- Feb 26, 2001THE JOY OF SOY AND THE DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN
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
TOWNSEND MEDICAL LETTER
"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
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."