Ask Rocco: 06/30

Soy meets world

By Rocco Castellano


Soy has got to be the world’s most misunderstood so-called health food. The biggest problem with soy is that chemical manufacturing giant Monsanto decided to get involved in the consumer food business. That created a huge chasm with regards to the legitimacy of soy as a food product and most importantly a “health” food product. It has pissed me off ever since. I never really liked tofu, but I understood its protein value to vegans and vegetarians. Asians, especially Chinese, have long believed in the health benefits of fermented soy; and I still agree. The problem is there’s no real soy in America or the Americas. Every seed is a GMO that’s Roundup ready. Yep, that Roundup. Weed killer.

That’s not even where the bullshit begins. I almost don’t give a shit about the GMO part… I said almost.

The issue I have with soy is that it’s in every processed food and even some health foods at very unhealthy concentrations. The way they utilize soy—as in soybean oil and soy lecithin in almost every frozen food or shelf stable food product—is where it gets a little dicey. Most health food, fitness and nutrition experts will confuse the soy products of tofu, edamame and miso as estrogen-filled, cancer-causing killers. I think the estrogen police should go f–k themselves and clamp their mouths shut with vise-grips because the isoflavones that sort of act like estrogen aren’t enough to do anything. But that’s where the waters get really f–king muddy, and no one knows the truth (or they’re too afraid big bad Monsanto will come after them and kill their first born).

Monsanto has done an awesome job solidifying their Washington contacts to allow soy in any form they can produce to be put in our food supply. The more you muddy the waters, the more people get confused and don’t know what to believe. And this is exactly where we stand right now.

Soy lecithin is an emulsifier that acts like paint thinner for fats in food production and can help blend ingredients together such as the cocoa and cocoa butter in a candy bar. This ensures it won’t fall apart while you’re eating it and make a mess all over your nice party dress. Another place it’s used is in the baking industry to keep dough from sticking and improve its ability to rise. It sounds like a good idea—it’s a cheap food source because of all the government soybean subsidies, but the concentration of soy in processed food is where it gets to be very unhealthy. In order to produce soy lecithin, it needs to be extracted using a chemical called hexane. I can’t even go into the controversy that comes with the use of hexane… Well… here’s just a little bit.

Hexane is generally believed by most experts to be toxic or at least harmful when inhaled, and there have been instances of workplace injury—and even death—due to long exposure with the fumes during work hours. As you would guess, this is common in factories or manufacturing plants where oil extractions and industrial cleaning take place. From what the experts say, high exposure can cause skin irritation, dizziness and nausea that progressively worsen over time if consistently exposed.

Every now and then, those pesky questions come up about the hexane residues possibly lingering in the foods that oils have been extracted from. Many health advocates, including me, argue that the presence of this chemical is unacceptable and dangerous. But the idiots who don’t give a shit if you live or die say that it’s benign and shouldn’t be cause for alarm.

F–king idiots!

Yes, in the cases that have been tracked, the amounts that actually end up in food are supposedly very, very small—but still, when something hasn’t been studied to the extent that it should be, no one actually knows how it will behave once ingested into the body. Almost all the studies conducted have to do with the toxicity of inhaled hexane and its exposure to human skin. And those have shown high toxicity… so…

Let’s get back to the high concentrations of soy in our processed food supply. Soybean oil has taken the place of vegetable oil in just about every aspect of our food-consuming life. What used to be a rare appearance in our diet has now become a frequent occurrence. Most of the time, I discount the whole estrogen-soy connection but with the availability of soy lecithin, soybean oil and the insane consumption of the stupidity that is soy milk (which is just white-infused juice), it’s time to reconsider. That actually always made me laugh—do the powers that be think we believe there’s some elf pulling on a soybean teat spewing milk into a little elf bucket to make soy milk?

With the government subsidizing soy production then asking government-subsidized experts to come to a health conclusion concerning soy products, it kind of gets you thinking about the real benefits of soy. Oh, that’s right. With the GMO-food supply saturating companies’ pockets. Oops, did I misspeak? I hope the f–k so. Eat your tofu, edamame and miso but just stay the f–k away from processed foods saturated with soy, and, hopefully, you’ll stay away from cancer.

The views and opinions expressed in Ask Rocco are the views and/or opinions of the author and do not reflect the views and/or opinions of the Dayton City Paper or Dayton City Media and are published strictly for entertainment purposes.

Rocco Castellano is the author of “askROCCO Uncensored v1,” a speaker and a controversial fitness personality who has won an Emmy for his fitness training role in MTV’s Made. For more information, please visit

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Rocco Castellano is the author of “askROCCO Uncensored v1,” a speaker and a controversial fitness personality who has won an Emmy for his fitness training role in MTV’s Made. For more information, please visit

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