinners’, some ice creams, nearly all canned soups, salad dressings, soy sauce, boxed rice preparations, marinades for meat… the list is endless. Even the fries at the local restaurant have gluten on them from being fried in the same vat as the chicken fingers (and yes, that tiny amount is enough to trigger a reaction).

Avoiding gluten is a full time job. In some ways, having CD is a blessing, because it forces you to eat unprocessed foods. That not only eliminates the gluten, but also the heavy salt, preservatives, and other chemicals. I also avoid powdered milk, like the stuff you get in milk shakes and cheap ice cream.

I always thought I ate a fairly decent diet, but now that I have to read every single label and ask for a GF menu at a restaurant (many have them now) I realize I didn’t. When I see how much people eat gluten (and so much other crap) because it exists so much in commercially prepared foods I can see why Celiac Desease is rising fast. It’s not just all the bread. It’s pasta, cereal, snacks, Chinese food from the local take out (soy sauce!!!) — I bet most people have no clue how much more gluten they ingest everyday, even if they don’t eat a single peice of bread.

ASD quotexpert momquot

Celiac Disease runs in my family so I’ve had plenty of experience with it. There seems to be a genetic predisposition at play in the development of Celiac Disease (with very high incidence among the Irish and those with Irish ancestry) but it’s very clear that intestinal dysbiosis (imbalance among the microorganisms living in the gut) is the cause. Perhaps there’s a particular pathogen, or mix of pathogens, that causes gluten intolerance, because some people appear to have dysbiosis without gluten intolerance (though they may be gluten intolerant and undiagnosed). There’s been a spectacular rise in intestinal dysbiosis over the past decades, due primarily to allopathic drugs. Most people know that oral antibiotics can trigger dysbiosis, but many other allopathic drugs can also — including birth control pills. And babies “inherit” their gut flora from their mothers during birth so a woman who has poor gut flora will pass that on to her children. Some of those children will become autistic because of dysbiosis; some of the children will not become autistic but will develop other health problems. Dysbiosis leads to nutritional deficiencies (because the right gut flora mix produces many nutrients the body needs) and toxicity (the over-growing “bad guys” produce a heavy load of toxins). These problems impair liver function, heavy metal processing, brain function…no wonder some kids become autistic. Dysbiosis is serious business. A warning to couples and families — a person with Celiac needs a gluten-free kitchen. If your kitchen contains gluten, the gluten WILL contaminate your family member’s gluten-free diet no matter how careful you are. For more information on dysbiosis and treatment, I highly recommend Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s book “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” along with Elaine Gottschall’s “Breaking the Vicious Cycle.” These books detail the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, which is one of the best treatments for dysbiosis.

cher bear

I have Celiac disease, I have my own seperate dishes, bakeware, cupboards, toaster, butter etc.. I never use the counter tops, I prepare foods on my cutting board. The only time that I ever get sick is when someone else cooks for me. Unfortunately the people I live with will never go gluten free.


The study at the beginning of this passage is interesting and potentially very important. However as a scientist I wonder if 50 year old archived blood samples are still as amenable to analysis as fresh ones (?)… If the blood test is used to determine the presence of anti-gluten antibodies – I’m not sure whether or not these antibody epitopes would be as well preserved in very old archived samples as in samples that have not undergone freezing, storage, and thawing…. If the blood samples are vulnerable to degradation, then this study may not tell us truly what percentage of people had intolerance 50 years ago. Any experts on this sort of assay???


I was wondering about this very thing, myself. Good question!


I always find it interesting that wheat is blamed for so much. In my family, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. consumed bread with nearly every meal and we have many long lived folks. I am 43 and just lost my last grandparent last year, and he was 94. Of course, the bread consumed by my ancestors was not the gluey overprocessed white bread we see today, it was usually a rougher whole grain type. And tons of variety. I remember eating many dark breads, rye breads, oat breads, and whole wheat breads. Spread with fresh butter or lard. I don’t eat bread nearly so much anymore because I’m watching my weight, but homemade breads were a big part of all our diets. Seriously, I don’t know how anyone eats that white bread stuff, it is tasteless and sticks to your teeth, very unpleasent.


For a few years I’ve been reading about celilac and gluten intolerance, and it always seemed to resonate with me. Finally after a bout with stomach parasites 3 months ago, after finishing my pills my holistic md gave me, and still having continuous stomach pain, g.i. problems, gas, & bloating I decided to finally go gluten-free on June 29th of this year. After only 3 days all my symtoms went away. And I dropped 6 lbs in 2 weeks just by not having anything with gluten in it — no other changes. I’m a believer. I sleep better, stopped snoring (my husband tells me), wake up more refreshed, my clothes are becoming loser, my face lost that bloaty look. I’m loving this new gluten-free life. BTW, I also had severe heavy metal poisoning which might have contributed to it, but I also was diagnosed with hypothyroidism almost 20 years ago so that, as well, makes me more suseptible to having a gluten intolerance or allergy. My holistic doctor sent me a test for me to take which would tell us if I actually HAVE celiac disease, but haven’t taken it yet. I already know me + gluten = pain. So I’m avoiding it no matter what.



In November of 2009 I finally took the test (saliva and stool — sorry, TMI) and found out I didn’t have celiac disease but I was right and I do have gluten intolerance. (I guess anything over a 15 is gluten intolerant, and I was over 22 and that’s with not having gluten in my diet for 3 months). Anyway, I’ve been doing so much better without it. And along with no gluten and cutting out sugar from my diet (except for some fresh fruit here and there) I’ve dropped almost 15 lbs with minimal effort.


Get rid of certain bacteria in the body and various digestion symptoms will start to appear. There are various oncogenic bacteria that need to be controlled in order to reduce the occurance of stomach cancer. The “War on Cancer” is not as “Out in the Open” as one might think.


