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To Soy or not to Soy!

Posted Feb 18 2009 12:05pm

Here is an interesting excerpt of an article about the pros and cons of soy consumption. The research is actually quite confusing. Because plant-based or natural treatments and preventatives are, in most cases, safer than their synthetic counterparts, many doctors eagerly leap to the defense of soy – almost as eagerly as others rise to defame it.They say it helps all kinds of menopause symptoms. However, there is a lack of unbiased clinical research on BOTH sides, resulting in more hearsay and less fact on both sides of the issue. So what can you do?

Various Soy Products
1. Monitor your soy intake. Concerned consumers should monitor the overwhelming prevalence of soy in the American diet by reading labels carefully. In addition to the multitude of blatant soy-based foods, soy additives, oils, proteins and emulsifiers can be found hiding in unsuspecting condiments, ice creams, protein bars, processed foods, candies, chocolates, health shakes and beverages, making it easy to consume well over the 35 grams a day recommended by government health agencies. When reading labels, be aware of terms like “lecithin,” “vegetable protein,” and “natural flavoring,” all of which are code for soy. Moderation, as always, is key.

2. Eliminate soy intake if you have a high-risk for cancer. While monitoring soy intake may be enough for some, women at high risk for estrogen-dependent cancers or thyroid disease may want to abstain entirely until more research has been done. Women taking Tamoxifen or similar anti-estrogen drugs should consult with their physician about incorporating soy in their diet.

3. Breastfeed. New mothers may also want to consider milk-based formulas or breastfeeding, if possible, to reduce the risk of hormone-related complications and childhood soy allergies.

There is no reason to swear off soy entirely or panic because you have been consuming soy-based foods or drinks. Low-risk women should also keep in mind that there is a difference between isolated soy compounds and a whole food, so while taking soy supplements such as isoflavones may be dangerous for certain individuals, having the occasional bit of tofu in your pad thai or a moderate amount on a regular basis is unlikely to be detrimental.
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