The Paleo List Answers:Is Fermented Soy Paleo?
When we think of soy, most people put all products in the same category, but there are significant differences when it comes to fermented or unfermented soy, both in flavor and healthfulness. We’ve covered many different varieties of unfermented soy (soymilk, tofu, etc.), so let’s take a look at the other side of the coin: is fermented soy Paleo?
What is Fermented Soy?
Although the Western world is led to believe that tofu and soymilk are traditional ways of consuming soy throughout the East, it is actually more common for these cultures to consume fermented soy. You might be familiar with some of the more popular soy products, including natto, tempeh, soy sauce, and miso. These products are fermented in somewhat different ways, using bacteria, fungi, or spores to create fermentation. During the fermentation process, many unhealthy compounds, including phytic acid, are broken down or removed from the soy, resulting in a soy product with more probiotics and fewer anti-nutrients.
Nonfermented soy products contain phytic acid, which is considered an “anti-nutrient,” because it binds with certain compounds, such as iron or calcium, and prohibit or inhibit their absorption in the body. This is the main reason why soy is not considered a Paleo food item, but many still avoid all forms of soy for various other reasons.
Is Fermented Soy Paleo?
Technically, no, fermented soy is still not considered Paleo. Goitrogens, which can interfere with iodine absorption and therefore lead to poor thyroid function, are believed to survive the fermentation process. But, then again, vegetables from the cabbage family are also goitrogenic, and it is rare for them to be excluded from the Paleo diet. So, we say it’s really up to you. Fermented soy isn’t Paleo, but it can be used as a condiment in moderation and you’re unlikely to have any adverse effects.
Are you struggling with which foods are Paleo? Do you need help planning some Paleo meals? Check out this great Paleo cookbook: