Too Much Soy?

Over at Vegan Lunchbox, there's a little debate going on about how much soy is too much. Among those cited is John Robbins, who writes:

It's not that long ago that soybeans were considered by most Americans to be "hippie food." But then medical research began accumulating, affirming that soy consumption reduced heart disease and cancer risk, that it lengthened lives and enhanced their quality, and that it provided an almost ideal protein to substitute for animal proteins that almost inevitably come packaged with cholesterol and saturated fat.
Cookbook author and chef, Bryanna Clark Grogan weighs in:
Some people are allergic to soy, but then, some people are allergic to wheat, corn, peanuts and many other foods-- that does not mean that they are bad for the rest of us! There is some serious "soy-bashing" going on out there and some of the claims are downright ridiculous! Do your research and make an informed decision!

Soyfoods are, in fact, one of the MOST studied foods in history--studies on soy and humans go back to the turn of the 20th century. Soy is not a "miracle" food, but it is a source of inexpensive and high-quality protein, with proven anti-carcinogenic, antioxidant and cholesterol-lowering properties.

What does Dr. Fuhrman have to say about it? Dr. Fuhrman agrees that incorporating soy and soy products into one's diet will provide a wealth of disease preventing nutrients. But as this exerpt from Eat to Live explains, a diet should not be centered on soy, or any one food for that matter:

Soy products such as soy burgers, soymilk, and soy cheese are much more popular and available today. Recently, the FDA approved soy-containing products as heart-healthy and allowed health claims for soy protein.

Studies have shown soy's beneficial effects on cholesterol and other cardiovascular risk factors. However, there is no reason not to expect the same results from beans of any type--it's merely that more studies have been done on soy than on any other beans. There are numerous studies indicating that soybeans are rich in various anti-cancer compounds such as isoflavones. Most beans are rich in these beneficial anti-cancer compounds, and many different flavonoids with anti-cancer effects are found in beans of various color. I always recommended the consumption of a broad variety of phytochemical-rich foods to maximize one's health. Beans are no exception--try to eat different types of beans, not just soy.

You should be aware that soy nuts, soymilk, and other processed soy products do not retain many of the beneficial compounds and omega-3 fats that are in the natural bean. The more the food is processed, the more the beneficial compounds are destroyed. Remember, though, tofu and frozen or canned soybeans are a good source of omega-3 fat and calcium.

Recently, a few studies appeared showing potentially negative effects of consuming too much soy. One particularly troublesome study done in Hawaii suggested that men with higher tofu intake had more cognitive decline and brain atrophy with aging than men who ate little tofu.1 This data contradicts evidence that Japanese men, who consume tofu regularly, have better cognitive function and lower rates of Alzheimer's disease than American men.2 Obviously, more studies are needed to clarify these suggestive findings and to determine if there is something in tofu or related to tofu consumption that may be harmful. After reviewing these findings, Dr. Harris had soy products from Hawaii tested for aluminum levels and found a significantly higher level of aluminum in tofu from Hawaii than in tofu from the mainland. The aluminum factor may be a plausible explanation for the alleged "brain aging" properties of soy.

In any case, the evidence is not sufficient to warrant being fearful of consuming soybeans as part of a healthful diet. However, this brings to mind my basic theme of nutritional biodiversity--eat a variety of plant foods, and do not eat a soy-based diet.

Most of the processed soy products can be tasty additions to a plant-based diet, but they are generally high in salt and are not nutrient-dense foods, so use them sparingly. In conclusion, the soybean is a superior food, containing the difficult-to-find omega-3 fats. Beans in general are superior foods that fight against cancer and heart disease, which is why you will benefit from using a variety of beans in your diet.

1. White, L. R., H. Petrovitch, G. W. Ross, et al. 2000. Brain aging and midlife tofu consumption. J Am. Coll. Nutr. 19 (2): 242-55.

2. Graves, A. B., I. Rajaram, J. D. Bowen, et al. 1999. Cognitive decline in Japanese culture in cohort of older Japanese Americans in King County, WA: the Kame Project. J. Gerontol. B. Physchol. Sci. Soc. Sci. 54 (3): S154-61.

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Comments (39) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Bryanna Clark Grogan - March 11, 2006 11:45 AM

Hi! Since Jennifer mentioned my Soy Concerns FAQs on my webpage, I am taking the liberty of mentioning that I have just posted, for clarification, a statement on my "stand" on the soy controversy:
http://www.bryannaclarkgrogan.com/page/page/593450.htm#59128

and a long post on "Who are these people you call "anti-soy" who are spreading the fear of all things soy?"
http://www.bryannaclarkgrogan.com/page/page/2264686.htm#59130

Here is the first statement:
I stand for common sense. You can eat a perfectly fine vegan diet without soy-- no question about that. If you are soy allergic, you can find non-soy meat and dairy substitutes, or make them yourself. I have files of them that I can send to people who ask about that.

