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SAFETY OF SOY?

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ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT THE SAFETY OF SOY?  WHAT'S THE SCOOP?
Updated in January 2014

Soy archive from Ginny Messina, RD http://www.theveganrd.com/tag/soy

Soy archive from Jack Norris, RD http://jacknorrisrd.com/?cat=17

**I was quoted in an article on soy in the Canadian magazine Maclean's (available online). There were a number of comments, some of which I addressed myself.  There was one long comment (#27) by "Loretta", which covered alot of territory.  I couldn't resists answering, but the answer was too long to post with the comments, so my answer is posted at the end of this page.

An excellent article: Being Vegan and Eating Soy: Myths, Truths, and Everything in Between, by Christa Novelli, M.P.H. http://www.vegfamily.com/health/vegan-soy-information.htm

See also: http://zenhabits.net/soy/



QUESTIONS:

1.) Where do you stand on the soy controversy?
I stand for common sense.  You can eat a perfectly fine vegan diet without soy-- no question about that.  If you are soy allergic, you can find non-soy meat and dairy substitutes, or make them yourself.  I have files of them that I can send to people who ask about that.

It really annoys me that people with an anti-vegetarian agenda are spreading nonsense about a food that has sustained humans for thousands of years, distorting history, distorting scientific studies, and spreading hysteria.  If you do a search on the internet, it's hard to find anything BUT this hysteria-- no wonder people are confused!  That's why I've researched this subject and posted information about it.  I don't really care whether you eat soy or not, just make your decision from an informed place!

Soy is a a very versatile food for vegetarians and, if you are not allergic, I see nothing wrong with eating soyfoods daily from organic and non-GMO sources.  I have done so for many years, even making my own tofu, even before I was a vegetarian.  I am healthy and active as I face my 60's, not sick and "poisoned" as the anti-soy contingent would prefer me to say.

I think that the majority of soyfoods, as with all the other foods you eat,  should be traditional soyfoods or soyfoods that have not been overly-tampered with.  But what does that mean?  Some people call tofu, a soy product with thousands of years of history, that you can make in your own kitchen, a "processed food"!  Well, butter is a processed food, as well, then. 

I consider traditional Asian foods, like soymilk (I make my own), tofu, miso, soy sauce, and tempeh, foods that I can eat every day if I want to.  Other soyfoods that I have no qualms about eating daily (though I don't necessarily-- I eat a very eclectic and varied diet because I like to experiment with many ethnic cuisines) are soy flour, soy yogurt (homemade), and even plain, unflavored dried textured soy protein, which is made from cooked defatted soy flour extruded through "dies" to make granules or shapes, and then dried.  (It is not the same as "hydrolized soy protein" in any way!)   A new product that I also like is called Soy Curls, which is similar to textured soy protein, but made from the whole soybean.

As for all the new processed soyfoods-- soy weiners, sausages, burgers, "hamburger crumbles", soy cheese, etc.-- we eat them a few times a month when we are in a hurry.  My husband was a meat lover 15 years ago and became a vegan on his own, but he craves sausages, etc. sometimes.  We buy vegan products that contain ingredients we can understand, and made with organic soy.  Most of the time, I make my own meat substitutes at home, and we love beans of all kinds.  (I don't panic about protein, and we often have soup meals, or vegetable only meals.)   These products are far superior to processed meats that many people think nothing of serving to their children.

A few times a year we might buy soy "ice cream" (again, organic), and I almost never buy tofu sour cream, tofu creme cheese, or vegan "junk foods".  Again, I make my own.  I can't afford to buy these vegan processed foods, even if I wanted to, and I think my own recipes taste better, most of the time.  I can also control fat and calories and fiber content better that way.



2.) For those concerned about estrogens in soy:

ADDED NOTE June 20, 2007:  The ultimate in soy hysteria can be found here http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53327 , where the author claims that feeding soy to your children will make them homosexual and reduce penis size, and that eating it as an adult will lower your libido AND make it impossible to conceive!

Soy estrogens are "plant estrogens" or "phytoestrogens" (phyto is Greek for plant).  They are found in many plant foods besides soy.  This is an article (a pdf file: http://www.ifst.org/uploadedfiles/cms/store/ATTACHMENTS/phytoestrogens.pdf ) about phytoestrogens from the Institute of Food, Science and Technology of the UK.  It is worth reading.  Here is the beginning of it: (Unfortunately, you have to be a member to access it now):

"Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring phenolic plant compounds, present in foods such as beans, cabbage, soyabean, grains and hops, and are part of a wider class of polyphenols found in all plants. They are structurally similar to the mammalian oestrogen, oestradiol, and have oestrogenic properties. However, their oestrogenic activity is generally much less than that of human oestrogens (oestrogenic activity ranges from 1/500 to 1/1000 of the activity of oestradiol). Hence phytoestrogens can act as anti-oestrogenic agents by blocking the oestrogen receptors and exerting a much weaker oestrogenic effect compared with the hormone. As a consequence it has been suggested that they might partly suppress or inhibit normal oestrogenic activity in oestrogen-responsive tissues such as breast tissue and may reduce the risk of breast cancer. They may, in addition to their endocrine effects, have action on cellular targets which are independent of oestrogen, thereby complicating the prediction of their properties in humans.

Dietary intake of phytoestrogens
Phytoestrogens are found in the seeds, stems, roots or flowers of plants, serving as natural fungicides and acting as part of the plant's defence mechanism against microorganisms. They also are the molecular signals that emanate from the root of leguminous plants that attract specific nitrogen-fixing soil bacteria. The main classes of phytoestrogens are the isoflavones, coumestans and lignans. Isoflavones are receiving a great deal of commercial interest at present; they are found almost exclusively in legumes, the soya bean being the most abundant source. The most important soya isoflavones are genistein and daidzein. Lignans, however, are also an important source of phytoestrogens in the UK diet as they are present in most fibre-rich foods."
So, as you can see, phytoestrogens are not only found in many, many plants besides soy, but they are many, many times weaker than human or artificial estrogens.


http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/Data/isoflav/isoflav.html is the USDA-Iowa State University Database on the Isoflavone Content of Foods.

There is good material about this subject in an excellent book called The Okinawa Program, pps. 123- 129, including a chart of the "Top 50" foods containing healthful phytoestrogens (see also  the sister book The Okinawa Diet Plan).  Besides soy, flaxseed, kudzu, carrot leaves, onions, cranberry juice, kale, celery, snow peas, broccoli, turnip greens, black tea, green tea, jasmine tea, green beans, fava beans, applesauce, srtawberries, pintos, lentils all have 2mg or more phytoestrogens per serving.

Here are some values per serving of a small sampling from the chart:
soybeans, cooked, 38.2 mg/ 1/2 cup
onion, 35.8
applesauce, 3.0 mg/1/2 cup
kale, 11.2 mg/1 cup
pinto beans, cooked, 1.9 mg/1/2 cup
garbanzos, cooked, 3.6 mg/1/2 cup
flaxseed, 28.9 mg/ 1 Tbsp
cranberry juice, 44.3 mg / 3/4 cup

What many people don't take into consideration when worrying needlessly about soy estrogens (consumed in soy foods, NOT soy supplements), is that there is good evidence of estrogen contamination in meat and dairy products.  If you still eat dairy and/or meat, it would behoove you to read some of the following articles:

Articles about estrogen in dairy products:


Articles about estrogen in meat:


 Here is a comprehensive report from Vegetarians International Voice for Animals (VIVA! http://www.viva.org.uk/ ) on "The Dark Side of Dairy" http://www.milkmyths.org.uk/sites/default/files/dairy_report.pdf.

You can also obtain the complete report "White Lies" http://www.milkmyths.org.uk/sites/default/files/dairy_report.pdf by the Vegetarian and Vegan Foundation (VVF: http://www.vegetarian.org.uk/ ) "an extensive report ...investigating the links between the consumption of cow’s milk and dairy products and health. White Lies includes forewords by Professor T. Colin Campbell PhD, Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and Professor Jane Plant CBE, (DSc, CEng), Life Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and Professor of Applied Geochemistry at Imperial College in London. The VVF’s 40,000-word report includes over 200 references from the peer-reviewed scientific literature. The report describes the evidence linking a diverse range of health problems and diseases to dairy including some of the UK’s biggest killers such as heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer and prostate cancer as well as osteoporosis, eczema, asthma, Crohn’s disease, colic, constipation and even teenage acne."



3.) Should men eat soy? I've heard it can cause men to be sterile.
ADDED NOTE June 20, 2007:  The ultimate in soy hysteria can be found here http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53327 , where the author claims that feeding soy to your children will make them homosexual and reduce penis size, and that eating it as an adult will lower your libido AND make it impossible to conceive!

Do not worry! The birth rate in Asia, where soyfoods are eaten regularly by everyone, should set your mind at rest!

Here is an informative article http://www.theveganrd.com/2009/03/soy-and-sperm-and-testosterone-too.html Soy and Sperm (and Testosterone, Too!)  by Virginia Messina, RD

Here is some information from my book "Soyfoods Cooking for a Positive Menopause". (I've highlighted some parts in bold text when they pertain to men, but read through the whole essay in order to get a full understanding):

The phytoestrogens in soy are structurally similar to human estrogen, but very weak compared to the estrogens that the human body produces. They bind with estrogen receptors in the human body. Phytoestrogens are believed to protect against breast and prostate cancers, two hormone-dependent cancers. Isoflavones, found in soy, are only one type of phyto (or plant) hormone or sterol. There are many others available in a number of plant foods.

Other foods that contain phytosterols (some with "estrogenic" qualities, and some with "progesterogenic" qualities) are:
Most seeds and nuts and their oil;, most legumes; green leafy vegetables; sea vegetables; common vegetables such as asparagus, beets, cabbage family, carrots, celery, corn, onion family, garlic, nightshade family (peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes), squash, yam, turnip, cucumber, parsley, and more "exotic" ones such as bamboo shoots, okra, and Jerusalem artichokes;naturally-fermented beer; most common spices and herbs; sprouted seeds and grains; most fruits and whole grains.

These foods have not been studied sufficiently to know what how much phytoestrogen or other phytosterols they contain. Soyfoods have been studied exhaustively and it is now easy to figure how much isoflavone there is in a serving of one soyfood or another. One tablespoon of flaxseed has about an equal portion of isoflavones to one portion of soyfood. Wild yam is full of isoflavones and is used as a source for natural progesterone and estrogen therapy products, but it is not the same as the yam we buy in the grocery store.
And, by the way, cooking, baking, and frying do not seem to effect the viability of phytoestrogens.)

Isoflavones resemble animal (or human, in this case) estrogens just enough to be accepted by cell estrogen receptors and bind weakly to the cell surface membrane. The estrogen receptors have been compared to "tiny switching stations", "locks" or "docking stations" on the cells. Joanna Dwyer and colleagues at the New England Medical Center and Tufts University theorized in an article they wrote for The Journal of The American Dietetic Association (July 1994) that in premenopausal women the estrogen receptors are occupied and the weaker plant estrogens must compete for these sites. However, in postmenopausal women, whose self-produced estrogen declines about 60%, there is a far greater chance of the plant estrogens "docking" and this can increase the amount of estrogens available to her.

Perhaps the most important soybean estrogen in genistein. It is considered a powerful anticarcinogen and it is found in good supply in whole soybeans (including roasted soybeans or "soynuts"), textured soy protein, soy flour, soymilk, tofu and tofu products, and tempeh.

Daidzein, another soybean estrogen genorously supplied by these soy foods, is now under intense study for its potential cancer-fighting and bone-building qualities. It, like genistein, is turned by intestinal bacteria into a substance that competes with human estrogen. Although other foods contain phytosterols, no other commonly consumed foods contain these two powerful phytoestrogens. And it has been proven in human studies that isoflavones in the diet are absorbed into the bloodstream-- one study in which volunteers ate 40 grams of textured soy protein daily for just five days, the isoflavone levels in their urine (which indicates their presence in the bloodstream) increased as much as thousandfold in comparison to levels taken before the study.

In fact, in a 1993 study, women living in a controlled environment for two months had an average increase of two and a half days in the length of time between menstrual periods when they ate soy, which attests to the powerful effect phytoestrogens can have on a woman's body.

(This type of evidence has led a few scientists to wonder if eating large amounts of soy can lower fertility, but most authorities, including Mark Messina, Ph.D., author of The Simple Soybean and Your Health, points out that Chinese and Japanese women have no trouble with fertility levels, despite daily high soy intake. Kenneth Setchell, Ph.D., professor of Pediatrics at Children's Hospital and Medical Center in Cincinnati says that, though soy lengthens the cycle, it does not prevent ovulation and there is still a normal menstrual cycle. And there is some evidence that eating soy can enhance fertility in men. The isoflavone genistein may be used to treat male sterility because it affects blood levels of LH [luteinizing hormone], needed for normal sperm production. Soybeans are also high in zinc, a mineral used by the body in the formation of many hormones and which also functions as an antioxidant. Zinc deficiency has been shown to affect reproduction in animals.)

Boron, a trace element which is necessary for our health but which you need very little of, helps activate both vitamin D and estrogen. It is in good supply in plant foods, such as the soybean, but not in animal proteins. A study was done in 1986 of post-menopausal women between the ages of 48 and 82, led by Forrest Nielsen, Ph.D., director of the U.S, Department of Agriculture's Agricultural research Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Boron supplementation markedly reduced urinary excretion of calcium and magnesium and also raised the level of and estrogen called estradiol-17 beta, a female hormone, and testosterone (a precursor to estradiol-17 beta), a predominantly male hormone which women produce in smaller amounts, but which increases energy and libido. (Testosterone is now often prescribed in small amounts to postmenopausal women who have lost their sexual desire.) Boron supplementation is not recommended-- it should be easy to ingest enough of this ultra-trace mineral on a plant-based diet containing lots of soy.

One of the factors that perked the interest of cancer researchers some years ago was the striking difference between mortality rates for breast cancer and prostate cancer in the West (North America and Europe) compared to Asian countries, such as China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Thailand. In the West, your chances of dying of breast or prostate cancer can be ten to twenty times higher than if you lived in one of these Asian countries!

(Japan's average daily soy intake is 29.5 g, whereas in the U. S. it is negligible. Japan's breast cancer death rate is 6 per 100,000 people, and the U. S. rate is 22.4 per 100,000. Japan's prostate cancer death rate is 3.5 per 100,000, and the U.S. rate is 15.7.)

MORE ABOUT SOY AND CANCER:
Only a small number of cancers can be attributed to heredity, and, when Asians emigrate to Western countries, within a couple of generations their descendants catch right up to other Westerners in terms of cancer deaths. Even in Asia itself, as the diet has become more Westernized, there has been a slow but steady rise in mortality from all types of cancer.

Studies of Japanese men on traditional high-fiber, high-vegetable, low-fat diets showed consistently that, though Japanese men get prostate cancer at the same rate as North American men, far fewer Japanese die from the disease, because the cancer does not grow or progress. When Japanese men move to North America and eat more Westernized diets, cancers are faster-growing.

Although it has not been clinically proven (an argument you will here time and time again from dairy boards and meat producers), you don't have to be a rocket scientist to conclude that the Western high-fat, high-protein, low-fiber diet might have something to do with this discrepancy. The seven countries with the highest rates of breast cancer (over 20 deaths per 100,000 people per year) are countries where the average intake of fat is the highest (about 150 g a day). The seven countries with the lowest rates of breast cancer (about 5 per 100,000) occur in countries with the lowest intake of fats (less than 50 g a day). Prostate cancer rates are very similar.

However, another major protective factor may be soy in the Asian diet. A major 20-year study of 8000 Japanese men in Hawaii found a direct correlation between tofu consumption and lower rates of prostate cancer. Those who consumed tofu once a week or less were three times as likely to get prostate cancer as those who ate it daily. Other factors were measured, including fat intake, and tofu consumption was deemed to be most protective.

