Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Is soy harmful?

Question: Dear Monique, My daughter has a dairy allergy so I have been giving her soy for about a year now. I have recently heard that there have been studies done that show soy to be harmful, causing brain atrophy, cancer and many other things that are pretty bad. I am concerned now that maybe I am harming her by giving her soy. What do you know about these studies? What is your opinion of soy's safety? Thank you. Donna 

Answer: First of all there, let me assure you that there are no solid, scientific studies that directly link soy consumption to brain atrophy or cancer.

I, too, have read about "the darker side of soy" and I feel that these reports are misleading. I personally believe that these anti-soy claims are largely exaggerated and erroneous. Many claims are based on animal studies that make major leaps in their conclusions.

As each day goes by more credible research is coming out that disproves many of the conclusions made by these reports. Such is the case with tofu consumption and brain shrinkage. Recent findings suggest that the way the tofu was processed in Hawaii (with aluminum) is the culprit and not the tofu itself.

Soy has been eaten by humans for thousands of years with no ill effect. I urge you to read these 4 well documented articles about the most recent research on soy, soy's safety and the anti-soy campaign. They address the questions and concerns you have mentioned.

The first details what's behind the Soy Disinformation Campaign. It is written by John Robbins (The Food Revolution and EarthSave) who explains in great detail, the truth behind the recent soy controversy.

The second is by Virginia Messina, MPH, RD & Mark Messina, PhD (Vegan Outreach) who are soy and vegetarian nutrition experts, and adjunct professors at Loma Linda University. They explain the facts about scientific research and the claims against soy.

The third is by Jeff Nelson (VegSource.com) who addresses the recent research on soy and how it effects your body and mind.

There are many substantial and accurate studies that show soy to be more beneficial than detrimental to your health. Only when the bad outweighs the good should a substance be avoided. Currently, I am not convinced by the reported negative findings. I feel that soy and soy-based products are a very safe and heart-healthy alternative to meat and animal-based protein. So, don't you or your baby avoid soy because of the scare tactics made by journalists who just want to sensationalize a story, or are actually against soy from the start. After reading these articles, I am more convinced than ever that soy is safe!

You may also want to visit the Virtues of Soy website at

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Monique N. Gilbert, BSc. has offered guidance in health, nutrition, fitness and stress management since 1989. Through her writings, Monique motivates and teaches how to improve your well-being, vitality and longevity with balanced nutrition, physical activity and healthy stress-free living.


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