I have been diagnosed with collitis, my natural path DR who I visited for nutrtional help put me on a gluten free diet, my gastronal specialist kind a po-poed (not an english word- and kind of wierd word for someone with collitis to use) has any one heard , have any evidence that a gluten free diet is benificial to chrohns,collittis.

My gastronal specialized insists th collits is a auto immune diease and is not really affectedby diet?


Autoimmune diseases not affected by diet?? OH MY! Please dump this GI doctor (no pun intended.) That’s like saying that the way your car runs has nothing to do with what kind of fuel you put in! Would you put sugar water in your gasoline tank? Or vegetable oil? They are both loaded with potential energy, but your car can’t use them – they will make your car ‘sick.’ And consider that you’re body is a gazillion times more intricate than the engine of an automobile and needs more that just raw fuel.


BTW, a gluten-free diet is HIGHLY likely to help your condition. You’ll also need a diet rich in enzymes & good whole foods. But you need to do some research on your own. Hope this helps. Best wishes!!


No gluten and no dairy, especially cow dairy. It will give your gut a break.

cher bear

I was finally diagnose with celiac disease 3 years ago. I have had it all my life. I was always sick as a child, but the doctors would say I had the flu, and eat dry toast or crackers. This would make me worse, my Mom tried to tell the doctors that I would be worse after eating bread, the doctors said it was normal when you are sick. Throughout my life, I was diagnosed with Lactose intolerance, hypoglycemia, irregular heart beat, peripheral neuropathy, infertility, bleeding ulcers, depression, IBS etc. It got to the point where I couldn’t even work anymore. I was out of work for 2 years, vomiting everyday, bloating and in extreme pain. I was in the doctors every week complaining, and it was always the same thing. They would ask if I was pregnant, then the usual pregnancy test. They would always say it was the flu, for 2 years! Finally I seen a doctor who knew of celiac disease and sent me to a gastroenterologist at the hospital. Once I was diagnosed and on a proper diet most of my health problems went away. For anyone who lives in southern Ontario, there is a gluten free, peanut and nut free restaurant in Winona/Stoney Creek. It is called my silver lining, the food is excellent. You can buy their home made bread, and desserts for a treat.


Gluten free oats hurt me…gave me stomach sores.. Geat book- Dangerous Grains by Braly tells many of the health issues that can come from being Celiac. My MS was caused by being Celiac.


All good information, but don’t forget that another reason we have troubles with grains is that we no longer soak or sour leaven them anymore. Sour leavening breaks down the gluten and pre-digests it for you. So a person who cannot tolerate gluten very likely can tolerate bread that is properly prepared. Why cut things completely out of the diet (assuming you don’t have to)? Just prepare them the right way and leave them in if you possibly can. There are a lot of important nutrients in those grains!


I’ve been Gluten Intolerant for over 25 years and the only thing I’ve found that helps is to stay away from White Flour and

use GlutenEase by ENZYMEDICA.

You can get it from most good Health Food Stores, or on line. Its rather expensive @ $28.00 for 60 caps…BUT IT WORKS!!

It surprises me whenever there is an article about Gluten Intolerance, nearly Never does anyone write about GlutenEase.

I take one tablet before any meal with bread/white flour and virtually no symptoms after-wards….even pizza! :) Good Luck!!


I have concluded or speculate that this disease cause is genetically modified food in wheat and corn and all other products. Straying from nature.


I spoke to a woman at a conference this past February here in Texas (she lives just north of Austin). She told me that she cannot eat any wheat products in the U.S., but when she visits England she can eat whatever foods she wants including those with wheat in them. My daughter moved to London this past year. Here in the States she definitely had symptoms of gluten intolerance, but not in England. She has complained about recently having a reaction to rice (bloating, gas, etc) which she has not previoiusly experienced. So I’m thinking that all the tampering that the agri-industry has done with our food has led to this situation. In Europe, there are less foods that have been genetically modified than in the U.S.


I’ve had the same experience through living in and visiting England, Japan and France. I cannot eat wheat here in the U.S> at al but am totally O.K. with it in those countries. I discovered that over the years American wheat has been bred to have a much higher gluten content than the wehat used on those countries.


Wherat gluten is a threat because of the GMO problem, which threatens to grow larger. On the other hand I have read that once wheat has been milled, it should be used within a specified period of time, and not be milled until one is ready to use said wheat. Flour is not something we shaould have around our home stored as such. Even the grain itself has a limited shelf life.


Just a word about allergy’s…. some foods and products are natural irritants to the human body. When we are balanced and healthy they have no effect on the body otherwise we would not eat them and label them as poisons. However if we come in contact with them when we are in a very low physical state or a highly negative emotional state the subconscious remembers and cant separate the food or pollen or irritant from the past experience. The next time we come in contact with the irritant the subconscious body wisdom then tries to protect us or warn us by breaking out in hives, rashes, tingling, over producing histamine, toxic shock and the like. There are a number of ways of addressing this conditioned reaction and obviously fear of the condition only reinforces the belief. I am a fan of EFT and hypnotherapy as a way of re-educating the subconscious and reducing the unconscious panic. A bee cant kill you right….. but your bodies reaction to that sting can.

peace elizabeth

i was recently made aware of some beneficial properties of buckwheat, which is gluten free and can help lower blood glucose levels, among other things. Does anyone else have info/experience adding cooked buckwheat groats to their diet? any negatives?

Health Benefits of Buckwheat from

* The protein found in buckwheat contains the eight essential amino acids.

* Buckwheat is rich in B vitamins as well as phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese.

* Buckwheat is a good oil source of Alpha-Linolenic Acid, which is one of the two essential fatty acids we must have to be healthy.

* Buckwheat is high in fiber. A single cup of cooked buckwheat groats contains over 4 grams of dietary fiber.

* Buckwheat contains a rich supply of flavonoids.

* Buckwheat lowers glucose levels and is beneficial for managing diabetes.

* Buckwheat has been found to lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol.