Cancer is believed to be a two-stage process-- initiation, or exposure to a cancer-causing substance, and promotion, or stimulation by another substance that makes the first become active. There is considerable research going on today into substances that prevent the promotion stage and therefore halt or reverse cancer development. This is possible because there may be ten years or more between the time of tumor initiation and actual malignancy.

Soybeans contain several factors which may inhibit cancer growth, which may explain why the Japanese men in those studies got prostate cancer, but succumbed to it far less often than did their Western counterparts.
Protease inhibitors are non-nutritive substances that are found in the reproductive parts of soybeans and other vegetables. Because they block the activity of an enzyme that aids the digestion of proteins, they were once thought to interfere with nutrition. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture spent alot of time and money trying to remove protease inhibitors from soybeans because they thought their removal would improve growth in children! However, it has been established that protease inhibitors are capable of neutralizing the effects of a large number of cancer-causing agents. Dr. Ann Kennedy, then of Harvard, now a leading researcher at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, reported that even brief exposure of initiated and/or promoted cells to the Bowman-Birk Inhibitor (BBI), a protease inhibitor derived from soybeans, not only prevented transformatioon of the cells into cancers, but also "reprogrammmed" their precancerous changes back to the "pre-initiation" stage.

In many laboratory studies, scientists have investigated protease inhibitors, especially BBI, and found that they inhibited cancers of the colon, lung, pancreas, mouth, esophagus, skin, and bladder. Evidently, protease inhibitors prevent the activation of specific genes that cause cancer, and they also protect against the damaging effects of free radicals and radiation.

Other substances in soybeans and other plant foods that seem to have anti-cancer properties are: polyphenols that have been reported to interfere with tumor promotiion and to act as "garbage collectors", disposing of cell-damaaging mutagens and cancer-causing agents; phytates, the plant storage form of the mineral phosphorus, abundant in soybeans, and a chelator, a substance that binds with certain metals that may promote tumor growth and also acts as an antioxidant, preventing free radical damage; phytosterols, which are related to cholesterols, but found only in plant foods, and move straight through our intestines to our colons, protecting them against the harmful effects of bile acids and reducing the development of colon tumors; saponins, antioxidants which protect against free radical damage and, in laboratory investigations, have been shown to prevent mutations that can lead to cancer.

All of these substances, and several others which are still being investigated, occur in many plant foods, which is one very good reason why you should eat a plant-based diet with a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes. But soy contains them all, and more, which makes soy a valuable and potentially protective food.

Dr. Mark Messina and Virginia Messina, in their wonderfully informative book The Simple Soybean and Your Health, point out the intriguing results of over thirty different epidemiologic studies that have been conducted on many types of cancers and many varieties of soyfoods. Most of these studies were comparisons between people living in different parts of Asia, who have generally similar diets and lifestyles (including fat intake), which makes them more useful than comparisons of Western and Asian diets, which have radically different average rates of fat consumption. They suggest that people who frequently consume soyfoods have lower cancer rates than those who consume soyfoods less often. In many of the studies, it seems that people who eat soyfoods daily have about half the risk of cancer as those who eat soyfoods only once or twice a week. For instance, a study in Singapore found that those women with the highest soyfood consumption had less than half the breast cancer risk than those who consumed soyfoods only rarely. A Japanese study showed that people who ate soy had only 1/7th the risk of rectal cancer of those who did not eat soy, and that eating soybeans and tofu lowered the colon cancer risk by 40%. In China, frequent consumers of soymilk had less than half the stomach cancer risk of those who did not drink it. Several Chinese studies (where smoking is more prevalent than in North Amerrica) found that lung cancer risk could be lowered by half with frequent tofu and other soyfood consumption.

One thing that makes soy truly unique as a protective food is that it is one of the few foods that contains significant amounts of plant estrogens or phytoestrogens called isoflavones. These plant compounds are converted during the normal digestive process into a form of very weak estrogen. Back in 1982, Dr. Kenneth Setchell identified a phytoestrogen called equol in the urine of people who eat soy foods. Equol is structurally similar to the natural estrogen estradiol-17. Later, Dr. Herman Aldercreutz of the University of Helsinki found high levels of equol in the urine of Japaanese men and women who ate a soy-rich traditional diet. He found low levels of equol in women who had breast cancer, as opposed to cancer-free women.
Scientists from several countries have found much higher levels of another isoflavone called genistein in the urine of people eating a traditional Japanese soy-rich diet than in those eating a typical Western diet. 

Genistein is a powerful anticarcinogen, found only in soybeans. It appears to inhibit enzymes that promote tumor growth. Test tube experiments show that genistein can block the growth of prostate cancer cells and breast cancer cells. As well, genistein helps to promote something called differentation in cancerous cells. To explain this simply, the human body has specialized cells-- bone cells, heart cells, skin cells, etc.-- that have unique properties. When cells become cancerous, they "forget" what it was they were designed to do and begin to look the same. These so-called undifferentiated cells are very resistant to cancer therapies.
Another isoflavone found in soy is daidzein. Studies show that this isoflavone can also inhibit the growth of cancer cells and promote cell differentation.

Plant lignans are other phytoestrogens that occur widely in plant foods. Lignans are reported to have anticancer, antiviral, bactericidal, and fungistatic properties, and vegetarians have higher blood levels of them than do meat eaters.

Estrogens play a key role in the development of breast cancer. Among women who will eventually develop breast cancer, higher levels of active estrogen are present, apparently acting as a breast cancer promoter on a cellular level. For instance, estrogen increases cancer risk by binding to breast cells. Because isoflavones are so similar to human estrogen, they can attatch to estrogen receptors, effectively blocking the human estrogen. But, because they are much, much weaker than estrogen, they don't have the deadly effect that estrogens do. (Tamoxifen, a breast-cancer drug, works in the same way.)

Longer exposure to estrogen is a risk factor for breast cancer-- women who start to menstruate early and have a late menopause are at higher risk, because they have been exposed to potent estrogens for a longer period. Remaining childless and not breastfeeding are further risk factors, again because during pregnancy and round-the-clock breastfeeding (before periods return) there are less active forms of circulating estrogen than during menstruation.

One of the reasons that fat (and meat) in the diet may be a major factor in hormone-related cancers such as breast and prostate is that a high-fat diet promotes high estrogen levels. At the University of California, Los Angeles, School of medicine, David Heber placed women on a very low-fat diet (less than 10% of calories) for only three weeks. In that short time the women dropped an average of 50% in serum estradiol (a form of estrogen) levels (one dropped 80%!) Another study in Boston measured blood hormone levels as well as urine excretion levels in vegetarian and meat-eating women. The vegetarian women had increased fecal excretion of estrogen, decreased levels of estrogen in the bile, and lower levels in the blood, 11 to 20 % lower than those measured in the meat-eating women. Many other studies, as well as the epidemiologic studies, point to a low-fat, low-meat diet as another way to lower the amount of estrogen exposure in a woman's lifetime.

A longer time between menstrual periods also reduces exposure to estrogen. Kenneth Setchell, Ph.D., professor of Pediatics at Children's Hospital and Medical Center in Cincinnati, fed a group of women 60 g of textured soy protein daily for four weeks, and observed that the time between their menstrual cycles increased two to five days. 60 g of miso lengthened this by another day.

(By the way, natural progesterone produced by the body or derived from wild yams and soy, protects against breast cancer. Synthetic progestins, however, have been linked to breast cancer.)

Obesity after menopause is also considered a risk factor, because large amounts of estrogen can be made in the subcutaneous fatty tissue. This is another reason to become fit and as slim as your body is comfortable being (see Chapters II and III).

Dr. Robert M. Kradjian, in his book Save Yourself from Breast Cancer, which I urge every woman and girl to read, paints a sad picture of the Western girl who, eating an estrogen-promoting high-fat, high-protein diet, will start menstruating at about age 12 and have only one or two children, who will not be breastfed for very long, if at all, thereby having a much longer exposure to potent estrogens than her sisters in "less developed" countries. About half of American girls exhibit breast or pubic hair development by age nine! In China, Japan, the Philippines, and Africa, where breast cancer rates are much lower, the average age of menarche is 16 or 17, as it was in the U.S. 100 years ago, and breastfeeding is prolonged, also as it was 75 or more years ago in North America.

In men, estrogen also plays a part in prostate cancer. Estrogen is a precursor to androgens (male hormones), triggering the production of testosterone. Men with prostate cancer often have higher levels of testosterone than cancer-free men. The estrogen-blocking activities, as well as their tumor-inhibiting qualities, of soy isoflavones may therefore also play a part in preventing prostate cancer in men.

The cancer-protective claims for soy are called "speculative" by some, but the data is impressive. Soyfoods have clear benefits in protecting against heart disease and have been proven to have no negative side effects, so many scientists are advising us not to wait years for definitive studies, but to start reaping the benefits of the mighty soybean NOW!

And, of course, soy is only one part of a healthy, protective diet. As I have mentioned before, it's not a "magic bullet" or a "miracle food". A varied complex-carbohydrate, high-fiber, low-fat, low-protein, plant-based diet with regular vigorous exercise is a most important component in a healthy life. As Dr. Robert M. Kradjian says, it's unlikely that good health will come from a medicine bottle-- we must seek protection from disease through improved nutrition. Adding soy to such a plan will only add more   benefits, but this doesn't mean isolating this or that protective substance from the soybean and taking it in a supplemental form. Just as we should get our antioxidants in the form of fresh fruits, vegetables, and legumes because we don't even know what all them are yet, and we're not sure how they all work in concert with one another, we aren't sure if the protective components of soybeans will work "out of context". Isoflavones may not do their work if not accompanied by the soy protein, for instance. It is a lesson that we in the West have yet to learn-- to trust the power of whole foods, rather than specific nutrients.



4.) I've been told that it's not safe to feed soy to children. Is this true?
ADDED NOTE June 20, 2007:  The ultimate in soy hysteria can be found here http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53327, where the author claims that feeding soy to your children will make them homosexual and reduce penis size, and that eating it as an adult will lower your libido AND make it impossible to conceive!

Many sources wildly exaggerate the effects of eating soyfoods. It's true that there may be concerns about ingesting soy isoflavones that are extracted and concentrated, but eating soy as food does not appear to be a problem for the vast majority of people. Check out the article at the link below, which is about vegetarian children and cites a "landmark study" done on the children of "The Farm" in Tennessee, a large commune started in the early 1970's. They had a vegan diet which was soy-based. The children, who are now adults and having their own children, have been studied for growth, health, etc... At the end of the article you can link to "click here for footnotes", and then, if you wish, get the medical publications on these studies, perhaps through your library.

MORE: I’ve just excerpted the material to do with soy and children from the following two articles, but you might like to read these two articles in full,  to remind yourself of all areas of the “debate”.

EXCERPTS TO DO WITH CHILDREN AND SOY:

From "Taking the Joy Out of Soy" http://www.tldp.com/issue/11_00/joysoy.htm by Bill Sardi:
"Much of Fallon and Enig's criticism is generated from reports on the use of soy infant formulas. In 1998, K.O. Klein of the Department of Clinical Science at the A.I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware, reported that soy-based infant formulas had been used for over 60 years and fed to millions of infants worldwide and studied in controlled research. Klein says the medical literature provides "no evidence of endocrine effects in humans from infant consumption of modern soy-based formulas. Growth is normal and no changes in timing of puberty or in fertility rates have been reported in humans who consumed soy formula as infants." [Nutrition Reviews 56: 193-204, 1998] The Journal of Pediatrics also conducted an earlier study that came to a similar conclusion. [Journal Pediatrics 124: 612-20, 1994]

With no supporting evidence, Fallon and Enig state that learning disabilities among male children have reached epidemic proportions and that soy infant feeding, which began in the 1970s, "cannot be ignored as a probable cause for these tragic developments." Yet no citations are listed to back up their claim. They go on to say that one percent of all girls show signs of puberty before the age of three and quote a 1997 report in the Journal of Pediatrics. But that report makes no mention of soy."
AND:
"According to an FDA scientific review, soy does not interfere with childhood growth, does not cause pancreatic or breast cancer, does not significantly interfere with mineral absorption as long as dietary consumption is adequate, does not induce early puberty, and does not interfere with fertility. Soy may induce allergies, but that is not sufficient reason to ban it from the marketplace.

Epidemiological studies do not confirm that soy accelerates the rate or incidence of brain aging nor does soy increase the prevalence of thyroid disorders. There is a consistent body of scientific evidence that soy protein consumption results in a significant reduction in total and LDL cholesterol for those whose cholesterol is elevated (above 250 mg per deciliter blood sample).* Approximately 25 grams of soy is needed to produce this health benefit. This is the asterisk noted earlier in this report. Soy doesn't lower cholesterol among individuals with normal blood fats.

It's not like soy hasn't been investigated thoroughly. Health reporter Jack Challem notes that in a three-year period from 1996-98, over 1000 articles on soy isoflavones were published in medical journals. But once the gate was opened for a health claim for soy (cholesterol reduction), the rest of the still-to-be-confirmed health claims were ushered in. Some scientific reports indicate soy can reduce hot flashes among menopausal females, promote bone formation and may reduce the risk of cancer. Consumers are likely to think that if a little bit of soy is OK, then more is even better. "

 From "The Truth About Soy" by John Robbins http://www.foodrevolution.org/blog/the-truth-about-soy/ :

"DOES SOY CAUSE BIRTH DEFECTS?
One of the most alarming allegations in the Fallon and Enig article is that, due to the phytoestrogens in soyfoods, vegetarian diets promote birth defects. They repeatedly refer in the article and elsewhere to a study published in the British Journal of Urology that found baby boys born to vegetarian mothers were five times more likely to suffer from hypospadias, a malformation of the penis correctable with surgery. I found this disturbing, and somewhat difficult to believe, because I know of no other study that links vegetarian diets with a higher rate of any birth defect, including hypospadias, and there are a number that show the opposite - lower rates of a variety of birth defects in babies born to vegetarian mothers. If the findings of this study were valid, however, it would be extremely important.

We certainly need more studies to determine what is going on, but after reading the actual study I am not nearly as concerned as I was upon reading Fallon and Enig's description, because what they neglect to mention is the significant fact that the total number of baby boys in the study born with this condition to vegetarian mothers was only seven. And it was not just vegetarian women who were found to be at greater risk for delivering a boy with hypospadias. Women who took iron supplements during pregnancy, and women who had the flu during the first trimester, also were at heightened risk.

It's hard to know just what to make of this isolated study. To my eyes, it highlights how much we have yet to learn about the impact of the phytoestrogens contained in soy. Given our current state of knowledge, I think that pregnant women should largely avoid soy-based supplements. But there is no cause to conclude that vegetarian diets, or soyfoods, are suspect in pregnancy.

Vegetarian diets have consistently shown profound benefits for pregnancy and lactation, including much lower levels of the toxic chemicals that typically concentrate higher on the food chain in meat, fish and dairy products. A report in the New England Journal of Medicine on the levels of contamination in human breastmilk found that vegan mothers had dramatically lower levels of toxic chemicals in their milk compared to mothers in the general population. The highest level seen among these vegan mothers was actually lower than the lowest level seen in nonvegetarian mothers. In fact, the levels of contamination found in the milk of the vegetarian mothers was only 1 to 2 percent as great as the level found in the milk of nonvegetarians."

AND:
"INFANT SOY FORMULAS: BIRTH CONTROL PILLS FOR BABIES?
Another of the disturbing charges made by the soy bashers is the allegation that "an infant exclusively fed soy formula receives the estrogenic equivalent (based on body weight) of at least five birth control pills per day." Soy formula, say Fallon and Enig, amounts to "birth control pills for babies."