It really annoys me that people with an anti-vegetarian agenda are spreading nonsense about a food that has sustained humans for thousands of years, distorting history, distorting scientific studies, and spreading hysteria. If you do a search on the internet, it's hard to find anything BUT this hysteria-- no wonder people are confused! That's why I've researched this subject and posted information about it. I don't really care whether you eat soy or not, just make your decision from an informed place!

Soy is a a very versatile food for vegetarians and, if you are not allergic, I see nothing wrong with eating soyfoods daily from organic and non-GMO sources. I have done so for many years, even making my own tofu, even before I was a vegetarian. I am healthy and active as I face my 60's in 2 years time, not sick and "poisoned" as the anti-soy contingent would prefer me to say.

I think that the majority of soyfoods, as with all the other foods you eat, should be traditional soyfoods or soyfoods that have not been overly-tampered with. But what does that mean? Some people call tofu, a soy product with thousands of years of history, that you can make in your own kitchen, a "processed food"! Well, butter is a processed food, as well, then.

I consider traditional Asian foods, like soymilk (I make my own), tofu, miso, soy sauce, and tempeh, foods that I can eat every day if I want to. Other soyfoods that I have no qualms about eating daily (though I don't necessarily-- I eat a very eclectic and varied diet because I like to experiment with many ethnic cuisines) are soy flour, soy yogurt (homemade), and even plain, unflavored dried textured soy protein, which is made from cooked defatted soy flour extruded through "dies" to make granules or shapes, and then dried. (It is not the same as "hydrolized soy protein" in any way!) A new product that I also like is called Soycurls (butlerfoods.com), which is similar to textured soy protein, but made from the whole soybean.

As for all the new processed soyfoods-- soy weiners, sausages, burgers, "hamburger crumbles", soy cheese, etc.-- we eat them a few times a month when we are in a hurry. My husband was a meat lover 15 years ago and became a vegan on his own, but he craves sausages, etc. sometimes. We buy vegan products that contain ingredients we can understand, and made with organic soy. Most of the time, I make my own meat substitutes at home, and we love beans of all kinds. (I don't panic about protein, and we often have soup meals, or vegetable only meals.) These products are far superior to processed meats that many people think nothing of serving to their children.

A few times a year we might buy soy "ice cream" (again, organic), and I almost never buy tofu sour cream, tofu creme cheese, or vegan "junk foods". Again, I make my own. I can't afford to buy these vegan processed foods, even if I wanted to, and I think my own recipes taste better, most of the time. I can also control fat and calories and fiber content better that way.

MARTIN CYRAN - April 2, 2006 5:21 PM

MY WIFE AND I WERE VERY MUCH GETTING INTO THE SOY ARENA, ESPECIALLY SINCE READING DR. FUHRMAN'S BOOKS AND USING HIS SUGGESTED RECIPE'S. GETTING TO ACTUALLY LIKE TOFU TOOK A WHILE FOR ME BUT I WAS GETTING THERE.
THEN I READ DR. MERCOLA'S NEWSLETTER THAT INCLUDED ARCTICLES ON SOY ESPECIALLY THIS ARCTICLE ON "NEWEST RESEARCH ON WHY YOU SHOULD AVOID SOY".
READ IT FOR YOURSELF....GO TO http://www.mercola.com/2000/apr/9/soy_research_update.htm
THERE IS JUST TOO MUCH EVIDENCE OUT THERE, STUDY AFTER STUDY, SCIENTIST AFTER SCIENTIST, TO IGNORE.
UNLESS SOMEONE CAN TELL ME ALL THESE PEOPLE IN THE STUDIES ARE WRONG,OR EGZAGERATING, I AM STAYING AWAY FROM SOY LIKE THE PLAGUE.
CHECK IT OUT FOR YOURSELF...PLEASE