* Buckwheat is a fruit seed and is a gluten-free alternative to grains.


I grew up eating lots of sourdough buckwheat pancakes. In the fall, mom would take a small crock and start the buckwheat pancake starter. She would use buckwheat flour, water and yeast.At night, before bed, when she planned to fix buckwheat pancakes for breakfast, she would add more buckwheat flour and water to the starter, enough for breakfast and then a little extra to keep the starter going. The buckwheat pancakes was typically served with milk gravy made from sausage or bacon drippings.


Dr. Mercola, I’d like to see you talk about the hype surrounding the Wheat Belly book as well as the science behind his theory. I have a mild hypothyroid disorder, and it has improved with a gluten free diet. I have even started baking more with almond flour. The author, Dr. William Davis, has seen much success in his patients’ health by having them remove gluten from their diets.


Food combining plays a huge part in the fact that gluten is not being digested. Protein and starches are not supposed to be eaten together because they require different enzymes that require completely different environments to function. Starches require a more alkaline environment and protein requires an acidic environment, so when consumed together the digestion of starches is disrupted. The American diet consists of millions of combinations like this, from a burger and fries, too toast with bacon and eggs in the mourning. Wheat is consumed in excess with protein at almost every meal.

Food combining in combination with an excessive amount of wheat consumed, GMO foods, and a lack of bacterial flora in the digestive tract due to stress, tap water, high sugar diets, over use of antibiotics, and other drugs and vaccinations leading to an overgrowth of yeast in the body. I think there maybe much more at play but these are just a few thoughts. The bottom line is that Americans need to go back to eating a more natural diet of clean non-GMO, non-processed foods.

Just a thought…


As more and more foods have become genetically modified the problem of gluten intolerance has risen. If the blood of soldiers from 50 years ago did not have the blood markers for celiac disease then what have we been doing with our food since then? Yup. It’s the food, baby! Gumming up the works again.Eat defensively, talk with your wallet, and demand of our congressmen and representatives to have all food labelled if it is genetically modified or if any part of it is genetically modified.


I would venture to guess the rise in gluten intolerance and intestinal disease in general can be linked to levels of stress. Locked into sympathetic nervous system response, the body loses 40% of it’s digestive energy. Add some HFCS and food chemicals on top of your hard to digest gluten and you have numerous things making it’s way into your lower GI in a form that promotes inflammation.

Todays lifestyle promotes round the clock stress response and it changes the way you process everything. Ever wonder why the news starts out with tragedy and death? It invokes a small stress response and once your adrenals engage your locked into watching it. It’s a common way to manipulate the masses.


There is much news these days about sprouted grain bread – Dr Mercola, can you talk about the benefits of this, and if it makes a difference with gluten intolerance?


I tried to get your article on the enzyme for celiac disease but could not retrieve it. Would yo please tell me how to get it or, could you e-mail it to me. I think I have celiac disease. The Doctor has said it is IBS but I don’t think that is the problem. I have all the symptons of celiac disease and it is really a problem. Appreciate any information you can give me.

Thanks, Mary


our wheat is a grafted grain kind of poisen we need to go back to the original wheat which is now called einkorn and will have no gluten celiac, allergies triglycerydes insulin resisitence


According to the article above, people diagnosed with CD after age 20 have a far greater chance of autoimmune disease later in life then those diagnosed at an earlier age. My question is what about people who develop it later in life? How is it possible for a person to eat a gluten loaded diet for 60+ years with no symptoms and then test positive?

I was diagnosed with CD when i was 35 (I got tested because my 66 year old mother tested positive). I have no symptoms. I ate gluten free for about six weeks, hated the diet, even with many organic, gluten free foods available and then went back to my gluten diet. My energy returned and I feel great, so I’m not sure how that all works. I will go in for a biopsy to see the condition of my intestines and will then decide how to proceed from there.

I love my gluten!


For an instructional guide on how to eat gluten-free and casein-free, order the new book “From A (Autistic Spectrum Disorders) to ZZZ (Insomnia).” It is available through the AuthorHouse bookstore at The book provides menus, grocery lists, recipes, product and manufacturer information, and additional information.


I am gluten intolerant and do avoid gluten grains. But I also seem to be a hyper-fast metabolizer and am hungry a lot. I find non-gluten grains or carbs help stave hunger, and give energy.

What alternative has anyone found, to avoid grains, carbs?


I am not sure if this caused my Celiac symptoms but it surely went from latent to full blown overnight.

In august of ’08 I had what I now believe was worse case West Nile Virus. I ended up in emergency totally prostrate with 103 temp. They foolishly gave me Tylenol and after 12 hours with me folded in a heap in the waiting room, they X-rayed my lungs and said (famous last words) ” we don’t find any signs of infection but we are going to give you a bag of Cipro just in case”. They then said I could go home if I felt like it. Even though I could feel the illness had moved from my abdomen to my ears, eyes and brain I chose to go home over their shoddy attention, and went home to die if it came to that. The next day it became obvious I was in liver failure. After a brief stay in the hospital with a lot of sugary Ringers solution (to save my liver, they said) and my refusal to consider a liver transplant again I went home to die. Instead, after 2 months of self treatment with organic veggies, no meat or fats, homeopathic cell salts and lots of milk thistle my liver started working again.

I was sort of distracted by it all and did not do the course of probiotics that I should have done. Even when I did start them it was too little, too late and the yeast and bacteria brewing in my intestines ate through to the body cavity causing ascites and peritonitis. By then every meal became torture. Over the last 10 months I have lost almost 30 pounds and have since discovered that I cannot eat factory raised meat, milk or eggs(thx Cipro) without horrific pain at the site of the bacterial crossover. Grains turn me into an agonizing and stinky volcano (the tiniest cookie!) and I am horrifically allergic to MSG(sometimes a 4 day recovery), often feeling as if my heart is simply going to stop .

