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soy article from Sunday's Chronicle

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  • Karen
    Anyone have thoughts or comments on this piece from the Sunday Chronicle magazine? I am VERY confused about how to feel about soy; generally I try to eat in
    Message 1 of 3 , Aug 14 11:38 AM
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      Anyone have thoughts or comments on this piece from the Sunday
      Chronicle magazine? I am VERY confused about how to feel about soy;
      generally I try to eat in moderation but it's tough when it's used so
      prevalently as a filler/protein source. Karen

      Too Much of a Good Thing?
      Controversy rages over the world's most regaled legume
      - James Nestor
      Sunday, August 13, 2006


      It lurks in your cupboards, your cereal, bread, pasta and chips. It's
      in your refrigerator, in your cheese, condiments, yogurt, sausages,
      ice cream. It's in those M&M's by the desk, probably in the latte
      you're drinking right now.

      It's soy, and it's now in almost every single processed food we buy
      at supermarkets and health food stores. As America's favorite "health
      food," it promises to make us skinny and lower our cholesterol,
      prevent cancer and reduce menopausal symptoms, put us in a better
      mood, give us energy. It's the cheap and guilt-free source of protein
      for millions of vegetarians, the "heart smart" option for carnivores,
      the infant formula du jour for eco-minded moms. Soy has become one of
      the America's biggest industries.

      And it may be making us sicker than we've ever been. Or so alleges
      Kaayla Daniel, author of "The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of
      America's Favorite Health Food," an anti-soy treatise released in
      2005 by New Trends Publishing.

      "People are just starting to wake up to this, to just how serious
      this all is," says Daniel, who earned her doctorate at the Union
      Institute and works as a certified nutritionist. "So far, if you look
      at the studies, you'll start to see that there are only possible
      benefits of this food, and proven dangers."

      For Daniel, the problem exists in the soybean itself, a legume that
      by nature is chock full of antinutrients and toxins to ward off
      predators. If eaten in small amounts (say, a few tablespoons every
      couple of days) these toxins pose no real harm. The trouble occurs
      when we consume more than 35 grams of soy a day -- a quantity Daniel
      argues is easily reachable in our modern diet so crammed with soy
      meats, soy extenders, soy protein and soy emulsifiers, substances so
      full of estrogens, metals, sugars and additives, so "toxic," that
      they are posing considerable risks to our collective physical and
      mental health.

      It's an extreme accusation, one that fits easily in the sidebars of
      alternative medicine weeklies or alarmist blogs of health nuts. (You
      can just see them wagging an "I told you so" finger as they smugly
      eat homegrown wheat bulgur from a worn wooden bowl.) But lately it's
      not just Daniel and off-the-grid hippies spouting the rues of soy --
      governments have piped in. The French Center for Cancer Research has
      stated that soy products in no amount should be eaten by children
      under 3 years of age or women with or at risk of breast cancer. The
      Israeli Health Ministry issued a public warning on soy, claiming that
      consumption of soy be limited in young children and avoided, if
      possible, in infants. The American Heart Association has backtracked
      on its endorsement of soy.

      Is this the beginning of the end of the "soy revolution?"

      History of the "Wonder Bean"

      The Chinese have prized the soybean for thousands of years as a
      fertilizer, a "green manure," but it wasn't until they learned to
      ferment it around 500 B.C. that they considered it suitable for human
      consumption. Fermenting the bean into foods like miso, tempeh and
      natto removed toxins and phytic acid (which can interfere with the
      absorption of minerals) and made soy more easily digestible -- all
      benefits that ordinary cooking could not accomplish.
      These "traditional" fermented soy foods, along with (unfermented)
      tofu, spread throughout Asia and still constitute about 90 percent of
      the soybeans consumed in Asia today.

      Soy's first major U.S. advocate was John Harvey Kellogg, the cereal
      tycoon, who saw the bean as a path to health, and incorporated it
      into cereals and meat substitutes. Soon, Henry Ford, the auto tycoon,
      latched on, believing soy would be the industrial material of the
      future, molded into everything from car bodies to window frames,
      steering wheels to refrigerators. By 1933, Ford had spent $1.2
      million on soy research, built a car trunk of soy and was sporting
      stylish (though itchy) soybean fiber suits. Though his enthusiasm for
      the bean made good fodder for the press and furthered his public
      image as a complete kook, it did little to ignite the public's
      interest.

      It wasn't until after the 1940s that soy would truly define itself in
      the U.S. diet and economy. As soybean oil production ramped up after
      World War II, so did the mounds of soy "waste" left over from the oil
      extraction process. Though most of this waste soy meal was used for
      animal feed, some of it made inroads into the human food chain in the
      form of cheap soy protein isolate, textured vegetable protein and soy
      flour, which commercial food producers started using as a
      cheap "extender" in everything from canned tuna to ravioli.

      For American industry, the age-old Asian method of using the whole
      soybean and fermenting it to remove its toxins took too long and the
      end product was often dull and tasteless. To speedily process
      soy "waste" into soy protein products, U.S. soy producers washed
      beans with alkaline, heated and pressure-cooked them, combatting
      their naturally bitter taste with sugar and infusing them with
      additives to prevent spoiling. This process greatly improved flavor
      but removed many of the beneficial nutrients. Daniel argues that it
      also left in, and introduced, many harmful toxins.

      Soy products exploded in popularity after the FDA approved the health
      claim in November 1999 that allows food processors to label many soy
      products with the phrase: "Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol
      that include 25 grams of soy protein a day may reduce the risk of
      heart disease." No longer the cheap filler, the dirty word buried in
      the fine print of ingredients, soy soon became a cover star, a
      selling point for the health-minded and cost-minded alike. Soon,
      markets were flooded with a gaggle of new-fangled soy-based products:
      soy pastas, soy energy bars, soy breads, soy pretzels and on and on.
      While upscale consumers were now buying soy products at a premium,
      the general population was consuming even more cheap hydrogenated soy
      oil in the form of processed foods without even knowing it.

