Fact 1: Plant Estrogens Are Not the Same as Natural Estrogen

Many myths and misconceptions concerning soy foods stem from the fact that soy contains natural plant compounds called isoflavones. Isoflavones are “phytoestrogens,” which are also known as dietary estrogens. Isoflavones have a chemical structure that’s similar, but not identical to natural estrogen, the hormone produced by your body. Therefore, plant-derived phytoestrogens in soy do not exert the same effects as the estrogen that the body produces. When some people hear “soy contains phytoestrogens,” they assume that consuming soy will expose their body to too much estrogen, but that is not the case.

Fact 2: Soy Isoflavones Do Not Increase Breast Cancer Risk

Some people shun soy foods in the mistaken belief that these plant estrogens will increase their body’s exposure to estrogen, and increase their risk for breast cancer. It turns out, that the opposite may be true. In the case of breast cancer, concerns about soy increasing natural estrogen levels are unfounded. In fact, the incidence of breast cancer is lower in countries where soy is consumed regularly. In Asian epidemiologic studies, a higher consumption of soy in early life is associated with a 25 to 60 percent reduction in breast cancer risk. Similarly, the North American Menopause Society has concluded that soy-based isoflavones do not increase the risk of breast or endometrial cancer.

Fact 3: Soy Does Not Have Feminising Effects on Males

This myth has caused some men to avoid soy products completely. While it certainly makes headlines, this has been reported in only one study, which documented the “feminising” effects in a 60-year old man who drank nearly three litres of soy milk daily. It was estimated that the subject was taking nine times (360mg) the amount of isoflavones than typically consumed by older Japanese men, whose soy intake is higher than the worldwide average. The subject’s high soy intake was also part of an unbalanced and nutrient-deficient diet. In numerous clinical trials, there has been no report of feminising effects in men who were exposed to as much as 150mg/day of soy isoflavones.

Finally, you can also help the planet by consuming more plant-based protein like soy. When compared to the environmental impact of raising farm animals, soy production uses less water and land, and produces fewer greenhouse gases.

For more health and nutrition advices please contact Brigitta on 0450 282 452.

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