Joel Fuhrman - April 3, 2006 12:59 PM

Why write in all capitals? If you really did read my books, you would know that I do not recommend that a healthy diet be based in any one food like soy. Nor do I recommend a corn-based diet either, but I would not call either food cancer-causing. Actually all foods have naturally occurring toxins in them, but that does not make that food harmful, if consumed as part of a varied diet. Martin, if you really did read my books, I would expect better judgment from you. And rather than come to a conclusion, about soy you could have asked for a more unbiased perspective. I can assure you I have no preference to support soy products and do not. In fact, I do have my own concerns about consuming carageenan in certain soy milks. Nevertheless, I doubt that you did read my books given this comment and I suspect you must have made that up to support the Weston Price cronies or Dr. Mercola. If you did read my book you would note that I actually refer to medical and scientific journals and use updated references whenever possible when posting a view on nutrition. The article on Dr. Mercola's site is the same stuff they keep referencing back and forth from the Westin Price Foundation's leaders Sally Fallon and Mary Enig. Like Mercola, they are not authors with a history of scientific integrity. These are the same authors who advocate diet with the majority of calories coming from meat, liver, tropical oils, and butter and cream. Of course they would twist the literature to call soy cancer-causing. Remember this is the same duo who denies the link between saturated fat and cancer and saturated fat and high cholesterol and heart disease. They even deny the link between high cholesterol and heart disease. They distort science to attempt to convince the uneducated and unsuspecting public who can't see through their poor logic and bad science. And people love to believe this nonsense as it supports their preferences for a diet rich in animal fats. If you note the references that they use, they are primarily articles written in magazines and books, by other people like them; not peer-reviewed scientific journals. Out of the 60 or so references, only a few came from peer-reviewed journals, and any scientific references mentioned did not support the conclusions that these meat and butter friendly soy bashers came to. Rather than addressing each of their points. Take a look at this article written by John Robbins. He does a fairly comprehensive job of pointing out all Sally Fallon and Mary Enig sillyness about soy http://www.foodrevolution.org/what_about_soy.htm
Don't forget, I also do not recommend soy formula for kids, nor do I recommend isolated soy protein as a healthful food. But putting a moderate amount of soy beans, or tofu in your diet; why not? No decent science supports such fear. Let me see, a cup of melted butter over my cheese and steak sandwich, or some steamed vegetables and tofu? Hmm, I guess I should fear that tofu and dig into that cheese steak, that what this topsy turvy duo (Sally Fallon and Mary Enig) is saying. Run the other way when you see their names again.

Gloria - April 6, 2006 4:00 PM

I feel very sorry for you Dr Fuhrman for fighting a lonely battle. People seems to be drawn to the scary tactics and the shocking factors when it comes to health news - that's how all these mercola/weston price sites generate traffic! Yeah your ancester eat lard and beef tallow? sure go ahead and be expected to have a life span of your ancester (i.e. 50 years of age)!

Candymac - April 7, 2006 1:17 PM

I'm a vegetarian who doesn't eat soy on a daily basis, but maybe 3-4 times a week. I hope that in the future there will be more conclusive research about the benefits and possible adverse effects of soy and in the meantime I hedge my bets, but a fair reading of the reports in the news,internet, etc. suggests to me that soy is probably beneficial overall, at least in moderation. In any case, I have read a few of Dr. Fuhrman's writings, including Eat to Live, and it's ridiculous to think he's pushing soy--if anything his emphasis is on veggies, fruits, and beans more generally and I've never read anyone without an obvious pro-meat bias who disputes that.

Erin - May 6, 2006 7:17 PM

One fact often overlooked about soy is that the fermented forms seem to offer the most health-protective compounds and those are the forms traditionally eaten in asia. Interestingly enough, when fermented, the allergenic compound is deactivated, as are the phytates. The studies showing anti-cancer benefits were largely done with miso, natto, etc. Fermentation also greatly increases the isoflavone activity. I agree that isolated soy protein isn't good; after all, it's not a whole food. Anything isolated could potentially be bad. It's just not how food was designed to be consumed! But we shouldn't lump whole, fermented soy in with isolated or processed soy.

Paul - June 5, 2006 12:46 PM

I guess I generally agree with Dr. Fuhrman's recommendation. I'm a little troubled with the recommendation to eat tofu, with the Hawaii study showing increased Alzheimer's risk and the recommendation not to eat textured vegetable protein (which is simply defatted soy flour) which doesn't have any adverse studies associated with it. Not being a whole food isn't enough of a reason not to eat something if the benefits are adequate. For example, recently Dr. Fuhrman recommended pommegranate juice as exception to his general approach that juices aren't first choice. Anyway, it seems to me if there is a soy product we should be cautious of, it's tofu rather than TVP.