      By 2004, 80 percent of all vegetable oils would come from soybeans,
      and almost every single processed food would contain soy. In that
      year also, U.S. soy farmers produced their biggest soy crop to date --
      85 million metric tons grown on more than 46,000 square miles of
      farmland (imagine an area the size of West Virginia -- then double
      it). Soy is now one of the fastest growing sectors in the food
      industry, with retail sales growing from $853 million in 1992 to more
      than $4 billion in 2004.

      Health: Can Soy Help or Hurt?

      With the glut of soy products hitting the shelves of supermarkets, a
      glut of soy diet books took over the shelves of the bookstore. The
      most famous, "The Soy Zone," published in 2000 by Zone Diet author
      Barry Sears, boasts his soy-based diet is the "healthiest diet in the
      world!" and suggests eating from 50 to 100 grams of soy products a
      day -- four times the FDA recommended amount.

      But recently, a number of articles and reports have suggested that
      the soy health claim may not only be misdirected, it may be
      completely false. Daniel claims research proves that eating 45 grams
      a day (about three-quarters of a cup of tofu, for instance) in a
      month causes changes in the menstrual cycle of women. Eating as
      little as 35 grams a day (just 10 grams over the FDA recommended
      amount) has been proven to cause thyroid function suppression within
      three months in healthy adult men and women.

      The problem lies in the isoflavones, a "phytoestrogen," and goitrogen
      (a substance that may cause thyroid enlargement and formation of a
      goiter) that occur naturally in the soybean. In most soy foods,
      eating 35 grams of soy means you're also eating 35 milligrams of
      isoflavones. Some soy foods contain higher isoflavones-per-soy-gram
      ratios, such as soy milk, which includes only 7 grams of soy protein
      but a whopping 33 milligrams of isoflavones per 8-ounce serving. With
      a sip more over this amount, Daniel alleges, you risk proven negative
      effects on the thyroid. She quotes a controversial letter written by
      Daniel Doerge and Daniel Sheehan. Doerge and Sheehan, both senior FDA
      food scientists, wrote to Health and Human Services denouncing the
      FDA's soy health claim and arguing that many of the thyroid-related
      problems with isoflavones were being ignored.

      An extract from the letter reads: "We oppose this health claim
      because there is abundant evidence that some of the isoflavones found
      in soy, including genistein and equol, a metabolite of daidzen,
      demonstrate toxicity in estrogen sensitive tissues and in the
      thyroid. This is true for a number of species, including humans ... .
      Thus, during pregnancy in humans, isoflavones per se could be a risk
      factor for abnormal brain and reproductive tract development.

      "Additionally, isoflavones are inhibitors of the thyroid peroxidase
      which makes T3 [triiodothyronine] and T4 [thyroxine]. Inhibition can
      be expected to generate thyroid abnormalities, including goiter and
      autoimmune thyroiditis. There exists a significant body of animal
      data that demonstrates goitrogenic and even carcinogenic effects of
      soy products. Moreover, there are significant reports of goitrogenic
      effects from soy consumption in human infants and adults."

      Daniel makes the connection that as the consumption of soy foods has
      steadily increased, so have overall thyroid cancer problems -- more
      than 42 percent more thyroid cancer incidences have been identified
      between 1975 and 1996. She cites, among other research, a Japanese
      study by a leading thyroid clinic in 1991 claiming that isoflavones
      adversely affect the thyroid's function, and after a long duration
      have caused thyroid suppression and sometimes thyroid enlargement.

      In the May-June 2000 issue of FDA Consumer, a publication released by
      the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, author John Henkel states that
      animal studies, some of which date back to 1959, link soy isoflavones
      to possible thyroid disorders such as goiter. A 1997 study in
      Biochemical Pharmacology identified that genistein and daidzein
      (isoflavones in soy) may prompt goiter and autoimmune disorders of
      the thyroid. (Critics suggest that the cause may be due instead to
      iodine deficiency.)

      Even bullish soy enthusiast Barry Sears steers clear of isoflavones,
      claiming that one-third of his soy-heavy diet program should include
      soy-based meat substitutes, which he claims can be free of
      isoflavones. He states on his Web site: "I personally feel that once
      you consume more than 50 mg per day of isoflavones, potential
      problems may occur in some individuals."

      Though other environmental harms such as radiation, mercury,
      chlorine, plastics and pesticides have been implicated in causing
      thyroid disorders, Daniel argues the research shows that the
      overconsumption of isoflavones in soy products has significantly
      contributed to thyroid disorders that, according to Dr. Ridha Arem,
      clinical professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in
      Houston, and author of "The Thyroid Solution," are now shared by more
      than 20 million Americans.

      "Shame on you for even talking to her!" says Dr. Mark Messina,
      adjunct professor of nutrition at Loma Linda University in Southern
      California, and author of the pro-soy book "The Vegetarian Way: Total
      Health for You and Your Family." "Here is a person with a mail-order
      Ph.D., without one paper in a peer review publication, trying to
      promote a book of quasi-science." (Daniel fervently defends her
      Ph.D., which she received at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, and
      Union Institute. Though both are accredited universities, the latter
      is a distance learning-based institution.)

      "If you want some real perspective," Messina snaps, "look at 70 years
      of studies, clinical trials, talk to real scientists, look at the
      thousands of real research trials done on this stuff. It's the
      thousands of positive trials that never get attention -- only the
      ones that are different from everything else that the media clings on
      to."

      Messina, who also consults for the soy industry, co-authored a recent
      report on the effect of isoflavones on thyroid function in the 2006
      issue of the medical journal, Thyroid. In it, he reviewed 14 trials
      in which the effects of soy foods or isoflavones on at least one
      measure of thyroid function was assessed in various presumably
      healthy subjects. With only one exception, either no effects or only
      very modest changes were noted in these trials. His conclusion:
      Neither healthy adults nor those with hypothyroid conditions need
      avoid soy foods. "The points Kaayla is making are based on semi-
      science," Messina says. "This is a person who mixes citations from
      patients with scientific data in her book . . . that's just, it's,
      reprehensible!"

