HHS 36 | The Truth About Soy


A lot of people think soy is healthy for the heart. Soy is this greatest healthiest food, and now we’ve created all these different products based on it. In this episode, Dr. Jack Wolfson interviews Dr. Kaayla Daniel, an author and a nutritionist who earned her PhD in Nutritional Sciences and Anti-Aging Therapies from the Union Institute and University in Cincinnati. Together, they take you through the truth about soy and what no one is telling you about it. Listen to this episode to learn what soy is really doing to you and your health.

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Say No To Soy with Dr. Kaayla Daniel, PhD

HHS 36 | The Truth About Soy

The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food

I’m super excited to have a woman on my show, Dr. Kaayla Daniel on my show. I had been a fan of her since 2005 when I first read her book, The Whole Soy Story. When I’m going natural and I’m trying to learn all these different nutritional methods, I read her book cover to cover. It’s an easy read and packed full of references. When I see patients from all over the world and I say, “I’m a Paleo guy, we don’t do soy,” they say, “I thought soy was heart healthy.” I say, “This is Dr. Kaayla Daniel’s book, The Whole Soy Story, read it. It’s two inches thick, trashing soy. It’s a phenomenal read.” Welcome, Dr. Kaayla, to the show.

Thank you. It’s an honor.

I know you’ve had a lot of controversies over the past couple of years talking about the dangers of fermented cod liver oil. Those of us in the natural space, in the natural community and certainly Paleo believers think that there are a time and a place for fermented cod liver oil, but you say no. Tell us why and what’s going on?

I seem to be getting caught up in many contrarian issues. Soy was controversial and this in the real food community is controversial because the Weston A Price Foundation and its President, Sally Fallon, have been pushing a product called Green Pasture, Fermented Cod Liver Oil. The thing is you cannot ferment oil, it rots. This product has been evaluated by extensive lab testing and the world’s leading marine oil specialists all say it’s the most rancid oil that they have ever seen. It’s been causing a whole lot of health problems within the real food community among the people who are taking it. It’s been heavily recommended for babies, children, grownups too.

It is not the particular brand per se. It’s the whole idea of fermented cod liver oil, whatever manufacturer or whoever you buy it from, even if it’s from a local mom and pop shop. That oil is bad and leads to cardiovascular issues. My audience would love your opinion on this.

Any cod liver oil is high and they’re very fragile polyunsaturated oils, the EPA to DHA. When they are not rancid or when they’re fresh and they’re good, they are very heart healthy. Once they have gone rancid, they’re implicated in a lot of heart problems and as well as many other diseases, cancers, you name it. There’s no place in the diet for rancid oils. With fermented cod liver oil, there’s only one company that does that and certainly, other cod liver oil companies look into it. They saw that huge profits were being made and they looked into it and then they discovered it was so rancid. They said they wouldn’t feed it to their dogs.

All that rancidity is basically spoiled oil. It’s damaged oil that when we consume it, it leads to inflammation on us. It’s contrary to everything that we’re trying to achieve from healthy Omega-3 fats from eating seafood and quality Omega-3 fish oil supplements that have been third-party tested to not be oxidized and to not be rancid. The contrary thing is when you take a rancid oil, it is oxidized and it is damaged and therefore causes inflammation in the consumer.

This particular product, the way they’ve manufactured it is they allegedly fermented it in these vats for months. They’re exposed to the heat of a solar facility, possibly the air. All these things lead to rancidity. People say, “We’re not fermenting the oil. We’re fermenting the livers.” You can’t ferment protein either. You’ve got to have a certain percentage of carbohydrates in order to ferment. Fermentation is not possible. When I did lab testing on this product, we discovered that it did not have the right pH to maintain it fermented. There was nothing there to preserve it.

Where did all this fermented cod liver oil come from? Why was this pushed as nutritionally beneficial?

It’s one of those things that seemed like a good idea. The idea of fermenting with something like sauerkraut and kimchi that can be very healthy with small amounts in the diet. We have that in many cultures around the world. We’re talking here about fermenting carbohydrates or vegetables as a preservation technique. It’s rather interesting that Dr. Weston Price hardly ever mentioned fermentation in any of his books or papers or research. He mentioned it in terms of wine, which we can support some good organic red wine and poi. That’s about it. He never mentioned fermented cod liver oil even once. In terms of his discussion of cod liver oil, there were some big warnings having to do with the potential of rancidity. Back in Dr. Prices’ day, most cod liver oils were going rancid because they did not have the technology and transportation we have now.

