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The "Soy" article in this issue's 'Mothering' - Page 3

post #41 of 127
Originally Posted by Meiri
If people want to eat it, fine. But it should be labelled the same way peanuts and "processed at a facility that processes peanuts" foods are labelled: Clearly and prominantly.
I have seen it alot if not all foods that have soy.. have the label "may contain soy/soy products" or "processed at a facility that processes soy products"....

man i hope that made sense... :LOL
post #42 of 127
I just the read the soy article last night and it did scare me a bit. I'm 5 months pregnant right now and have been a vegetarian for almost 20 years. We are ovo-lacto so I don't eat tons of soy all day, though I do eat some daily. I have a 3 year old son who is very healthy. I'm also carrying a boy right now. The part of the article that scared me the most was the bit about soy consumption/vegetarianism and hypospadias, which is a birth defect with the penis. I went on the web and tried to find more info. What I found was that the original study looked at 8000 babies. Out of the 8000, 51 boys were born with hypospadias. Here is a quote:

"I gave this information to Dr. Barnard and he has researched the study. Out of the group, researchers identified 37 cases of hypospadias in non-vegetarian mothers, 7 in vegetarian mothers, and 7 in women whose dietary habits were unknown. They have cast some suspicion on phytoestrogens, the weak plant estrogens found in soy products, but with such small numbers, it is very difficult to draw conclusions. More research is needed."

The web site I found this was at:

I'd like to read the original study and hopefully Mothering will post it along with all the other foot notes.

I keep thinking of that study that was done on The Farm in TN years ago. The kids were all vegetarian (mostly vegan I think) as were the moms and they were all very normal and they ate a lot of soy -definitely every day. They used it as a main source of protein. We're talking about hundreds of children too. There's never been any mention that the males were born with a particular birth defect or that the children had problems with sexual maturation.

I'm also confused about the tiny amount of soy she claims is consumed by Asians. 3 peas a day? What about miso and tofu? What about all those Japanese bars where they serve up soy beans in the same way we do peanuts? That doesn't make sense to me.

I've ready Mothering for a few years now and I have to admit, while I enjoy the magazine, I think it tends to be a bit alarmist. I'm not saying that it's okay to eat soy all day. I honestly don't know. I think if it were as serious a health hazard as the article's author states it would be very obvious among vegetarian and Asian poplulations.
post #43 of 127
Originally Posted by pumpkinhead
*sigh* Where is Hilary when you need her? Put it into perspective: Lots of people here have problems with fruit juices. One glass of orange juice is the equivalent to like 5 oranges. When was the last time you sat down and ate 5 or 10 oranges in a sitting? How many soy beans does it take to make a single serving of tofu? Could you sit down and eat that many soy beans 3-6 times a day?

Just food for thought....
I haven't read all the responses yet, but wanted to respond to this bit while I was thinking about it:

And how many gallons of milk does it take to make a pound of cheese? Answer: 10. So, how much cheese do you eat and would you drink that much milk in its liquid form all at once?

And do you ever eat a handful of dried fruit, or drink fruit juice? Do you eat a bigger serving of cooked broccoli than you would of raw?

My point being, of course, that unless you're a raw foodist, processing of foods whether through cooking, making cheese, juicing, etc. often turns a bigger quantity of raw ingredient into a smaller quantity of final product.

I do think, as many posters have said, that moderation is the key. I don't think soy is uniquely evil among legumes, but I do think it's not good to base your entire diet on one food.

We're vegetarian, and I do like some processed soy foods like veggie sausages and tofu pups. OTOH, most of our soy consumption is of tofu and tempeh - we don't drink soy milk or eat soy yogurt (we're ovo-lacto), and only rarely have soy ice cream, etc.

Here are some other links on soy that I found interesting:


post #44 of 127

soy article

my response?

FINALLY! i agree with all those here who pointed out that Mothering mag is teeming with soy ads. so i doubt very much the meat/dairy/egg industries are "behind" this one. as someone who overate soy for 4 years i can say that i personally experienced its ill effects and i'm glad to see this topic getting a bit more publicity.
post #45 of 127
I am fairly certain that the author of this article is way off on her #s for soy consumption among Asian populations.

An Oct. 2002 article published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Assn found that the avg consumption of soy among Americans was 18.7 mg/week of soy isoflavones - less than one 4-oz serving of tofu (30 mg) or 8 oz of soymilk (26 mg) per week. Asians living in Asia, on average, consumed between 104.3 mg/week to 210.7 mg/week of one form of soy isoflavone and between 66.5 to 114.8 mg/week of another kind.

