Over the previous couple of decades, there has been a rise within the production of soybeans globally. Soy is an important a part of the worldwide food supply thanks to its high protein and energy levels. many acres of lands are converted for agriculture either directly or indirectly thanks to the increased soy production. the utilization of soy has attributed to immense health benefits, further; it results in the development of the economy. Soy is fast growing, highly nutritious, can help in addressing the challenge of food security and capable of growing in many environmental conditions. However, the expansion of soy come at a price , it requires the countries involved to supply it more responsibly. As such, it has led to the destruction of the ecosystem and also detrimental effects on the human health. This paper aims at discussing the impacts of soy production on the environment, human health as well as the ethical concerns concerned with the consumption of Soy beans.
The effects of the growth of different types of food on the environment are dependent on the intensity of cultivation over time and space; the inputs applied including the water, the fertilizer, the pesticides and also the management of inputs such as the crop residue and the tillage. Tillage, the use of fertilizers, crop monoculture often has driver stating impacts on the soil, water and also biodiversity. In the United States, agriculture is the leading cause of water- quality impairment. Further, more than 50% of the land is used in the agricultural sector, and also, there is the minimal practice of crop rotations as well as failure to utilize more agricultural sound management plant practices, and these poses a challenge for the future. The growth of Soybeans has led to the loss of the natural ecosystem. In America, vast areas of the forests, the savannah have been converted to agriculture over the last few decades. In 2010, more than 46 million was converted from the natural ecosystem for agricultural purposes. Between the years 2000-2010, 20 million ha was used for the expansion of soybean production.
While the production of soybeans has led to increased meat production and improved economic benefits to the countries involved in trading the product, the conversion of the natural ecosystem carries a substantial cost. The production of this food has led to the destruction as well as the degradation of the ecosystem, and as a result, there is the loss of many ecological services which are majority relied on by human beings such as the clean water, healthy soils, pollination and also pest control. More so, it has threatened the biodiversity as well as the wildlife, also, it adversely affects people, water reservoirs, the soil quality and the global climate. As such, the forest loss is a key factor to climate change globally. In South America, research shows that many hectares of land are destroyed, although, there has been a decrease in land destruction over the recent past.
Effects of soy on Human health
Soybeans are often associated with high nutrition value due to its high content in proteins. More often than not, soybeans are used by vegetarians as well as for lactose alternative for many foods. Across the globe, it is the most highly used legume. The main advantages of this type of legume are its high protein content, the minerals, vitamins as well as insoluble fibers. Besides, the soya beans have also been transformed into a different number of soy based foods such as yoghurt, milk, meat. Intake of soy or the products of soy has been associated with numerous benefits such as minimizing constipation, individuals with high cholesterol content as well as management of type2 diabetes.
Despite the various benefits associated with the intake of soybeans, consumption of these food products has been associated with allergens. In some cases, soya beans are consumed in their raw form. Sprouted soya beans are said to contain goitrogens which research suggests that they interfere with the thyroid gland activity. Also, they as well contain the oxalate which increases the risk of formation of the kidney stones. Therefore, individuals at risk should avoid the consumption of this food product. In women who have a history of estrogen –sensitive breast tumors, they have a danger of developing breast cancer tumors. Therefore, in this case, they should have a restriction of soy intake.
While the benefits of soy products are immense, there is the dire need for the involved individuals to produce it more responsibly while the natural ecosystem could be lost forever along with the priceless diversity it supports and also other significant services. It is possible to create more soy without necessary destroying the forests and other important ecosystems. Therefore, there is the need for combined efforts from different stakeholders such as the soy producers, feed companies, manufacturers, the retailers as well as the policy makers and the consumers.
Brando, Paulo, et al. “Climate impacts of expanded soy agriculture in the arc of deforestation in Brazil.” EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts. Vol. 18. 2016.
Laurance, William F., Jeffrey Sayer, and Kenneth G. Cassman. “Agricultural expansion and its impacts on tropical nature.” Trends in ecology & evolution29.2 (2014): 107-116.