      But the mounting apprehension about soy within world health
      organizations is hard to shake. In the January 2006 issue of the
      journal Circulation, the American Heart Association announced that
      soy has little effect on cholesterol and is unlikely to prevent heart
      disease. Before that, in October of 2005, the U.S. Agency for
      Healthcare Research and Quality reported that most of the research
      carried out on soy and menopause to date is "inconclusive," of "poor
      quality" and "too short duration." In October 2005, the Journal of
      the American Dietetic Association reported that the studies on soy
      and cancer are inconsistent and that high soy consumption might
      actually increase breast cancer risk.

      "You have to understand, we've never said (soy) is some magic
      bullet," says Nancy Chapman, executive director of the Soyfoods
      Association of North America, a lobbying leg of the soy
      industry. "The terminology turnaround is a media description. The
      advice still at the end of the day is that nobody is saying stop
      eating soy, nobody is saying soy is unsafe."

      But that's exactly what the Israeli Health Ministry decreed in July
      2005 when they issued a public warning about eating large amounts of
      soy, notifying day care centers and schools, demanding that they
      limit soy to no more than one serving per day and no more than three
      times per week. In March 2005, the French Center for Cancer Research
      stated that soy products in no amount should be eaten by children
      under 3 years of age, children treated for hypothyroiditis, women
      with a history of breast cancer and/or history of familial breast
      cancer. Soy products in France must now carry warning labels.

      "Did you talk to the people in Israel? Did you talk to the French?"
      asks Chapman. "The French had no nutritionist on the panel, they had
      no panel review, there were no soy experts, it was based on research
      doing injections of genisteine into the backs of rats . . . studies
      have shown you can't make conclusions (from animal research) on human
      subjects -- this is extraordinarily important for people to
      understand!"

      Messina also voiced concerns over warnings by Israel and
      France. "When world health organizations get involved, I admit, that
      lends an air of legitimacy to this argument, but I still think
      they've jumped the gun," he says. "The (American) National Institute
      of Health concluded that isoflavones ... they were of negligible
      concern, because exposure was so low, they said there was no evidence
      it was harmful. Consider, too, we're a bigger country here, and the
      NIH has more scientists than these other countries."

      The NIH has no official stance on the benefits or risks of soy,
      saying, "The NIH doesn't make statements, we fund and make research
      available, then allow that research to speak for itself." What the
      research says is listed in the August 2005 report, "Effects of Soy on
      Health Outcomes, an Evidence Report/Technology Assessment by the
      Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality," an agency under the
      Department of Health and Human Services. The report looked at the
      effects of soy on cholesterol, menopause, endocrine function, cancer
      and tumors and bone health.

      Three-quarters of the trials used soy supplements; soy foods were
      used in the remaining trials. Among the soy supplement trials, 57
      percent used soy protein with isoflavones, 36 percent used
      isoflavones alone, and 6 percent soy protein without isoflavones.
      Total isoflavones ranged from 0 mg to 185 mg per day, and the total
      protein intake from soy ranged from 0 g to 154 g per day.

      The outcome of all trials was, according to the report, "no
      conclusive evidence of a dose-response effect for either soy protein
      or isoflavone. However, for LDL reduction, there is a suggestion of a
      possible dose-response effect for soy protein."

      So, the news? There was no news, but there were some interesting side
      effects. More than 3,000 subjects in 49 studies reported adverse
      events that were "gastrointestinal in nature." Fifteen studies
      reported "menstrual complaints." Other "adverse events" including
      complaints of headache, dizziness and rashes.

      The report concludes with the generic (though creepy) quasi-
      disclaimer: "There were a limited number of studies with duration of
      1 year or longer; thus the long-term adverse effect of soy in a large
      population is uncertain."

      The Soy Infant Formula Dilemma

      Soy infant formula is currently given to up to 25 percent of bottle-
      fed infants in the United States, a higher percentage than anywhere
      in the world. Of the laundry list of dangers pointed out by Daniel
      based on studies at the University of Irvine and other universities,
      the manganese levels of soy infant formula are perhaps the most
      alarming. Soy is naturally high in manganese, which does not pose a
      problem for children and adults, but raises serious concerns for
      infants who, with immature livers, cannot process it safely.

      Per liter, breast milk contains 3 to 10 ug (parts per million) of
      manganese to soy formula's 200 to 300 ug. Daniel claims newborns
      exposed to such high level of manganese are vulnerable to "brain
      damage associated with learning disabilities, attention deficit and
      other behavioral disorders, and violent tendencies."

      Soy formula also contains levels of aluminum -- a result of washing
      the beans in huge aluminum caldrons -- 10 times greater than milk-
      based formula and 100 times greater than breast milk. High levels of
      aluminum have been linked to dementia, memory loss, confusion,
      disorientation, loss of coordination and digestive problems.

      But worst of all, according to Daniel, soy formulas contain extremely
      high levels of isoflavones -- the same agent supposedly contributing
      to thyroid malfunction. As a result, babies fed soy-based formula
      have 13,000 to 22,000 times more estrogen compounds in their blood
      than babies fed milk-based formula -- the estrogenic equivalent of at
      least five birth control pills per day. It's the extremely high
      levels of estrogen that Daniel claims could at least be partly
      responsible for the recent and rampant premature sexual development
      of girls.

      Almost 15 percent of white girls and 50 percent of African American
      girls show signs of puberty such as breast development and pubic hair
      before age 8. Some girls are showing sexual development before age 3.
      (Daniel claims that soy formula is heavily targeted to blacks, Asians
      and American Indians because many infants of these races are presumed
      lactose intolerant, and thus many of them start on soy formula
      outright. Most Caucasians start out with a dairy formula but switch
      to soy if there are any problems.)