In total, this adds up to btwn 170.8 to 325.5 mg/week of soy isoflavone consumption amongst Asians, or more than 10 times as much soy being consumed in Asia than the U.S. This article can be found in the following publication:

Validation of a soy food frequency questionnaire with plasma concentrations of isoflavones in US adults. (Research).
Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Oct, 2002, by Cara L. Frankenfeld, Ruth E. Patterson, Thomas F. Kalhorn, Heather E. Skor, William N. Howald, Johanna W. Lampe .

And, although I do not think that Mothering magazine is being personally bought out by the dairy or meat industries, I do have significant concerns about the author. Her wording in this article could have been taken almost verbatim from Dr. Mercola or the Weston A. Price foundation - both of whom are in the habit soy bashing by using scientific studies out of context or drawing unwarranted conclusions from studies:


My concern here with Mothering, much like an earlier poster noted, is that Mothering is being inflammatory. I am a long time reader of Mothering, as well & have written for the magazine, in fact. I am begining to feel that there are times when the magazine publishes sensationalist pieces not because they are accurate, but because they want to question the system and disagree with standard advice whether the advice is wrong or not. I say this with much disappointment, because I truly have enjoyed Mothering. I am not sure that I can trust the validity of the articles any more, though.
post #46 of 127
I have to agree with ChristaN. I recently bought subscriptions for pregnant friends and am kind of embarrassed about it. I've been reading Mothering forever and there has been something in each of the last three issues that just reeked of bad science, or at least bad reporting of science. I like so much of the content. I've always held Mothering to a higher standard than other parenting magazines and I'm really disappointed.
post #47 of 127
I am getting a lot out of this thread! Thanks to everyone who is being so thoughtful!

A thought occurred to me this morning in the shower. We were discussing the Macrobiotic diet in another thread here. Macrobiotics excludes nightshade vegetables. These vegetables are not native to Europe and Asia, but come from the Americas. Potatoes and particularly tomatoes were adopted very late. I see the fear of soy, or focus on problems with soy, in cultures where soy hasn't been consumed until recently as of a piece with the focus on problems with potatoes or tomatoes.
post #48 of 127
Originally Posted by ChristaN
In total, this adds up to btwn 170.8 to 325.5 mg/week of soy isoflavone consumption amongst Asians, or more than 10 times as much soy being consumed in Asia than the U.S.
I'm awful with stats, so someone please tell me if my question makes any sense.

The above was based on an average. So, if most Asians eat a little soy, and few Americans eat a lot of soy, can it average out that the Asian population on average eats less soy per capita than the American population, yet each individual Asian is eating far less than each individual American?

I have to wonder, too, why we think that just because Asians today are eating a lot of soy, it indicates that they have traditionally eaten a lot of soy. American diets are full of modern/processed/unnatural foods, and eating habits have changed drastically. Now, I'm aware that population demographics are much different between the two areas of the world -- my understanding is that there are far more rural/underdeveloped areas in Asia and overall less access to processed food -- but have the studies that are trying to figure out the average Asian soy consumption looking at a balance of less and more developed areas?

I hope that made some kind of sense... please don't bash me too hard if it doesn't...
post #49 of 127
If Asians (all Asians?) on average are eating a much greater amount of soy than people in the US (on average) and there aren't higher rates of supposedly soy-related illnesses in Asia, then the argument that soy causes those illnesses is seriously compromised.
post #50 of 127
How processed is tofu? I always assumed it was kinda like cheese in the way it was delt with, not too processed, I have a book that gives info on how to make your own tofu and soymilk and it doesn't seem that hard (not that I have done it). I can see a problem in eating LOADS of processed soy all day (soy bacon, yogurt, luch meat, cheese, mayo, burgers, hot dogs, nuggets, etc) but I just have a hard time grasping the idea that having tofu a couple times a week and some soymilk is going to be worse for me than cows milk and cheese or like a ham or something. Plus, I am not sure if I said this before, but I was thinking about it... alot of the bad stuff soy is suppose to do to girls is also the same stuff that cows milk is suppose to do to them.