Crazy? oh yeah, and I had to figure it all out on my own. (me, and the internet!) Trial, error and research… living gluten-free… doing lots better!


This might be caused by genetically modified wheat. In talking with the clerk at the store half a year ago, i learned that she had noticed that more and more people coming through her line were looking for gluten free products, saying they could no longer tolerate wheat..

I have been battling with something i assumed was severe problems with MSG..i also have trouble with wheat..

Jennifer Jenvey

Easy to read, got the message across. I enjoyed this message. JJ


Does anyone have any experience with swithching from a synthetic thyroid med (levothyroxin) to Armour . I have been on the synthetic for about 10 years.



I read all the comments and two weeks ago tried by elimination an almost gluten free diet and felt so much better than I had in a long time. I now need to do the research into how I will move forward and increase my health potential. Penny


You are absolutely right on all counts Whitetail.


I purchased a book “Dangerous Grains” by James Braly, M.D. and you would be surprised to see more than 200 chronic illnesses listed. I have always had problems with sinus issues, eczema and asthma and recently hand tremors. After being off of gluten for a week my skin has not itched, my sinuses are clear and tremors have reduced tremendously, all within a week. I have so much energy even after a hard workout.

Dr. Mercola, thank you for the information!


Well many years ago I read an article about our wheat fields being bought up and they would be genetically modified. I believe that China owns the hard winter wheat seeds, but I am not sure about this. This would explain why people are so gluten intolerant. I would like to know if, in fact, you can still get the actual seed and where it comes from. When I use to own a health food store, my customers wanted me to order hard winter wheat, but I got it for them from my distributor. I don’t know where they got it from. Thank you.


In the Sept. 27, 2002 issue of Science researchers identified gliadin, a fragment of gluten, as the celiac culprit. Gliadin is broken down by bacterium with the peptidase enzyme. There are no animals who suffer from Celiac disease, so testing the theory directly on animals with the disease isn’t possible. In researching further, it is found that Gliadin is rich in the amino acid Proline and is surmised that peptidase, which is effective in breaking this amino acid down, can be used to breakdown this fragment associate with Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance. See:…/celiac.htm

And where are the enzymes that breaks down Gluten… In the very parts of the grains we remove to make our processed white flour. Therein is the cause of Gluten Intolerance and this article appropriately named “Why is Wheat Gluten Disorder on the Rise? ” We created this disease not found in any other creature on [planet earth.


Statistics I’ve read state that 1 out of 3 people have gluten/gliadin intolerance and/or celiac. I believe that it is much higher, as many people never get diagnosed. So many people have malabsorption issues that are merely medicated by the status quo medical establishment or they self medicate. One does not grow out of gluten/gliadin intolerance because their body doesn’t have the enzyme to break it down. Also, after years of assault on the system, the body becomes reactive to gluten/gliadin. Because of this allergic response one can even become auto-immune. Testing the gluten/gliadin intolerance is so useful because it gives confirmation to the condition. I have been gluten/gliadin free for over 12 years. Because of that all of my health issues virtually disappeared, including issues not seemingly related to digestion such as joint pain, muscle pain and weakness and inability to concentrate. You must also test those related to you, as gluten/gliadin intolerance is genetic.


Was the pun in the title deliberate or accidental? I agree with Dr. Mercola that grains are deadly in more ways than one. Eat right for your metabolic type and most diseases disappear. I used to have acid reflux. I switched to a high protein diet and it disappeared, never to return. By the way, most people are obese because they spent too much of their lives on diets, and have created the famine-like hypothyroid condition that slows the body metabolism down to a crawl, and the lowfat, high carb diet just makes it worse. Read Gary Taubes Good Calories, Bad Calories. It is worth the read.

Jane Ann

I was diagnosed with celiac disease 4 years ago. It is inherited. Both my parents had it. We know this now because they had most of the symptoms that I had. Living on a gluten-free diet made a big difference in my life. But you always live with the fear of that hidden little bit of gluten or cross contanination. The gluten destroys the lining of your small intestines, making it difficult for them to absorb nutriants. So you are mal-nurished. Your body craves foods to fill that void.

April 2008, my chiropractor asked me if I had any allergies. He was using a technique to eliminate all allergies. NAET. You can read about this at

You can find practioners in your area on this site. The N is a ladies last name. A = allergy, E = elimination, t = technique. All of my allergies are now totally eliminated. I can eat gluten with no bad effects. Actually, I eat very little, my body just does not want it. I no longer crave food because my small intestines have had time to heal and now work the way God created them to work. At 68 years old, I am healthier now than I have been in my entire life.

Check out the website, Any and allergies can be eliminated.


it just seems like we cant eat anything. now we can eat whole grain bread

kims den

Just a reminder- It is my understanding that Wheat Intolerance and Celiac Disease are two different things. If a person has Celiac disease, it is understood that they have an auto immune disease. For other people a simple allergy to wheat can be worked with. There are many ways to deal with allergies- this forum is great for tips and hints. But Celiac Disease is something that you are born with. I believe the best way to diagnose is first through a blood test and then followed by a biopsy. Please have these tests done to determine your problem. It makes a difference in how you will deal with your health issue. My husband was diagnosed 18 years ago and so I have learned to cook properly and feed my family well. It has been a blessing in disguise. Although it is not a disease I wish on anyone, I am convinced that a no Grain to low grain diet and gluten free diet ( likes the good doctor says) is the most nutritious diet whatever your metabolic type. If anyone is interested,I make an alternative dehydrator cracker/wafer as a bread alternative with flax, vegetable juice pulp, onions, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and organic spices. You can email me for a recipe if you are interested One last word of advice. Just because it says “gluten-free” doesn’t mean that it is healthy. A recipe I used for years (gluten free bread) was soooo full of starches, that I no longer make it for him. God bless you.


kims den,

While Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance are technically two different things (and some experts challenge this theory), the treatment for both is exactly the same…. a gluten free diet. Gluten intolerance is not an allergy to wheat….. like Celiac, it is an autoimmune disease. Wheat allergy is a sudden onset autoimmune reaction ( In short, they are all autoimmune, not just Celiac).