B. Day - August 3, 2006 8:23 PM

My husband and I read a book called "the common cures they don't want you to know about" ever since then we have been more cautious about what type of foods we have purchased. We also decided to become vegetarians. In my diet I try to consume at around a 100g of protein a day, at the same time trying not to go overboard on the carbohydrates and dairy products.This has been difficult to do without meat products. But I have recently fallen in love with all the boca burgers, sausages, etc. There quick, easy, tasty, less carbs and fat. I probably have one of those products with every meal. But I am now beginning to question if they are all that good for me. Am I putting all the toxins in my body from the processed soy that I was trying to avoid from meats? But if I don't have that what is a better substitute? I am always on the go and don't have much time to cook. Does anyone have any suggestions? Or can you clue me in? Am I being to paranoid?

chris - August 8, 2006 6:21 PM

I read that nutty mercolas story and thats all it is a story, soy is not bad its good and if i eat fat all day ill get fat so if,u eat soy all day u might tend to get sick use ya head people a balenced diet. my bigest question is how dose soy milk and thats what im putting in place of milk why dose it need so much proten? can thay make a soy milk that dosent? the reason why im asking is because i like alota the soy products but 2 much can't be good at all. I hear you guys tho mix it up + i do im only 15 teen and i was just wonderin cause i want to live long and healthy.thx DRFuhrman.For your words of insight on this subject cause i was gettin confused for a hot sec by mercola.

john - October 5, 2006 7:54 PM

What effects does soy sauce have on the body, is there too much sodium, preservatives or other additives

Rondi davison - October 16, 2006 10:32 AM

my cap key is off? anyhow, please understand that my only interest in soy was to become healthier. UNFORTUNATELY IT DESTROYED MY HEALTH. WHY SOY AFFECTS SOME PEOPLE AND NOT OTHERS MAY BE RELATED TO IODINE INTAKE. I'M NOT A DOCTOR, SO I REALLY CAN ONLY SPEAK FROM MY OWN EXPERIENCE. SOY MADE ME FEEL WONDERFUL FOR ABOUT THE FIRST 5 MONTHS OR SO. yET AS TIME WENT ON I STARTED TO NOTICE CHANGES FOR THE WORST. OF COURSE I WROTE IT OFF AS SYMPTOMS OF MENAPAUSE. UNFORTUNATLY I CONTINUED TAKING SOY THINKING IT WOULD HELP. WESTON A. PRICE WEB SITE HAD TESTIMONIALS THAT RELATED HEALTH ISSUES IDENTICAL TO MINE. BLOODWORK, DENTAL X-RAYS, AND BONE SCANS HAVE ALL INDICATED HOW SERIOUS SOY AFFECTED MY HEALTH. I DEVELOPED A BLOOD CLOTTING DISORDER. OSTEOPEROSIS, AND HASHIMOTO'S THYROID. MY HEALTH WILL NEVER BE THE SAME SINCE USING SOY. PLEASE SOY IS DANGEROUS WHY TAKE A CHANCE?

Michele - November 7, 2006 4:11 PM

Seems to me that since you were trying to become "healthier" there might have been other factors affecting your health before "taking" soy. My feelings are that maybe a person who is just "taking" soy might possibly have other things going on in their body before. Are you a Vegan? Vegetarian? If not maybe it's the saturated fats, chemicals and fat in other foods that are to blaim? Maybe even other toxins that had building up over time?

Elijah - November 20, 2006 3:38 PM

The people who used caps lock to type there rebuttals are spreading lies.

My thoughts are just use Tofu and Plain Soymilk (Westsoy unsweetened organic) in moderation and eat the green edamame as often as you like.

John - Soy sauce is BAD because it is liquid salt and can give you a stroke. I believe Japanese have the highest rate of strokes and guess what? They use alot of soy sauce, they're average sodium intake per day is over 18,000 MG!!!!

If anyone wants to be in superior health then listen to Dr. Fuhrman!!

He also has his own radio show now. Visit DrFuhrman.com for more information!!

Tracy - December 14, 2006 5:08 PM

How much is too much soy?
I just found out about the soy controversy.
I eat a healthy diet. I do eat meat when I crave it, but the majority of my diet is fish and vegetables.
I also eat some soy everyday.
I don't take soy supplements, but I have soy at least one meal a day.

Should I be eating less soy? I'm hearing about the whole estrogen theory, and that it's not great for your thyroid, but is there an amount that starts getting dangerous? I wouldn't think it would be dangerous to eat it in moderation!

Robert - February 15, 2007 2:33 PM

What about articles like these. What is your response to this. Please email me. I need to know cause I love and promote soy but I don't want to grow breasts (half kidding) if you know what I mean. read the article below.

There's a slow poison out there that's severely damaging our children and threatening to tear apart our culture. The ironic part is, it's a "health food," one of our most popular.

Now, I'm a health-food guy, a fanatic who seldom allows anything into his kitchen unless it's organic. I state my bias here just so you'll know I'm not anti-health food.