I also have a bit of a problem with the undesended testicle thing, only because it should have gone over with the "birthdefects" not what can happen to a boy if he eats loads of soy, because your testicle just doesn't reundesend, they don't creep back up into the abdominal cavity once they get down.

post #51 of 127
I did read the article and struggled for a while to process the alarmist tone. Eventually what I got from it is concern for babes consuming soy formula and vegan/vegetarian simply replacing all their meat with soy "meat" products. I thought the side bar informing those who are allergic to it to avoid the risk of death to be really ridiculous!
The tone of the article could have been so much more informative instead of alarmist.......disappointing that Mothering Mag wouldn't ask the author to rewrite.

Our family has been vegan for nearly 10 years, lacto-ovo vegetarian for a few years before that, and we do limit processed soy products. Mostly because they're expensive and not whole foods. I've also had several of my kids who were sensitive to it when they were nursing if I consumed it, so I've spent a lot of time reading labels and avoiding it. (I've been nursing or pregnant a lot of the last 12 years!!!)

I do think that challenging the use of soy formulas is a worthy topic for Mothering readers.

Also good to encourage people to eat a varied diet.

Nuts and beans are such great foods, especially for little ones, so we wouldn't want to miss out on all those grains, veges and legumes that could so easily be replaced by dairy and meat or dairy and meat replacement foods!

Peace, Kathy
post #52 of 127
Originally Posted by lazucchini
Our family has been vegan for nearly 10 years, lacto-ovo vegetarian for a few years before that, and we do limit processed soy products. Mostly because they're expensive and not whole foods.

I do think that challenging the use of soy formulas is a worthy topic for Mothering readers.

Also good to encourage people to eat a varied diet.

Nuts and beans are such great foods, especially for little ones, so we wouldn't want to miss out on all those grains, veges and legumes that could so easily be replaced by dairy and meat or dairy and meat replacement foods!

i too have been veg for about 10 years (ok, i guess it's 12, but who's counting :LOL) and eat little soy for the same reason- not a whole food.

i know a lot of vegans who eat tons of soy, as they think this is the only way to live w/o eating meat. This is simply not true.
if nothing else, i hope the article educates on this level and causes people to give some thought to this.

post #53 of 127
The article kind of alarmed me also, I don't think we as a family would ever give up whole soy foods entirely (tofu, tempeh, tamari, miso), but I almost would rather have my son (age 2) perhaps drink something else other than soymilk. He isn't weaned entirely yet, but pretty much only nurses a couple times a day for comfort, not for nourishment.

I agree with the soy formula, when it is the primary source of nourishment to be alarmed, but I would also be alarmed about dairy formula, I mean only in rare instances can a woman not breastfeed her baby, I mean hello, we have breasts for a reason here!!

On the carton of Soymilk we use it has a bunch of "facts" about soy, one being "World wide, soybeans are the largest single source of protein and vegetable oil in the human diet", like it is a good thing. According to Rebecca Wood, author of The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia, she states that "soy oil is the most prevalent oil used in commercial food production. This oil, a byproduct of the soy industry, is highly refined. Unrefined soy oil is NO better. It has an unpleasantly intense aroma and flavor; it is considered toxic in traditional Chinese medicine, and is difficult to digest." Also about Soy Nuts & Soy Nut Butter "I do not recommend these hard to digest bean products. Real nuts or nut butter taste so much better."

Also in the "Whole Foods Encyclopedia" it states that the author of "The Book Of Tofu" Bill Shurtleff observed this about soymilk "Many Japanese doctors view it as an effective natural medicine and prescribe it as a regular part of the diet for diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, and anemia. They also use it to strengthen the digestive system and fortify the bloodstream." Rebecca Wood states "Nutritionally, soymilk contains the same amount of protein as cow's milk and is superior in the following ways. It has approx. 1/3 the fat, fewer calories, no cholesterol, many essential B vitamins, and 15 times as much iron. Because it is lower on the food chain, it contains 1/10 the amount of chemical residues."

