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488-SOY, VEY!

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  • Robert Cohen
    Feb 26, 2001
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      I've seen the "NEGATIVE" soy letter dozens of times.
      Bashing soy has become an Internet phenomena, and
      America's newest "URBAN MYTH."

      Soy detractors cite a soy component, "phytoestrogen,"
      as being an endocrine disrupter. In that case, broccoli is
      an endocrine disrupter too. Caution: You may get
      graped! Does an apple a day increase an oncologist's pay?

      Pyhtochemicals are the most wonderful disease-preventing
      substances to be found in fresh fruits and vegetables.

      These miracle substances are now recognized as
      ammunition against cancer, diabetes, heart disease
      osteoporosis, and other ailments. Phytochemicals are
      what make peppers red or green. Phytochemicals are
      what give oranges and cherries their sweet perfume-like

      In 1937, Albert Szent-Gyorgi discovered a
      powerful group of antioxidants in foods which were
      named bioflavinoids. These bioflavinoids have been
      re-named phytoestrogens. They are not estrogen.
      If you desire a source of dietary estrogen, take Premarin
      (taken from the urine of pregnant horses) or consume
      milk and dairy products.

      The soy disinformation campaign began with the dairy
      industry. Milk producers process 170 billion pounds
      of their product each year. Dairymen see SOY as a threat
      to their livelihood.

      Last year, Sally Fallon wrote a column that appeared in
      NEXUS magazine. Sally's personal website is:


      That should tell you something about her agenda.

      The February issue of the Townsend Medical Letter
      for Doctors and Patients contains comments
      addressing Sally's poorly written and biased paper.
      Here are brief passages of Bill Sardi's editorial:

      Bill Sardi, Health Reporter
      February, 2001

      "It went from being the darling of the natural products
      industry to being labeled as a potential toxin.

      Sally Fallon and Mary E. Enig, from the Weston A. Price
      Foundation in Washington DC, write in the April-May
      edition of Nexus Magazine that soy contains anti-nutrients
      and toxins, which inhibit digestion and block absorption
      of vitamins and minerals.

      These self-appointed soy antagonists claim the enzyme
      inhibitors in soy cause pancreatic cancer (not so), and that
      other components in soy induce clumping of red blood cells.

      While Fallon and Enig acknowledge that the Japanese and
      Asians have lower rates of breast, prostate and colon cancer
      and that they eat 30 times more soy than North Americans,
      they also indicate the Japanese have higher rates of other types
      of cancer, particularly esophageal, stomach, thyroid, pancreas
      and liver cancer. They give the misimpression that soy prevents
      some tumors and promotes others. This just isn't an accurate
      characterization. The stomach cancers in Japan are attributed to
      the consumption of pickled, smoked and salted meats and fish
      as well as raw sushi that may contain parasites. The frying of
      meats promotes the development of carcinogens. The
      cancer-promoting agents in these foods can actually be countered
      by the inclusion of soy protein with ground meat prior to frying.

      [Basic Life Science 52: 105-18, 1990]

      A hidden epidemic among males in Japan is that of alcoholism, as
      well as rampant tobacco use, which would be likely causes of liver,
      esophageal and stomach cancers. Instead, Fallon and Enig imply
      that soy is a hidden carcinogen in Japan.

      Fallon and Enig cite 68 scientific references in their Nexus Magazine
      report. The 40 scientific journal reports cited were published on
      average 13 years ago, with many dating back to the 1970s. Among
      the authoritative references listed in support of their report were
      "Cheese Marketing News" and "Natural Health News published by
      L & H Vitamin Company." The Weston Price Foundation website,
      of which Fallon is president, claims their purpose is to dispel health
      myths. Yet a report on their own website indicates "the New Zealand
      government is considering removing soy formula from the market
      and making it available only by prescription," and lists a citation
      number #58. Their claim may be true, but when the reader looks
      for the citation in the end notes, it is missing. So the reader has to
      wonder why. It appears that Fallon and Enig are making a career
      out of bashing soy, but are they backing up their opinions with
      good science?

      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.

      Fallon and Enig also make the claim that Asians have lower rates
      of osteoporosis than Westerners, not because of soy consumption
      but because their diet provides plenty of vitamin D from shrimp and
      seafood and plenty of calcium from bone broths. They provide no
      references for this claim. They go on to claim that high rates of
      osteoporosis in Western society are attributed to the substitution
      of soy oil for butter. They advocate butter as a traditional source
      of vitamin D that helps to build strong bones.

      Butter only provides about 56 units of vitamin D, and shrimp about
      152 units of vitamin D per 100 gram serving, which are almost
      insignificant according to the latest reports on the need for vitamin D.

      Skin exposure to sunlight is the primary source of vitamin D. Even
      sunlight-deprived women who consume a diet that provides 600
      IU of vitamin D/day have been found to be lacking in this essential

      [Journal Internal Medicine 247: 260-68, 2000]

      Recent reports indicate blood levels of vitamin D don't even begin
      to rise till 4000 IU of vitamin D is consumed.

      [American Journal Clinical Nutrition 69: 842-56, 1999]

      The textbooks need to be re-written for vitamin D, and Fallon and
      Enig are using out-dated information. Furthermore, butter raises

      [European Journal Clinical Nutrition 52: 650-54, 1998]

      The Federal Register, October 26, 1999, Volume 64, Number
      206, provides a 66-page discussion on the positive and negative
      reports concerning soy and health in relation to the approval by
      the Food & Drug Administration that soy protein helps to reduce
      cardiovascular risk by lowering cholesterol. The report, written
      by the Food & Drug Administration, cites 167 pertinent scientific

      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. 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."

      Robert Cohen