d57047ec4f9596a5b2f5f6b8ff24-383x660I have been hearing and seeing a lot of talk lately about the pros and cons of soy. A lot of the talk is around 4 major topics: 1.) anti-nutrient content, 2.) phytoestrogen content (plant compounds that mimic human estrogen – the “female” hormone), 3.) protein quality, 4.) hazards of genetically-modified soy. Here is some info have found in my research…you be the judge.

Soybeans are highly nutritious. They provide high quality proteins, isoflavones and essential fatty acids. They are low in fat and have no cholesterol.

One of the main components researchers have focused on are isoflavones, particularly genestein and daidzein. These isoflavones in soy are phytoestrogens, weak estrogen-like substances made by plants. They are similar enough to estrogen that they are able to bind to estrogen receptors, possibly explaining how soy might protect against breast cancer, for example.

To date the most compelling evidence in favor of soy is its beneficial effect on cholesterol levels. After decades of study the Food and Drug Administration in October 1999 endorsed soy as a means of lowering cholesterol.

In 1995, the New England Journal of Medicine (Vol. 333, No. 5) published-Title- “Meta-analysis of the effects of soy protein intake on serum lipids”,. The meta-analysis concluded that soy protein is correlated with significant decreases in serum cholesterol, LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides. However, HDL (good cholesterol) did not increase by a significant amount. Soy phytoestrogens (isoflavones: genestein and daidzein) absorbed onto the soy protein were suggested as the agent reducing serum cholesterol levels. On the basis of this research PTI filed a petition with FDA in 1998 for a health claim that soy protein may reduce cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.

The FDA granted the following health claim for soy: “25 grams of soy protein a day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.” One serving, (1 cup or 240 mL) of soy milk, for instance, contains 6 or 7 grams of soy protein. Solae resubmitted their original petition, asking for a more vague health claim, after their original was challenged and highly criticized. Solae also submitted a petition for a health claim that soy can help prevent cancer. They quickly withdrew the petition for lack of evidence and after more than 1,000 letters of protest were received. In February 18, 2008 Weston A. Price Foundation submitted a petition for removal of this health claim.

An American Heart Association review of a decade long study of soy protein benefits casts doubt on the FDA allowed “Heart Healthy” claim for soy protein and does not recommend isoflavone supplementation. The review panel also found that soy isoflavones have not been shown to reduce post menopause “hot flashes” in women and the efficacy and safety of isoflavones to help prevent cancers of the breast, uterus or prostate is in question.

Most men worry about soy as it is a well-known fact that it contains enough isoflavones, and this substance produces the results of estrogen, which is the female hormone. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill conducted a study on this and within, huge quantities of soy were fed onto men.

KEY POINT*** in the study soy was provided in very large amounts and the results were: nipple discharge, breast enlargement and also minor decreases in testosterone. The doses given to the above men were in the excess of 30 times what could be consumed from normal food and no serious effects could be found. The amount a man needs to intake for good protective levels in terms of heart disease is a third of a cup a day.

5 believed soy health benefits:

1. Bone health – While most of the research has been done in women, scientists affirm that there’s no motive to recommend soy to older men as it can prevent osteoporosis in their case as well.

2. Cholesterol – Soy lowers blood cholesterol when combined with a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol. About 25 grams of soy protein daily helps lower the most damaging form of blood cholesterol

3. Diabetes – Soy has low glycemic index, so they do not raise blood sugar levels as other carbohydrates.

4. Muscles – As a protein source, soy is in the first position -the top. However, one doesn’t have to “overdose” with soy. A handful of soy nuts or a soy hot dog, or a soy smoothie is enough to help repair muscle.

5. Soy Protective Help Against Prostate Cancer – The effects of isoflavones on prostate cancer development may differ according to disease stage, according to the results of a study run by researchers at the National Cancer Center in Japan.

And of course 4 possible negatives of soy:

1. Possible developmental effects from prenatal and neonatal exposure

2. Possible neurological effects

3. Endocrine disruption and potential reproductive effects in men and women.

4. Increased risk for dementia in old age.

Some of the research done on the benefits/risks of soy have double standards and are far from conclusive. Take the information and judge for yourself, the internet and books are feel with opinions (even this blog),I cannot stress enough to do your own research and make the best decisions for your life style and current health.Soy_Foods

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