There are those who think that Gluten Intolerance is not as serious and Celiac Disease, and therefor, do not treat it with the same reverence as Celiac Disease, but they are wrong to think so. Your statements are somewhat misinformed…. a negative biopsy result or blood test doesn’t mean that you can consume gluten “sometimes”, so I’m not sure what “difference” you are referring to when you say, “… have these tests done to determine your problem. It makes a difference in how you will deal with your health issue”, and, “For other people a simple allergy to wheat can be worked with”. These statements make it seem that if you test negative for Celiac, but positive for GI, you’ll be fine just “cutting back” on gluten (wrong).

What shefcris says sums it up perfectly “Celiac Disease is a name applied by medical doctors when they can make a categorization of the damage that has already been done by your gluten intolerance. As with many autoimmune “diseases,” the clinical diagnosis comes only when there is enough evidence of damage done, i.e. the flattening of the villi of the small intestine (this is what doctors look for in a biopsy.) This process of diagnosis & treatment that is so typical in modern medicine has caused much needless suffering because people will not believe they have a problem unless an MD tells them so – “All my tests are normal, so I must be ok! I ‘ll just keep on eating & living like I have been. I feel like crap, but the doctor says I’m ok, so I must be!”


We have 9 children..ages 36 to 54 They are scattered from California, Kansas Florida, Connecticut, France and Kuala Lumpur. Four are diagnosed with more may also have it. The first diagnosed was 2 1/2 in 1962..Very ill and looked like a child from Biafra with swollen belly, diarrhea sunken eyes. etc. Most doctors knew nothing about Celliac. Our pediatrician was, himself, a Celiac and tests showed the diagnosis of our son. We had no idea that this could be hereditary at that time. Later in their lives, the other children were diagnosed, one by one…all with a different variety of symptoms. We recently learned that my husband’s sister (now 80) has it. A cousin of mine was also a victim. I had learned of his case in 1960, but his was the only one I knew of…therefore our children got a double whammy… from both sides of the family. At least now they (as well as our 17 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren) will be closely watched. As far as we know, our 39 yr old son has the worst of the symptoms including severe depression. He lives closer to us and I prepare soups and gluten free products regularly for him. Currently he is very ill from one stop at a restaurant (Chick Fillet) which brags about their Gluten Free Menu….not true. He is extremely careful about his diet, but still gets caught off guard very often. He needs only a trace of gluten to have the symptoms put him out of commission for several days. I would like to know exactly what else we can do for is ruining his a charming and handsome young man…but can have almost no social life because of the Celiac.

I would appreciate any advice on finding the doctor he needs here in S. Carolina or wherever else we must take him.

Desperate, Delena Jones


Hi Delena,

I’m gluten intolerant and I’ve found aloe vera juice a great help. Whenever I accidentally eat gluten or something else that upsets me I drink a bit of extra aloe vera juice between meals, it’s said to have a healing effect on skin as well as the intestines. I drink 20ml every day in the morning and feel it benefits me. It’s also good to take probiotics to aid digestion and restore balance in the gut flora. Oh, and I would avoid dairy too, it can be too hard to digest for someone with celiac.




Man wasn’t designed to eat grains. The sad thing is that if we want to sustain the current world population, most of us wil have no other option.


Cheryl Rounds…how did you find a Neuromodulation technician? I would be interested to learn more about this type of therapy to reduce or eliminate my severe food, chemical and environmental allergies. Any information would be appreciated.


It’s also a possibility that mercury would confuse the immune system, leading to allergies. Or the way that wheat was fermented in bread making. Steve Meyerowitz from Sproutman actually healed his chlorine allergy which includes tap water by consuming raw foods and sprouts.…

I hope that I will be heal my gluten allergy so I can drink wheatgrass juice.

It could either be vaccines that caused autism or vaccines that caused the allergies which caused autism.

Maybe detoxification would help rid the allergies. I do not know for sure if this was caused by detox or not. I speculated that consuming more green juice bee pollen, spirulina, and chlorella, and less nuts and seeds was the cause. For the last few days, I actually felt very sick and tired and I thought it was either the salmonella or stomach flu. It was odd since it is summer and it is quite rare to feel that sick. The fever caused my skin to feel very warm to the touch and I could hardly sleep. It was not fun. Right now, I don’t crave very high fat foods such as nuts and seeds. I used to eat at least a handful everyday. Hopefully I will crave them only when I am hungry.


Brian, maybe you’re just ill! Sometimes when you have chronic health problems with a range of symptoms it can be hard to realise when you have actually contracted an infection because the symptoms can get mixed up with the ones you always have and it seems like yet another distressing part of the old problem. At least that’s what happened to me, I was staggering round with horrible feelings of dizziness not realising that a virus was causing it until other people started coming down with the same thing, some of them took to their bed with it. It wasn’t the first time that sort of thing had happened either. Sounds like you should give your system a rest. It is possible to do too much at once.

Cheryl Rounds

Brian, I totally cured my allergies by an energy tehnique called Neuromodulation and would recommend this treatment to anyone who has anykind of allergies. After 40+ years of allegies, I became virtually sympton free in about 6 sessions


Cheryl, I think the nerumodulation might be the same think as Neurolink. I have had two sessions of Neurolink and now can eat 24 foods symptom free. Neurolink trains the brain to stop the immune system from attacking every time we eat something.