This is not an overall warning as far as all oils. The best thing we can both agree on is to eat the fresh wild seafood, frozen seafood, get it from seafood. If you cannot obtain it or maybe if seafood is not quite your thing but you’re willing to swallow a capsule at the worst, is that still okay?

We have an instinctive ability to recognize when something tastes rancid or smells rancid. We need to trust that because foods are supposed to go bad and it’s our job to eat them before they do. If they’ll never go bad, they are highly processed. They’re dead foods. With oil, as with anything else, you want to take it while it’s still fresh and while it’s still good before it’s gone bad. Trust your instincts about that. You’re mentioning the fish and seafood and that’s a good idea to eat the food. It would be the same thing with sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. Rather than break the seed and pull the oil out of it, the oil’s going to go rancid quicker that way.

Foods are supposed to go bad, and it's our job to eat them before they do. Click To Tweet

The classic example of oil has to be olive oil and quality counts when it comes to olive oil. Even on the studies in the Mediterranean diet, like PREDIMED and stuff like that. They’re giving people two-gallon drums of olive oil and it’s got to be a lousy variety of olive oil, yet they still live and still do well. Maybe there’s something unique to olive oil that all of the antioxidants in there prevented some of that oxidative damage.

It’s more stable than some oils, but there’s a lot of confusion about what a Mediterranean diet is. There’s part of the Mediterranean diet where they’re eating a lot of lambs and there are a lot of other products in the diet. Olive oil seems to get the credit. If you go to France, red wine gets the credit or foie gras gets the credit. There’s so much we don’t know. We’re still learning.

When people bash Paleo and they talk about the Mediterranean diet, I say, “The Mediterranean has a wonderful diet if you get rid of all the grains. Everything else becomes Paleo.” When people say Paleo is just a fad, Paleo by definition is old stone age and prehistoric. Everything else is a fad, at least in my book. Certainly, something that is not Paleo is an amazing book that you wrote called The Whole Soy Story. It’s such a book that belongs to every medical doctors’ and holistic providers’ bookshelves. Tell me how you got into soy and tell me some of the blow-back like, “What are you talking about? Soy is the greatest healthiest food and now we’ve created all these different products based on it.” How did you get into soy and why is it bad? Give me some blow-back issues from it.

A long time ago when I was back in my 30s, I was not healthy. I somehow knew food was related to that, but I didn’t know what the problem was. I was exploring everything that was being talked about at the time. I was trying live food, vegan diets, juicing, ayurvedic and macrobiotic, you name it, I was trying it. Around the same time, we started to see a lot of articles like The Joy of Soy and The Soy of Cooking. I thought, “How wonderful is the idea that inexpensive food can prevent disease and help you feel great.” It can solve the hunger around the world, it can save the planet, it can save our personal health, it was a very seductive myth.

I started to explore it and I discovered some interesting things. For example, in Chinese medicine, soy is not supported as something people should have very often. In Ayurvedic medicine, it’s considered only good for Pitta types. I started noticing that in some of the alternative cancer clinics, soy would be on the do not eat list. I started to see red flags and I had the idea that I should do a book. This was quite a bit later after I’d gotten healthy myself, but I felt that the soy book needed to come out. The initial idea was that it would be something I could write up quickly, let’s say six months’ worth of research and then five years later, I finally got the book out.

It is well-written and well-documented. Whenever people come at me and trash talk my book in Paleo, I say, “I’ve got 300-plus references at the end of my book that backs up everything that I have to say.” If you’re trashing me, then you’re trashing those authors as well. Give me some of the bullets that soy is detrimental for us. For our audiences and they’ve got specific health issues, what are some things that we can pin it and say it’s the soy?

We’ve got 70 years of studies that link soy to malnutrition and digestive distress. It’s one of the top seven allergens and many experts predicted it will soon be in the top four. It’s linked to Attention Deficit Disorders, immune system breakdown and even to heart disease and cancer. Those are the things that are supposed to prevent. In terms of menopausal symptoms, many people talk about how it might help with menopause. If there are all these studies indicating that it’s going to destroy your thyroid or damage your thyroid, even if it helps with hot flashes, maybe that’s not a good trade-off. Of all the things that are likely to happen with soy, it would be thyroid damage. Most often showing up is hypothyroidism, low thyroid with symptoms like fatigue, weight gain and loss of libido.

