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The problems with soy.

Posted by on Jun. 8, 2010 at 8:40 PM
  • 26 Replies

In regards to infants:

In the United States, about 25 percent of formula-fed babies receive soy-based formula. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) currently considers soy formulas acceptable for healthy term infants, although they are third choice after breastmilk and cow milk formulas.  "Acceptability" is based primarily on the fact that term infants fed soy formulas gain weight and appear to grow normally. 

The AAP only recommends soy formulas over cow milk formulas for vegan families or for infants with certain medical conditions that affect how the baby metabolizes lactose, such as diagnosed lactose intolerance or galactosemia, a rare genetic disease. The AAP does not recommend soy formulas for preterm or low birth-weight babies.

Soy-based formulas are made from soybeans. One concern with soy-based formulas is that they contain high levels of phytoestrogens like genistein. Phytoestrogens are molecules made by plants that mimic the actions of estrogen. Remarkably, genistein levels measured in the blood of soy-fed infants are roughly 10 times higher than phytoestrogen concentrations known to alter a woman's menstrual cycle.

Estrogens are important in reproductive development and function. Although animal studies suggest effects, it is not definitive if the phytoestrogens in soy formulas can alter the reproductive development of infants.

Human studies have linked soy formula consumption with early breast development, abnormal menstrual cycles and a greater tendency to have twins. One study found reduced immune response to childhood vaccinations among children raised on soy formulas, although a follow-up study could not replicate the findings.

Rodent studies have shown that baby mice injected with genistein are more likely to have larger uterines, reduced fertility, altered estrous cycling, multioocytic follicles (MOFs), decreases in uterine progesterone receptor expression and other effects associated with excess estrogen exposure. When a female's eggs develop in her ovary, they should occur as single cells contained in nests of nurse cells referred to as follicles. MOFs are an abnormal condition in which multiple egg cells develop within a follicle. MOFs in mice have been associated with reduced fertility. Progesterone receptors are important in the uterus because they regulate the maintenance of pregnancy, among other important reproductive functions. A loss of progesterone receptors could cause infertility and miscarriage.

Rodent studies that use injected mice have been criticized because the route of exposure is not the same as in humans. When genistein is injected into mice, it bypasses the gut, where it might be metabolized into less or more potent forms. In addition, many injection studies cause peak genistein concentrations in research mice that greatly exceed those measured in soy formula-fed infants.

In regards to girls:

A new study reports that girls are reaching puberty at a younger age than ever before because of ingesting high amounts of hormone-like substances. These hormone-like substances are phenols, phthalates and phytoestrogens.

Phenols, phthalates and phytoestrogens are toxic substances that are pervasive in environment and in our homes.

Phytoestrogen mimics estrogen and is found in soy products. Dr. William Campbell says that soy products are not the healthy foods we have been led to believe, but is instead dangerous and toxic to consume.

The phenol BPA is in bottles and cans. BPA is linked to asthma, cancer, heart disease, obesity and various sexual problems.

Phthalates are found in plastic and makeup. While the overdose of these hormone-like substances are causing accelerated maturity in girls, some boys now have the misfortune of developing breasts.

"This new study in Environmental Health Perspectives is on girls, but the damage isn't limited to them. These are equal-opportunity hormones, and they're making boys more feminine as well."

Until the government takes steps to eliminate these toxins, it's up to us to protect ourselves from phenols, phthalates and phytoestrogens.

More on soy, and also reasons to avoid certain brands that refine the soy with hexane:

Many non-organic veggie burgers are immersed in the neurotoxin hexane when they are being prepared. As a rule, non-organic veggies burgers containing soy protein isolate, soy protein concentrate, or texturized vegetable protein have been immersed in the neurotoxin.

Hexane may even have been used for veggie burgers that you bought thinking they were organic. But it's not that simple. Check labels carefully. If the label says "made with organic ingredients" the neurotoxin hexane may still be present. The disclaimer being that the label does not say the product is ONLY made with organic ingredients.

Dr. Kaayla Daniel, who wrote "The Whole Soy Story" voices caution about the use of soy.

"Dr. Daniel also points out the findings of numerous studies reviewed by her and other colleagues -- that soy does not reliably lower cholesterol, and in fact raises homocysteine levels in many people, which has been found to increase your risk of stroke, birth defects, and yes: heart disease."

Veggie burgers aren't the only food product to watch out for. The neurotoxin hexane is present in the vast majority of processed foods containing soy, peanut and corn oil.

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by on Jun. 8, 2010 at 8:40 PM
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Replies (1-10):
by on Jun. 8, 2010 at 8:47 PM

I wish people realized that very careful research and consideration has to go into these product choices. You can't just grab something off the shelf and assume because it's there, it's all good.


by on Jun. 8, 2010 at 10:11 PM

Thanks for this. I don't plan on FF but god forbid I should have to, knowing this puts me one step ahead...

by on Jun. 8, 2010 at 10:37 PM

Definitely.  What people seem to forget is your options for formula aren't just soy or cow's milk.  There is lactose-free NON-soy formula.  There is also milk banks, and if you contact local breastfeeding groups, you can usually find women willing to donate for FREE as well.

by on Jun. 8, 2010 at 10:50 PM

 I'm surprised it's only 25% of FF babies. I swear every FF child I know is on soy.

I found a milk bank when I adopted my two kids but no one was willing to donate and there was no way I could afford to purchase. I ended up FF'ing and it was soy. I got them both off it as soon as I could but even then, I didn't know what I know now and they both drank a lot of cow's milk right after formula.  My daughter will still react if she drinks much milk.  I wasn't too bright way back then. :)

by on Jun. 8, 2010 at 11:25 PM

 I wrote a journal about this a long time ago.  I really think people underestimate soy.

by on Jun. 9, 2010 at 12:03 AM

Oh that was intersting, thank you for posting this!

by on Jun. 9, 2010 at 1:11 AM

I read some scary stuff about soy a bit ago and have been avoiding it if possible. I'm not FFing but it seems like it's in everything anyway.

I also read that moms who are pregnant with boys who consume a lot of soy have babies with tiny willies. Not that that influences me...

by on Jun. 9, 2010 at 7:14 AM

 I should add that I don't totally avoid soy.  I love tofu and edamame on my salads.  I think the biggest problems happen when people consume large amounts of it. i.e., babies having soy formula since that's all they're getting for months.

by on Jun. 9, 2010 at 9:23 AM

 I never really knew why soy was actually bad for me, but I always tried to limit our intake. Thanks for the info.

by on Jun. 9, 2010 at 9:34 AM


Quoting DestMasters:

 I should add that I don't totally avoid soy.  I love tofu and edamame on my salads.  I think the biggest problems happen when people consume large amounts of it. i.e., babies having soy formula since that's all they're getting for months.

 I agree, its like when I see new vegans or vegetarians eat soy based meat replacements three meals a day. No good.

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