EFT- emotional freedom technique has also been used to cure allergies. You can find info on here at


Wheatgrass juice doesn’t contain gluten. The gluten is in the grain of sprouted wheat and wheatgrass has no grains. It’s plain green grass, so you can enjoy the benefits of wheatgrass juice! Spirulina and chlorella are strong detoxifiers and can make you tired and spirulina can give you a slight fever, but when you’re done detoxing they will give you a lot of energy. I also have a gluten intolerance and I’ve experienced difficulty with digesting spirulina and chlorella after accidentally eating gluten. I feel I have to start all over again with healing my gut before I can try chlorella and spirulina again, which is a shame because they gave me a lot of energy and made my psoriasis go away (detoxify). Maybe when taking those algae you should try very small doses and they won’t make you feel so bad.

Cheryl Rounds

I wonder if there are wheat prodiucts in vacinations. One of my theories is that the increase in peanut allergies is due to peanut oil in vacinations.


Dr. Mercola is mistaken about his view of corn. Corn is indeed a vegetable …………………that is until it is cooked. Corn was never meant to be cooked and will be fully digested if you eat it raw off the cob. Its delicous too btw, especially the sweeter varieties. Once you cook or otherwise process it in any way, the starches change its classification to that of a grain.


“Dr. Mercola is mistaken about his view of corn.”

Below is excerpted from this link:

… when the bill came up for debate in the Senate last Tuesday, it quickly earned the disapproval of Senator Martin Connor, a Brooklyn Democrat.

“As everyone knows, corn is a grain,” he said. “And I would propose that we make sweet corn the New York State official grain.”


Technically, Mr. Connor is correct, said Marvin P. Pritts, chairman of the department of horticulture at Cornell University.

“The criteria is whether it comes from the reproductive part of a plant or the vegetative part of the plant,” Dr. Pritts said. “If it comes from the reproductive part of the plant, it’s a fruit. If it comes from the vegetative part of the plant, it’s a vegetable.”

Botanically speaking, corn is a caryopsis, or dry fruit — popularly known as a grain.

Dr. Pritts allowed that corn, like a tomato, is eaten like a vegetable, “so to a normal, everyday person, it’s a vegetable.”

Soy has long been considered a health food but many people are unaware that only fermented soy provides health benefits
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Are you missing out on all the benefits of sun exposure by failing to understand these key points?

Recent changes in commercial testing of vitamin D allow us to easily adjust vitamin D levels to optimal ranges without any fear of toxicity

Ideal Type: Conceptions in the Social Sciences

The term ‘ideal type’ (Idealtyp) was chosen by Max Weber (1864–1920) to denote the methodological status of certain theoretical constructions central to many social sciences, e.g., the economists’ ‘law of demand’ or any of the concepts defined in his Economy and Society (‘social relationship,’ ‘sultanism,’ etc.). Common to all is their reference to the subjective action-orientations of individuals, for in Weber’s opinion, socio-cultural phenomena become objects of social-scientific interest precisely under their description as ‘subjectively meaningful’ . His point in labeling such constructions ‘ideal types’ is to emphasize that they cannot be rightfully interpreted as ‘laws.’ This tenet has never ceased to be controversial.

1. The Ideal Type as Summary of Empirical Findings (Weber)

Most of Weber’s methodological reflections bear on the defense of historical science against the Positivist doctrine that to be worthy of the name, a science must aim to discover laws. His reasoning follows the philosopher Heinrich Rickert’s (1863–1936), who submits thatadiscipline’s scientific legitimacyis afunction of the cognitive value of the selective representation of concrete reality constructed by it, and that to qualify as worth knowing, a representation has either to encompass every phenomenon or to accommodate every significant detail of a single properly selected phenomenon. On this view, scientific ‘knowledge’ is obtained through the methodical application of a suitable principle of abstraction (or ‘concept formation’). There are two such principles: generalizing abstraction defining natural science proceeds by disregarding all properties that make things dissimilar, so as to arrive at a set of generalizations universal in scope (‘laws of nature’) under which every phenomenon can be subsumed and in this sense explained. Individualizing concept formation defining history singles out a culturally significant social arrangement and aims to depict it as a configuration of component features that make it unlike any other. The explanation of this conjunction can only be historical, as the combined effect of a unique sequence of unique constellations of causal antecedents. The prototypical individual concept, then, consists in an entire causal narrative in which the development of some unique aspect of a people’s civilization is traced from its first beginnings to its (temporarily) final condition .

As regards its implications for Weber’s conception of the ideal type, Rickert’s account of abstraction/ concept formation has two noteworthy features. First, concepts are viewed as assertions that something is/was empirically the case. Individual concepts (historical narratives) state the occurrence of complex cause-effect sequences. General concepts explicate their claims in their definitions (which are thus interpreted as summations of numerous findings, depicting the common features of the phenomena classed together). Classification and generalization amount to the same thing. Second, since generalizing abstraction aims to encompass ever wider domains of phenomena, it must necessarily discard their subjectively meaningful aspects. A science of socio-cultural phenomena that preserves them as such can therefore only be historical .

Rickert’s ideas ground Weber’s position in the controversy following Carl Menger’s (1840-1921) criticism of the German economists’ rejection of ‘abstract theory’ in favor of economic history. Predisposed to defend the historical approach, yet convinced of the value of theory, Weber seeks to accommodate both within Rickert’s framework. His problem is that of squaring the historical narrative’s unavoidable reliance on general concepts (including economic ones) with the incongruity of these concepts’ general form with their reference to individuals’ subjectively meaningful orientations (which is a requirement of their serviceability in historical narratives). The methodologically crucial manifestation of this incongruity is the disparity between the conceptual definitions’ claim to the uniform, explicit, and unalloyed presence of these meanings in the minds of the relevant individuals, and the observed variations in clarity and purity. Given his understanding of general concepts as summarizations of singular instances, Weber tries to make methodological sense out of the conceptual representation of empirical spectra of meaning as strictly general uniformities. His solution is straightforward: their general form notwithstanding, these are not truly ‘generalizing’ concepts, but ‘idealizing’ ones; they depict not those aspects with regard to which phenomena are exactly like others (of a class), but those that by degrees render them ‘culturally significant’ or ‘typical.’ Hence, their methodological status is that of ‘ideal types’ .