The dangerous food I'm speaking of is soy. Soybean products are feminizing, and they're all over the place. You can hardly escape them anymore.

(Column continues below)


I have nothing against an occasional soy snack. Soy is nutritious and contains lots of good things. Unfortunately, when you eat or drink a lot of soy stuff, you're also getting substantial quantities of estrogens.

Estrogens are female hormones. If you're a woman, you're flooding your system with a substance it can't handle in surplus. If you're a man, you're suppressing your masculinity and stimulating your "female side," physically and mentally.

In fetal development, the default is being female. All humans (even in old age) tend toward femininity. The main thing that keeps men from diverging into the female pattern is testosterone, and testosterone is suppressed by an excess of estrogen.

If you're a grownup, you're already developed, and you're able to fight off some of the damaging effects of soy. Babies aren't so fortunate. Research is now showing that when you feed your baby soy formula, you're giving him or her the equivalent of five birth control pills a day. A baby's endocrine system just can't cope with that kind of massive assault, so some damage is inevitable. At the extreme, the damage can be fatal.

Soy is feminizing, and commonly leads to a decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality. That's why most of the medical (not socio-spiritual) blame for today's rise in homosexuality must fall upon the rise in soy formula and other soy products. (Most babies are bottle-fed during some part of their infancy, and one-fourth of them are getting soy milk!) Homosexuals often argue that their homosexuality is inborn because "I can't remember a time when I wasn't homosexual." No, homosexuality is always deviant. But now many of them can truthfully say that they can't remember a time when excess estrogen wasn't influencing them.

Doctors used to hope soy would reduce hot flashes, prevent cancer and heart disease, and save millions in the Third World from starvation. That was before they knew much about long-term soy use. Now we know it's a classic example of a cure that's worse than the disease. For example, if your baby gets colic from cow's milk, do you switch him to soy milk? Don't even think about it. His phytoestrogen level will jump to 20 times normal. If he is a she, brace yourself for watching her reach menarche as young as seven, robbing her of years of childhood. If he is a boy, it's far worse: He may not reach puberty till much later than normal.

Research in 2000 showed that a soy-based diet at any age can lead to a weak thyroid, which commonly produces heart problems and excess fat. Could this explain the dramatic increase in obesity today?

Recent research on rats shows testicular atrophy, infertility and uterus hypertrophy (enlargement). This helps explain the infertility epidemic and the sudden growth in fertility clinics. But alas, by the time a soy-damaged infant has grown to adulthood and wants to marry, it's too late to get fixed by a fertility clinic.

Worse, there's now scientific evidence that estrogen ingredients in soy products may be boosting the rapidly rising incidence of leukemia in children. In the latest year we have numbers for, new cases in the U.S. jumped 27 percent. In one year!

There's also a serious connection between soy and cancer in adults - especially breast cancer. That's why the governments of Israel, the UK, France and New Zealand are already cracking down hard on soy.

In sad contrast, 60 percent of the refined foods in U.S. supermarkets now contain soy. Worse, soy use may double in the next few years because (last I heard) the out-of-touch medicrats in the FDA hierarchy are considering allowing manufacturers of cereal, energy bars, fake milk, fake yogurt, etc., to claim that "soy prevents cancer." It doesn't.

P.S.: Soy sauce is fine. Unlike soy milk, it's perfectly safe because it's fermented, which changes its molecular structure. Miso, natto and tempeh are also OK, but avoid tofu.

Ptah - March 25, 2007 10:43 AM

Life is full of twists & turns...years ago I became a vegan - it just happened! The smell of meat cooking became that of burning rotted flesh. Eating at restaurants that had lobster tanks in view tugged at my soul (always kinda did).
Anywho... I had to find subsititutes. I learned after appx. 7 years into it that tofu was an alternative to just cheese, so I added it to my diet. First I noticed the soy burgers, breakfast 'sausages and then they added the chix patties & "barbeque" and now they have a substitute for about everything. Soy milk was not readily available then. But last year I added it and use it in cereal and coffee.

I just wish to share...
Pre/Menopause I have none. I'm not even sure when its supposed to occur...
My birthday is in a few days and I was born in '50. A few years ago my prompt menstral cycle skipped a month once or twice and vanished.

I've watched for years women younger and older suffer through hotflashes & mood swings. I have no symptoms. It tickles me when the younger ones say "just wait till you get my age".

My wholistic doctors informed me when I was in my 30's that there was no reason for women to suffer through this time in their life. They told me to take Don Quai which I did and Precious Pearls (which I never found); and heralded my vegan approach (neither was one) but urged me to keep my diet varied.