Rebecca also states "Today our food chain is permeated with Roundup Ready Soybeans, biogenetically engineered by Monsanto. We're talking more than tofu, soy appears in foods ranging from infant formula to meat extenders. Furthermore, soy products like oil, flour, and lecithin are ubiquitous in prepared, packaged, and restaurant foods. There's only one way to tell whether the soy ingredient in your soup is natural or GMO: Purchase only certified organic foods or products with the statement "no GMO"S" Otherwise you're most probably ingesting Roundup Ready Soybeans spliced with an herbicide that enables the plant to survive otherwise toxic doses of chemicals. I wish this were a joke, it is not."
post #54 of 127
There are many good thoughts here, especially about bioengineered food. That ruins anything and will ruin everything if we let it. But as I posted somewhere else, soy is not all evil. If you aren't experiencing adverse reactions and you don't overdo it, it's a great food. Yes, edamame is the preferred form, but all cooked food is processed food. Some is way overprocessed, some not so much. Fermented food, such as miso, soy sauce or tofu is processed, but not entirely evil (even good for you) if eaten in moderation. There are plenty of non-dairy milks available that are fortified, lots of other protein sources, but soy is easy and healthy, too. Keep it in moderation, buy organic/nonGMO.
post #55 of 127
I have a question... it concerns organic foods in general... if something is organic, is it pretty safe to say it is GMO free? Like we buy organic soy milk and tofu, but Ihave never really noticed it saying it was GMO free... is it safe to assume it is due to the fact that the GMO soybeans are made with a herbicide?

post #56 of 127
In theory, yes, but there is so much contamination now, it's hard to say for sure unless something states GMO Free. Organic farmers generally like to keep their farms "clean" so most organic produce should be GMO free. Sucks, doesn't it, that we don't even know what we're eating?!
post #57 of 127

another Asian perspective...

Speaking from an Asian and former vegan perspective, I ate way more soy as a veg*n than I did eating a traditional Korean diet growing up. We would have tofu maybe once a week in a soup, and we kids would fight over the tofu chunks. LOL! Most of the time we ate soy in the form of soy sauce or fermented pastes. So I think the "3 peas a day" would be the daily breakdown of a once a week soy dish with little bits of soy sauce seasoning. It seems that nowadays my family, influenced by the "soy is healthy" attitude and trying to cater to my former veg*n eating habits, is eating a lot more soy than I remember as a child. Of course, this is only my one family's experience.

I am very wary of eating any modern soy foods. To me, eating them and thinking that they are healthy is like saying "Potatoes are healthy. People have been eating potatoes for generations with no problems. So I can eat potato chips every day and be healthy!"

If I remember correctly, the people on The Farm were eating traditionally processed soy, like tofu and tempeh. So that may have something to do with their healthy babies.

I think people will run into problems any time they eat anything overly processed, too often. Stick to whole, traditional (and traditionally cooked) forms of foods and don't make any one food the basis of your diet and you'll probably be fine. JMHO.

Chet Day has some good info here: http://chetday.com/soy.html
post #58 of 127

I just read the article with great interest

as my family does eat plenty of soy. My thoughts? Hmmmm I agree and disagree. At the same time that I agree soy in large amounts is harmful I do know that it's a good source of nutrients and protein and many people will attest to it's attributes.

Also, could the article not have been about Beef or fish or someother protein source that is involved in "the great american cover up" in regards to the harmful way it may be produced. The way it's over eaten or the amount of environmental "bad" it has in it? I think it surely could have been.

The tone in which it was written did bother me a bit. An example is that the article stated that vitamin D is added to soy milk so that it is "equal to dairy milk". PHOOEY- who doesn't know that Vit. D is ALSO ADDED to cow milk---- so if it wasn't ADDED to cows milk, cows milk would not be so "fab" either!?!?

Anywhooooo my 2cents.
post #59 of 127
I read the article. I agree, soy is as big a business as dairy. I don't think either product is very good for you- both are MAJOR allergins and a lot of people don't know they are sensitive to it since conventional doctors often don't diagnose food sensitivities.
post #60 of 127
I read the soy article last night. I have been reading a lot of articles lately on the dangers of soy but that one was definitely the scariest. I checked out the link to the veg times article and it was very interesting however it wasn't very well documented. IF what he says is true, then YAY but I would like to see references to the studies he cites. It's amazing how articles about the same food can be so conflicting. Sally Fallon and other talk a lot about phytates and cite studies of mineral dificiciences in soy eaters but the veg times article says that the phytates only bid the minerals in the soy itself - so who's right?

My take is like most of you said - moderation. I don't beleive soy is the EVIL food this and other articles say it is but I don't think its the MIRACLE food that it was made out to be in recent years. It's just another food that has some good nutrients. I think vegetarians can tend to overdo soy, and it is not good to rely heavily on any one food.

About a year ago, we switched from soy milk to rice dream (we don't drink milk just use over porridge and in cooking), we have tofu or tempeh once or twice a week, use miso and shoyu soy sauce quite often. I try to concentrate on fermented soy foods and we do not use any products with soy protein isolates in them.
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