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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Finally Some Good Advice About Soy

Soy cancer warning

In today's news out of Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, we finally have some common-sense coming out.

The Cancer Council NSW will issue guidelines today, warning about the dangers of high-soy diets and soy supplements for cancer patients and those people in remission from cancer.
"The Cancer Council does not support the use of health claims on food labels that suggest soy foods or phyto-oestrogens protect against the development of cancer.''

Here's another good part of the story:
Soy has earned a reputation as a natural "superfood'' that cuts the risk of breast or prostate cancer, and is commonly included in women's health supplements.

This claim was based on findings that cancer rates were lower in Asia, where soy consumption is high.

And there it is...the truth. It's not based on actual facts. It's based on the finding that Asians have less of some types of cancer. What those proponents won't inform you of is that Asians also have higher rates of some cancers, such as esophagus, stomach, pancreas, and liver. Can soy proponents take credit for lower incidence of some cancers, but not for the higher incidence of others? That hardly seems logical. Besides, Asian diets aren't just higher in soy, they are higher in fruits and vegetables, lower in sugar, lower in refined carbohydrates, and higher in whole foods, all of which are protective against disease.

Rest assured, soy is a huge industry and that is why there is so much "good news" about it here in the States. The reality is that our soy products are not similar in any way to those consumed by traditional Asians. They eat fermented products, such as miso, natto, and tempeh, while we eat precipitated products, like soy burgers, soy dogs, and tofu. The fermentation is absolutely essential to neutralize the many, many antinutrients in soy. And studies have shown that Asians only consume an average of 2 tsp of soy per day, hardly a "high" intake.

From protease inhibitors to goitrogens to high levels of manganese, you can read all about the reality of soy here. It's not a health food. It must undergo extreme processing to be palatable in the form that it is consumed in the US. Soy foods are a man-made item and should not be consumed as part of a healthy diet, unless they are traditionally fermented foods.