I did PRAISE GOD!

Cher - April 3, 2007 9:08 PM

I've been following a weight loss diet that includes soy bars, and have noticed, when I go a little heavy on the soy bars I break out in pimples, like I did as a teen. (I'm over 50). This seems to be directly related to the soy bars. I wonder why this effect.

tamara - June 29, 2007 11:42 PM

As we all know, everybody is genetically different and is affected by food differently. What works for you may not work for me...and what works for me may not work for you! I've recently made the decision to eat only plant based foods (including soy) and I have never felt better.

Do what makes you feel good, inside and out. Your body will respond regardless just make sure you listen!

Lauren - September 23, 2007 1:16 PM

Hi Robert,

Could you site your sources please or at least give readers the link to that "article"? That would be greatly appreciated.

Ron - November 20, 2007 8:22 PM

Regarding the Hawaii study that suggested men with higher tofu intake had more cognitive decline and brain atrophy with aging than men who ate little tofu. Then the Japan study found the opposite.

The Reason for this COULD be that, tofu eaters in Hawaii are more likely to be pot-smoking hippies, which would explain the cognitive decline and brain atrophy. Did they ever think of that? Not to dis Hawaiians or pot-smoking hippies, because I'm friends with both.

PAUL - April 22, 2008 12:27 PM

The pot smoking hippies thing in Hawaii... it's surprisingly true. My favorite response was the guy typing on Cruise Control. His responses were lulzy.

kate - September 22, 2008 10:06 AM

After reading "skinny bitch" I switched to only soymilk. It's been about a month and a half, with almost a glass a day. Recently I noticed excrutiating menstrual cramps, so severe, that I've decided to adopt if I ever go down the child route. I do see this as a side effect of too much soy, and I am going back to organic milk.

Pete Walls - November 23, 2008 11:24 PM

After reading all the comments above, i am wondering if drinking 3 soy latte's a day is too much? I never drank Soy until it was recommended by my oncologist during radiation for prostate cancer..He felt that regular milk would cause problems along with raw vege's. Pete Walls, Camas WA and DHS, CA

Jennifer Larson-New PFC - February 2, 2009 5:44 PM

I agree with the doctor on this one. Soy is great, but that doesn't mean you should avoid all other types of foods and a variety of beans. Most studies show that the more variety you have in your diet, the healthier you will be because you are covering your basis. It's also interesting to note that many people that suffer with IBS have problems digesting soy as well. If you are one of those people, it is important to find legumes that you can digest, as they are so vital to a healthy diet.

Carol Cunningham - October 26, 2009 8:10 PM

Sorry, folks. I didn't want to interrupt this lively chatter, but in Canada soy is in nearly all of the food one buys.
Most baked goods, processed, EVEN JUST PEANUTS peanut butter has soya oil in it. Just look at ingredients if you are curious enough.........
So. like it or not you have no choice - and beware if you are allergic.
If you begin to wake with eyes/face etc swollen, get reddened burning skin, aching legs, red rash, unexplained headaches, etcetc, just go to the market and buy lots of veggies and fruits - beware the genetically modified ones though, since they are that way to resist disease and pests and they are usually 'modified' with soya.
You just cannot get away from it !!


Camille Moskowitz - November 27, 2009 6:31 PM

Are the hormones in Soy harmful (estrogen or estrogen like or estrogen producing)I hear so many warnings against soy for this reason. I am a post menopausal woman who eats a great deal of edammame. Is this dangerous? Please respond.

Joan - December 13, 2009 8:16 AM

Soy products give me terrible migraines. It took me quite some time to narrow down soy as the culprit. I'm not saying soy is bad, other perfectly good-for-you foods cause migraines, too.
What I want to know is, what is the best way to substitute for things like TVP and tofu in recipes?

Elizabeth - December 26, 2009 4:10 AM

I came on this late, but I would suggest to Joan that you "substitue" tempeh for tofu in some of your eating habits. Tempeh has all the benefits attributed to soy (in fact it seems more studies have shown a stronger correlation for fermented soy products like tempeh than for tofu) and none of the fermented soy products are implicated in the phytoestrogen and "shrinking brain" issues. It has more flavor of its own than tofu, so there'd be an adjustment period for using it in recipes that depend on tofu's ability to soak up other flavors. It's different, but you might find you like it better.

