Some people became vegan and vegetarian due to religious reason. Some people avoid any milk product due to extreme lactose intolerance. This is all fine. People should be free to make their own choice based on the best option available to them.
Some vegans insisted that everyone should turn vegan, and that being a vegan will lead to optimum health. Fruits and vegetables are indeed necessary part of a healthy diet, but some of these people would go on lengths fudging scientific facts to force you to become a vegan. Fact is that all animal protein contains all 9 essential amino acids our body produces. Many vegans loved to argue that soy also contains all 9 essential amino acids while being healthier than animal protein. So this article would like to dwell deeper into this claim, especially the later part.
Heavy Metals and Protein Drinks
Its been proven statistically that to improve your strength, other than optimal rest and training program, you should also consume more protein than the US recommended daily intake of 0.8 gram of protein / kg body mass. And of course most people want to be stronger.
And its also well known that since the 1980’s where we put heavy metals including lead in everything from kids toys, paint, to fuel additive, heavy metal now exists at varying level in the environment. Hence completely avoiding heavy metal exposure is impossible. What we can do, is try to minimize it to reasonable level to minimize the risk.
Now what is interesting is the most recent study done by Consumer Research that sampled over 150 different brands of protein supplement on the market. The research discovered that brands that has the lowest level of heavy metal content were the whey protein supplement while the ones with the highest level were actually the vegan protein supplements. And having the said supplement labeled as organic or not makes no difference on the heavy metal content.
So there you have it, if you want to be a vegan, that’s fine. If you want to be a vegan and become stronger by consuming vegan protein, you are increasing your risk of getting a load of chronic diseases. What is interesting is that there’s no shortage of vegans bragging about one or two vegan powerlifter or bodybuilder, never mind the fact that as a percentage of population, these vegan athletes make up a minority compared to the omnivore athletes.
Soy Milk Just as Nutritious as Cow Milk
Soybean is cheap, rich in protein, and readily available. Soy also contains complete protein. Something that is rare among vegan protein sources. Hence soy is a very popular protein source among vegans. Yet, soy is also rich in a type of isoflavones that is similar to estrogen on the human body. This compound is commonly referred to as phytoestrogen. And yes, estrogen is the female sexual hormone that is responsible for secondary sexual characteristics in humans.
Some vegans love to argue that these phytoestrogen actually competes with our own naturally produced estrogen and would behave differently once they are bonded with the estrogen receptors, i.e. they would act as estrogen blocker. This is a rather brave hypothesis considering the conflicting research results that are available.
Interestingly, most recent research run by the US National Institute of Health at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia actually showed that babies fed with soy based formula actually showed differences in their reproductive system tissues relative to the babies fed with mother’s milk or cow milk based formula. Of course this study is done on babies, most sensitive to these chemicals.
You can argue that adult humans are less sensitive to phytoestrogens than babies. But if you want to increase your protein intake by increasing your soy consumption, you will also increase your exposure to phytoestrogens. And you can’t argue that this increased exposure has no effect, or just as healthy as cow milk.