Which is probably only present in about two-thirds of the male and female populations. As you document the book, you start off with the vilification of what was a popular oil at that time. People cook in animal fat. You and I are both proponents of cooking in animal fat. Specifically, they targeted coconut oil and that coconut oil is a problem. I love coconut oil, but every six months or every year, something comes out with some crazy thing that coconut oil is bad. Tell me why coconut oil is beneficial.

HHS 36 | The Truth About Soy

The Truth About Soy: Any GMO product is terrible for personal health and terrible for the environment.


Coconut oil is beneficial for multiple reasons. One thing I would like to point out since we’ve been playing with this rancidity idea is that coconut oil is very stable and that’s true of saturated fats. The tallows, the butter, the primarily saturated fats are quite stable. Mother nature gave them to us and they’re healthy and carp for that reason. Coconut oil also has certain advantages in terms of boosting the immune system, healing the gut and a long list of things. Some people are taking too much coconut oil because coconut oil does not have the true vitamin A, which we all need. Everybody’s talking about vitamin D, but we need to have food set up with vitamin A because they need to be in the right ratio to each other. If people are using coconut oil and more coconut oil and they’re neglecting some of those animal fats, they could very well be eating a mostly healthy diet, but still coming up vitamin A deficient.

You bring up a great point, which takes us back to the fermented cod liver oil that’s supposed to be a phenomenal source of vitamin A. Maybe you’ll disagree with that, but it probably is. What would be the best oils? Eat the animals, eat the organs and cook with the animal fats.

I’m a big fan of tallow, lard, butter, ghee and duck fat is marvelous. I’m a big fan of duck fat. They have bison fat we can get. Back to the fermented cod liver oil. The Weston A Price Foundation was claiming that you could get 10,000 IU Vitamin A a day from that. You wouldn’t want that. It would be toxic very quickly. That’s just outlandish. There’s no legitimate laboratory that comes up with those figures. A regular cod liver oil from the Arctic circle, a Norwegian cod liver oil, that’s going to have Vitamin A to D ratio of around 10:1 range. It will be a reasonable level. If you’re taking that each day, you’re going to get a nice balance of both of those.

Does ghee still preserve those levels of A and D or has that been removed in the processing compared to butter?

Compared to butter, they remove the protein from ghee. Many people who are sensitive to dairy that they cannot even tolerate butter, can tolerate ghee. Ghee also holds up better undercooking.

We love cooking with the ghee. Should we avoid all soy? Is it just GMO soy or non-organic soy that we should avoid? Is this an all in one proposition like, “I’m Dr. Kaayla Daniel, avoid soy totally.” Are you 1000% soy free?

The worst problems with soy would be GMO soy. Even if you don’t believe what I say about soy in general. If you choose to eat soy despite anything I tell you about, make sure it’s organic soy. Any GMO product is terrible for personal health and terrible for the environment. A lot of the problems with soy have been shown to be worse in the genetically modified soybean products. Fortunately, in many of the health food store, we can get organic soy products. People were eating a lot of processed food. Supermarket foods are going on things like Medifast diet or any of those awful and highly ultra-processed eating plans. They’re going to get GMO soy and a lot of it. Let’s avoid that. Also, avoid GMO canola and GMO corn. We have to bright-line there.

I read your book in 2005 and I’m 1000% soy free for years. I’m at this place in California that I love to plug. It’s called Fermentation Farm. It’s owned by two chiropractors in Costa Mesa. They’ve got kombucha and all the fermented vegetables. They’ve got pickled egg that is out of this world and it’s flavored with turmeric. As I’m combing through their cabinets, they’ve got the grass-fed meats, they’ve got dairy, they’ve got some fermented dairy. Then I come across a jar of natto, Japanese fermented soy natto. It’s in a glass jar and it says organic.