 AND:
"These theoretical risks are quite disturbing, but they appear at this point to be merely theoretical, because we have yet to see any substantive evidence of this harm in people. It is striking that there have been no reports of hormonal abnormalities in people who were fed soy formula as infants - and this includes millions of people in the past 30 years. In fact a major study published in the August, 2001, Journal of the American Medical Association found that infants fed soy formula grow to be just as healthy as those raised on cow's milk formulas. If the phytoestrogens in soy were affecting the reproductive system of infants fed soy formulas, then soy-fed babies would develop reproductive health problems as adults. The study evaluated 811 men and women between the ages of 20 and 34 who had participated in soy and cow's milk studies as infants. No significant differences were found between the groups in more than 30 health areas. The major exception was that women who had been soy-fed reported slightly longer menstrual periods (one-third of a day) than women raised on cow's milk formulas.

The debate as to which is better, formulas based on soy or cow's milk, is unresolved. Each seems to have its own dangers. What is indisputable is that babies reared on breastmilk have tremendous health advantages over babies reared on any type of formula. Compared to babies who are fed soy or cow's milk based formulas, babies who are beast-fed for at least six months have three times fewer ear infections, five times fewer urinary tract infections, five times fewer serious illnesses of all kinds, seven times fewer allergies, and are fourteen times less likely to be hospitalized. Babies who are breast-fed spit up less often, have less diarrhea and less constipation. For every 87 formula-fed babies who die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, only three breast-fed babies die from the disease. Babies who are fed only human milk for at least six months are six times less likely to develop lymphoma, a cause of cancer, in childhood. Babies breast-fed for at least one year are only half as likely to develop diabetes. Children who were fed human milk have an average I.Q. seven points higher.

As adults, people who were breast-fed have less asthma, fewer allergies, less diabetes, fewer skin problems including dermatitis, lower risks of heart attacks and stroke due to lower cholesterol levels, less ulcerative colitis (ulcers in the large intestines), less Crohn's disease, and protection from certain chronic liver diseases.
The indisputable advantages of breast-feeding apply to mothers, too, affording major reductions of breast cancer risk. Yet working mothers wanting to breast-feed are often faced with a formidable challenge, because few workplaces have daycare facilities for their workers or allow for breast-feeding breaks. In 1998, New York Representative Carolyn Maloney sought to change that, introducing a bill in Congress that would provide a mandated daily one hour of unpaid leave for expressing breast milk, plus provide incentives for employers who created a "lactation-friendly" environment.

The evidence that breast is best is overwhelming. Infants breast-fed by vegetarian mothers have all these advantages, plus more, because the milk of vegetarian mothers has the added advantage of harboring substantially fewer residues from pesticides and other toxic chemicals. Yet the anti-soy crusader Sally Fallon would evidently prefer that an infant be fed a cow's milk formula rather than breastmilk, if the mother is a vegetarian. She writes that "breast milk is best IF the mother has consumed a …diet…rich in animal proteins and fat throughout her pregnancy and continues to do so while nursing her child."

Why would someone make a statement like that? Where are these soy antagonists coming from? What are they trying to prove?

Fallon and Enig are proponents of the philosophy that in order to be healthy people must eat large amounts of saturated fat from animal products. They insist that only with the regular consumption of lard, butter and other full fat dairy products, and beef, can people derive the nutrients they need to be healthy. They deplore the fact that soy products are increasingly replacing animal products in the American diet.

Many of the most vocal soy bashers are of similar dietary persuasions. Joseph Mercola, for example, a Chicago osteopath who has authored a series of vehemently anti-soy articles that have circulated widely on the internet, is an ardent advocate of eating beef, chicken, turkey, ostrich, and other meats." 

And what about the dark side of meat?

There are a lot more serious things in the North American diet to worry about than soy!  If you don’t want to eat soy, fine.  But, you can feel much better about eating tofu than eating a number of common items in the N. American diet, like, say, processed meats.  Just as a “for instance”, in a book called “How to Prevent and Treat Cancer with NaturalMedicine”  (by Michael T. Murray, ND; Tim Birdsall, ND; Joseph E. Pizzorno, ND; and Paul Reilly, ND) (NOT a vegetarian book, by the way), read:

"Children who eat 12 hot dogs per month have nearly 10 times the risk of developing leukemia compared with children who do not eat hot dogs.

Children who eat hot dogs once a week double their chances of brain tumors; eating them twice a week triples the risk.

Pregnant women who eat two servings per day of any cured meat have more than double the risk of bearing children who have brain cancer.

Kids who eat the most ham, bacon and cured sausage have 3 times the risk of lymphoma
.
Kids who eat ground meat once a week have twice the risk of acute lymphocytic leukemia compared to those who eat none; eating 2 or more hamburgers weekly tripled the risk."

(Footnotes: Preston-Martin S, Pogoda JM, Mueller BA, et al. Maternal Consumption of cured meats and vitamins in relation to pediatric brain tumors.  Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 1996;5:599-605.
Blot WJ, Henderson BE, Boice JD Jr.  Childhood cancer in relation to cured meat intake: review of epidemiological evidence.  Nutr Cancer 199;34:111-18)

AND, they also write: “ The most important foods to avoid: Meats grilled or broiled at high temperatures.”
And the following is from a book called “Fresh Choices” , by David Joachim and Rochelle Davis (executive director and founder of Generation Green, a non-profit advocacy group that promotes awareness of environmental health issues){Rodale Press, 2004)  which is not a vegetarian book by any   means.  It advises on what are the groceries that are important to buy organic and which are low-pesticide even though not organic:

"When the International Agency for Research on Cancer (an arm of the World Health Organization) looked at the diets of nearly half a million Europeans, they found that those who ate more cured meats like hot dogs, sausage, salami, bacon, bologna, and deli meats had a 50% increase in colon cancer risk.  In the United States, Cornell University researchers looked at 12 different studies and concluded that eating processed meats can increase breast cancer risk.  And a recent study from Harvard University School of Public Health found that eating too much processed meat may increase risk of Type 2 diabetes.  Nitrites are the suspected culprit, as previous studies have already linked nitrites to increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, the kind that most often afflicts children."

There are a lot more North Americans out there wolfing down charred hamburgers, salami, ham and hotdogs, than they are tofu burgers and veggie dogs!  In 1987, in fact, the per capita consumption of tofu and other soyfoods in the USA was less than 1 percent that of meat.  Even today, if we multiply that by 5 or even 10, it’s still a tiny amount compared to the amount of meat being eaten.

AND WHAT ABOUT THE TRAGIC DEATH OF BABY CROWN SHAKUR, DUBBED "DEATH BY VEGANISM"?

In her New YorkTimes op-ed piece, Nina Planck blamed the 6-week old baby's death (from a diet of only plain soymilk-- not formula or breastmilk-- and apple juice) on veganism.

The metatags for her webpage invite browsers to “Learn why butter and lard are good for you and corn oil and soy milk are not.”

Here is a great blog post dissecting the op-ed  and it's by a non-vegan! http://www.tigersandstrawberries.com/2007/05/22/nina-planck-stirs-the-pot-vegans-get-steamed-film-at-eleven/

Here's Dr. John McDougall's reply to the author: http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2007other/nytimes.html

Here are letters to the NYT (some agreeing with her, most not), including one from vegan RD Amy Lanou: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/23/opinion/l23vegan.html?n=Top%2fOpinion%2fEditorials%20and%20Op-Ed%2fLetters

More comments from another vegan RD. http://www.vegfamily.com/dietician/0707b.htm

Nina Planck advocates raw cow's milk for babies in her new book, http://www.babble.com/best-recipes/healthy-eating/the-healthiest-food-for-mother-and-baby/

Nina Planck is a Weston A Price follower-- she believes that people can't even get pregnant while eating a vegan diet.  She believes that soy is poison and that we should eat lots of meat, lard, butter, etc..  She believes in feeding children raw cow's milk.  She writes"...it is difficult to get pregnant, sustain a healthy pregnancy, and to have sufficient and nutritious breast milk on a vegan diet."  This is patent nonsense and she is not without an anti-vegetarian, never mind vegan, agenda..  Ask the American Dietetic Association (ADA)!  Here is a quote from their paper on vegetarian diet: http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/2009_ADA_position_paper.pdf

"Well-planned vegan and lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including during pregnancy and lactation. Appropriately planned vegan and lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets satisfy nutrient needs of infants, children, and adolescents and promote normal growth (37). Dietary deficiencies are most likely to be observed in populations with very restrictive diets. All vegan children should have a reliable source of vitamin B-12 and, if sun exposure is limited, vitamin D supplements or fortified foods should be used. Foods rich in calcium, iron, and zinc should be emphasized. Frequent meals and snacks and the use of some refined foods and foods higher in fat can help vegetarian children meet energy needs. Guidelines for iron and vitamin D supplements and for the introduction of solid foods are the same for vegetarian and nonvegetarian infants. When it is time for protein-rich foods to be introduced, vegetarian infants can have pureed tofu, cottage cheese, and legumes (pureed and strained). Breast-fed vegan infants should receive a source of vitamin B-12 if the mother’s diet is not supplemented and a source of vitamin D if sun exposure is inadequate."

Here are some resources by medical professionals:

5.) I've heard that tofu is fattening-- how can that be?
I eat soyfoods all the time and I pay close attention to fat and calories.  Sure, you can use low-fat soymilk (or, what I used to do before I started making my own—use a rich soymilk like Vitasoy and dilute with water, 1/2 and 1/2), and low-fat soy flour, if you like, but I don’t bother with "lite" tofu.  A 12.3 oz. box of silken tofu contains only about 150 calories in total!

As for regular tofu, it has a bad reputation because 50 percent of its calories are from fat.  But the total amount of calories in tofu is very low, much lower than equivilant amounts of meat or even avocado or nuts,  and much lower than eggs, oil and solid cooking fats.  A serving of tofu contains only about 80 calories—that would be about 6 oz. silken tofu, 4 oz. medium-firm tofu, 3 oz. firm tofu, or 2 oz. extra-firm tofu.

As an example of this, you can use tofu in baking instead of oil and eggs, to save fat and calories—when I use 8 oz. of medium-firm regular tofu in a muffin recipe for 12 muffins,  each muffin contains only 1 gram of fat.  A traditional “low-fat” recipe with 1 large egg and 1/4 cup oil (not counting any nuts) would result in muffins containing about 5 g fat per muffin.

We do need some fat in our diets, and the fat in soy is good for us.  Ordinarily I would not use soy oil, because it is extracted chemically.  But, in its natural state in a soyfood, it is good for us.

6.) I just read in this article that soy kills sperm! Can this be true?
This is seriously bad reporting. The reporter neglected to mention that estrogens from other sources (such as hops-- what, no beer???) were tested, and she focused only on soy!  Now this is going around like wildfire.  Read this article for the actual story:

In addition, some of the many other plant foods that contain phytoestrogens are: flax, coffee (!!), red clover, alfalfa sprouts, sunflower seeds, pomegranate, fennel, licorice, yucca, oregano, nutmeg, tumeric, thyme, goldenseal, cumin, camomille, cloves, and cottonseed oil, and many wild greens and herbs (see the article link just below for a longer list).

We should be more worried about the artificial estrogens found the paints, cleaning agents, pesticides, and herbicides mentioned in the article than the ones in soy or other plant foods . The author of this article points this out here: http://www.fibrocystic.com/xeno.htm

An aquaintance wrote this:
"I was thinking about that article on soya this morning. I lived at The Farm in Tennessee where we ate soy products every single day - tofu, tempeh, soybeans, ice bean, etc. ad nauseum. It was our main source of protein. During the ten years I was there, I never heard of anyone having an infertility problem. In fact, fertility was the problem, as we had far more kids than we could take care of."

And why is it thought necessary until very recently by the Chinese government to have the unfortunate and often tragic "one-child only" policy in China, where soy is eaten on a daily basis?



7.) Friends have told me that I shouldn't eat soy, that it's "poison" and can cause all kinds of health problems. Is this really true?
Some people are allergic to soy, but then, some people are allergic to wheat, corn , peanuts and many other foods-- that does not mean that they are bad for the rest of us!  There is some serious "soy-bashing" going on out there and some of the claims are downright ridiculous!  Do your research and make an informed decision!

Soyfoods are, in fact, one of the MOST studied foods in history—studies on soy and humans go back to the turn of the 20th century.  Soy is not a “miracle” food, but it is a source of inexpensive and high-quality protein, with proven anti-carcinogenic, antioxidant and cholesterol-lowering properties.

Here are some articles disputing the anti-soy theories, taking a point-by-point approach:
An appendix to the huge online report on dairy called "White Lies" http://www.vegetarian.org.uk/whitelies/report01.html by the Vegetarian and Vegan Foundation of the UK (VVF http://www.vegetarian.org.uk/)--  (supported by Professor T. Colin Campbell PhD, Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York; and Professor Jane Plant CBE (DSc, CEng), Life Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine Professor and Professor of Applied Geochemistry at Imperial College in London, among others).

An article by health reporter Bill Sardi: http://www.tldp.com/issue/11_00/joysoy.htm

From vegan writer John Robbins, author of “Diet for a New America”, “The Food Revolution”, “May All Be Fed”, and  “Reclaiming Our Health”; founder of EarthSave International: http://www.foodrevolution.org/blog/the-truth-about-soy/

An article by registered dietician Brenda Davis, co-author of "Becoming Vegetarian" and "Becoming vegan": http://www.vegsource.com/articles2/davis_soy_safe.htm

Articles on soy by Ginny Messina, RD: http://www.theveganrd.com/tag/soy

A comment by Dr. Justine Butler about an article in the Guardian villifying soy. http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1839434,00.html



8.) Some people assert that traditional consumption of soy in Asian countries has been mainly of fermented foods, but that, on the whole, soy is not a mainstay; and that soymilk and tofu are relatively recent introductions to the Asian diet. Is this true?

UPDATE:  Check out this article about Ben Franklin talking about "tau-fu" from China!
This is untrue.  The average Taiwanese eats 64 lbs. of tofu a year!  As of 1991, there were thirty-eight-thousand tofu shops in Japan.

According to Chinese tradition, soybeans were one of the five sacred crops named by Chinese emperor Sheng-Nung, who reigned five thousand years ago!  Sheng-Nung mentioned soybeans in his Ben Tsao Gang Mu, written in 2838 BC!  By 300 BC, soybeans and millet were always mentioned in the ancient texts as the two major food crops in Northern China.  There is archaeological evidence in the form of a kitchen scene in a Han tomb in Northern China, clearly depicting the preparation of soymilk and tofu.  This would be AD 25-100.  Tofu is first mentioned in a document in 965 AD: the Ch'ing I Lu by T'ao Ku. The story implies that tofu was widely consumed in China in those days.

In Japan, even today, the words tofu, miso and shoyu (soy sauce) are commonly preceded in everyday speech by the honorific prefix o—most people saying “o-tofu”, or “honorable tofu”, showing the reverence for the noble soybean in their culture.

According to Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s data from long-running The Oxford-Cornell China Project, the percentage of foods of animal origin in the Chinese diet was found to be 0-20 percent of calories, compared to 60-80% in North America.  The Project found that much of the protein eaten in rural China is from soyfoods and that 80-90% of legume intake was from soyfoods.  William Shurtleff  (world-recognized expert and researcher on TRADITIONAL Asian soyfoods) writes in “History of Soybeans and Soyfoods in China (1949 to 1980s)”: “Prior to 1949 and up until about the mid-1960s, most Chinese, especially peasants, ate meat only three times a year, on their great festivals: New Year's, Autumn Festival, and Dragon Festival…Chinese derived 2.60 kg of protein per person per year from these animal products. By comparison, the average Chinese consumed 8.3 kg of soybeans containing 38% protein. Assuming that 95% were consumed directly with 90% protein recovery, these soyfoods provided the average Chinese with about 2.69 kg of protein per year, slightly more than was derived from animal products.”