      "The chances that the amount of estrogen in soy formula is going to
      affect a child later in life, I find that hard to swallow," says Dr.
      Michelle Barratt, associate professor of pediatrics at University of
      Texas Medical School. "I like what Kenneth Setchell (professor of
      pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in Ohio)
      said about it in the June 2002 issue of Environmental Health
      Perspectives (a peer-reviewed journal of the United States' National
      Institute of Environmental Health Sciences)." Barratt reads from the
      article, "When we've had so many infants raised on soy formula and we
      haven't really seen these horrendous effects that people keep saying
      these compounds cause, then there's probably no reason for concern.
      However, I accept that the lack of evidence is not evidence for the
      lack of effect."

      Along with the American Academy of Pediatrics, where she serves on
      the committee on adolescence, Barratt supports soy formula as a safe
      and effective alternative for infants -- but not in excess. "I think
      the bottom line is to use moderation, and whenever possible, I always
      suggest breast milk as the best formula. But, as far as soy formula
      causing premature puberty in girls, or delaying puberty in boys, I
      just don't think that's correct."

      Spurred by ongoing concerns over soy infant formula, an independent
      panel of 14 scientists met in March to decide whether soy formula was
      hazardous to human development. This panel looked at two reports (one
      on soy infant formula, the other on genistein), which consisted of
      data from hundreds of studies. Except for one doctor, the panel
      concluded that soy formula was safe. Dr. Ruth Etzel remained
      apprehensive, saying soy formula might possibly affect brain and
      reproductive system development.

      "I'm not an expert in infant nutrition," says Messina. "But I'm
      impressed by the fact that over a 40-year period, 20 million infants
      fed soy formula without case reports in medical literature -- I
      personally wouldn't have a problem with an infant consuming soy
      formula."

      Daniel counters: "Given the facts, and the risk, and there are proven
      risks, I don't know who would want to take the chance."

      Whatever Happened to Moderation?

      How did we ingrain into our collective ethos that if a little of
      something is good for you, then a lot must be really good for you?
      The road of excess may lead to the palace of wisdom but there's
      wisdom in the saying, Everything in moderation. And now we're at
      nutritional extremes: One-half of us tries to cheat ourselves by
      doing too much for too long, the other half lazes idly by doing not
      enough for too little. Critics pick sides to sell books and make
      headlines. Those in the middle might try to filter the results, but
      through the constant white noise of bickering the only voices that
      come through are distorted.

      What happened to the voices of (unsponsored, un-self-promoting,
      unaffiliated) reason, of temperance, of moderation?

      Marion Nestle is the noted author of "Food Politics and What to Eat,"
      a decidedly moderate voice in the nutrition wars, neither a soy
      lobbyist nor a detractor. Her unbiased, no-nonsense nutritional
      advice is trusted by hundreds of thousands of Americans. Can she
      clear this up?

      "I think overall the research on soy is really uncompelling," Nestle
      says. "What the data shows is that if there is harm from soy, it is
      very small; and if there are benefits, they are also very small. That
      means the data revolves around zero. And the FDA health claim was on
      soy ... I think it was way out of line. Foods aren't medicines!"

      "People don't have to eat soy if they don't want to!" Nestle
      says. "To figure you have to eat it for any reason makes no sense to
      me at all -- nobody needs to eat this stuff to be healthy."

      James Nestor last wrote for the Magazine on surfer "Doc" Rennaker.

      Page CM - 6
      URL: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?
      file=/c/a/2006/08/13/CMGJKK1BP31.DTL


      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      ----------
      ©2006 San Francisco Chronicle
    • Sam Halsey
      Dear Karen, There is a good article in one of Dr Mcdougall s Newletters entitled Soy – Food, Wonder Drug, or Poison? (see link below):
      Message 2 of 3 , Aug 14 12:38 PM
      • 0 Attachment
        Dear Karen,


        There is a good article in one of Dr Mcdougall's Newletters entitled
        "Soy � Food, Wonder Drug, or Poison?"(see link below):

        http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2005nl/april/050400pusoy.htm


        In general it is best to stick to whole foods, like the soy bean,
        rather than processed soy stuff ie. fake foods.
        I especially like the chart showing the fat and protien content, with
        the heading:
        Soybeans Are Nutritionally between a Bean and a Nut


        Peace,

        sam

        On Aug 14, 2006, at 11:38 AM, Karen wrote:

