The Truth About Soy – What Does the Science Actually Say?

Soy has quickly gone from a relatively unknown in Western culture to a highly debated and controversial food. Of course, soy has not been embraced by communities who have been advocating against grain and legume consumption for decades.

Even people who eat predominately plant-based diets will campaign against this humble legume. The question is: are these harsh criticisms warranted or does the scientific literature say otherwise?

Introduction on Soy

A flurry of blog posts, most without any or with limited sources from scientific literature, has emerged attempting to prove once and for all how dangerous soy consumption is for human health.

Claims can range anywhere from “soy causes breast cancer and increases estrogen levels” to “phytates in soy leeches nutrients from your body”.

In this post, we will closely examine common objections against soy. We will explore the truths many online resources got right and the falsehoods that many got wrong.

We will dive deep into the actual scientific research behind soy consumption and ultimately be able to conclude soy, when consumed in any reasonable amount, protects against disease and promotes overall health.

**Please note that this article is about whole-foods plant based sources of soy, not soy additives in processed foods.

Debunking Anti-Soy Claims

Soy Allergies

 

 

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In addition to the Blue Zones study, which showed regular legume consumption as one of the pillars for the longest lived cultures [16], another study analyzed 785 partcipants aged 70 and over. Here were the results [17]:

The FHILL longitudinal study shows that a higher legume intake is the most protective dietary predictor of survival amongst the elderly, regardless of their ethnicity. The significance of legumes persisted even after controlling for age at enrolment (in 5-year intervals), gender, and smoking. Legumes have been associated with long-lived food cultures such as the Japanese (soy, tofu, natto, miso), the Swedes (brown beans, peas), and the Mediterranean people (lentils, chickpeas, white beans). [18]

When it comes to raw statistics, the study found that every 20g of legumes consumed daily resulted in an 8% reduction in risk of death.

Soy and Estrogenic/Breast Cancer

 

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