Excerpt of  letter from Susan Marie Yoshihara to The Island Word, Courtenay, BC, April 2005:
"My husband Yoshi was born and raised in Japan on a farm in the traditional Japanese peasant way of life. When he was a child his family (and, no doubt everyone else in the village) almost never ate meat. They ate fish occasionally, but tofu was a food they had almost everyday. This was before the era of refrigeration. Early most mornings the tofu vendor from the nearest town would arrive on his bicycle selling a variety of freshly made tofu and other soy products.

Yoshi has now been in Canada for 34 years. All this time we have continued to eat a mainly simple, plant based diet. There hasn't been a time during our 34 year long relationship when we didn't eat tofu. We have raised two healthy sons. Both are intellectually and physically well-endowed. Our elder son is now a scientist and the younger is a university student in Montreal.

I got my BA in Pacific and Asian Studies from UVic in 2003. Tofu obviously doesn't rot your brain. And I've got a lot to say about how tofu can help with menopause but I want to keep this letter as short as possible, so I won't.

Over the past 30 years I've taken many trips to Japan and stayed there for extended periods. I've lived with families, studied miso making, Japanese culture and the language. I've shopped in the supermarkets and in corner stores. Even the 7-11 sells tofu. I've eaten in fancy places, temples, bars, and "greasy chopstick" cafes. No matter what the season or location, tofu is extremely common and soyfoods are almost always on the menu in some form."

Susan-Marie Yoshihara
Denman Island, B.C"

SOY IN OTHER ASIAN COUNTRIES:
Tempeh is the fermented soy product that originated in Indonesia.  Little is known of how soybeans and soyfoods were introduced to Indonesia, where Buddhism was only of temporary importance, in about the eighth century. The soybeans may have been introduced by Chinese immigrants; in some way tempeh was developed and became the most popular soyfood, followed by tofu, miso (taucho), and soy sauce (kechap). Tofu and tempeh, both made from soybeans, tare common foods in Indonesia. Tempeh is more of a specialty, but both are part of the authentic Indonesian experience.

There is some interesting information in this article.  http://www.pacific.net.id/pakar/myra/myra_37.html 

Here's an excerpt:
"Tofu has a long history in China, where it originated about 3 millennia ago. The technology of soybean processing spread quickly to Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia. While tofu is but one of the soybean products of these countries, it is perhaps the most for general consumption.

In Indonesia, tofu is considered an important element in the daily diet. It is found throughout the nation’s archipelago, prepared everywhere in the style of the local cuisine and reflecting its great ethnic diversity. It may be mixed with dog meat, in those regions where dog is considered a delicacy; in other places, tofu may be mixed with salted fish.

Tofu feeds the rich as well as the poor. Five-star hotels and roadside stalls serve a variety of tofu dishes and types, from the soft custard style to the crisply fried. Judging from the processing technology, tofu seems to have been brought to the archipelago by the Chinese, but the exact date is difficult to establish. People in Kediri claim that tofu came to their city first, brought by the troops of Kublai Khan in 1292. 

The story begins, according to historical records, when Kublai Khan demanded tribute from the Javanese king Kertanegara of Singosari; but the king refused to fulfil the Khan’s request. The Khan’s special envoy, sent to Java in 1289, suffered the injury and indignity of having his face disfigured by the Javanese court. Kublai Khan sent an expedition consisting of 20,000 soldiers to punish the king. Meanwhile, however, Jayakatawang, king of the east Javanese realm of Kediri, had conquered Singosari and killed Kertanegara. Raden Wijaya, Kertanegara’s son-in-law, vowed revenge. Fortuitously for him, the Mongol expedition landed in Surabaya. He directed the ships through the Brantas river to Kediri, and led a heavy battle. Raden Wijaya, the victor, then established the illustrious Majapahit kingdom, whose imperial reign endured into the 15th century. The place where the Chinese junks anchored is now called Jung Biru (“blue junks”). Kublai Khan’s ships had complete cooking galleys, of course; and some were equipped for making tofu.

Today many tofu shops can be found in Kediri, offering tofu in a great variety of consistency, from soft custard-like cakes to the more solid takua. The process of making tofu is similar to the production of cheese. First, soybean milk is obtained by grinding the beans mixed with water between two heavy stones. In Kediri, this grinding is done the old-fashioned way, by two men who turn the heavy stones by hand. From this liquid, different products may be produced at successive stages of processing: soy milk and whey in the early stages, and tofu at a secondary stage. Nothing is wasted. The leftover skins are used for cattle feed, but sometimes are also sold to local villagers, who ferment  it  to make oncom, an orange-colored  substance, that smells  aomewhat stale, kije bkue cheese, but (like blue cheese) is delicious.

Kediri is so proud of its tofu history that, as part of the celebrations of the 1123rd anniversary of the city, a 500 kilogram tofu was made and submitted to the Indonesian Museum of Records in Semarang.   Understandably, this highly perishable half-ton tofu cake is on display only in the form of a replica. The original was donated to the poor. "

This is a long page of anecdotal "evidence" from Asians and people who lived in Asia about soymilk and other soy consumption in Asia. http://ask.metafilter.com/42902/Do-people-in-Asia-drink-soy-milk The consensus seems to be that they DO eat alot of soy in Asia! 

The last entry on the page is this one:
"Part of this question, implied by the "did/do" is whether soy is a historical part of diets, not just whether Asians consume it now. The author of this book, who I heard on the radio, said that soy was not in the human diet until 3,000 years ago, and soy milk was not in Asia until the 20th century. I don't know if she's right but it's one informed opinion you can read more about.

Incidentally, she brought it up in the context that people who champion soy like to boast about how it's been a staple forever in Asia. Her opinion is that soy is not healthy, and that the Asian connection is very tenuous. Condiment-only, basically."  Posted by scarabic at 8:27 PM  on October 25.  The author she is referring to is Kaayla Daniel, who wrote "The Whole Soy Story" and who is on the Board of Directors of the Weston A. Price Foundation!

"Soy proponents claim that soy is a staple in Asia. A "staple" is defined as a major commodity, one that provides a large portion of calories in the diet, such as rice and fish in Japan, or rice and pork in China. The Japanese consume 150 pounds of fish per person per year, or almost one-half pound per person per day and a 1977 dietary survey in China determined that 65 percent of calories came from pork, including the pork fat used in cooking. By contrast, overall consumption of soy in Asia is surprisingly low. The average soy consumption in China is about 10 grams or 2 teaspoons per day. Levels are somewhat higher in Japan, averaging about 50 grams or 1/4 cup per day. (I assume that this is grams of soy product, but which one, I don’t know.) In both countries, soy is used as a condiment or flavoring, and not as a substitute for animal foods. Seafood and seaweed in the Japanese diet provide sufficient iodine to counteract the negative effects of the isoflavones in soy."

Their sources?
1.) www.csa.com/hottopics/thyroid/oview.html (page no longer there!)
2.) soyonlineservice.co.nz (no specific article) (This is the New Zealand equivalent of Weston A. Price!)
3.) www.westonaprice.org (no specific article)

Now read the following from an article by registered dietician Reed Mangels: http://www.everybodyspersonaltrainer.com/about_soy.htm#.UvQrJGJdWw0
"If we look at the amount of soy isoflavones used in countries where soy is a regular part of the diet and where no harmful effects have been documented, perhaps this can give us some idea of a reasonable amount of soy. The average daily soy intake in Japan is about 65 grams per person, and the average isoflavone intake is about 20-32 milligrams per day. Higher intakes have been reported in China, where women's median isoflavone intake was 39 milligrams per day, and in Singapore, where the median intake was 35 milligrams per day. To find out the isoflavone level of your diet, use the USDA's isoflavone database, or look on packages of soy foods that you eat. Choosing 2-3 servings of soy per day will generally lead to an isoflavone intake similar to that seen in countries where soy is a regular part of the diet."(Notice the footnotes inserted and listed under the article—something noticeably lacking from from the WAP article!)

SOURCES:
Hsiang Ju Lin and Tsuifeng Lin, Chinese Gastronomy (Hastings house, NY, 1969)
“The Prodigious Soybean” by Fred Hapgood, National Geographic,  Vol. 172, No. 1 (1987), p. 66-91.
Soyfoods in Asia: How Much Do People Really Eat? by Ginny Messina, RD http://www.theveganrd.com/2011/03/soyfoods-in-asia-how-much-do-people-really-eat.html

************************************************************
Dr. T. Colin Campbell, PhD, MD (regarded by many as the greatest nutritionist of our time), (Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry Cornell University, On Leave; Project Director China-Oxford-Cornell Diet and Health Project Division of Nutritional Sciences Cornell University Ithaca, NY )  NOTE: The Cornell-Oxford “China Study” is the most comprehensive project on diet and disease ever undertaken. Two major surveys were undertaken, 1983 and 1989-90. These surveys were undertaken in China because cancers and various other diseases exhibit exceptional geographic localization. Thus, it made sense to examine these local regions to determine the responsible dietary and lifestyle factors.

There is a 900 page book of data called Diet, Lifestyle and Mortality in China (1990), but the data has now been analyzed and you can get  Dr. Campbell’s book The China Study. 


“Chronologies of Various Soyfoods" (soymilk, edamame and tofu)" by William Shurtleff ©2001 (co-author of “The Book of Tofu”, “The Book of Miso”, and “The Book of Tempeh”) http://www.soyinfocenter.com/chronologies_of_soyfoods-introduction.php

"A Comprehensive History of Soy" http://www.soyinfocenter.com/HSS/history.php by William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi, authors of “The Book of Tofu”, “The Book of Miso”, and “The Book of Tempeh”  (This is a goldmine of information!)  NOTE FROM THE AUTHORS: "Research on this scholarly history book and its bibliographies began in the early 1970s. We hope to publish the book in 4 volumes after our series of Bibliographies and Sourcebooks. The manuscript presently contains over 2,500 pages and the bibliographies more than 63,000** references. We have decided to make many of the chapters available now."

9.) Are soy formulas dangerous for babies?

 Let’s put the scare story about the danger of soy formula to rest (and, by the way, I am a firm believer in “breast is best”, and am a former La Leche League leader):  Formula is definitely second-best for babies, whether cow’s or goat’s milk, or soy.  But, if for some reason the baby can’t be breastfed and is allergic to dairy (a common occurrence), soy formula is essential (and Baby's Only Organic Soy Toddler Formula is available). Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine did a study on soy-based infant formula begun over thirty years ago. Their results, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, reaffirm the safety of soy infant formula and offer evidence against the harmful effects of soy that have been presented in the popular media. According to their findings, soy formula does not appear to lead to any more health or reproductive problems than cow milk formula. This study follows up a landmark 13-year study at the University of Iowa. Strom and his colleagues tracked down and interviewed 811 adults [“mistakenly” reported as only 211 by an article on Dr. Mercola’s site!] – some from almost 30 years after the Iowa study began – and compared those that had been fed soy formula with those fed cow’s milk formula. “We have found that, in terms of sexual development, there is very little difference between children who, as infants, were fed cow milk formula and those fed soy formula,” said Brian L. Strom, MD, MPH, director of the Penn Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology.  

"INFANT SOY FORMULAS: BIRTH CONTROL PILLS FOR BABIES?
Another of the disturbing charges made by the soy bashers is the allegation that "an infant exclusively fed soy formula receives the estrogenic equivalent (based on body weight) of at least five birth control pills per day." Soy formula, say Fallon and Enig, amounts to "birth control pills for babies."
In my view, there is some basis here for concern. For an adult to regularly eat soy characteristically produces a reduced risk of developing breast or prostrate cancer. But the same phytoestrogens that produce this effect in adults may produce very different effects in infants. "With adults, half their phytoestrogens are freed into the bloodstream to bind to estrogen receptors, which helps to fight breast cancer," explains Patricia Bertron, dietician director of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. "But with infants, less than five percent are available to bind to receptors." There is a possibility that this could pose a risk to the sexual development of infants and children. Because the milk source makes up nearly the entire diet of infants, babies fed soy formulas may be at increased risk of harm.

These theoretical risks are quite disturbing, but they appear at this point to be merely theoretical, because we have yet to see any substantive evidence of this harm in people. It is striking that there have been no reports of hormonal abnormalities in people who were fed soy formula as infants - and this includes millions of people in the past 30 years. In fact a major study published in the August, 2001, Journal of the American Medical Association found that infants fed soy formula grow to be just as healthy as those raised on cow's milk formulas. If the phytoestrogens in soy were affecting the reproductive system of infants fed soy formulas, then soy-fed babies would develop reproductive health problems as adults. The study evaluated 811 men and women between the ages of 20 and 34 who had participated in soy and cow's milk studies as infants. No significant differences were found between the groups in more than 30 health areas. The major exception was that women who had been soy-fed reported slightly longer menstrual periods (one-third of a day) than women raised on cow's milk formulas.

The debate as to which is better, formulas based on soy or cow's milk, is unresolved. Each seems to have its own dangers. What is indisputable is that babies reared on breastmilk have tremendous health advantages over babies reared on any type of formula. Compared to babies who are fed soy or cow's milk based formulas, babies who are beast-fed for at least six months have three times fewer ear infections, five times fewer urinary tract infections, five times fewer serious illnesses of all kinds, seven times fewer allergies, and are fourteen times less likely to be hospitalized. Babies who are breast-fed spit up less often, have less diarrhea and less constipation. For every 87 formula-fed babies who die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, only three breast-fed babies die from the disease. Babies who are fed only human milk for at least six months are six times less likely to develop lymphoma, a cause of cancer, in childhood. Babies breast-fed for at least one year are only half as likely to develop diabetes. Children who were fed human milk have an average I.Q. seven points higher.

As adults, people who were breast-fed have less asthma, fewer allergies, less diabetes, fewer skin problems including dermatitis, lower risks of heart attacks and stroke due to lower cholesterol levels, less ulcerative colitis (ulcers in the large intestines), less Crohn's disease, and protection from certain chronic liver diseases.

The indisputable advantages of breast-feeding apply to mothers, too, affording major reductions of breast cancer risk. Yet working mothers wanting to breast-feed are often faced with a formidable challenge, because few workplaces have daycare facilities for their workers or allow for breast-feeding breaks. In 1998, New York Representative Carolyn Maloney sought to change that, introducing a bill in Congress that would provide a mandated daily one hour of unpaid leave for expressing breast milk, plus provide incentives for employers who created a "lactation-friendly" environment.

The evidence that breast is best is overwhelming. Infants breast-fed by vegetarian mothers have all these advantages, plus more, because the milk of vegetarian mothers has the added advantage of harboring substantially fewer residues from pesticides and other toxic chemicals. Yet the anti-soy crusader Sally Fallon would evidently prefer that an infant be fed a cow's milk formula rather than breastmilk, if the mother is a vegetarian. She writes that "breast milk is best IF the mother has consumed a …diet…rich in animal proteins and fat throughout her pregnancy and continues to do so while nursing her child."

Why would someone make a statement like that? Where are these soy antagonists coming from? What are they trying to prove?

Fallon and Enig are proponents of the philosophy that in order to be healthy people must eat large amounts of saturated fat from animal products. They insist that only with the regular consumption of lard, butter and other full fat dairy products, and beef, can people derive the nutrients they need to be healthy. They deplore the fact that soy products are increasingly replacing animal products in the American diet.