Weber considered the formulation of ideal types to be the task of a specialized generalizing discipline sociology that would supply the individualizing science of history with its apparatus of general concepts. Methodologically speaking, ideal-type formation is therefore constitutive of a Weberian sociology; it also denies it autonomous scientific value . Whatever cognitive value ideal types may have relates to their utility for historical science. This utility is first of all heuristic: As descriptions of characteristic patterns ideal types can furnish initial guiding assumptions for the scrutiny of sources, especially regarding complex and non-obvious causal relationships and the unobtrusive presence of specific meaning elements in the opaque tangle of concrete action-orientations. Second, they can serve as a basis for educated guesses to bridge gaps in the available evidence. Finally, they are irreplaceable as descriptive devices. To historians who desire precision they provide a clear terminology and an efficient way of pinpointing a phenomenon’s peculiarity by specifying its deviation from an ideal-typical definition functioning as a benchmark.

2. The Ideal Type as Mode of Experience (Schutz)

While Weber’s position harnessed theory and history together, its ultimate vindication of the historical approach could hardly satisfy Menger’s intellectual heirs. Ludwig von Mises (1881–1973) objected that the most general propositions of social science could not possibly be derived inductively from atheoretical historical data since the sources are incomprehensible unless they are apprehended in terms of ‘the principle of action.’ The grasp of human life-manifestations as instrumental and preference ordering underwrites all experience of them as ‘actions’ and therefore has a priori status, like the principle of causality. In von Mises’ view, the theorems of economics are nothing but logical implications of the axiomatic category of action and therefore are universally valid independent of all empirical evidence, their grasp made possible through (categorical) ‘conception’ (Begreifen), which is the special mode of cognition that reveals the universal aspects of meaningful behavior. For, so von Mises, human conduct is reason in action, and the universality of reason is the basis of the universality of conduct’s structures.

Von Mises’ critique of Weber on the grounds of an epistemology of comprehension is shared by Alfred Schutz (1899–1959), who also proclaims the universal validity of ‘pure’ economic theory. That he simultaneously considers its concepts to be ideal types indicates a conception fundamentally different from Weber’s; certainly, his analysis of Verstehen as the ideal-typifying grasp of subjective meanings is at least in part conceived to offer a phenomenological-empiricist alternative to von Mises’ rationalism . Accordingly, Schutz formulates a theory of the experiencing of meanings, and of the differences between its everyday and scientific versions. His argument proceeds through a discussion of four scenarios:

(a) An agent’s (ego’s) understanding of his or her own action’s subjective meaning is described as his or her direct awareness of its specific identity as the entailment of his or her action’s wherefore (‘in-order-to motive’ or ‘project’).

(b) Ego’s understanding of someone else’s (alter’s) subjective action meaning is analyzed as his or her experience of what alter is/was experiencing, through the medium of alter’s inner experiences’ outward manifestations (such as acts or pronouncements). Manifestations can be perceived ‘objectively’ as self-contained entities with identities of their own (as specific things, performances, states); they can also be taken as purveyors of information about their producers’ ‘inner durations.’ In ‘objectifying’ perception, a bundle of experiences is disembedded from its original setting the cognizing subject’s ever-changing stream of consciousness and, as a unit, held still over and against it so as to appear as a de-subjectified, bounded, and stable entity classifiable in a schema of ‘objective’ meaning. Any agent’s perceptual bestowal of such objectivity, unity, and permanence (with its attendant assimilation into an objective-meaning schema) on elements lifted from the primordial flow of his or her lived experiences, for Schutz constitutes (ideal-)typification. Even after objectifica-tion, however, the reference of action-products to the processes in human consciousness underlying their generation is not obliterated, and in subjectifying or symptomatic perception, it can be made topical. Ego’s grasp of alter’s inner life (understanding) is always based on the subjectifying exegesis of his or her own experiences of such manifestations, aiming to recover their constitutive in-order-to motives. Understanding thus presupposes a particular ‘intentional’ attitude, i.e., the ‘directing’ of the ‘attention’ toward the phenomena not as objective entities but as embodiments of their creators’ projects.

In everyday face-to-face relationships a most important role is played by the ‘signitive’ apprehension of alter’s body as an expressive field. This apprehension neither inferential nor hypothetical, but a sui generis grasp of the other person’s lived experiences at the very moment of their occurrence is of such immediacy that alter’s consciousness appears to ego without any opaqueness and as operating in a manner exactly like his or her own. This prereflective conviction supports the procedure by which ego grasps alter’s inner life through an explication of his or her own experience of its manifestations. Fantasizing them as generated by himself or herself, he or she imagines what for him or her would function as their in-order-to motives, and treats them as alter’s own.

(c) When alter is not physically present, ego must do with a set of manifestations much reduced in number and symptomatic reach. Alter loses his or her quality as a palpable, many dimensional, and multi-layered dynamic presence and becomes a more or less anonymous and schematic ‘contemporary.’ As a function of this anonymity, ego’s subjectifying intentional attitude his or her ‘Other-orientation’ undergoes a profound change in structure. In the face-to-face situation, the ‘Thou-orientation’ founding signitive apprehension captures the other person as a concrete, spontaneous, live self. Beyond this sphere, direct apprehension becomes impossible, and ego-alter interaction is no longer structured through dynamic mutual attunement; instead, the participants now treat each other as objects of predicative orientation. The corresponding ‘They-orientation’ directs ego’s attention to those of his or her experiences that can function as substitutes for the unavailable direct experience of alter’s duration. These substitutes are found in ego’s store of objectified motivational constellations accumulated in past encounters with numerous individuals’ consciousnesses. They can serve this function because, lifted from their original context, they have become de-subjectified and anonymous. The result of their deployment is the experience of alter as a type with a typical project, indistinguishable fromother individua-tions of the same type.

