Corny or Not

Yesterday checked out the Trader Joes frozen food section.  And there they were!  Soy corndogs. My mouth immediately began to water.  I LIVED on those things my first year in college.  Never mind that by the time summer came I had gained 40 pounds. I pretty much gave them up. But there they were and my conditioned response kicked in.

I checked the price – $2.50 for 4 of them (63 cents each).  Not exactly what I would call cheap but for a treat, why not?

Soy corn dogs just sounds healthy, right.  So I picked up the package and carefully read the ingredients. The first ingredient is soy isolate made from soy protein concentrate.

That isn’t good!  Especially if you are picky about things like high levels of MSG, herbicides and hexane in your food. You see, soy “meat” products are generally created soy protein isolate that comes from Genetically Modified Organism (GM or GMO) soybeans.  As it turns out, 91% of all soybeans grown in the US are genetically modified. Which means that soybean based foods are almost always genetically modified — this includes raw edamame seeds, manufactured soymilk and most soy meats.

Since the beginning of time weeds plagued farmers. Years ago, the scientists at Monsanto came up with a solution to the weed problem — RoundUp. It kills weeds! It worked like a charm in the corn fields but when they tried it in the soybean fields the soybeans died.  In fact if the beans were planted in a field that had been exposed to RoundUp, the plants died. Back to the drawing board! How about change the beans?  So some one figured out how to modify soy beans that were resistant to RoundUp .

Voila! All of the sudden soy beans could be easily grown in weed-free fields treated with huge amounts of RoundUp. Never mind that exposure to herbicides in general and RoundUp in particular is known to increase allergies in humans.

GM soybeans are the first problem.  Then you come up against the hexane problem.

Once soybeans are harvested they are eventually treated with hexane.  Hexane is a solvent made from crude oil and is used to extract vegetable oil from the beans. Theoretically it is removed from the resulting product, but there is always a residue left. This is problematic because exposure to hexane can cause neurological damage. No one knows how much exposure can cause how much damage and the amounts are not addressed by FDA rules.

Once the oil is extracted you are left with soybean flakes that have about 1% soybean oil.  These flakes are called soy protein isolate or concentrate and are used as livestock meal or to produce food products such as soy protein used in soy meats.

This stuff badly needs flavor!  Some enterprising soul figured out that if you concocted a solution of glutamic acid, sodium and water and added it to the flakes you could eventually get some flavor infused into the flakes.  This solution is also know as MSG.  Ugh!

In case I need more convincing a look at the next four ingredients seals the deal:

  • wheat gluten – high probability of more MSG contamination
  • egg whites – if you are vegan this is a show stopper
  • dextrose – read high fructose corn syrup
  • canola oil – more hexane exposure

NO THANKS!!  Not only the corndogs but all soybean products are now DEFINITELY off my list of desirable foods! Mouth watering or not, I don’t think they are worth the price.  Either monetarily or health-wise.

About Genene Cote

Genene Coté -- Nutrition Advocate, Counselor and Coach who is also a Whole Food Plant Based Eater (vegetarian/vegan), cook and gardener.
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