This is one of those areas where Mercola and I would really butt heads. Mercola has left out many facts that prove many of his claims wrong. For example many of the compounds he claims are dangerous is soy are not only destroyed by fermentation, but also by cooking. How many soy products are on the market that are not either cooked and/or fermented? I cannot think of any.
Then he makes the claim:
"Soy contains natural toxins known as “anti-nutrients.
Soy foods contain anti-nutritional factors such as saponins, soyatoxin, phytates, protease inhibitors, oxalates, goitrogens and estrogens. Some of these factors interfere with the enzymes you need to digest protein. While a small amount of anti-nutrients would not likely cause a problem, the amount of soy that many Americans are now eating is extremely high."
Starting with saponins, saponins ARE NOT antinutrients. In fact just the opposite. Saponins are soap-like molecules found in various plants. They act as surfactants and increase cell wall permeability INCREASING the absorption of nutrients. Saponins also provide other benefits including killing cancer cells, killing Candida, lowering cholesterol, decreasing inflammation, etc.
Soyatoxin is inactivated by cooking. Even without cooking the amount of soyatoxin in soy is actually very low. And its effects are blood clotting. So does Mercola advise against eating green leafy vegetables since they also promote blood clotting?
Oxalic acid is found in small amounts in soy. And int is found in foods such as garlic, collard greens, kale, chives, beet greens, parsley, amaranth, spinach, broccoli, beans, asparagus, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, radishes, turnips, squash, etc. It is interesting that in Mercola's recommended diet he mentions spinach being a good choice. So why is he not worried about the oxalic acid is the spinach? Does he really think that the oxalic acid in spinach is somehow chemically different that the oxalic acid is soy? They are not.
And the phytic acid Mercola was complaining about counter calcium oxalate formation:
This is common thing that most bashers of soy and other things overlook. Isolated compounds do not always have the same effects as compounds found in whole foods. If I wanted to prove that alfalfa was dangerous all I would have to do is isolate the coumarins from the alfalfa and inject high levels in to an animal. If the plant is given in its whole form though the vitamin K in the alfalfa will counter the blood thinning effects of the coumarin. So to claim isolated toxins are the same as toxins in a plant, which are often countered by other compounds is ludicrous. If we used that basis we could claim that virtually all foods are toxic since we can find something that could be classified as a toxin in most if not all foods.
In addition Mercola advocates high doses of vitamin C. Problem is that the body cannot utilize high doses of vitamin C and the excess vitamin C is broken down in the toxin he is complaining about oxalic acid. So why is he bashing soy when you will end up getting more oxalic acid from the high doses of the vitamin C he recommends. This is the problem when people just keep repeating the same old misinformation without doing the research.
As for goitrogens and estrogens again he is not telling the whole truth. First of all soy DOES NOT contain estrogens. Soy contains phytoestrogens, which are not true estrogens. And it is the phytoestrogens in soy that are the goitrogens. So they are not two separate things, but one thing. And again both fermentation and cooking lower the phytoestrogen levels, which is why I also find it interesting that Mercola recommends eating most of your fruits and vegetables raw. After all if he is going to claim that phytoestrogens are dangerous then you would have to stop eating plants altogether since all plants contain either phytoestrogens and/or other flavonoids that have the same effects as phytoestrogens. And eating these foods raw as he says you should do would increase the risk since heat breaks down the phytoestrogens. More on phytoestrogens:
In addition Mercola refers to flax seeds as "a wonderful food". Yet flax seed is over 200 times higher in the phytoestrogens that he calls a toxin and goitrogen than soy. In addition flax contains toxic and goitrogenic cyanogens. So why the double standard?
And another Mercola claim:
Soy contains hemagglutinin.
What Mercola did not mention is that cooking again inactivates hemagglutinin. And hemagglutinin is also found in other sources such as beans and peas.
As for the manganese the content is about 600 microgram per liter of soy milk. Yet doctor recommended intake of manganese is 5-11 grams per day. That means you would have to drink at least several gallons of soy milk daily to even meet the minimum requirements. So why is Mercola even stressing over this? What is even funnier is that if he claims that soy is full of anti-nutrients such as phytic acid that would bind some of the manganese according to the anti-soy proponents then there is even less of a rick of manganese poisoning. So the are contradicting their own arguments again. And again Mercola claims that flax seed is an excellent food even though it contains 3mg of manganese per 100 grams Mercola also recommends green tea for health yet it contains 670 micrograms of manganese per gram. Since soybeans only contain about 1mg of manganese per 100g this means it is much lower in the manganese Mercola is worried about than the foods Mercola is saying are healthy.
Therefore if Mercola is going to contradict his own claims with his own claims then why should we take any of these claims seriously?