Many of the most vocal soy bashers are of similar dietary persuasions. Joseph Mercola, for example, a Chicago osteopath who has authored a series of vehemently anti-soy articles that have circulated widely on the internet, is an ardent advocate of eating beef, chicken, turkey, ostrich, and other meats."

10.) Can soy affect menstruation and fertility?

In a 1993 study, women living in a controlled environment for two months had an average increase of two and a half days in the length of time between menstrual periods when they ate soy, which attests to the powerful effect phytoestrogens can have on a woman's body.

(This type of evidence has led a few scientists to wonder if eating large amounts of soy can lower fertility, but most authorities, including Mark Messina, Ph.D., author of "The Simple Soybean and Your Health", points out that Chinese and Japanese women have no trouble with fertility levels, despite daily high soy intake.  Kenneth Setchell, Ph.D., professor of Pediatrics at Children's Hospital   and Medical Center in Cincinnati says that, though soy lengthens the cycle, it does not prevent ovulation and there is still a normal menstrual cycle.

And there is some evidence that eating soy can enhance fertility in men.  The isoflavone genistein may be used to treat male sterility because it affects blood levels of LH [luteinizing hormone], needed for normal sperm production.  Soybeans are also high in zinc, a mineral used by the body in the formation of many hormones and which also functions as an antioxidant.  Zinc deficiency has been shown to affect reproduction in animals.)

Dr. Kenneth Setchell of Children's Hospital and Medical Center in Cincinnati has done much research on just this subject, and found that, on average, the length of time between periods increased by 2 to 5 days when young women ate  60 g.(about 2 oz.) of textured soy protein (a pretty concentrated soy food) a day.  A longer time between periods is considered beneficial in terms of breast cancer, since the body has less lifetime exposure to estrogen.

ABOUT PHYTOESTROGENS:
From the book "The Okinawa Program" by Bradley J. Willcox, MD, Craig Willcox, PhD, and Makoto Suzuki, MD (Three rivers Press, NY, 2001), based on the landmark 25-year study: (My notes in brackets[] and my bold type.  The text in the book is footnoted and there is a chart of phytoestrogen content of many foods.) http://www.okicent.org/

“Okinawan women get natural estrogens (natural SERMs [“selective estrogen receptor modulators”] through their diet [rather than drugs that are given to women with risk of breast cancer in our society—BCG], mainly from the large quantities of soy they consume.  Soy contains phytoestrogens, or plant estrogens, called flavinoids.  The other important major phytoestrogens are lignans, which are derived from flax and other grains.  All plants, especially legumes (beans, peas), onions, and broccoli, contain these natural SERMs, but not nearly in the same quantity as soy and flax.  Soy and flax are the undisputed king and queen of natural SERMs.   The good thing about flavinoids and lignans is that they offer you protection from the damaging effects of estrogen while allowing you all the beneficial effects.  Here’s how it works:

All estrogens, whether they are produced in your body or by plant, have one thing in common:  they must connect with a cell receptor to work, to promote cell growth.  If the estrogen receptor is blocked, the estrogen can’t connect.  You can think of it as the estrogen trying to get through the cell door with a key.  The receptor is the keyhole.  When the keyhole is blocked by SERMs the estrogen can’t get in, and therefore can’t promote growth.  That’s part of what flavinoids and lignans do: they’re estrogen blockers—but they are selective blockers; remember, SERM means selective estrogen receptor modulator.  That’s the beauty of these phytoestrogens.  They allow estrogen to connect and promote growth at certain selected areas of the body where it is beneficial—that is, the bones—and block it from promoting growth in sensitive sites, such as the endometrium and breast , where it can do damage.  With no extra cell growth there is much less risk of cancer.

This is important information for women in North America, where even the definition of high risk for breast cancer is scary.  A high-risk woman is someone over the age of twenty-five who has at least a 1.7 percent projected risk of breast cancer in the subsequent five years—about double the average risk.  This includes most women with a first-degree relative (sister, mother or daughter) who had breast cancer and all women over sixty years of age—about 29 million American women, or roughly 20 percent of all women in the United States.”  (There is a lot more and I highly recommend this book to everyone.)  Here’s one more quote:  “Your risk as a North American woman is approximately one in ten of getting breast cancer in your lifetime.” AND “In contrast, if you are on Okinawan woman [on the traditional diet—not the modern, North American-influenced one—BCG], the chances are the no one you know has it or will develop it.  You may have heard of it but have never seen it—it is that rare.  There is no need for screening mammography.  You have to put 100,000 Okinawan women in a room to find six who will die from it.  This improves an Okinawan’s odds of living life without fear of breast cancer by more than 80 percent versus a North American woman.  Even if you get breast cancer in Okinawa, your chances of dying of it are less than half as much as among North Americans.”  (They go on to say that “bad genes” appear to account for only a small number of breast cancer cases.  Many studies have shown that Asian women increase their risk of breast cancer when they move to North America and adopt our eating habits.]




11.) Don't non-fermented soyfoods contain "anti-nutrients" which block mineral absorption?

Anti-soy writers put forth the theory that “non-fermented soy products contain phytic acid [phytates] which essentially acts as an anti-nutritive food because of its ability to bind with certain nutrients, including iron, zinc, copper and magnesium, thereby inhibiting their absorption.”  This is a gross over-simplification and misinterpretation of the facts, frankly.   However, not only fermenting, but also cooking, sprouting and soaking all destroy some of the phytates!  (And soy is not the only food that contains phytates.  Wheat bran has higher levels, and all whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, and some vegetables, contain them.)  Soyfoods are ALWAYS eaten cooked.  Even soy sprouts are eaten stir-fried or lightly steamed or in soups in China.  Green soybeans are also lightly cooked before eating.  Soymilk and tofu are both made from ground, cooked soybeans.  Soybeans and soy flour are virtually inedible raw, anyway.
In any case, it is really a non-issue.  Karl Weingartner, a soy specialist at the University of Illinois, found that soy contains just enough phytates to bind the few minerals present in the soy itself and no more. We still absorb all the minerals present in other foods we eat, even foods eaten with soy. Besides, phytates are antioxidants and have numerous healthy effects, from cancer prevention to boosting immunity.  Susan Havala, MS, RD, writes “… many foods also contain iron absorption inhibitors such as the tannins found in tea, coffee, cola drinks, and some spices, as well as the phytates found in whole grains and even the calcium in dairy products. In the context of the total diet these enhancers and inhibitors generally offset each other….Recently, some researchers have speculated that there are inherent advantages in getting the bulk of dietary iron from nonheme [plant-based], rather than heme [animal-based], sources… because iron is a potent oxidant, some researchers speculate that the generation of free radicals and the oxidation of cholesterol into a form more readily absorbed by the arteries may increase the risks of coronary artery disease and cancer.”

There is a much more technical rendering of the facts in this article http://www.tldp.com/issue/11_00/joysoy.htm  including (my bold italics):  “The IP6-phytic acid in soy has been found to reduce the risk of colon cancer in an animal study via its ability to chelate iron. [Proceedings Society Experimental Biology & Medicine 221: 80-86, 1999] The IP6-phytic acid in soy may be the primary ingredient that helps to control cholesterol. [Journal Nutrition 125: 606-611S- 1995]  IP6-phytic acid is not only found in soy, it is provided in other whole grains, particularly bran. But no one is proposing that bran is toxic because of its IP6-phytic acid content. Cow's milk (probably due to its lactoferrin content), and eggs also tend to decrease the bioavailability of iron from plant foods. [Federal Proceedings 42: 1716-20, 1983]"

Writer John Robbins also covers this theory in a lengthy discussion in his article, from which this excerpt comes http://johnrobbins.info/blog/what-about-soy/ : “…there is absolutely no reliable evidence that vegetarians who eat soyfoods  ‘risk severe mineral deficiencies.’ The complete adequacy of vegetarian diets is now so thoroughly proven and documented that even the National Cattlemen's Beef Association has acknowledged the legitimacy of meatless diets. In an official statement, these representatives of the beef industry declared, ‘Well planned vegetarian diets can meet dietary recommendations for essential nutrients.' "

Why pick on soy, anyway?  The “anti-nutrients” that many refer to when railing against soy are present in many foods besides soy, particularly in wheat bran.  No one is railing against wheat bran, but I’m certain that it is sprinkled on foods and added to foods on a far more regular basis in North America than soy grits!  In fact, many other foods commonly (more commonly than soy for most North Americans) contain these substances— including legumes, grains, vegetables, nuts and seeds .

**And what about the dark side of meat? 

There are a lot more serious things in the North American diet to worry about than soy!  If you don’t want to eat soy, fine.  But, you can feel much better about eating tofu than eating a number of common items in the N. American diet, like, say, processed meats.  Just as a “for instance”, in a new book called “How to Prevent and Treat Cancer with Natural Medicine” (by Michael T. Murray, ND; Tim Birdsall, ND; Joseph E. Pizzorno, ND; and Paul Reilly, ND) (NOT a vegetarian book, by the way), read:

"Children who eat 12 hot dogs per month have nearly 10 times the risk of developing leukemia compared with children who do not eat hot dogs.
Children who eat hot dogs once a week double their chances of brain tumors; eating them twice a week triples the risk.
Pregnant women who eat two servings per day of any cured meat have more than double the risk of bearing children who have brain cancer.
Kids who eat the most ham, bacon and cured sausage have 3 times the risk of lymphoma.
Kids who eat ground meat once a week have twice the risk of acute lymphocytic leukemia compared to those who eat none; eating 2 or more hamburgers weekly tripled the risk."

(Footnotes: Preston-Martin S, Pogoda JM, Mueller BA, et al. Maternal Consumption of cured meats and vitamins in relation to pediatric brain tumors.  Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 1996;5:599-605.
Blot WJ, Henderson BE, Boice JD Jr.  Childhood cancer in relation to cured meat intake: review of epidemiological evidence.  Nutr Cancer 199;34:111-18)

 ADDED NOTE June 20, 2007:  The ultimate in soy hysteria can be found here, where the author claims that feeding soy to your children will make them homosexual and reduce penis size, and that eating it as an adult will lower your libido AND make it impossible to conceive!



 12.) Is it true that eating tofu will give you Alzheimer's?

This one has been trotted out again and again, despite the fact that it was very small epidemiological study that started all the kafuffle.

“The study, conducted in Hawaii by Lon White, M.D., and his associates, was part of the Honolulu Heart Study. Looking at the diets and the risk of dementia of Japanese men residing in Hawaii, the study found that men who ate the most tofu during their mid-40s to mid-60s were more likely to have dementia and Alzheimer’s as they grew older… But that’s not all we know. We know, for example, that dementia rates are lower in Asian countries (where soy intake is high) than in western countries. We know that the Japanese lifestyle (with its high soy intake) has long been associated with longer life span and better cognition in old age. And we know that Seventh Day Adventists, many of whom consume soyfoods their whole lives, have less dementia in old age than the general population…The Honolulu Heart Study is far indeed from conclusive. It measured intake of only 27 foods, and there are many lifestyle factors for which it did not control. Researchers acknowledged that tofu consumption might be a marker for some other factor that affects cognitive function. And this would make tofu an innocent bystander. Results of other studies, say soy researchers Mark and Virginia Messina, ‘would suggest this is true.’

A number of clinical studies have shown that soy and isoflavones from soy are actually beneficial for cognition. In one study, published in the journal Psychopharmacology in 2001, young adult men and women who ate a high-soy diet experienced substantial improvements in short-term and   long-term memory and in mental flexibility. Other studies have found that isoflavone supplements from soy improve cognitive function in postmenopausal women.

It is important to bear in mind that the Honolulu Heart Study is the only study that has suggested a link between tofu consumption and dementia in old age. Having studied the literature, soy researchers Mark and Virginia Messina conclude that ‘there is no reason to believe that eating soyfoods is harmful to brain aging’. I agree, which is why members of my household happily eat tofu two or three times a week, soy milk daily, and tempeh once or twice a week. ”

(By the way, Dr. White later said: “It might be that this is totally wrong and the tofu has zip to do with it.” [Los Angeles Times, 3/23/2000])

"Is there anything else you can do to protect your brain functioning as you age? Absolutely.
Regular exercise and having an active mental life are both associated with better cognitive aging.
If you are addicted to alcohol, tobacco, and/or drugs, you now have yet another reason to overcome this problem, because over time these vices take a dramatic toll on the brain.

Minimize your exposure to toxic chemicals, including heavy metals like lead, aluminum and mercury.
Don’t take prescription drugs unnecessarily. Serious memory problems have been associated with cholesterol-lowering statin drugs.

And don’t take over-the-counter drugs lightly, either. Even seemingly harmless medications, such as antihistamines and decongestants, can pose unexpected risks.

Can supplements help? Taken selectively, yes. The B-vitamins have been shown to be particularly useful, especially for older people. Elderly people are more likely to have B-vitamin deficiencies than younger people, due to greater use of prescription drugs, and lower vitamin bioavailability due to declining levels of the enzymes involved in vitamin metabolism. Of the B-vitamins, choline is specifically critical for the preservation of memory. As well, blood-flow enhancers like quercetin and d-phenylalinine, and herbals such as Huperzine, Rhodiola rosea, and gingko have been shown to improve   memory and focus in older people.

But most important of all is the food you eat.

Eating a diet high in antioxidants is essential. Antioxidants protect against free radical damage, and free radical damage is deeply implicated in the development of cognitive dysfunction and dementia.
The extent to which free radicals can damage our brains is dependent on whether we get enough antioxidant shields to protect ourselves from them. Vegetarians have an advantage here, because plant foods contain more antioxidants, and animal-based foods tend to activate free radical production and cell damage.

As I mentioned, there is only a single study that suggests soy might be a problem. On the other hand, there are a great many studies that demonstrate the benefit of a plant-based diet high in antioxidants for brain function.

I’ll briefly mention just a few of these.

A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found high vitamin E and vitamin C levels to each be associated with less memory loss in the elderly.

A study published in 1997 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined dietary intake and cognitive function in a large group of people aged 65 to 90 years. Researchers concluded that “a diet with less fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol, and more carbohydrate, fiber, vitamins (especially folate, vitamins C and E, and beta-carotenes), and minerals (iron and zinc)…(was shown) not only to improve the general health of the elderly but also to improve cognitive function.”

A study published in 1997 in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society found that scores on mental tests were higher among older people who consumed the most vitamin C and beta-carotene.
Other studies published in the British Medical Journal and the Journal of the American Medical Association have found that low levels of vitamin C in the blood are linked to poorer cognitive performance in old age, while B vitamins and beta-carotene are linked to better cognitive function.
While only one study has suggested a link between soy consumption and cognitive dysfunction, many studies have found distinct correlations between dietary antioxidants and improved cognition. This is quite important. And by the way, I know of no study that suggests that consuming more dietary antioxidants impairs mental functioning or increases memory loss.

The best sources of dietary antioxidants are fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains and legumes. It is clear that a diet rich in these foods provides significant protection against cognitive decline.
A whole foods plant-based diet based on fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains and legumes is good for brain function because it is rich in antioxidants, but there’s another reason, too. The health of your arteries and vessels that transport blood to and from your brain is dependent on how well you eat. Diets high in saturated fats and trans-fats reduce the flow of oxygen and nutrients to your brain, and pave the way for strokes to occur. On the other hand, diets that maintain healthy cholesterol levels and a healthy cardiovascular system ensure proper blood flow to the brain, supplying the necessary raw ingredients for it to function optimally.

Many studies speak to us about the relationship between diet and the most serious forms of dementia, such as strokes (vascular dementia) and Alzheimer’s. Here are a few:

Studies published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s disease and the Journal of the American Medical Association compared Alzheimer’s rates to dietary variables in 11 different countries, and found the highest rates of the disease among people with a high fat intake and low intake of whole grains.
In a publication from the famous Framingham study, researchers concluded that for every three additional servings of fruits and vegetables a day, the risk of stroke is reduced by 22 percent. And three servings, as defined by this study, are not very much. In this study, 1/2 cup of peaches, of 1/4 cup of tomato sauce, or 1/2 cup of broccoli, or one potato were each considered one serving. By this standard, the men in the study who consumed the most fruits and vegetables consumed as many as 19 servings a day.

