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Soy: A Nutritious Plant with Genetically Modified Side Effects

Soy is becoming an increasingly popular food commodity in the United States. This nutritious plant serves as one of the food industry’s top cheapest ingredients for food manufacturing processes. Soy derives from the soybean, a leguminous plant widely cultivated for its edible seeds (Soybean). The soybean is originally from warm climate regions of Asia. The plant was widely famed for being used in a variety of foods, especially as an animal protein alternative. During the late 1700s, soybeans were introduced to Europe and then imported to the United States in the 1800s (Soy and Soy Products). At the time, soy’s main purpose was to serve as a cheaper way to feed farm animals. As time progressed, Americans introduced soy in their own diets to gain the plant’s nutritional benefits. Although many studies prove positive health benefits from consuming soy, there are several concerns pertaining to health risks. To gain nutritional benefits and reduce health risks soy may cause, eating soy in whole form and in moderation is key for ensuring good health.
Agricultural and manufacturing processes of soy products are the main controversial topics of this food. Beginning in the mid 1990s, soy became one of the first foods grown with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Soy crops grown using GMOs are modified to resist disease, are engineered to grow faster in larger quantities, and tolerate harsh weather conditions (Hennessey). Compared to the 1990s, 94% of soy plants are grown using GMO seeds today (Genetically Engineered Foods Q&A). Any genetically modified product poses health risks to consumers, not only from soy products. GMOs are linked to infertility, immune disorders,...

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...yogurts, ice creams, and baked goods as well.
Controversies about soy consumption and health remain a popular topic of debate. People should not stop consuming soy products merely because of the criticism this food receives. Eating soy in moderation is key to gaining the plant’s healthy benefits. These benefits derive from whole forms of soy, such as edamame and tofu. These products are unlike veggie burgers, protein powders, and nutrition bars, which contain processed forms of soy. Whole soy products are richer in nutrients, full of antioxidants, and are easier for the body to digest (Knott). Considering the abundance of processed food sold in American markets, soy cannot be the only food contributing to a poor quality of health. If sought out in whole form, Americans who choose to include soy in their diets can enjoy the full benefits of this plant-based protein.

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