        > Anyone have thoughts or comments on this piece from the Sunday
        > Chronicle magazine? I am VERY confused about how to feel about soy;
        > generally I try to eat in moderation but it's tough when it's used so
        > prevalently as a filler/protein source. Karen
        >
        > Too Much of a Good Thing?
        > Controversy rages over the world's most regaled legume
        > - James Nestor
        > Sunday, August 13, 2006
        >
        >
        > It lurks in your cupboards, your cereal, bread, pasta and chips. It's
        > in your refrigerator, in your cheese, condiments, yogurt, sausages,
        > ice cream. It's in those M&M's by the desk, probably in the latte
        > you're drinking right now.
        >
        > It's soy, and it's now in almost every single processed food we buy
        > at supermarkets and health food stores. As America's favorite "health
        > food," it promises to make us skinny and lower our cholesterol,
        > prevent cancer and reduce menopausal symptoms, put us in a better
        > mood, give us energy. It's the cheap and guilt-free source of protein
        > for millions of vegetarians, the "heart smart" option for carnivores,
        > the infant formula du jour for eco-minded moms. Soy has become one of
        > the America's biggest industries.
        >
        > And it may be making us sicker than we've ever been. Or so alleges
        > Kaayla Daniel, author of "The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of
        > America's Favorite Health Food," an anti-soy treatise released in
        > 2005 by New Trends Publishing.
        >
        > "People are just starting to wake up to this, to just how serious
        > this all is," says Daniel, who earned her doctorate at the Union
        > Institute and works as a certified nutritionist. "So far, if you look
        > at the studies, you'll start to see that there are only possible
        > benefits of this food, and proven dangers."
        >
        > For Daniel, the problem exists in the soybean itself, a legume that
        > by nature is chock full of antinutrients and toxins to ward off
        > predators. If eaten in small amounts (say, a few tablespoons every
        > couple of days) these toxins pose no real harm. The trouble occurs
        > when we consume more than 35 grams of soy a day -- a quantity Daniel
        > argues is easily reachable in our modern diet so crammed with soy
        > meats, soy extenders, soy protein and soy emulsifiers, substances so
        > full of estrogens, metals, sugars and additives, so "toxic," that
        > they are posing considerable risks to our collective physical and
        > mental health.
        >
        > It's an extreme accusation, one that fits easily in the sidebars of
        > alternative medicine weeklies or alarmist blogs of health nuts. (You
        > can just see them wagging an "I told you so" finger as they smugly
        > eat homegrown wheat bulgur from a worn wooden bowl.) But lately it's
        > not just Daniel and off-the-grid hippies spouting the rues of soy --
        > governments have piped in. The French Center for Cancer Research has
        > stated that soy products in no amount should be eaten by children
        > under 3 years of age or women with or at risk of breast cancer. The
        > Israeli Health Ministry issued a public warning on soy, claiming that
        > consumption of soy be limited in young children and avoided, if
        > possible, in infants. The American Heart Association has backtracked
        > on its endorsement of soy.
        >
        > Is this the beginning of the end of the "soy revolution?"
        >
        > History of the "Wonder Bean"
        >
        > The Chinese have prized the soybean for thousands of years as a
        > fertilizer, a "green manure," but it wasn't until they learned to
        > ferment it around 500 B.C. that they considered it suitable for human
        > consumption. Fermenting the bean into foods like miso, tempeh and
        > natto removed toxins and phytic acid (which can interfere with the
        > absorption of minerals) and made soy more easily digestible -- all
        > benefits that ordinary cooking could not accomplish.
        > These "traditional" fermented soy foods, along with (unfermented)
        > tofu, spread throughout Asia and still constitute about 90 percent of
        > the soybeans consumed in Asia today.
        >
        > Soy's first major U.S. advocate was John Harvey Kellogg, the cereal
        > tycoon, who saw the bean as a path to health, and incorporated it
        > into cereals and meat substitutes. Soon, Henry Ford, the auto tycoon,
        > latched on, believing soy would be the industrial material of the
        > future, molded into everything from car bodies to window frames,
        > steering wheels to refrigerators. By 1933, Ford had spent $1.2
        > million on soy research, built a car trunk of soy and was sporting
        > stylish (though itchy) soybean fiber suits. Though his enthusiasm for
        > the bean made good fodder for the press and furthered his public
        > image as a complete kook, it did little to ignite the public's
        > interest.
        >
        > It wasn't until after the 1940s that soy would truly define itself in
        > the U.S. diet and economy. As soybean oil production ramped up after
        > World War II, so did the mounds of soy "waste" left over from the oil
        > extraction process. Though most of this waste soy meal was used for
        > animal feed, some of it made inroads into the human food chain in the
        > form of cheap soy protein isolate, textured vegetable protein and soy
        > flour, which commercial food producers started using as a
        > cheap "extender" in everything from canned tuna to ravioli.
        >
        > For American industry, the age-old Asian method of using the whole
        > soybean and fermenting it to remove its toxins took too long and the
        > end product was often dull and tasteless. To speedily process
        > soy "waste" into soy protein products, U.S. soy producers washed
        > beans with alkaline, heated and pressure-cooked them, combatting
        > their naturally bitter taste with sugar and infusing them with
        > additives to prevent spoiling. This process greatly improved flavor
        > but removed many of the beneficial nutrients. Daniel argues that it
        > also left in, and introduced, many harmful toxins.
        >
        > Soy products exploded in popularity after the FDA approved the health
        > claim in November 1999 that allows food processors to label many soy
        > products with the phrase: "Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol
        > that include 25 grams of soy protein a day may reduce the risk of
        > heart disease." No longer the cheap filler, the dirty word buried in
        > the fine print of ingredients, soy soon became a cover star, a
        > selling point for the health-minded and cost-minded alike. Soon,
        > markets were flooded with a gaggle of new-fangled soy-based products:
        > soy pastas, soy energy bars, soy breads, soy pretzels and on and on.
        > While upscale consumers were now buying soy products at a premium,
        > the general population was consuming even more cheap hydrogenated soy
        > oil in the form of processed foods without even knowing it.
        >
        > By 2004, 80 percent of all vegetable oils would come from soybeans,
        > and almost every single processed food would contain soy. In that
        > year also, U.S. soy farmers produced their biggest soy crop to date --
        > 85 million metric tons grown on more than 46,000 square miles of
        > farmland (imagine an area the size of West Virginia -- then double
        > it). Soy is now one of the fastest growing sectors in the food
        > industry, with retail sales growing from $853 million in 1992 to more
        > than $4 billion in 2004.
        >
        > Health: Can Soy Help or Hurt?
        >
        > With the glut of soy products hitting the shelves of supermarkets, a
        > glut of soy diet books took over the shelves of the bookstore. The
        > most famous, "The Soy Zone," published in 2000 by Zone Diet author
        > Barry Sears, boasts his soy-based diet is the "healthiest diet in the
        > world!" and suggests eating from 50 to 100 grams of soy products a
        > day -- four times the FDA recommended amount.
        >
        > But recently, a number of articles and reports have suggested that
        > the soy health claim may not only be misdirected, it may be
        > completely false. Daniel claims research proves that eating 45 grams
        > a day (about three-quarters of a cup of tofu, for instance) in a
        > month causes changes in the menstrual cycle of women. Eating as
        > little as 35 grams a day (just 10 grams over the FDA recommended
        > amount) has been proven to cause thyroid function suppression within
        > three months in healthy adult men and women.
        >
        > The problem lies in the isoflavones, a "phytoestrogen," and goitrogen
        > (a substance that may cause thyroid enlargement and formation of a
