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How Soy Affects the Body

How Soy Affects the Body

Chicago Tribune

Thyroid: Some believe that the excessive consumption of soy foods and supplements can cause hypothyroidism. Those in the pro-soy camp believe it only becomes an issue if the consumer is iodine deficient or otherwise susceptible to thyroid or goiter problems.

Breast cancer: Although isoflavones from soy foods may help prevent breast cancer, concentrated soy isoflavone extracts may set the stage for cancerous tumor growth, according to the American Cancer Society.

Heart health: Although the Food and Drug Administration continues to back its 1999 claim that “25 grams of soy protein a day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease,” last year the American Heart Association urged the FDA to back off the claim, citing more recent research showing “the direct cardiovascular benefit of soy protein or isoflavone supplements is minimal at best.”

Flatulence: Gas has been called the No. 1 consumer complaint against soy, which is why the industry trumpeted a study out of Singapore last year that seemed to reduce the amount of oligosaccharides – flatulence-causing carbohydrates – in soy yogurt. Stay tuned.

Sperm concentration: Controversy continues to surround how soy affects reproductive function. Some studies have shown that soy has no ill effect on sperm health, but a Harvard School of Public Health study showed that men who ate soy had lower sperm concentrations than those who didn’t. Many of these men also happened to be obese or overweight, which study authors admitted might have made them more sensitive to the phytoestrogen in soy.

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