Foodfacts.com recognizes that there are a few certain topics that seem to always cause heavy debate. Undoubtedly GMO, organic, and natural foods usually initiate some heated discussions, but another heavy subject that seems to intrigue people is Soy.
Originally, soy was praised by many people; boasting anti-cancer effects, and even the ability to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease. Also, soy became most popular among women because it was believed it would help reduce the symptoms of menopause, and help fight osteoporosis. How? In the simplest terms:
- Women produce an estrogen hormone, estradiol, which helps to maintain bone density.
- When menopause occurs, estrogen levels severely reduce, increasing the risk for reduced bone density.
- This is when soy came into play, because it naturally contains phytoestrogens, genistein and daidzein, that act as estrogen during menopause.
- Women were commonly using soy products as hormone-replacement therapy to reduce their menopause symptoms and regain bone strength.
In more recent years, we’ve been seeing quite the opposite hype about soy. Now we commonly read research and stories of soy endangering our health, rather than empowering it. After many years of women consuming more than average amounts of soy, research found that incidence of breast, ovarian, and other cancers were noticeably increasing, along with increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, thyroid cancers, and reproductive difficulties. However, many still argue that soy can be included into a balanced diet with no harmful effects.
Here are some research articles you may be interested in to learn more about the pros and cons of soy:
Metabolic effects of soy in post menopausal women. Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism. Kathleen Murphy. 22.3 (Fall 2010): p105(2).
A mild favorable effect of soy protein with isoflavones on body composition–a 6-month double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial among Chinese postmenopausal women. International Journal of Obesity. Liu, S.C. Ho, Y-m Chen and Y.P. Ho. 34.2 (Feb 2010): p309(10).
The significance of soy protein and soy bioactive compounds in the prophylaxis and treatment of osteoporosis. Journal of Osteoporosis. Sa’eed Bawa. (Annual 2010)
Investigating the optimal soy protein and isoflavone intakes for women: a perspective. Women’s Health. Mark Messina. 4.4 (July 2008): p337(20).