        > goiter) that occur naturally in the soybean. In most soy foods,
        > eating 35 grams of soy means you're also eating 35 milligrams of
        > isoflavones. Some soy foods contain higher isoflavones-per-soy-gram
        > ratios, such as soy milk, which includes only 7 grams of soy protein
        > but a whopping 33 milligrams of isoflavones per 8-ounce serving. With
        > a sip more over this amount, Daniel alleges, you risk proven negative
        > effects on the thyroid. She quotes a controversial letter written by
        > Daniel Doerge and Daniel Sheehan. Doerge and Sheehan, both senior FDA
        > food scientists, wrote to Health and Human Services denouncing the
        > FDA's soy health claim and arguing that many of the thyroid-related
        > problems with isoflavones were being ignored.
        >
        > An extract from the letter reads: "We oppose this health claim
        > because there is abundant evidence that some of the isoflavones found
        > in soy, including genistein and equol, a metabolite of daidzen,
        > demonstrate toxicity in estrogen sensitive tissues and in the
        > thyroid. This is true for a number of species, including humans ... .
        > Thus, during pregnancy in humans, isoflavones per se could be a risk
        > factor for abnormal brain and reproductive tract development.
        >
        > "Additionally, isoflavones are inhibitors of the thyroid peroxidase
        > which makes T3 [triiodothyronine] and T4 [thyroxine]. Inhibition can
        > be expected to generate thyroid abnormalities, including goiter and
        > autoimmune thyroiditis. There exists a significant body of animal
        > data that demonstrates goitrogenic and even carcinogenic effects of
        > soy products. Moreover, there are significant reports of goitrogenic
        > effects from soy consumption in human infants and adults."
        >
        > Daniel makes the connection that as the consumption of soy foods has
        > steadily increased, so have overall thyroid cancer problems -- more
        > than 42 percent more thyroid cancer incidences have been identified
        > between 1975 and 1996. She cites, among other research, a Japanese
        > study by a leading thyroid clinic in 1991 claiming that isoflavones
        > adversely affect the thyroid's function, and after a long duration
        > have caused thyroid suppression and sometimes thyroid enlargement.
        >
        > In the May-June 2000 issue of FDA Consumer, a publication released by
        > the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, author John Henkel states that
        > animal studies, some of which date back to 1959, link soy isoflavones
        > to possible thyroid disorders such as goiter. A 1997 study in
        > Biochemical Pharmacology identified that genistein and daidzein
        > (isoflavones in soy) may prompt goiter and autoimmune disorders of
        > the thyroid. (Critics suggest that the cause may be due instead to
        > iodine deficiency.)
        >
        > Even bullish soy enthusiast Barry Sears steers clear of isoflavones,
        > claiming that one-third of his soy-heavy diet program should include
        > soy-based meat substitutes, which he claims can be free of
        > isoflavones. He states on his Web site: "I personally feel that once
        > you consume more than 50 mg per day of isoflavones, potential
        > problems may occur in some individuals."
        >
        > Though other environmental harms such as radiation, mercury,
        > chlorine, plastics and pesticides have been implicated in causing
        > thyroid disorders, Daniel argues the research shows that the
        > overconsumption of isoflavones in soy products has significantly
        > contributed to thyroid disorders that, according to Dr. Ridha Arem,
        > clinical professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in
        > Houston, and author of "The Thyroid Solution," are now shared by more
        > than 20 million Americans.
        >
        > "Shame on you for even talking to her!" says Dr. Mark Messina,
        > adjunct professor of nutrition at Loma Linda University in Southern
        > California, and author of the pro-soy book "The Vegetarian Way: Total
        > Health for You and Your Family." "Here is a person with a mail-order
        > Ph.D., without one paper in a peer review publication, trying to
        > promote a book of quasi-science." (Daniel fervently defends her
        > Ph.D., which she received at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, and
        > Union Institute. Though both are accredited universities, the latter
        > is a distance learning-based institution.)
        >
        > "If you want some real perspective," Messina snaps, "look at 70 years
        > of studies, clinical trials, talk to real scientists, look at the
        > thousands of real research trials done on this stuff. It's the
        > thousands of positive trials that never get attention -- only the
        > ones that are different from everything else that the media clings on
        > to."
        >
        > Messina, who also consults for the soy industry, co-authored a recent
        > report on the effect of isoflavones on thyroid function in the 2006
        > issue of the medical journal, Thyroid. In it, he reviewed 14 trials
        > in which the effects of soy foods or isoflavones on at least one
        > measure of thyroid function was assessed in various presumably
        > healthy subjects. With only one exception, either no effects or only
        > very modest changes were noted in these trials. His conclusion:
        > Neither healthy adults nor those with hypothyroid conditions need
        > avoid soy foods. "The points Kaayla is making are based on semi-
        > science," Messina says. "This is a person who mixes citations from
        > patients with scientific data in her book . . . that's just, it's,
        > reprehensible!"
        >
        > But the mounting apprehension about soy within world health
        > organizations is hard to shake. In the January 2006 issue of the
        > journal Circulation, the American Heart Association announced that
        > soy has little effect on cholesterol and is unlikely to prevent heart
        > disease. Before that, in October of 2005, the U.S. Agency for
        > Healthcare Research and Quality reported that most of the research
        > carried out on soy and menopause to date is "inconclusive," of "poor
        > quality" and "too short duration." In October 2005, the Journal of
        > the American Dietetic Association reported that the studies on soy
        > and cancer are inconsistent and that high soy consumption might
        > actually increase breast cancer risk.
        >
        > "You have to understand, we've never said (soy) is some magic
        > bullet," says Nancy Chapman, executive director of the Soyfoods
        > Association of North America, a lobbying leg of the soy
        > industry. "The terminology turnaround is a media description. The
        > advice still at the end of the day is that nobody is saying stop
        > eating soy, nobody is saying soy is unsafe."
        >
        > But that's exactly what the Israeli Health Ministry decreed in July
        > 2005 when they issued a public warning about eating large amounts of
        > soy, notifying day care centers and schools, demanding that they
        > limit soy to no more than one serving per day and no more than three
        > times per week. In March 2005, the French Center for Cancer Research
        > stated that soy products in no amount should be eaten by children
        > under 3 years of age, children treated for hypothyroiditis, women
        > with a history of breast cancer and/or history of familial breast
        > cancer. Soy products in France must now carry warning labels.
        >
        > "Did you talk to the people in Israel? Did you talk to the French?"
        > asks Chapman. "The French had no nutritionist on the panel, they had
        > no panel review, there were no soy experts, it was based on research
        > doing injections of genisteine into the backs of rats . . . studies
        > have shown you can't make conclusions (from animal research) on human
        > subjects -- this is extraordinarily important for people to
        > understand!"
        >
        > Messina also voiced concerns over warnings by Israel and
        > France. "When world health organizations get involved, I admit, that
        > lends an air of legitimacy to this argument, but I still think
        > they've jumped the gun," he says. "The (American) National Institute
        > of Health concluded that isoflavones ... they were of negligible
        > concern, because exposure was so low, they said there was no evidence
        > it was harmful. Consider, too, we're a bigger country here, and the
        > NIH has more scientists than these other countries."
        >
        > The NIH has no official stance on the benefits or risks of soy,
        > saying, "The NIH doesn't make statements, we fund and make research
        > available, then allow that research to speak for itself." What the