In yet another study, scientists analyzed food intake and cognitive performance for over 5,000 older people. Publishing their results in 1997 in the Annals of Neurology, they found that people who consumed the most fat and saturated fat had the highest risk of dementia due to vascular problems.
A large study published in the Archives of Neurology in 2003 found that older people can reduce their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by eating fish, consuming fish oil, or taking DHA supplements. Participants in the study who consumed fish once a week had a 60% lower risk of developing the disease than did those who rarely or never ate fish. Participants whose daily intake of DHA was about 100 mg/day had an incidence of Alzheimer’s which was 70% lower than those with an intake of 30 mg/day or less.

Another study on Alzheimer’s disease found that the risk of getting the disease was 3.3 times greater among people whose blood folic acid levels were in the lowest one-third range, and 4.5 times greater when blood homocysteine levels were in the highest one-third. The study found it desirable to maintain low blood homocysteine levels and high blood folic acid levels, a situation most easily achieved on a whole foods plant-based diet with ample vitamin B-12. (Because adequate B-12 is necessary to regulate homocysteine levels, people whose B-12 levels are low may risk higher homocysteine.) The best source of folic acid is green leafy vegetables. Homocysteine is an amino acid that is derived primarily from animal protein.

In our society, we come to take for granted that aging will bring restricted short term memory and diminished mental faculties. A visit to most nursing homes demonstrates how commonly and how markedly people in our society experience cognitive decline as they age. As one comedian described it, “First you forget names, then you forget faces, then you forget to pull your zipper up, then you forget to pull your zipper down.”

But there is good science to show that we can experience clear thinking well into our later years. It is not soy consumption, but the standard American high-saturated fat diet, low in vegetables and fruits and whole grains and thus low in brain-preserving antioxidants, that is primarily responsible for the unhealthy outcomes we see so often in our elderly.

By the way, you mentioned that your wife is now breast-feeding a two-year-old. Congratulations to you both on your new child, and doubly congratulations to your wife for breastfeeding for so long. The health benefits for breastfeeding are dramatic.

Keep on laughing, keep on taking care of yourself, and you won’t be one of the people who ends up lamenting, “If I knew I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.”

With joy in the adventure of life,

John"

MORE ON SOY AND COGNITIVE FUNCTION:

Some recent stories have raised questions about soy’s impact on cognitive function.  A University of Hawaii researcher, Dr. Lon White, reviewing previous data collected on food intake from Japanese-American men reported a possible association between high tofu intake and loss of cognitive function.  Dr. Lon White’s study was an observation – it does not show cause and effect.  Many environmental factors have been related to memory loss, only a few have persisted when tested in clinical trials.

In Dr. White’s epidemiological study, the men consuming large amounts of tofu differed significantly from the other men in the study.  The men who consumed more tofu were older by over two years (may account for the differences in the brain size), had suffered more strokes (a condition that directly compromises cognitive function), and had come from poorer families (possibly with compromised nutrition in utero and infancy that would limit brain development.)

Taken alone these findings are troublesome, Dr. Thomas Badger, a soy researcher with the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition center, notes that common sense argues against such findings.  “Millions of people have consumed soy for centuries.  In countries where the highest consumption occurs, there is no epidemiological data to support cognitive problems.  In fact, these countries actually celebrate aging, and their political and business leaders are in general much older and function at a high level.”

13.) Does soy interfere with thyroid therapy, or cause or exacerbate thyroid problems?

 Here's a Q and A from http://www.drfuhrman.com/ ,Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s website (author of “Eat to Live”):
 Q: I've recently read that walnuts, soy products and high fiber foods are contraindicated to the efficacy of synthroid. I am hypothyroid, take .75/day, and all of those foods are a significant part of my diet. What, if any,  foods effect the thyroid in this way?

A: The relationship between certain high fiber foods and binding of the drugs in the digestive tract inhibiting absorption of thyroid replacement therapy is slight.  The PDR (Physician's Drug Reference) recommends avoiding such foods at the exact time of taking the    medication; however studies of those  who take the medication with a meal compared to those who did not showed such a small difference that doctors don't usually bother even mentioning it.  There was one case reported in the medical literature of a person who had to increase the dose of her Synthroid because she took it at the same time as her high protein soy shake each morning.  To sum up, it is not important, but if you can take your medication an hour before a meal or at bedtime and see if you can get by with a hair less, but I doubt it, especially because you are taking such a low dose already. JF

By Virginia Messina, MPH, RD & Mark Messina, PhD:

(Mark Messina, PhD, MS is a nutritionist with a master’s degree in nutrition from the University of Michigan and a doctorate in nutrition from Michigan State University. He was employed by the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health where he identified research needs in the area of diet and cancer prevention.

Virginia [Ginny]Messina, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian with a masters in public health nutrition from the University of Michigan. She has taught nutrition at the university level, was a foods and nutrition specialist for the Michigan Cooperative Extension Service and was director of nutrition services for George Washington University Medical Center. She works on a number of projects with the American Dietetic Association's Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice group, served as editor of the newsletter Issues in Vegetarian Dietetics, is editor of a series of fact sheets on vegetarian nutrition produced by ADA and is co-author of the ADA's 1997 position paper on vegetarian diets.)

"Soyfoods and Thyroid
Many foods contain goitrogens, compounds that interfere with thyroid function (and in extreme cases can cause an enlarged thyroid, called a goiter). Along with soyfoods, millet, cruciferous vegetables and other foods contain goitrogens. Generally, these foods cause problems only in areas where iodine intake is low since this mineral is important for thyroid function. The effects of iodine deficiency can be made worse if the diet is high in goitrogens.

Although a concern about soy and thyroid function may be news to many vegans, it has actually been a focus of research for more than 70 years. 6 Between 1951 and 1961, this research took on a special importance when about 10 cases of goiter were diagnosed in infants who had been fed infant formula made from soy flour. These old studies form some of the basis for arguments that soy is dangerous for infants. However, the situation for today's soy formula-fed infant is very different. Since the 1960's, soy-based infant formula has been made from soy protein isolate (which does not contain the goitrogens component; soy flour formulas did) and it is fortified with iodine. No cases of goiter have been diagnosed in infants fed this formula in the past 40 years.

Nor is there any evidence that consuming soy causes thyroid problems in healthy, well-nourished people who have adequate iodine in their diet. . 7-10 However, it is possible that eating a diet with generous amounts of soyfoods could be a problem for people whose iodine intake is marginal. And that might just include some vegans, since the main sources of iodine in western diets are fish and milk. But the appropriate response to this is not to limit healthful soyfoods; it's to get enough iodine. Vegetables have varying amounts of iodine depending on where they are grown. In some parts of the world--specifically northern Europe--vegans may have low intakes of iodine. Foods that can supply iodine to vegan diets are sea vegetables, although contents vary quite a bit. Fortified foods are also a good source. Iodized salt is about the most reliable source. Vegans should be sure that, when they season foods with salt, it is iodized. If this isn't a regular part of your diet, use an iodine supplement.

CONCLUSION: Soyfoods may contain goitrogenic compounds as do other foods. There is no evidence that eating soyfoods regularly causes thyroid problems in people who eat a balanced diet. Vegans should make an effort to include adequate sources of iodine in their diet."

14.) Who are these people you call "anti-soy" who are spreading the fear of all things soy?

That's just what I asked myself.  Where are these people are coming from, the ones that seem to have vendetta against the common soybean?

ONE OF THE MAJOR SOURCES IS THE WESTON A PRICE FOUNDATION, A BASTION OF ANTI-VEGETARIANISM: (You can visit their website to verify what I have posted here, if you wish.)
I would not be so concerned about what these people advocate, if I didn’t see how widespread their influence is. Because they have naturopaths and herbalists on their board, their information goes far and wide on the internet, on “health food” and “natural living” sites, and people don’t even realize where it originated. I have seen their articles reprinted over and over on other sites, with no sourcing.

Here is a good article about the Weston A. Price Foundation, written by John Robbins: http://www.vegsource.com/articles2/robbins_weston_price.htm

Here is a whole series of articles written by Dr. Joel Fuhrman:

Part One: The truth about the Weston Price Foundation
Part Two: Facts, and Weston Price Foundation Fantasies
Part Three: Dr. Joe Mercola and Unscientific Double Talk
Part Four: Do Primitive People Really Live Longer?
Part Five: Legitimate Concerns for Vegans

They (WAPF) cloak their opinions in a veil of “natural health” and whole foods—but these whole foods include a diet of up to 70% fat (see board member’s diets below) and full of animal fats and protein.  (Read scientist T. Colin Campbell’s “The China Study” AND his response to Weston A. Price, for antidotes! http://www.vegsource.com/articles2/campbell_china_response.htm )  Their “Myths and truths” section contains wildly misinformed articles on soy, vegetarianism, mad cow disease and osteoporosis.  In their book reviews section, they give the “thumbs down” to “The Womanly Art of Breast Feeding” (by the La Leche League) and any other book that even remotely encourages vegetarianism or low-fat diet.

In their “Farm and Ranch” section, they have such articles as:
The Vegan Ecological Wasteland
Real Eggs from a Real Farm
Pastured poultry
and much more.

“Food Features” on the site include articles on:
Biltong, the South African dried meat;
The wonders of unpasteurized ham and salami;
Learning to maximize the use of your real milk and cream;
Why butter is better;
Cooking with cow colostrum;
Lamb shoulder stew and hearty beef soup;
Fermented honey;
The wonders of gelatin broth;
The value of eating oysters;
and “The whole bird”—utilizing the whole chicken.

One of the Weston A. Price “Dietary Dangers”:
Do not practice strict vegetarianism (veganism); animal products provide vital nutrients not found in plant foods.

John Robbins (author of “Diet for a New America”, “The Food Revolution”, “May All Be Fed”, and  “Reclaiming Our Health”; founder of EarthSave International) writes in his article “The Truth About Soy?” at http://www.foodrevolution.org/blog/the-truth-about-soy/

“The evidence that breast is best is overwhelming. Infants breast-fed by vegetarian mothers have all these advantages, plus more, because the milk of vegetarian mothers has the added advantage of harboring substantially fewer residues from pesticides and other toxic chemicals. Yet the anti-soy crusader Sally Fallon [president of the Weston A. Price Foundation,  bastion of anti-vegetarian thought and misinformation, and the font of the anti-soy “movement..BCG] would evidently prefer that an infant be fed a cow's milk formula rather than breastmilk, if the mother is a vegetarian. She writes that "breast milk is best IF the mother has consumed a …diet…rich in animal proteins and fat throughout her pregnancy and continues to do so while nursing her child."

Why would someone make a statement like that? Where are these soy antagonists coming from? What are they trying to prove?

Fallon and Enig are proponents of the philosophy that in order to be healthy people must eat large amounts of saturated fat from animal products. They insist that only with the regular consumption of lard, butter and other full fat dairy products, and beef, can people derive the nutrients they need to be healthy. They deplore the fact that soy products are increasingly replacing animal products in the American diet.

Many of the most vocal soy bashers are of similar dietary persuasions. Joseph Mercola, for example, a Chicago osteopath who has authored a series of vehemently anti-soy articles that have circulated widely on the internet, is an ardent advocate of eating beef, chicken, turkey, ostrich, and other meats."

Thanks for that, John!

Now, whether you are a meat-eater or not, you probably know someone who is vegetarian and has breastfed her babies, who are just as healthy as the next baby, maybe more. Evidently, the authors have not read the American Dietetic Association’s Position Paper on Vegetarianism, which you can read here: http://www.vegsource.com/nutrition/adapaper.htm

 In it is this statement:  “Well-planned vegan and lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including during pregnancy and lactation. Appropriately planned vegan and lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets satisfy nutrient needs of infants, children, and adolescents and promote normal growth.” ( This is the professional association for Registered Dieticians, similar to the American Medical Association, the professional body representing doctors.)

FALLON AND ENIG’S ARTICLE ON BREASTFEEDING (From the Weston A. Price Foundation):
Here is a quote from that article: “Breastfeeding is best. . . in a perfect world. But the world is not perfect and self-evident statements are not always true. Breastfeeding advocates argue that breast-fed children have lower mortality rates and better levels of health than formula-fed children. In third world countries, where the cleanliness needed for safe bottle-feeding is lacking, this is undoubtedly true. But a perusal of recent studies comparing breastfed and formula-fed infants presents a real dilemma for breastfeeding advocates because the research does not provide a clear case of benefit.”
AND:
“Behind the simple mantra "breastfeeding is best," gliding easily off the tongues of lactation consultants, sales reps, government officials and pediatricians, lurk several gross deceptions that usher millions of women into the arms of the formula industry. First is the deception that insufficient milk is rare. Yes, it is rare in a society of truly healthy people but the western nations are not inhabited by truly healthy people. The production and release of milk is governed by a complex interaction of hormones, involving the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and thyroid gland. There are plenty of places where it can go wrong and given the high levels of thyroid and endocrine problems in western women, it's a wonder that so many nurse successfully at all. Insufficient milk supply is a problem more common than the medical profession wants to admit, as many a valiant breastfeeding mother, starting off with the best of intentions, has learned to her sorrow.

Second is the deception that "Almost all mothers can produce good milk, even if their diet is not perfect." With this statement we turn our backs on the accumulated wisdom of traditional people throughout the globe, most of whom recognized that nursing mothers need special diets to meet the special needs of the growing infant. As early as the 1940s, Weston Price observed a decline in the quality of human breast milk, as evidenced by the extensive dental problems he found in his breastfed patients. The recent poor showing of breastfed infants in comparison trials indicates that modern human milk is not better—and possibly worse—than it was in Price's day.

The final deception is that babies should not be given homemade formula made with cow or goat milk. Early books on infant feeding recognized that milk from a cow (or goat, water buffalo, camel, sheep, reindeer or llama) was the logical substitute. How wise these early writers seem in comparison to our modern "experts":

Nature does not always confer upon a woman the important capacity for nursing her baby, but the women who are able should do so. Every pregnant woman should not only be impressed with the importance of this duty on her part, but with the essential preparation for accomplishing it. However, there are women who for some reason cannot perform this natural function—for these, it is necessary to learn to take advantage of the way now available to them to feed the infant artificially. The logical substitute for human milk is cow's milk (or goat's milk)."

Of course, they neglect to add that, after World War I, women in industrialized countries were being persuaded that bottlefeeding was the "modern way" to raise children and were actively discouraged from breastfeeding their children.  Many women were told that they didn't have enough milk, when, in truth, the management of nursing (separating mothers from their babies for hours after birth, telling mothers to nurse only every 4 hours, etc.) by ill-informed doctors discouraged the flow of milk.  My mother experienced this in the 1930's and 40's, and I experienced it in the 1960's.  I was told that I didn't have enough milk for my first child, but I was able to nurse the subsequent three with no problem, when I had the proper advice.

Here is what they say about La Leche League (NOTE FROM BRYANNA: I was a La Leche League http://lalecheleague.org/ab.html leader and one of my daughters was a "second-generation" La Leche League leader.):

"No one can dispute the service that La Leche League has performed in raising awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding. However, the organization is also the most influential proponent of the fallacy (my italics, BCG) that 'all mothers can nurse successfully'."