No ideas on the TVP, sorry. I think TVP would be low on the "real food" scale in any case. Perhaps there are ways to use other beans to get the same effect?

lauren - January 25, 2010 11:24 AM

I have PMDD which for those who don't know is an extreme PMS. Extreme as if you want to jump out windows and get a divorce for a few days out of the month. I am lactose intolerant and so my diet is filled with soy milk, soy cheese etc. Recently a friend told me of the possible link to soy and estrogen. If there is any possibility of soy adding ANY estrogen to my body that is extremely bad and would explain a lot. For now I can not take any chances and have decided to cut soy out completely to see if there are any changes. This is actually life threatening to me and I am furious that if there is indeed estrogen in soy that there isn't a warning on the packaging. This is not a joke for someone like me.

Katsie Lyonz - April 3, 2010 4:53 AM

Robert didn't provide any sources but I can. Since I'm milk intolerant and have potential thyroid problems I've been researching this heavily.

There is a causal link between hypothyroid problems (which leads to mental decline, obesity and fertility problems as the thyroid regulates these). This is one of those things you eat in moderation.

So for the research, here's a good starting point although you can type in soy thyroid problems and pull up lots of info in a search engine.

http://www.soyonlineservice.co.nz/04thyroid.htm

and this is a scientific review of the studies that are currently available:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6X0P-45PK2FM-1&_user=10&_coverDate=09%2F25%2F2002&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1279656913&_rerunOrigin=scholar.google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=97db5e3fd90dcea9925fbde35eb5bcdd

Scott Martin - April 13, 2010 1:18 PM

Thanks to you all for putting so much time into these discussions. It's amazing how much time I've spent trying to figure out what to eat. It seems like I should've learned this from my parents-but I didn't. I learned how to develop chronic disease. I learned how to accept mediocrity-at best-in my health.

Like Dr. Fuhrman has written, vegetarian, vegan and omnivorous diets can be healthy or unhealthy. Whatever you call yourself, if you eat too much animal product, processed and refined food, you're likely to run into trouble. The Weston A Price Foundation is right on with their condemnation of processed and refined foods. They are way off base with their recommendation of high animal product consumption.

Again, like Dr. Fuhrman and T. Colin Campbell have written, an animal product here and there will make little or no difference in a person's health. What will make a difference is a high, really high consumption of fruits and vegetables. You wanna eat some meat, dairy or eggs? Go for it. Yes, make sure it's grass fed, etc. How much animal can one eat and expect to be healthy? Dr. Fuhrman says 10% or less of your calories.

If you want to believe a study here and a study there, that's your right. When there are hundreds or thousands of studies showing the same thing (which there is), I pay attention.

Then there's results. By far, the most impressive results are had by following the advice of people like Joel Fuhrman MD, T. Colin Campbell Phd., Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr. MD, John McDougall MD, etc. What are the results of The Paleo Diet, The Weston A Price Foundation, etc? Do people cure their Type II Diabetes? Do they cure their heart disease? Looking at the Paleo Diet website, I see mediocre results. I see no results/success stories listed on The WAP website. I pay attention to results.

What are my results? My eyes healed themselves so that I don't need glasses anymore, I run faster now at 37 than I did ten years ago, I rarely get sick anymore and when I do it's more like an immune response than something that slows me down, I lost fifteen pounds and am now just above the middle of the "normal" section on a body-mass index.

What do I eat? I eat organic, whole, mostly raw plant-based foods. I eat mostly raw fruit, a lot of raw veggies, some cooked veggies, some beans, some miso, some tempeh and some brown rice. I eat almost nothing (miso and tempeh) from a package ie, nothing refined or even processed and no (rarely) animal products. I do not sprout, juice or dehydrate. I take no supplements, pills or use any green powders.

Look at some packaged food and a raw fruit or veggie. Which looks healthier? Vegans and vegetarians listen up! Stop eating junk food and giving the rest of us a bad name! If you want optimal health, you've got to stop thinking that food comes in packages! Food comes from the earth. It comes from soil not from dirt. Dirt is dead, soil is alive! Eat organic! Grow your own!

Read these, change the way you eat and thrive!

The China Study
The 80/10/10 Diet
Eat to Live

greenfuelcoach@gmail.com

Jan Humphrey - June 3, 2010 10:54 PM

QUESTION: Can eating too much soy cause diahhrea? Just making some dietary changes and found I like soy so have been eating edamame and tofu (along with other foods). Started on soy milk yesterday -- loved it and had several glasses over the day. Today have awful diahrea -- just wondering if there might be a connection??

