What two new studies are saying about the so-called
"superfood" being shoved down our throats
Veggie lover soy enthusiasts might want to think twice before biting into their next pseudo-meat soy burger. Two studies published in January link soy to heart disease and infertility. This research is so solid-and so alarming-that governments around the world are taking action.
In the January 2006 Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers at the University of Colorado reported on the devastating effects of soy. When they fed soy-based food to mice with swollen hearts, the mice developed heart failure and died. But when other afflicted mice were fed raw milk, they made a marked recovery. Dr. Leslie Leinwand, the head researcher for the study, made a statement that was remarkable for someone representing a leading university: "At least in mice, diet can have a more profound effect on heart disease than any drug that we could imagine." YES!
Dr. Kaayla Daniel, author of The Whole Soy Story, reports that soy-based foods increase homocysteine levels, an important marker for heart disease. "Clearly soy is not the solution for people at risk for heart disease," says Dr. Daniel. "Possible benefits are outweighed by proven risks. People at risk for cardiomyopathy should avoid it altogether."
Foundation of sand (and soy)
These latest reports on soy and heart disease are especially ironic considering how the whole "soy-as-health-food" myth got its start. In 1995, Dr. James W. Anderson did a meta-analysis on soy. This is the standard method the Ph.D. statisticians use to play doctor: They take a pile of studies, usually of questionable science to begin with, toss them in a computer-blender, whirl them around, and then announce a conclusion. Garbage in-garbage out. This was his conclusion: Soy prevents cancer and heart disease and is the inexpensive key to health for the starving millions.
Momentous dietary decisions were made based on this hairbrained "study," and your all-knowing government instantly proclaimed that soy-based food was the greatest thing since mother's milk. (Anderson's study, by the way, was funded by Protein Technologies International, a leader in the "soyling" of the world.)
With that kind of stamp of approval, profits are sure to rise-and rise they did. Between November 1999 and the present, the profits from soy products zoomed 200 percent.
But since then, even Anderson himself has basically admitted that other studies conducted over the past 10 years have proven the nullity of his initial study. He blandly says that other studies have reported "less impressive results." The FDA even received warnings from its own experts about supporting these outrageous claims of a statistician-but those warnings were ignored.
Soy keeps (you from) multiplying
The second study, also published in January, showed that genistein, a plant estrogen found in soybeans, can lead to reproductive problems and infertility. It also showed that the severity of these problems is directly linked to the amount of genistein that a person ingests. Perhaps most alarming is that the adverse effects were found at doses comparable to the amount of genistein found in soy formulas given to human infants.
You can't deny that we have an infertility epidemic in this country. Fertility clinics have become big business, but no one ever asks why. Well, I'll tell you why-it's caused by the massive increase in the use of soy-based foods. We've been told for years that the decrease in the birth rate has been due to contraception, abortion, and increasing affluence. I'm not denying the significance of these factors--I'm just saying that they're not the only ones. The use of soy foods at all levels of society has had a significant effect on the birth rate. (I say "all levels of society" because in the past only the poor and destitute were forced to eat and drink soy. Now it has become almost a status symbol, lining the shelves of the so-called health food stores that have become the meccas of the Volvo-driving yuppies.)
This study has a number of countries up in arms and ready to take action, including Israel, France, the United Kingdom (including the British Dietetic Association), and New Zealand. (I'm sure you can't help but notice what country is NOT on this list.)
The specific warnings given in Israel reflect genuine and alarmed concern: The Israeli Health Ministry warned mothers not to put their babies on soy formula and suggested that until their children reach 18 years old, they should limit consuming products that contain soy to three times per week or less.
The French government took it one step further by slapping regulations on the manufacturers of infant and toddler foods. Under the new regulations, most of the soy estrogens have to be removed from foods that target this age group.
And in the United Kingdom, the Chief Medical Officer and the British Dietetic Association "have warned pediatricians and parents to use soy formula only as a last resort." (Sounds like they rate soy formula down there with chemotherapy. A better admonition might have been to say, "Use soy formula only if the baby is starving to death and there is nothing else available.")