You can go to their website (if you can stomach it) to read their so-called “discussion” about breastfeeding, answering a letter from an LLL leader;  or how they advocate feeding raw milk to babies; or their homemade baby formula recipes (they advocate egg yolk as baby’s first solid food)-- an excerpt (my italics, bold type and colored type-- BCG):

“Fortunately, it is possible to compose a formula that closely resembles mother's milk. Whenever possible this formula should be based on raw organic milk, from cows certified free of tuberculosis and brucellosis. The milk should come from cows that eat food appropriate to cows, which is green grass in the warm months and hay and root vegetables in the winter, not soy or cottonseed meal. Ideally, the milk should come from Jersey or Guernsey cows, rather than Holsteins, so that it has a high butterfat content. This may be purchased at the farm in some states. Of course, such milk should be produced under the cleanest possible conditions and stored in sterilized containers. But the milk should be unheated. Properly produced raw milk does not pose a danger to your baby, in spite of what numerous public health propagandists may assert. Raw milk contains enzymes and antibodies that make it less susceptible to bacterial contamination than pasteurized milk, while many toxins that cause diarrhea and other ailments survive the pasteurization process. Your nose will tell you if raw milk is contaminated or spoiled—but pasteurized milk may be seriously contaminated with no telltale warning odor. Raw milk is easier for your baby to digest than pasteurized and less likely to cause cramps, constipation and allergies. If it is not possible for you to obtain certified raw milk, begin with the best quality pasteurized whole milk you can find, milk that is not homogenized, and culture it for 12 hours with piima culture or kefir grains to restore enzymes lost through pasteurization (pages 83 and 88). Or, you may prepare a milk-free formula made from organic liver. Organic liver should also be added to formula made from goat milk, as goat milk is deficient in iron, folic acid and vitamin B12.

Both our milk-based and meat-based formulas have been designed to provide maximum possible correspondence with the various components of human milk. Our milk-based formula takes account of the fact that human milk is richer in whey, lactose, vitamin C, niacin, manganese and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids compared to cows milk but leaner in casein (milk protein). The addition of gelatin to cow's milk formula will make it more digestible for the infant. The liver-based formula also mimics the nutrient profile of mother's milk. Use only truly expeller-expressed oils in the formula recipes, otherwise they may lack vitamin E.

A wise supplement for all babies—whether breast fed or bottle fed—is an egg yolk per day, beginning at four months. Egg yolk supplies cholesterol needed for mental development as well as important sulphur-containing amino acids. Egg yolks from pasture-fed hens or hens raised on flax meal,   fish meal or insects are also rich in the omega-3 long-chain fatty acids found in mother's milk but which may be lacking in cow's milk. These fatty acids are essential for the development of the brain. Parents who institute the practice of feeding egg yolk to baby will be rewarded with children who speak and take directions at an early age. The white, which contains difficult-to-digest proteins, should not be given before the age of one year. Small amounts of grated, raw organic liver may be added occasionally to the egg yolk after six months.This imitates the practice of African mothers who chew liver before giving it to their infants as their first food. Liver is rich in iron, the one mineral that tends to be low in mother's milk possibly because iron competes with zinc for absorption.”

“At the age of about ten months, meats, fruits and vegetables may be introduced, one at a time so that any adverse reactions may be observed. Carbohydrate foods, such as potatoes, carrots, turnips, etc., should be mashed with butter. (Don't overdo on the orange vegetables as baby's immature liver may have difficulty converting carotenoids to vitamin A. If your baby's skin develops a yellowish color, a sign that he is not making the conversion, discontinue orange vegetables for a time.) Lacto-fermented taro or other roots (page 102) make an excellent carbohydrate food for babies. It is wise to feed babies a little buttermilk or yoghurt from time to time to familiarize them with the sour taste. Above all, do not deprive your baby of animal fats—he needs them for optimum physical growth and mental development. Mother's milk contains over 50% of its calories as fat, much of it saturated fat, and children need these kinds of fats throughout their growing years.”

MORE OF THEIR "ADVICE":

VEGANISM: "The milk of vegan mothers will be lacking in vitamin B12 and important long-chain fatty acids. If a vegan mother insists on breastfeeding, her baby's diet should be supplemented with cod liver oil, egg yolks and liver, all animal foods."

“DIET FOR PREGNANT WOMEN AND NURSING MOTHERS
Cod liver oil to supply 10,000-20,000 IU vitamin A daily
2/ 8-ounce glasses whole milk daily, preferably raw and from pasture-fed cows
4 tablespoons butter daily, preferably from pasture-fed cows
2 or more eggs daily, preferably from pastured chickens
Additional egg yolks daily, added to smoothies, salad dressings, scrambled eggs, etc.
3-4 ounces fresh liver, once or twice per week
Fresh seafood, 2-4 times per week, particularly wild salmon, shellfish and fish eggs
Fresh beef or lamb daily, always consumed with the fat
Oily fish or lard daily, for vitamin D
2 tablespoons coconut oil daily, used in cooking or smoothies, etc.
Lacto-fermented condiments and beverages
Bone broths used in soups, stews and sauces
Soaked whole grains
Fresh vegetables and fruits”

AGAIN, I STATE THAT I DO NOT AGREE WITH OR ENDORSE ANY OF THE ADVICE OR COMMENTS FROM THE WESTON A. PRICE FOUNDATION OR ITS SUPPORTERS POSTED ABOVE-- I MERELY WANT VEGETARIANS AND OTHERS TO KNOW THE ANTI-VEGETARIAN AGENDA THAT FUELS THE ANTI-SOY CAMPAIGN.  BCG

Fallon, Enig and Mercola’s articles are full of untrue statements, half-truths and down-right hysteria.  They are virulently anti-vegetarian and advise that you can only be healthy if you eat not only animal protein, but plenty of animal fats!

These people promote a book by Kaayla Daniel called "The Whole Soy Story" (who also wrote a scare-mongering article in Mothering magazine and is on the Board of Directors of the anti-vegetarian, anti-soy Weston A. Price Foundation.  (See the letter below from some of the scientists she whose data she  misinterprets below.)

To see where she is coing from, this is one of the recommendations in an article entitled “Why Broth is Beautiful” by Daniel (an article on the Weston A. Price website promoting gelatin for joint health, a notion that she admits even Knox gelatin doesn’t endorse!):

“Boil a piece of pig skin for at least 3 hours until it becomes very soft. Eat it as is, with mustard or horseradish, or put it through a mincer and add it to other food. The important thing is regular use—a tablespoon or more every day, along with a diet that contains adequate animal protein and lots of nourishing animal fats. " !!!!

In this article she dredges up old studies that even Knox gelatin discarded claiming, among other things, that gelatin detoxifies the liver!

A letter in "Thyroid and gyn issues" from 2 scientists:
We are writing in response to the article by Kaayla Daniel entitled "The Whole Soy Story." We firmly congratulate Dr. Daniel for seeking to shed scientific light on misleading claims and uses of supplements, which the public feels are safe, generally without data to support that impression.
However, we are disappointed that Dr. Daniel did not apply the same standards of scientific accuracy to her own work and claims. While we cannot comment on the many issues and studies she referred to, we can comment in detail on her misleading statements about our work.1

As she indicates, "most of the evidence damning soy formula can be found only in animal studies." To that end, it is disappointing that she chooses to dismiss, misquote, and misinterpret data from the one large study in humans and a study subjected to peer review by one of the most prestigious journals in the medical literature. The "buried" findings regarding thyroid problems, cervical cancer, polycystic ovarian syndrome, blocked fallopian tubes, and pelvic inflammatory disease specifically mentioned by Dr. Daniel were all based on a very small number of events. The differences between the patients with these medical conditions receiving soy formula and those receiving milk formula did not even approach statistical significance-that is, the data did not meet the minimal scientific criterion for suggesting an increased risk.

Thus, our data were certainly not compatible with an increase in risk. However, since we felt we could not definitively prove the absence of risk with these small numbers, our conclusions on these outcomes were indeed not highlighted. If we had highlighted them, we would have pointed out more explicitly that there was no increased risk identified in this study.

Most importantly, our study, in contrast to Dr. Daniel's paper, met all scientific criteria for rigorous peer-reviewed scientific research.

NOTE
1. B. L. Strom et al., "Exposure to Soy-based Formula in Infancy and Endocrinological and Reproductive Outcomes in Young Adulthood," Journal of the American Medical Association 286 (2001): 807-814.

Brian L. Strom, MD, MPH
Rita Schinnar, MPA

And how about this for a laugh—Fallon and Enig write: “Zinc deficiency can cause a 'spacey' feeling that some vegetarians may mistake for the 'high' of spiritual enlightenment."  Excuse me?! !

AND, they also write: “ The most important foods to avoid: Meats grilled or broiled at high temperatures.”

And the following is from a new book called “Fresh Choices” http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0875968961/qid=1149280478/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-4483753-1450345?s=books&v=glance&n=283155 , by David Joachim and Rochelle Davis (executive director and founder of Generation Green, a non-profit advocacy group that promotes awareness of environmental health issues){Rodale Press, 2004)  which is not a vegetarian book by any   means.  It advises on what are the groceries that are important to buy organic and which are low-pesticide even though not organic:

"When the International Agency for Research on Cancer (an arm of the World Health Organization) looked at the diets of nearly half a million Europeans, they found that those who ate more cured meats like hot dogs, sausage, salami, bacon, bologna, and deli meats had a 50% increase in colon cancer risk.  In the United States, Cornell University researchers looked at 12 different studies and concluded that eating processed meats can increase breast cancer risk.  And a recent study from Harvard University School of Public Health found that eating too much processed meat may increase risk of Type 2 diabetes.  Nitrites are the suspected culprit, as previous studies have already linked nitrites to increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, the kind that most often afflicts children."

There are a lot more North Americans out there wolfing down charred hamburgers, salami, ham and hotdogs, than they are tofu burgers and veggie dogs!  In 1987, in fact, the per capita consumption of tofu and other soyfoods in the USA was less than 1 percent that of meat.  Even today, if we multiply that by 5 or even 10, it’s still a tiny amount compared to the amount of meat being eaten.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell (of the China Project) said that you can’t just look at one study, you have to look at the big picture.

Virginia Messina, RD and Dr. Mark Messina write:
“It is important to recognize some important facts about scientific research. It's true that there have been studies showing negative effects associated with soy consumption. But it is a rare situation where every single study on a subject is in agreement. There are always a few that sit in direct contrast to the majority of the studies. So it is never a good idea to suggest broad conclusions or recommendations based on one or two studies. By picking and choosing individual studies carefully enough, you can prove just about anything you would like about nutrition. That's why health experts look at all the research and pay attention to the totality of the evidence, not just to a few studies.

Many of the studies that have concluded that soy is unhealthful have used animals as subjects. Drawing conclusions about human health from animal research can be very misleading. For example, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables contain a compound (called indole-3 carbinol) that is an anticarcinogen in humans. But in some other species, it causes cancer. 5 If we looked only at the results of the studies in those species, the FDA would no doubt ban broccoli and cabbage from grocery stores.” 

I DO NOT AGREE WITH OR ENDORSE ANY OF THE ADVICE OR COMMENTS FROM THE WESTON A. PRICE FOUNDATION OR ITS SUPPORTERS POSTED BELOW-- I MERELY WANT VEGETARIANS AND OTHERS TO KNOW THE ANTI-VEGETARIAN AGENDA THAT FUELS THE ANTI-SOY CAMPAIGN.  BCG

NOTE: I repeat, I would not be so concerned about what these people advocate, if I didn’t see how widespread their influence is.  Because they have naturopaths and herbalists on their board of directors, their information goes far and wide on the internet, on “health food” and “natural living” sites, and people don’t even realize where it originated.  I have seen their articles reprinted over and over on other sites, with no sourcing.

ADDED NOTE June 20, 2007:  The ultimate in soy hysteria can be found here, where the author claims that feeding soy to your children will make them homosexual and reduce penis size, and that eating it as an adult will lower your libido AND make it impossible to conceive!




15) Isn't the growing of soy responsible for massive deforestation in Latin America and elsewhere?  
Here's an excellent article: http://gentleworld.org/as-we-soy-so-shall-we-reap/

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Soy Article Comments:
I was quoted in an article on soy in the Canadian magazine Maclean's available online here:

There were a number of comments, some of which I addressed myself.  There was one long comment (#27) by "Loretta", which covered alot of territory.  I couldn't help myself from answering, but the answer is too long to post with the comments, so I am going to link to it here:

L: Why do people always think the 'meat or dairy boards' are trying to slam soy, without considering the massive industry of soy, one of the biggest and dirtiest businesses in the world. We can't blame the beef any longer for the disappearing rainforest.

B: I'm afraid we CAN blame beef (and other meat products) for the disappearing rainforest, as most of the world's soybean crop goes to animal feed.  Nearly 80 percent of the global soybean harvest is milled into animal feed, according to the Worldwatch Institute.

In addition: "..soybean oil accounted for 92 percent of the 250 million liters of biodiesel made in the United States, a recent use that is bound to grow as Americans turn to biofuels to replace imported oil.27 Similarly, 59 percent of Brazilian biodiesel came from soy."http://www.worldwatch.org/node/5442

L: Here's just a few of the errors/omissions/misconceptions in this article:
Messina is indeed a 'soy expert'. He's at the top of the soy industry food chain. His interest in soy is massive, it's called money.

B: Mark Messina, Ph.D., M.S., is an adjunct associate professor at Loma Linda University; co-owner of Nutrition Matters Inc. (a nutrition consulting firm); and executive director of the Soy Nutrition Institute. He served as program director for the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and has published more than 50 articles and book chapters for health professionals. He has also given more than 400 presentations to both consumer and professional groups throughout the United States and in 35 countries.

So, yes, he makes his living (but "massive money"?  Do you know something I don't know?) as a scientist in his field of expertise.  He  is a well-respected professional.  Should we not consult real scientists?  I could just as well criticize a former WAPF board member, Joseph Mercola, who puts himself out there as a "nutrition expert", though he is actually an osteopath and entrepreneur, selling everything on his websites from bison to vitamins to cookware to coconut oil on his websites, plus membership programs, articles, etc. .
L: It's not the Western A. Price Foundation, but the Weston A. Price Foundation. They are not paid by the meat or dairy board. Their main slant is not to knock soy, but to advocate traditional foods, including hormone-free, grass-fed, compassionately farmed meats, fats that are not rancid and artificially processed, and chemical free whole foods. The foundation follows the work of Weston Price, a dentist, who went around the world to study tooth decay and health, expecting to find vegetarian cultures that fit his paradigm of health. His studies of nutritional anthropology and modern health advocate whole and traditional foods, as does the foundation. Dr. Kaayla Daniel, who is a member of the foundation, wrote a book called The Whole Soy Story.

B:  I'm  going to quote author John Robbins  from an article at http://www.vegsource.com/articles2/robbins_weston_price.htm in answer to the above: 
"Weston Price was an American dentist who traveled around the world, camera and film in hand, in the late 1920s and early 1930s. An entire chapter in my latest book, Healthy At 100, is devoted to his work.
Price specifically sought out native peoples who were still eating their native foods. He asked about their dietary habits, then examined and took photographs of their teeth. At the same time, he undertook similar studies and took similar photos of people from the same cultures who had become exposed to Western foods, and who had begun to substitute foods like white flour, white sugar, marmalade and canned goods for their native diets....

Today, Price's work has attracted a loyal and devoted following among those who rebel against processed foods and who seek a way of life more in tune with nature's laws. Some of his more ardent followers say his accomplishments are more important than those of Charles Darwin, Linus Pauling, or Jonas Salk, and that he was a greater genius than Albert Einstein. Others say his was the most important health research of all time.
Some of the most zealous of his followers now run an organization called the Weston A. Price Foundation. A book by the foundation's president, Sally Fallon, with the appealing title of Nourishing Traditions, has been a best-seller.