If you've got any health condition whatsoever, we always start with the gut. Click To Tweet

It’s from a company out of New York. I turned to my wife and I said, “I’m going to eat this.” She says, “No, you’re not. It’s soy, you can’t eat that. It’s going to do this and this.” She’s all with me on this. If you know my story, my wife’s the one who opened up my eyes to change to holistic cardiology from a bread and butter, pill pushing cardiologists. I was like, “I’m going to try this.” I’ve had Asian patients over the years and they tell me about it and how they eat it, but you hear a lot of horror stories about it. I tasted it and it’s very unique. It’s difficult because you spoon it out and it’s stringy and weird. It’s very difficult to eat, but I thought it was delicious.

It’s one of the very healthy soy foods. It’s an old-fashioned fermented product. It’s high in vitamin K2 which many of us need in our diet. It’s an old-fashioned soy food. It’s got a strong flavor. You’re not going to excessively eat that. I find it hard to believe that even though you like it, that you can eat so much. You would not eat it every single day in the quantities that would lead to thyroid problems and man boobs and other problems. You just wouldn’t. It’s specialized and you need small quantities.

Your latest book though is about broth. For those people in Boston, Philadelphia, Minnesota and my hometown of Chicago, there are not too many farmer’s markets around. It’s pretty hard to get fresh produce. It’s all getting shipped from California. It’s covering thousands of miles and days where we talk about rotting and spoilage and all the preservative techniques they use. This is clearly broth season. Talk about it.

I did a lot of research on broth going back into the 1990s and all the components in broth that make it such a healing food. If you’ve got any health condition whatsoever, we always talk starting with the gut. Broth will heal leaky gut. Include broth in your diet, and I’m not talking of processed soups and so forth, but a genuine homemade bone broth or an equivalent product. You can drink that as a substitute for coffee or tea. You can use it as the basis for making soups and stews and wonderful foods like lamb shanks. You’re going to get a lot of broth, cartilage and collagen in there.

I’m a huge fan of bone broth. We’re talking about free-ranged, grass-fed animal products, pasture raised chickens. Can we make a seafood bone broth as well?

You can or you can make a fish one. Only certain fish like salmon. It would be too much oil in there and it would give a bad flavor. There are advantages to different types. I’m in Albuquerque, so getting fresh fish carcasses is not easy for me. That’s not something I’m doing particularly, but I’m doing the chicken broth, lamb broth, venison broth. You can do it with so many different types of bones and some people mix them all up.

Store-bought broth versus homemade.

You have to be careful. There are some genuine bone broths that are starting to appear in some of the health food stores. My favorite brand is Flavor Chef. The water is good and clean, good organic bones, quality all across the board. It gels and that’s the secret of the real thing. You’re going to get gelatin jiggly like Jell-O. You put it in the fridge and if it’s jiggly, then that’s a sign that its good stuff. A lot of the things where they’re calling it chicken broth or something, it may not even be a bone broth. That maybe is a chicken flavored liquid that’s not going to benefit your joints and your bones and your health in general.

Everybody and their mother now are all selling bone broth proteins. Do you have any thoughts on that?

I’m a fan of the collagen peptides, we can certainly use them. Every one of us who makes homemade bone broth sometimes gets one that doesn’t have enough gel, so you can add the collagen peptides. If you’re traveling, you can use those, but it’s like supplements compared to real food. Let’s go with real food and make the real broth.

One of my concerns about bone broth for the average person that they need to know, and you could tell me your thoughts on this, is the vessel that you’re cooking the broth in. The quality of the cookware matters because if you are cooking out of the typical stainless steel, you could be absorbing a lot of the metals, including aluminum from the stainless steel. In short-term cooking, let alone if you’re doing 12 to 24-hour boiling bone broth. Cast iron and copper, those metals can get into that bone broth and that’s certainly not a healthy proposition for heart and brain or anything for that matter.

My favorite is glass Dutch oven. That’s how I make mine. Anything with a lot of liquid works well in glass. Glass cookware is awful if you’re trying to sauté or fry, you’re going to burn half the things you may make. The stress is not worth it. The glassworks are wonderful for making soups and stews. We can use a little cider vinegar, we can use the tomato and we don’t have to worry about any leaching happening with the metals.

I don’t know if there’s ever been any third-party testing done in some of these bone broths. They’ve got to be high in metals. I don’t know how else they are cooking them or preparing them. All the components have to be perfect. The grass-fed bones, the quality of the water, the quality of cookware. I love the idea of drinking the broth instead of coffee. When you want to wake up and drink something warm like, “I’ve had enough herbal tea and I’m trying to cut back on coffee.” This is a dual-purpose thing where not only do you get that warmth and the feeling that you’ve grown accustomed to, but you’re also getting a nourishing meal early in the morning. That’s good.

