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Enjoy Soy: Dr.Debunks Scaremonger Stories, Says Soy Beneficial For People And The Planet

Enjoy Soy: Dr.Debunks Scaremonger Stories, Says Soy Beneficial For People And The Planet

If you avoid eating  soy-based foods, including tofu, tempeh,  edamame, veggie burgers, and soy milk because you’ve heard reports claiming that soy products are responsible for everything from “man-boobs” and cancer to deforestation  you might be interested in the recent Guardian article urging people to ignore all the scaremonger stories and eat more soy.

According to the commentary, most anti-soy stories can be traced back to Weston A Price Foundation (WAPF), a group that claims that saturated animal fat is essential for good health, animal fat intake and high cholesterol levels aren’t connected to heart disease or cancer, vegetarians have lower life expectancy than meat-eaters, and other pro-meat propaganda that contradicts leading health experts, not to mention basic common sense.  One of WAPF’s more ardent supporters, Dr. Stephen Byrnes, openly boasted about his high animal fat diet and robust health—until he died of a stroke at 42.

Much of what the WAPF says is anecdotal, untrue, or based on scientifically flawed animal experiments, points out Dr. Justine Butler, a health campaigner for the Vegetarian & Vegan Foundation. There is no scientific evidence showing that soy is harmful to humans, yet some people continue to perpetuate groundless scare stories about soy. When Dr. Butler was interviewed for BBC Radio London, for example, the presenter asked her if soy foods were safe, then “fell about laughing saying he didn’t want to grow man-boobs.”

Now, I’m just guessing here, but I bet he wasn’t equally concerned about developing gynecomastia—the clinical term for man-boobs or “moobs”—from eating meat and dairy products, even though many physicians believe that the conditions is caused by the estrogen-mimicking chemicals in these foods. (Factory-farmed animals are fed growth-promoting hormones that accumulate in fat tissue and are taken up by the estrogen receptor sites in the body. Hormone-treated cow’s milk, for instance, contains high levels of Insulin Growth Factor (IGF-1), which studies show can cause gynecomastia.)

In fact, many of the people who have asked me about soy in the past think nothing of chowing down on hamburgers and cheese pizza. Soy may not be a “miracle food,” because there really is no such thing, but unlike meat, eggs, and dairy products, soy is cholesterol-free, low in saturated fat, and has cardiovascular benefits.

Researchers with the Cancer Center at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute have found evidence suggesting that eating soy can help ward off colon cancer, and soy is also known to prevent prostate and breast cancer. Research shows that women who eat soy, especially early in life, are 30 percent less likely to develop breast cancer, compared with women who eat little or no soy products. For women who’ve already been diagnosed with breast cancer, eating soy may actually help reduce their risk of a recurrence.

Research also shows that soy consumption can help prevent strokes, that menopausal women who eat soy may have fewer hot flashes, and that soy consumption can protect against osteoporosis. A study from Clinical and Experimental Allergy suggests that the antioxidants in soy may also benefit asthma sufferers.

And for those who’ve heard that soy production destroys the Amazonian rain forest, Dr. Butler rightfully points out that the problem is not people eating soy; it’s that 80% of the world’s soy is fed to farmed animals so that people can eat meat and dairy products.

So, while there’s no need to go overboard by drinking soy-infused water and the like, go ahead and enjoy soy. It’s not only healthy and humane, it’s versatile and delicious. As Dr. Butler concludes, both the rain forests and our health will benefit tremendously if more people switch from animal-based foods to a varied plant-based diet, including soy foods.

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613 comments

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1:12PM PDT on Oct 29, 2012

Used to be before GMO. I'd check with Mercola. He's a REAL doctor!

10:09AM PDT on Oct 29, 2012

But it is true, soy production contributes to rainforest destruction, just because 80% is fed to animals doesn't mean that the other 20% humans consume is sustainable

6:26AM PDT on Oct 29, 2012

I have read where there may not be a problem with eating soy 'per se,' however, like everything else, moderation is required. In our culture, soy is an ingredient in almost EVERY pre-made/processed product. There are so many forms of soy, such as lecithin and oil, that if we aren't making everything we eat from scratch, chances are, we are getting too much soy. And not just soy, processed, GM soy. Tofu, from my understanding is HIGHLY processed. When I consume soy, I try my best to make sure it is GMO free, but even buying a chocolate chip cookie that someone else has made (be it your neighbour, or store), or eating that piece of your kids Halloween candy, you are likely consuming GM soy (and/or corn!). We already get lots of it, even being VERY careful. Asian cultures eat a lot of sea vegetables along with their consumption of soy, which I remember as having a great deal to do with the their longevity, not soy alone. We too often try and isolate one thing and see it as good or bad...but we really need to be looking at these things in their full context. Impossible, I know.

6:08PM PDT on Jul 20, 2012

I would never trust a doctor named Debunks Scaremonger!

11:42AM PST on Jan 22, 2012

Just make sure you buy organic soy and you're fine. Tofu is divine when marinated in something you like, it absorbs flavors, it's not meant to be eaten plain!
Thanks for the article.

7:19AM PST on Jan 22, 2012

I go with Dr. Mercola.Only fermented soy.

3:43PM PST on Jan 17, 2012

LOL @ all you anti soy freaks! come on people, you'd think we were talking about arsenic! please go find something else to be neurotic about.

10:55AM PST on Feb 26, 2011

I'm omnivorous but I do love my veggies and fruit. Getting older I'm gravitating to eating more of them and less meat. I gave up eating fish a long time ago. I've heard about the hexamine scare and a few of the others like man boobs, lol. Frankly I don't mind many of the soy products as long as they are produced safely and 100% naturally. I absolutely detest and always will abhor TOFU. Could anything be more bland and unappetizing?

8:00AM PST on Feb 20, 2011

The soy products I buy are from my organic store so that settles the GMO issue. I gave the other possible risks related to soy a good think and I decided that I prefer to get sick this way than by eating too much meat, fish and dairy and participating in all the cruelty to animals involved in it. Viva Soya!

12:48AM PST on Feb 3, 2011

“Imagine drugs that are known, by years of scientific documentation, to be both carcinogenic and to also cause DNA and chromosome damage being prescribed and administered through the food supply to populations of many countries around the world without the knowledge or consent of the individuals consuming these foods … with no way to track dosage, individual reactions, or harmful side-effects … and without any concern for some people’s increased vulnerability to these drugs, such as cancer patients. It sounds crazy, but that is exactly what is happening around the world when Soy is added to our food supply. Soy contains the scientifically documented carcinogenic and DNA damaging and chromosome damaging natural chemicals genistein and daidzein.” - True Health, the magazine of Carotec Inc., Naples, Florida. May/June 2004.
“(Soyfoods) are not nutrients. They are drugs.”

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