        > research says is listed in the August 2005 report, "Effects of Soy on
        > Health Outcomes, an Evidence Report/Technology Assessment by the
        > Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality," an agency under the
        > Department of Health and Human Services. The report looked at the
        > effects of soy on cholesterol, menopause, endocrine function, cancer
        > and tumors and bone health.
        >
        > Three-quarters of the trials used soy supplements; soy foods were
        > used in the remaining trials. Among the soy supplement trials, 57
        > percent used soy protein with isoflavones, 36 percent used
        > isoflavones alone, and 6 percent soy protein without isoflavones.
        > Total isoflavones ranged from 0 mg to 185 mg per day, and the total
        > protein intake from soy ranged from 0 g to 154 g per day.
        >
        > The outcome of all trials was, according to the report, "no
        > conclusive evidence of a dose-response effect for either soy protein
        > or isoflavone. However, for LDL reduction, there is a suggestion of a
        > possible dose-response effect for soy protein."
        >
        > So, the news? There was no news, but there were some interesting side
        > effects. More than 3,000 subjects in 49 studies reported adverse
        > events that were "gastrointestinal in nature." Fifteen studies
        > reported "menstrual complaints." Other "adverse events" including
        > complaints of headache, dizziness and rashes.
        >
        > The report concludes with the generic (though creepy) quasi-
        > disclaimer: "There were a limited number of studies with duration of
        > 1 year or longer; thus the long-term adverse effect of soy in a large
        > population is uncertain."
        >
        > The Soy Infant Formula Dilemma
        >
        > Soy infant formula is currently given to up to 25 percent of bottle-
        > fed infants in the United States, a higher percentage than anywhere
        > in the world. Of the laundry list of dangers pointed out by Daniel
        > based on studies at the University of Irvine and other universities,
        > the manganese levels of soy infant formula are perhaps the most
        > alarming. Soy is naturally high in manganese, which does not pose a
        > problem for children and adults, but raises serious concerns for
        > infants who, with immature livers, cannot process it safely.
        >
        > Per liter, breast milk contains 3 to 10 ug (parts per million) of
        > manganese to soy formula's 200 to 300 ug. Daniel claims newborns
        > exposed to such high level of manganese are vulnerable to "brain
        > damage associated with learning disabilities, attention deficit and
        > other behavioral disorders, and violent tendencies."
        >
        > Soy formula also contains levels of aluminum -- a result of washing
        > the beans in huge aluminum caldrons -- 10 times greater than milk-
        > based formula and 100 times greater than breast milk. High levels of
        > aluminum have been linked to dementia, memory loss, confusion,
        > disorientation, loss of coordination and digestive problems.
        >
        > But worst of all, according to Daniel, soy formulas contain extremely
        > high levels of isoflavones -- the same agent supposedly contributing
        > to thyroid malfunction. As a result, babies fed soy-based formula
        > have 13,000 to 22,000 times more estrogen compounds in their blood
        > than babies fed milk-based formula -- the estrogenic equivalent of at
        > least five birth control pills per day. It's the extremely high
        > levels of estrogen that Daniel claims could at least be partly
        > responsible for the recent and rampant premature sexual development
        > of girls.
        >
        > Almost 15 percent of white girls and 50 percent of African American
        > girls show signs of puberty such as breast development and pubic hair
        > before age 8. Some girls are showing sexual development before age 3.
        > (Daniel claims that soy formula is heavily targeted to blacks, Asians
        > and American Indians because many infants of these races are presumed
        > lactose intolerant, and thus many of them start on soy formula
        > outright. Most Caucasians start out with a dairy formula but switch
        > to soy if there are any problems.)
        >
        > "The chances that the amount of estrogen in soy formula is going to
        > affect a child later in life, I find that hard to swallow," says Dr.
        > Michelle Barratt, associate professor of pediatrics at University of
        > Texas Medical School. "I like what Kenneth Setchell (professor of
        > pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in Ohio)
        > said about it in the June 2002 issue of Environmental Health
        > Perspectives (a peer-reviewed journal of the United States' National
        > Institute of Environmental Health Sciences)." Barratt reads from the
        > article, "When we've had so many infants raised on soy formula and we
        > haven't really seen these horrendous effects that people keep saying
        > these compounds cause, then there's probably no reason for concern.
        > However, I accept that the lack of evidence is not evidence for the
        > lack of effect."
        >
        > Along with the American Academy of Pediatrics, where she serves on
        > the committee on adolescence, Barratt supports soy formula as a safe
        > and effective alternative for infants -- but not in excess. "I think
        > the bottom line is to use moderation, and whenever possible, I always
        > suggest breast milk as the best formula. But, as far as soy formula
        > causing premature puberty in girls, or delaying puberty in boys, I
        > just don't think that's correct."
        >
        > Spurred by ongoing concerns over soy infant formula, an independent
        > panel of 14 scientists met in March to decide whether soy formula was
        > hazardous to human development. This panel looked at two reports (one
        > on soy infant formula, the other on genistein), which consisted of
        > data from hundreds of studies. Except for one doctor, the panel
        > concluded that soy formula was safe. Dr. Ruth Etzel remained
        > apprehensive, saying soy formula might possibly affect brain and
        > reproductive system development.
        >
        > "I'm not an expert in infant nutrition," says Messina. "But I'm
        > impressed by the fact that over a 40-year period, 20 million infants
        > fed soy formula without case reports in medical literature -- I
        > personally wouldn't have a problem with an infant consuming soy
        > formula."
        >
        > Daniel counters: "Given the facts, and the risk, and there are proven
        > risks, I don't know who would want to take the chance."
        >
        > Whatever Happened to Moderation?
        >
        > How did we ingrain into our collective ethos that if a little of
        > something is good for you, then a lot must be really good for you?
        > The road of excess may lead to the palace of wisdom but there's
        > wisdom in the saying, Everything in moderation. And now we're at
        > nutritional extremes: One-half of us tries to cheat ourselves by
        > doing too much for too long, the other half lazes idly by doing not
        > enough for too little. Critics pick sides to sell books and make
        > headlines. Those in the middle might try to filter the results, but
        > through the constant white noise of bickering the only voices that
        > come through are distorted.
        >
        > What happened to the voices of (unsponsored, un-self-promoting,
        > unaffiliated) reason, of temperance, of moderation?
        >
        > Marion Nestle is the noted author of "Food Politics and What to Eat,"
        > a decidedly moderate voice in the nutrition wars, neither a soy
        > lobbyist nor a detractor. Her unbiased, no-nonsense nutritional
        > advice is trusted by hundreds of thousands of Americans. Can she
        > clear this up?
        >
        > "I think overall the research on soy is really uncompelling," Nestle
        > says. "What the data shows is that if there is harm from soy, it is
        > very small; and if there are benefits, they are also very small. That
        > means the data revolves around zero. And the FDA health claim was on
        > soy ... I think it was way out of line. Foods aren't medicines!"
        >
        > "People don't have to eat soy if they don't want to!" Nestle
        > says. "To figure you have to eat it for any reason makes no sense to
        > me at all -- nobody needs to eat this stuff to be healthy."
        >
        > James Nestor last wrote for the Magazine on surfer "Doc" Rennaker.
        >
        > Page CM - 6
        > URL: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?
        > file=/c/a/2006/08/13/CMGJKK1BP31.DTL
        >
        > ----------------------------------------------------------
        > ----------
        > �2006 San Francisco Chronicle
        >
        >
        >
        >



