Properly fermented foods such as tempeh and natto have been widely consumed for a very long time and are not associated with the same risks as unfermented soy products are. For instance, nattokinase, obtained from natto, has been used for over twenty years and is much safer than aspirin when it comes to dissolving blood clots.
However, most Americans believe that soy milk, soy ice cream, soy burgers, soy cheese and other unfermented soy products are safe and even beneficial.
What brought to the rise of soy as health food is the successful marketing to otherwise health conscious American citizens who set this trend. As seen by the survey Consumer Attitudes About Nutrition 2008, 85% of consumers look on soy products as healthy.
It also found that consumers:
- 70% perceive soy oil as a healthy oil and rank soybean oil among the top three healthy oils,
- depend on soybean oil as one of the most frequent cooking oils
The sales of soy and soy products skyrocketed even since the U.S Food and Drug Administration approved a health claim for soy products, which happened in 1999. In the period between 2000 and 2007, American food manufacturers introduced more than 2,700 new soy-containing foods.
This led to a development of multi-billion dollar business! According to the Soyfoods Association of North America, in the years between 1992 and 2007, soy food sales increased from $300 million to $4 billion.