No doubt the foundation is doing good in awakening some people to the dangers of processed foods, but speaking as someone who has great respect for the work of Weston A. Price, I am sorry to say that to my eyes, the foundation that carries Price's name today is unfortunately exaggerating what was unbalanced in his work, and abandoning much of what was good.

For one thing, the foundation exudes an attitude of "you're either with us or you're against us" that is reminiscent of the dark side of cults. Those authors and researchers who the foundation disagrees with are caustically mocked. If these authors happen to subscribe to the findings of modern nutritional science, they are mocked and condemned for being "politically correct." Reputable scientists who dare suggest that saturated fat contributes to heart disease are denounced for being "as pc as pc can be—and totally ignorant."
Regrettably, those currently running the Weston A. Price Foundation seem to be oblivious to the spirit of compassion which motivated the work of the man under whose name they act. Sadly, they are not just intolerant of people who eat or think differently than the way they advocate; they frequently demean and condemn those with whom they disagree. There is a nastiness, a mean-spiritedness, to their activities that is not worthy of the man in whose footsteps they presume to follow.

In fact, the more I've gotten to know the Weston A. Price Foundation, the less I've felt that it is actually carrying on the spirit or the work of the man in whose name it purports to function. For one example, Price never once mentioned the words "soy," "soybean," "tofu," or "soy milk" in his 500 page opus, and spoke quite positively about lentils and other legumes, yet the foundation has taken it upon itself to be vehemently and aggressively anti-soy, calling soy foods "more insidious than hemlock." (My thorough response to their specific accusations against soy foods can be seen at http://healthyat100.org/display.asp?catid=3&pageid=12

For another example, Price discovered many native cultures that were extremely healthy while eating lacto-vegetarian or pisco-vegan diets. Describing one lacto-vegetarian people, for example, he called them, "The most physically perfect people in northern India… the people are very tall and are free of tooth decay." Yet the foundation that operates under his name is strikingly hostile to vegetarians. Sally Fallon, the foundation's president, denounces vegetarianism as "a kind of spiritual pride that seeks …to shirk the earthly duties for which the physical body is created." She further insults vegetarians by saying they frequently suffer from zinc deficiency, but think it is spiritual enlightenment.

In 1934, Price wrote a moving letter to his nieces and nephews, instructing them in the diet he hoped they would eat. "The basic foods should be the entire grains such as whole wheat, rye or oats, whole wheat and rye breads, wheat and oat cereals, oat-cake, dairy products, including milk and cheese, which should be used liberally, and marine foods." Yet the Weston A. Price Foundation aggressively promotes the consumption of beef, pork and other high-fat meats, while condemning people who base their diets on whole grains.

One last example of the discrepancy between Price's actual work and those who today purport to represent it: Price never once mentioned the word "cholesterol," yet the foundation presuming to forward his work has declared war on the idea that high cholesterol levels are associated with higher rates of heart disease. "The truth is that cholesterol is your best friend," they write. "There is no greater risk of heart disease at cholesterol levels of 300 than 180." They might as well say there is no greater risk of lung cancer for heavy smokers, or that the Earth is flat.

I regret to say that those running the Weston A. Price Foundation today seem to have their own agenda. They are proponents of the philosophy that in order to be healthy, people must eat large amounts of saturated fat from animal products. They insist that only with the regular consumption of lard, butter and other full-fat dairy products, and beef, can people derive the nutrients they need to be healthy.
Toward that end, the Foundation has widely publicized an article written by a former member of the Foundation's Board of Directors, Stephen Byrnes, titled "The Myths of Vegetarianism."

The article is harshly critical of vegetarian diets, and concludes with an "About the Author" section which states: "Stephen Byrnes… enjoys robust health on a diet that includes butter, cream, eggs, meat, whole milk, dairy products and offal." In fact, Stephen Byrnes suffered a fatal stroke in June, 2004. According to reports of his death, he had yet to reach his 40th birthday."

In addition, the Foundation advises that vegetarian mothers should not breastfeed, and advises raw milk baby formulas and has a recipe for baby formula made from raw liver! 

As for Kaayla Daniel (who also wrote a scare-mongering article in Mothering magazine and is on the Board of Directors of WAPF-- see the letter from some of the scientists she whose data she  misinterprets--
to see where she is coming from, this is one of the recommendations in an article entitled "Why Broth is Beautiful" by Daniel (an article on the Weston A. Price website promoting gelatin for joint health, a notion that she admits even Knox gelatin doesn't endorse!):

"Boil a piece of pig skin for at least 3 hours until it becomes very soft. Eat it as is, with mustard or horseradish, or put it through a mincer and add it to other food. The important thing is regular use—a tablespoon or more every day, along with a diet that contains adequate animal protein and lots of nourishing animal fats. "  

In this article she dredges up old studies that even Knox gelatin discarded claiming, among other things, that gelatin detoxifies the liver! 

L: This whole idea that soy is a health food comes from- the soy industry! But the roots of soy are deep and dirty. Soy's big thrust here was as oil. Processed, poisonous 'vegetable oil.' You know, the stuff of margarine. Hydrogenated oil. Trans fat. Heart-healthy! the margarine companies chirped. For years we used the plastic on our food as a healthy alternate to butter. The cheap oil was used in all processed foods. Junk foods. As science came around, soy saw the bottom falling out of their market and began pumping another batch of health food stories. Think about it. Hydrogenated oil is one of the most toxic heart dangers, with ZERO as a safe limit. Why are the new 'health' products any different?

B: Scary stuff!  A bit of excessive hyperbole there. Just because the soy industry is trying to sell its products (just like the coconut oil industry, the noni juice industry, the supplements industry, etc., etc.) doesn't mean that soy is "poison"!  And you don't have to eat processed soy products, or any other processed products.  And the roots of soy are in Asia, where it has been used as a food for centuries.  According to Chinese tradition, soybeans were one of the five sacred crops named by Chinese emperor Sheng-Nung, who reigned five thousand years ago!  Sheng-Nung mentioned soybeans in his Ben Tsao Gang Mu, written in 2838 BC! The soybean was known as "meat without bones" or "the meat of the fields" in China.

If the soybean was "poison", Asian cultures would not have thrived and become empire, and I would be dead!  It's not only soy oil that is  hydrogenated-- any oil can be hydrogenated. Most soy oil (which I don't use, BTW) is a by-product of  processed soy for animal feed, so they sell it off to food processors and fast food companies, and for bio-diesal.  if so much was not grown for animal feed, they would not be foisting all that oil on the world.

L: The quote from the Asian girl about the flat earth was very cute and so on, and strategically used to make us think that anyone who thinks soy is dangerous is a lunatic. Recall that at first, EVERYONE thought the earth was flat because that's what they were told. The insinuation is, if we are thinking soy is harmful, we are idiots. But considering the massive amounts of evidence against it, we are actually the first to stop believing in that flat earth and consider a wider science.

B:  the "Asian girl" is actually a middle-aged master miso-maker (traditionally made Shinmeido Miso)!  And I'm still waiting for the "massive amounts of evidence" from reliable sources.

L: I don't know the measurement of soy products in Asia, and I am not Asian, and I do believe many Asians eat soy products. However, Asian cultures eat a lot of fish, raw fish, and vegetables, and less processed foods or wheat-based products. There are many many reasons why they don't have our diseases. Also, Chinese cultures eat a lot of eggs and pork. I mean, A LOT. Maybe this is why they have less cancer?

B:  Perhaps you should read "The China Study" by a true scientist Dr. T. Colin Campbell:  "For more than 40 years, T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. has been at the forefront of nutrition research. His legacy, the China Study, is the most comprehensive study of health and nutrition ever conducted. Dr. Campbell is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University and Project Director of the China-Oxford-Cornell Diet and Health Project. The study was the culmination of a 20-year partnership of Cornell University, Oxford University and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine.
Dr. Campbell received his master's degree and Ph.D. from Cornell, and served as a Research Associate at MIT. He spent 10 years on the faculty of Virginia Tech's Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition before returning to the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell in 1975 where he presently holds his Endowed Chair (now Emeritus)."

 Oh, and in case you are going to accuse him of being part of the "establishment", read Chapters 16 and 17 in his book  he is definitely NOT an establishment darling!

You can read about the study and link to results, comprehensive findings and papers about the study here.
For instance:
"Average protein intake [in China] was only about 65% of the average intake in the US. But, more significantly, only about 10% of the protein was provided by animal based foods, whereas in the US, it is about 70%. Thus, on an energy intake basis, animal protein intake is about 10-fold higher in the US, thus causing major differences in many nutrient intakes.

Probably one of the most significant findings is the positive association of animal protein with blood cholesterol (both total and LDL) and the inverse association with plant protein.

Also, an increasing intake of plant protein is associated with ever increasing body stature (height) reached during adulthood. Thus, a good quality plant based diet can lead to 'big' people." 
and:
"Comparison of diets in rural China with average American diets shows that Chinese diets are much lower in total fat (6-24% of calories, except for certain nomadic groups in northern China), much higher in dietary fiber (10-77 g/day), about 30% higher in total calorie intake and substantially lower in foods of animal origin.
These diets are much different from the average American diets, containing only about 0-20% animal based foods, while the average American diet is comprised of about 60-80% animal based foods.

Disease patterns in much of rural China tend to reflect those prior to the industrial revolution in the U.S., when cancers and cardiovascular diseases were much less prevalent.

The major comprehensive dietary factor responsible for disease rates of pre-industrialized societies changing to those of post-industrialized societies is the decision to consume much larger quantities of animal based foods."

 L: Finally, there was no mention of something very important: soy foods in Asia are fermented. The entire miso-making culture was about learning fermentation secrets. Why is this important? Because unfermented soyfoods are poison. Soy beans were used as fertilizer, and fermenting the bean made it edible to the people, all those years ago. Asians do not eat isolated soy protein or vegetarian soy and gluten patties. They eat pork, fish, vegetables, and traditionally fermented tofu. Tofu here, and most soyfoods, are not fermented. The fermenting process removes many of the toxins in the soy. Go ahead, ask a real Asian miso maker why they ferment the soy. They'll tell you why.

B: It happens that I CAN ask a "real Asian miso-maker"-- Yoshi Yoshihara of Shinmeido Miso-- your "Asian girl"! 

Unfermented soyfoods are not "poison" and are widely used in Asia in the forms of green soybeans, soymilk and fresh tofu.  There is archaeological evidence in the form of a kitchen scene in a Han tomb in Northern China, clearly depicting the preparation of soymilk and tofu.  This would be AD 25-100. Tofu is first mentioned in a document in 965 AD: the Ch'ing I Lu by T'ao Ku. The story implies that tofu was widely consumed in China in those days.

In Japan, even today, the words tofu, miso and shoyu (soy sauce) are commonly preceded in everyday speech by the honorific prefix o—most people saying "o-tofu", or "honorable tofu", showing the reverence for the noble soybean in their culture.

"Soy proponents claim that soy is a staple in Asia. A "staple" is defined as a major commodity, one that provides a large portion of calories in the diet, such as rice and fish in Japan, or rice and pork in China. The Japanese consume 150 pounds of fish per person per year, or almost one-half pound per person per day and a 1977 dietary survey in China determined that 65 percent of calories came from pork, including the pork fat used in cooking. By contrast, overall consumption of soy in Asia is surprisingly low. The average soy consumption in China is about 10 grams or 2 teaspoons per day. Levels are somewhat higher in Japan, averaging about 50 grams or 1/4 cup per day. (I assume that this is grams of soy product, but which one, I don't know-BCG.) In both countries, soy is used as a condiment or flavoring, and not as a substitute for animal foods. Seafood and seaweed in the Japanese diet provide sufficient iodine to counteract the negative effects of the isoflavones in soy."

Their sources?
1.) www.csa.com/hottopics/thyroid/oview.html (page no longer there!)
2.) soyonlineservice.co.nz (no specific article) (This is the New Zealand equivalent of Weston A. Price!)
3.) www.westonaprice.org (no specific article)

Now read the following from this article , by registered dietician Reed Mangels:
"If we look at the amount of soy isoflavones used in countries where soy is a regular part of the diet and where no harmful effects have been documented, perhaps this can give us some idea of a reasonable amount of soy. The average daily soy intake in Japan is about 65 grams per person, and the average isoflavone intake is about 20-32 milligrams per day. Higher intakes have been reported in China, where women's median isoflavone intake was 39 milligrams per day, and in Singapore, where the median intake was 35 milligrams per day. To find out the isoflavone level of your diet, use the USDA's isoflavone database, or look on packages of soy foods that you eat. Choosing 2-3 servings of soy per day will generally lead to an isoflavone intake similar to that seen in countries where soy is a regular part of the diet."

Notice the footnotes inserted in and listed under the article—something noticeably lacking from from the WAPF article!
l
Anti-soy writers put forth the theory that "non-fermented soy products contain phytic acid [phytates] which essentially acts as an anti-nutritive food because of its ability to bind with certain nutrients, including iron, zinc, copper and magnesium, thereby inhibiting their absorption."  This is a gross over-simplification and misinterpretation of the facts, frankly.   Nnot only fermenting, but also cooking, sprouting and soaking all destroy some of the phytates!  (And soy is not the only food that contains phytates.  Wheat bran has higher levels, and all whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, and some vegetables, contain them.)  Soyfoods are ALWAYS eaten cooked.  Even soy sprouts are eaten stir-fried or lightly steamed or in soups in China.  Green soybeans are also lightly cooked before eating.  Soymilk and tofu are both made from ground, cooked soybeans.  Soybeans and soy flour are virtually inedible raw, anyway.

L. Finally, if the aim is to make soy dissidents feel like neanderthal redneck homophobes, whatever. I'm pretty in pink, believe me. But that doesn't change the fact that hormone disruption is a dangerous thing. Artificial or natural, screwing with your hormone function is risky business. Plants are drugs, don't forget. Chemical drugs are based on plant science. So it makes sense, just possibly, that estrogen might not be a good idea to feed either boys or girls. You have the estrogen you need already. It's not about making anyone gay. It's about girls menstruating before age ten and little boys growing moobs. It is happening out there. It makes sense to question the hormones in meat, the estrogen in plastics, and the estrogen in soy foods.

B: Plant estrogens are simply NOT the same thing as human estrogens!  They are much, much weaker.  As I wrote in an earlier post: "The phytoestrogens in soy are structurally similar to human estrogen, but very weak compared to the estrogens that the human body produces. They bind with estrogen receptors in the human body. Isoflavones, found in soy, are only one type of phyto (or plant) hormone or sterol. There are many others available in a number of plant foods.

Isoflavones resemble animal (or human, in this case) estrogens just enough to be accepted by cell estrogen receptors and bind weakly to the cell surface membrane. The estrogen receptors have been compared to "tiny switching stations", "locks" or "docking stations" on the cells. Joanna Dwyer and colleagues at the New England Medical Center and Tufts University theorized in an article they wrote for The Journal of The American Dietetic Association (July 1994) that in premenopausal women the estrogen receptors are occupied and the weaker plant estrogens must compete for these sites. However, in postmenopausal women, whose self-produced estrogen declines about 60%, there is a far greater chance of the plant estrogens "docking" and this can increase the amount of estrogens available to her. For this reason, phytoestrogens are believed to protect against breast and prostate cancers, two hormone-dependent cancers."

The only guys I know with "man boobs" are obese chronic hamburger eaters, and there is plenty of evidence that girls in Asia and Seventh Day Adventist vegetarian girls (who eat alot of soy-- and not necessarily tofu, but lots of burgers and that sort of soyfood-- have a slightly LATER menarche than the average north American girl.  it is not a matter of controversy-- look it up.  What is happening out there is synthetic xenoestrogens flooding our world.

All the best,