        sam halsey
        samhalsey@...
        (415) 309-1879




        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • yarrow@sfo.com
        ... 35 grams a day? or the 50-100 recommended by huckster/quack Sears? No. That much *protein* per day is far too much, and from one source certainly
        Message 3 of 3 , Aug 14 5:04 PM
        • 0 Attachment
          On Aug 14, 2006, at 11:38 AM, Karen wrote:
          > Anyone have thoughts or comments on this piece from the Sunday
          > Chronicle magazine? I am VERY confused about how to feel about soy;
          > generally I try to eat in moderation but it's tough when it's used so
          > prevalently as a filler/protein source. Karen

          Sam Halsey <samhalsey@...> wrote:
          >There is a good article in one of Dr Mcdougall's Newletters entitled
          >"Soy – Food, Wonder Drug, or Poison?"(see link below):

          35 grams a day? or the 50-100 recommended by
          huckster/quack Sears? No. That much *protein* per
          day is far too much, and from one source
          certainly excessive.

          I agree with McDougall's position -- use in
          moderation primarily as a whole food. I think one
          of the guidelines is to eat no more than 5-10
          grams of soy protein a day, comparable to what
          Asians eat in tofu-eating countries.

          So if I have soy yogurt in the morning, I don't
          have soy ice cream later in the day. Or I have
          either soy yogurt or soymilk with breakfast, but
          not both. One Thanksgiving, I had been planning
          to make a soy-based pumpkin pie for a small
          dinner with friends until I found out that
          someone else was bringing tofurkey, so I changed
          to a nonsoy recipe at the last minute. Or if I
          have a soy-based main course for dinner, I avoid
          soy products the next few days.

          I also like (and usually but not always follow)
          voice-of-reason Marion Nestle's guideline to eat
          no prepared foods that have more than 5
          ingredients. Of course, this applies more to
          snack-type foods than to foods made from
          wholesome ingredients.

          Bigger issues with actual public-health
          ramifications (and which I have not seen covered
          in the scare-of-the-day popular press) are

          -- the predominance of corn in the standard
          American diet, particularly in junk food and fast
          food, as pointed out by Michael Pollan in his
          recent book, The Omnivore's Dilemma.

          -- the fact that milk protein is the most
          carcinogenic substance known, as pointed out by
          Colin Campbell in his recent book, The China
          Study. Setting up soy formula vs. dairy-based
          formula is a paper tiger unless the risks of all
          ingredients are known, and I have never seen a
          discussion of formula that even mentions these
          risks from cow's milk.

          Tanya
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