(d) Sociologists adopt the same orientation as contemporaries, but use scientifically tenable (clear and precise) ideal-typifications to grasp their subjects’ typifying action orientations. Since these structure the interactions sociologists are interested in, sociological ideal types must be compatible with the agents’ types. In addition to exhibiting this ‘adequacy at the level of meaning,’ they must also be ‘causally adequate,’ singling out the meanings likely to be the operative ones. Both criteria are satisfied through the formulation of types of rational action orientation, as these are clearly understandable and pervasively used by contemporaries.

The ideal typical character of social-scientific formulations does not preclude their universal validity, as Weber would have it, confounding the types’ ‘ideality’ with their ‘anonymity.’ As long as the elements synthesizedin them have been so abstracted (idealized) as to exhibit affinity to any particular (kinds of) inner durations no longer, they depict totally anonymous, fully generic processes of consciousness. Such are the propositions of theoretical economics, capturing the actions of a faceless ‘pure anyone,’ of whom nothing is presumed except that he or she is exchanging goods to satisfy preferences.

In making the universal validity of economic theory a function of the empirical vacuousness of the project attributed to the anonymous ‘one,’ Schutz adopts von Mises’ position. Both authors also agree that substantive assumptions about goals of action are properly regarded as a matter of economic history, where Weberian ideal types reign. Schutz’s considerations here are articulated by Felix Kaufmann (1895–1949), who charges theory with providing the ‘basic concepts’ (‘forms’) that serve as a field’s a priori foundation by defining its phenomena, and distinguishes this task from empirical ‘application,’ where questions of empirical evidence become relevant. One must not confuse, a la Weber, the universality of a field’s categorical forms with the empirical confirmation of generalizations in its domain of application.

3. The Ideal Type as Definition of a Model

The more recent proponents of nomological social science do not propose a theory of abstraction but highlight the role of general empirical hypotheses in nomological-deductive explanations; accordingly, they focus on the explanatory potential of ideal-typical generalizations . Hempel, for instance, regards ideal types as theoretical systems akin to idealizations in natural science (e.g., the theory of ideal gases); these postulate that under ‘ideal’ conditions the systems’ behaviors exhibit specific regularities. Prototypically these conditions describe empirically never encountered extremes of actual system properties or entities, which raises the question of the explanatory value of ‘laws’ that either have no empirical domain or lead to false predictions when applied to existing nonideal constellations. This problem is resolved when the law can demonstrably be derived from an independently established, more general theory, but Hempel notes the nonavailability of such a theory even in economics, the most advanced social science, and ends up regarding its idealizations as ‘intuitive’ initial simplifications awaiting further refinement. However, economists have not been moving to improve their central axioms, and Rosenberg considers them essentially unrefinable generalizations of folk psychology: their fundamental categories (‘belief,’ ‘preference,’ etc.) fail to classify phenomena in terms of natural kinds and therefore cannot yield genuine laws.

Hausman undertakes to defend the discipline’s methodological peculiarities by viewing theories as general hypotheses that predicate the assumptions of specific models of particular portions of the world. In this perspective, models are definitions of more or less complex predicates (concepts, structures, systems), such as ‘classical particle system’ (defined by Newton’s laws of motion and gravitation), ‘simple consumption system’ (Hausman 1992, p. 35), or ‘exchange’ (Weber 1968, p. 72), and are constituted by sets of assumptions which per se assert nothing about the world but merely describe a structure. They may, however, be declared true of some empirical domain, as attributes of actual systems, which are thus asserted to exhibit the structure defined by the model. A predication of this sort is a theoretical hypothesis.

The point behind model construction is to simplify reality’s complications. In natural science it is often possible to create experimental situations approaching the model’s simplifications and thus to test its empirical adequacy as a predicate. The unavailability of this opportunity in economics has led, on the one hand, to a preoccupation with model construction per se, disregarding empirical issues, and, on the other hand, to a conception of economics as ‘inexact,’ only approximately true .

Economic models usually are definitions of (hypothetical) economies or markets, suggesting to Haus-man that the discipline is less concerned with the establishment of genuine nomological propositions than with the implications of certain behavioral generalizations presumed to be roughly correct for the actions of individuals, markets, and institutions operating in particular circumstances. Compared with the corresponding empirical domains, they represent radical simplifications and idealizations, achieved through the deduction of a basic system structure from a set of theoretically favored principles of economic behavior, and by treating whatever is not so deducible as the confounding effects of ‘external,’ (nonecon-omic) factors (which for this reason are excluded from the model).

The highly ‘abstract’ character of economic models may well be unavoidable. Yet in view of the ‘inexactness’ of the underlying behavioral premises, conjoined to the practical impossibility of empirically controlling for the effects of the ‘external’ variables, the models’ lack of ‘realism’ raises the question of their usefulness as predicates in assertions about the real world. In Hausman’s view, to make scientific sense, statements employing such predicates must be understood as (implicitly) qualified by vague ceteris paribus clauses, which make their truth dependent on the satisfaction of a number of unspecified conditions. Ideally, a ceteris paribus clause serves as a shorthand for a list of specific and separately analyzable causal factors whose explicit inclusion in a model renders true otherwise false statements predicating it of some empirical structure(s). Economists, however, frequently invoke the clause without having any precise idea of what specifically is covered by it. This sort of employment amounts to the claim that there are some unidentified factors whose inclusion in the model predicated of some empirical system(s) will make the otherwise false assertion true. Hausman is very much aware that the line between an assertion’s ‘vague qualification’ and its permanent immunization against falsification is easy to cross. How much one may want to stake on vaguely qualified assertions will vary with the context and must depend on one’s assessment of the extent of the basic behavioral postulates’ ‘inexactness.’ Haus-man believes that a case can be made in their favor but also acknowledges economists’ anti-sociological commitment to economics as a ‘separate’ science, whose enduring appeal seems to involve more than matters of scientific fruitfulness.