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The "Dangers of Soy" Myth

The so-called dangers of soy is misinformation propagated primarily by Sally Fallon and the Weston Price Foundation, who claim not only that meat and animal products are essential for health but that soy is supposedly harmful. 

This just doesn't stand up to scientific scrutiny. In his article "What About Soy?," John Robbins refutes these claims conclusively and in detail. Another article, "Is It Safe to Eat Soy?," by Virginia Messina, MPH, RD, and Mark Messina, PhD, professors at Loma Linda University, concludes, "Based on the bulk of the evidence soy appears to be perfectly safe for nearly all healthy individuals when it is consumed in reasonable amounts. We would say that a reasonable amount of soy is two to three servings per day."

A multiyear study of 5,000 women published in the December 2009 JAMA, reported in many media outlets, concluded that soy was not only safe but beneficial: "Among women with breast cancer, soy food consumption was significantly associated with decreased risk of death and recurrence."

A search on the New York Times site for "soy and cancer" reveals that back in 1998 and '99, articles about soy described its benefits. Fallon's first book was published in October 1999, and in the 2000s (coincidentally ...) coverage started to become negative.

The idea that an animal-based diet is healthier than a vegetarian diet is simply not supported by the statistics. For example:

  • Increased risk of breast cancer for women who eat meat daily compared to less than once a week: 3.8 times

  • For women who eat eggs daily compared to once a week: 2.8 times

  • For women who eat butter and cheese 2-4 times a week: 3.25 times

  • Increased risk of fatal ovarian cancer for women who eat eggs 3 or more times a week vs. less than once a week: 3 times

  • Increased risk of fatal prostate cancer for men who consume meat, cheese, eggs and milk daily vs. sparingly or not at all: 3.6 times.

    ...

  • Average U.S. man's risk of death from heart attack: 50 percent
  • Risk of average U.S. man who eats no meat: 15 percent
  • Risk of average U.S. man who eats no meat, dairy or eggs: 4 percent
  • Amount you reduce risk of heart attack if you reduce consumption of meat, dairy and eggs by 10 percent: 9 percent
  • Amount you reduce risk of heart attack if you reduce consumption by 50 percent: 45 percent
  • Amount you reduce risk if you eliminate meat, dairy and eggs from your diet: 90 percent

It's true that one needs to buy soy products made from organic soybeans, to avoid chemical contamination and GMOs, but other than that, the ostensible dangers of soy are a myth.