Food Stuff - June 26, 2010 11:34 AM


I think if you read Dr. Furhman’s book you’ll realize that he pushes for more natural foods versus processed foods. Soy beans and soy that is minimally processed like tofu and even soy milk should be okay if eaten moderately. Meaning, it shouldn’t be your only substitute for protein…as many vegetarians do. If you have a diet combined with many different beans including soy beans and vegetables, then you should be good. Dr. Furhman definitely pushes variety. I do think people should be careful when it comes to highly processed soybeans like TVP. I personally stay away from that stuff because I’m against all highly processed foods, but Dr. Furhman says it’s okay to use them sparingly. What “sparingly” means to you is up for you to decide I guess. But the way I see it is, the more of that highly processed stuff you eat, the more it gets in the way of the good natural stuff.

Also, whenever someone doesn’t agree or has a doubt about Dr. Furhman’s ideas, he or she accuses the other of pushing their “meat agenda.” I hate when this occurs, because I personally do not think that Dr. Furhman has a “vegan agenda,” and if we start throwing these terms around people will be skeptical about reading the book. I’m for one, a meat eater. When I first came across the book I was fearful it was going to be a vegan rant, but once I read it I appreciated the message about consuming less meat and more fruits, veggies and beans. Dr. Furhman thinks a vegan diet is a superior diet but he also realizes that not everyone wants to live that way so he provides options to fit everyone. He gives scientific reasons to his conclusions but at the same time he doesn’t try to hit you over the head with becoming a vegan. So, while I’m glad that vegans and vegetarians have someone they can look to for advice and support, there’s no need to turn this into a vegan versus meat eaters thing. And honestly, while I’ve been living the “Eat to Live” life style, even as I added meat and fish back into my diet, I felt more like a “vegetarian” than my friends who are vegetarians, yet barely know what a cucumber looks like.

naomi h - July 7, 2010 4:25 PM

I think all the soy bashers are forgetting one simple basic proven to be true fact "all things in MODERATION nothing is good for u if u eat so much of it, but I know I will take my chamces with soy, then overly processed, hormone injected meat!!!! How is it any better or the risks any worse? How can anyone stand up and say with pure confidence that everyone should one product over another? We all are a unquie combination of genes, we all need different things, therefore we all should figure what works best for ourself and stop telling others what to do or not do!

Lily - February 23, 2011 3:44 PM

The ridiculous thing though is that most people spreading these rumours about soy still consume dairy and meat, both of which are full of hormones AND antibiotics.
I wish that other soy alternatives (rice milk, almond milk) weren't 5 times as expensive as soya milk, at the moment I can't afford to switch.

Johanna Wirtz - March 29, 2011 7:47 PM

Hi there,
Hi there, when i got pregnant i became lactose intolerant, i've been drinking Soy milk ever since and it has always been fine. Lately i've noticed that my stomach would cramp a little after drinking too much soy milk. But today it felt like i was going through labour all over again, after having two bowls of cereal and lots of soy chocolate milk last night. I didn't know Soy milk could cause such horrible cramping stomach pain of consumed in bigger amounts. It should be sold with a warning label. I will never touch soy milk again. But i still love my cereal so i have to switch to rice milk.

adamo p. - April 12, 2011 11:36 PM

Everything in moderation - if you got sick it may not be soy milk, you may have just caught a bug. Asian people have been feasting on soy since time immortal and have longevity + low cancer rates. But that doesn't mean it's all due to soy because other elements are also important: other diet components, exercise, smoking, stress, lifestyle and etc. And I also must add, I do like that no animals suffered for my meal and what kind of lives they might have led before they end up on my plate....

Andrea R - February 1, 2012 6:29 PM

Dr. Fuhrman you mention you do not recommend soy formula for kids. I have a 4 year old with single site Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis and have used your nutritional advise to attempt to stabilize it to avoid chemo. I also have a 20 mth old. Both my children drink soymilk daily and I recently saw a quote from Dr. Esselstyn who said "An excess of soy protein may stimulate insulin growth factor, which is a tumor promoter"....Should I be eliminating soymilk from my children's diet? Almonld, coconut, hemp milk instead? You help is MUCH appreciated.

Mary P - May 21, 2012 6:54 AM

Just wanted to put my two cents worth in. Dr Fuhrmans book has resulted in my losing weight, losing my arthritis, feeling fabulous and discovering legumes. I eat soy now and then, the whole bean, not tofu and stuff. But i also eat heaps of other beans in all varieties and rotate them through my lunch salads. I can't believe the energy and lack of hunger I feel. I cycle to work and home, nearly 10 k each way, and just feel so younger than six months ago before i read his book when I could barely walk from arthritis. Soy beans are just beans. I dont' drink soy milk or any other pretend milks are they are just oil water and sugar and have little of anything in them, but folks, don't be afraid of eating soy. half a cup of soy beans once a week isn't going to hurt you. It's just food. Mercola always creates fear to sell things, so don't listen.

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