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There’s so much conflicting health food information out there. Kale versus swiss chard. Carb-free versus low-fat. Red versus white. It can be hard for a person to keep up, especially when studies constantly contradict themselves.

Well we’ve got another one to add to the list. We’ve heard great things about soy over the years (its ability to potentially decrease the risk for certain cancers and heart diseases), but we’ve heard some pretty scary things too. The good news is that a small amount can’t hurt you. But when you eat an abundance of soy and soy-products (it’s a common additive in many processed foods), it can affect your body in many ways. That’s because soy contains phytoestrogens, which can act as estrogen in the body, and phytates, which are chemicals that bind to minerals and make them harder to absorb. So what can all of that do, when ingested in abundance?

Increase the chance of endometrial cancer

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Not only have some studies shown that soy doesn’t necessarily help protect against uterine cancers, but also that soy and endometrial cancer could be linked.

It could cause kidney stones

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Soy contains oxalates, which could cause the body to produce kidney stones. Equally scary? It can act as a toxin to those with kidney failure too. In fact anyone with a kidney issue is advised to steer clear of soy products.

It’s got something to do with your thyroid

True, there is no direct correlation between the amount of soy you consume and issues relating to the thyroid (at least not according to most studies), but soy could affect medication absorption for those with a pre-existing condition.

Mood swings

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Some studies have shown that too much soy can decrease a man’s testosterone production and increase estradiol production. Which leads to irritability but also to…

Decreased sperm count

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Yikes.

Nipple tenderness or swollen breasts

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Double yikes. Although in this case, both men and woman can be affected.

Dementia and memory impairment

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For those over 58 years old, studies have shown that consuming too much soy — either in its more natural form or via processed foods — could be linked to higher risks of dementia and other forms of memory impairment.

Inflammation

Soy contains Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, which when consumed in excess, can lead to inflammation and other problems in the body.

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