If we’re going to be using the broth to heal, we’re talking about having three cups or so per day and that can add up to quite a bit. Some people feel, “How am I going to eat all that?” Here are a few ways you can eat it. You can start with a cup of broth. Maybe you can have some soup or some stew and some meal. If you do make grains, you can add broth instead of water. That will improve the digestibility and the nourishment of the grains. There are many ways we can use broth without feeling our whole day is all broth.

Everybody these days is into the whole idea of fasting. There are water fasting, juice fasting, dry fasting, you have none of the above. What about a bone broth fast? There are people talking about that. What do you think?

There’s a best-selling book that Dr. Kellyann Petrucci did called Bone Broth Diet. There are two days a week on that diet where you have nothing but many cups of bone broth throughout the day. The evening meal could be a light Paleo meal or it could be more bone broth, it’s up to you, but two days a week you’re bone broth fasting.

I know Dr. Kellyann. That’s phenomenal information as well. Fasting is such a great way to heal the body and it’s also a great way to save money and time. You’ve got all this extra time because you’re not preparing the food, you’re not eating the food. It’s a fast day. It’s almost this second life that you have to get all the good stuff done. Dr. Kaayla Daniel, it’s an absolute pleasure to have you on the show. Tell me how my audience can find out more about you?

My website is DrKaaylaDaniel.com. That’s where you can find my report on the fermented cod liver oil, Hook, Line and Stinker: The Truth about Fermented Cod Liver Oil, and information about the broth book, the soy book and other projects I’m working on.

You’ve got some fantastic videos all over the internet. You’re a seasoned veteran in this health fight against the medical doctors. I don’t want to put words in your mouth about making this into a battle or a war between the healthy holistic people over here and the medical doctors. A lot of ways it is. Call it for what it is. There are many forces that are working against people like you and I and so much big agriculture and big pharma that pushes that soy agenda. Thank you again for being such a warrior and putting your neck out there and fighting the good fight. Thank you for being on the show.

Thank you. 

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About Dr. Kaayla Daniel, PhD

HHS 36 | The Truth About SoyDr. Daniel earned her PhD in Nutritional Sciences and Anti-Aging Therapies from the Union Institute and University in Cincinnati.  She is President of the Hunt Gather Grow Foundation and the former Vice President of the Weston A. Price Foundation. She received the 2005 Weston A. Price Foundation’s Integrity in Science Award, the 2009 Freedom Law School’s Health Freedom Fighter Award and the Paleo-Primal-Price Foundations 2015 Badass Award.

Dr. Daniel is coauthor of the bestselling Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for a Modern World and author of The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America ‘s Favorite Health Food and Hook, Line and Stinker: The Truth about Fermented Cod Liver Oil. Her books have been endorsed by leading health experts, including Drs. Larry Dossey, Joseph Mercola, David Brownstein, Kilmer McCully, Doris Rapp Jonathan Wright, and many others.

Dr. Daniel has been “media trained” by Joel Roberts, who dubbed her “a natural born entertainer” and a “naughty nutritionist” because of her quirky and naughty sense of humor.  She has shared her gifts on the Dr. Oz Show, PBS Healing QuestNPR’s People’s PharmacyABC’s View from the Bay and Discovery Channel’s Medical Hotseat, and been quoted frequently in the media, including Washington PostParade, San Francisco ChronicleLondon ObserverLondon GuardianToronto Globe and MailVancouver SunBon Appetit, Vogue, Alternative MedicineTownsend Letter Mat und Helse (Norway)Men’s HealthE!Glamour, and other publications.

Online, Dr. Daniel has been featured prominently as an “Inner Circle” expert on www.mercola.com, the world’s leading dietary and natural health website.

Dr. Daniel has also spoken at numerous professional conferences, including Ancestral Health, Paleo(f)x, BoulderFest, Wise Traditions, National Association of Nutritional Professionals (NANP), Nutrition Therapy Association (NTA) and Charles Poliquin’s BioSignature.

Based in Albuquerque, NM, Dr. Daniel is a nutritionist in private practice, the mother of two children, and enjoys playing the organ, ballroom dancing, firewalking, hiking and yoga.