Finally, in New Zealand, the Health Ministry has suggested that doctors carefully monitor the thyroids of infants on soy formula because they know that genistein-containing soy may depress the thyroid gland, resulting in stunted growth, lower intelligence, and early heart disease.
Myths, lies, and alibis
Among this litany of horrors, where does the USA stand? This clear and present menace to you, your family, and your pet is encouraged enthusiastically by the USDA, the FDA, the EPA, the AHA, and any other B.S. (and I DON'T mean "Bachelor of Science") government agency that cares to weigh in on the matter. (I told you not to trust those goofy people.) Dr. Kaayla Daniel reports: "Sadly, here in the United States the myth that soy is a 'health food' has led to increased use of soy formula, which now constitutes nearly 25 percent of the bottle-fed market."
Despite the overwhelming evidence, the problem is only going to get worse. Right now, it's estimated that 60 percent of the refined foods on store shelves and foods sold in fast-food restaurants have some kind of harmful soy protein in them. And, if those madcaps over at the Food and Drug Administration have it their way, the amount of soy Americans are consuming will likely double in the very near future. Why? Because they are apparently going to allow the manufacturers of every Twinkie, breakfast cereal, veggie burger, energy bar, milk substitute, and every other thing under the sun with harmful soy protein or a soy byproduct in it, to claim that SOY PREVENTS CANCER.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The only thing soy prevents is good health. Hundreds of studies have linked soy proteins and its derivatives to the following:
- heart disease
- cancer, especially of the breast and female reproductive organs
- allergies and reduced immunity
- thyroid dysfunction
- malnutrition and digestive problems
- nutrient deficiencies, including calcium (vital for the prevention of osteoporosis)
- reproductive disorders
- cognitive and mental decline
- psychosexual problems
The reality is that soybeans, which were long considered inedible unless fermented, should be outlawed for human and animal consumption. If, after all this solid evidence, you still don't believe me, do your own epidemiologic study. Go into the wilds of northern New Jersey and note how many animals you see eating soybeans. Let me give you fair warning: You might find a lot of animals snickering from the bushes as they watch you scratching your notes on recyclable brown paper-but you won't find any eating soybeans.
The only animals that eat soy are domesticated house pets because they have no choice. But you should be ashamed of yourself for eating vegetablized female hormone and for forcing it on your pets. You're setting them up for cancer, heart disease, arthritis, thyroid dysfunction, allergies, malnutrition, sexual abnormalities, and diabetes. And furthermore, you are setting yourself up for the same diseases. Who needs the FDA, the EPA, the AHA, and the USDA to spoil your health when you can do it yourself?
Actions to take:
(1) Last April (2005), the FDA was supposed to have decided whether the "Fake Food Industry" could continue to claim that soy protein and soy products prevent cancer. That was over a year ago, and they still haven't made a decision. But the fact that they've procrastinated for so long supports our cause-it gives us more time to rally against such a move. Plus, in the year since they were supposed to have made their decision, these studies and others like them have given our argument even more credibility. It's time to make the FDA feel the pressure.
One great way to do that is by sending them a letter stating your opinion on the absurd idea of allowing manufacturers to claim that soy prevents cancer. (The specific FDA Docket number is 2004Q-0151-Qualified Health Claim: Soy Protein and Cancer.) Be restrained, reasonable, and dignified-not foaming at the mouth like your editor. Mail your comments to:
Food and Drug Administration
5600 Fisher Lane
Rockville, MD 20857
(2) Get a copy of The Whole Soy Story: the Dark Side of America's Favorite Health Food and urge your friends to buy one, too. To order a copy, go to www.wholesoystory.com.
"Soy diet worsens heart disease in mice," Journal of Clinical Investigation 2006; 116(1): 16-9
"Neonatal genistein treatment alters ovarian differentiation in the mouse: inhibition of oocyte nest breakdown and increased oocyte survival," Biology of Reproduction 2006; 74(1): 161-8.