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Is Soy Safe?

I have heard much talk about the connection between soy and breast cancer. I've heard eating soy can prevent breast cancer, but I've also heard that it can increase your risk, or be harmful for breast cancer patients.

First off, let's bring up the fact that soy is not some new food we just discovered. It has been eaten in many Asian cultures for thousands of years, including products such as tofu, edamame (steamed whole soybean), soymilk, and fermented soy products such as tempeh, miso, and soy sauce.

Recently, in North America, soy has become a huge hit. All these products are becoming widely available, in addition to some new ones like soy nuts, soy-based meat alternatives, soy-based beverages, soy chips, soy ice cream, soy yogurt, and soy cheese.

Soy contains phytoestrogens, a group of chemicals that act like the hormone estrogen. Estrogen is a hormone necessary for having babies, and is also involved with bone and heart health in women. Higher exposure to estrogen over a lifetime is linked with increased breast cancer risk. Therefore, you can see why people might be worried about the estrogen-like phytoestrogens in soy products.

So can phytoestrogens from soy foods affect breast cancer risk? To find out

Right now, there is no evidence that consuming phytoestrogens found in soy products will affect healthy women, or increase their risk of breast cancer. The American Institute for Cancer Research stresses that studies on soy and breast cancer are not conclusive, and more studies need to be conducted before any dietary recommendations can be made.

Fit's Tips: Women can help prevent breast cancer by staying healthy, by eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans, and by getting plenty of exercise and maintaining a healthy weight.


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brown_eyed_grrl brown_eyed_grrl 9 years
I eat soy in moderation. I used to rely on it heavily when I quit eating most meat (I only eat fish), but I've switched my protein shakes to whey and have found when I'm in a rush that Amy's makes lots of meals high in protein without using soy. I don't like to drink regular milk though, so I probably have half a cup of soy milk per day. I'm not sure what to believe about soy, though.
demonkitty18 demonkitty18 9 years
soy milk= yummyy
purselova418 purselova418 9 years
hmmm I am a vegetarian and eat a lot of soy. I hope it is not bad for you but everyday there is a new cause for cancer. No one really knows the cause of cancer so there is no point in worrying.
kgtg1 kgtg1 9 years
I second 8th Continent! I try to use soy in moderation, though.
bonbonfay bonbonfay 9 years
Some brands of soymilk are gross, but I swear by 8th Continent! It's delicious...I haven't tried the chocolate, but I get the Vanilla Light and it is so good on my Kashi cereal or granola in the morning. I can't bring myself to do soy cheese though...yuck.
madison63 madison63 9 years
i think the key is moderation. too much of anything is bad for you. soy does have health benefits as well so as long as you're not doing overkill, it should be fine.
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
like Fit said - soy isn't a new fad. it looks like she clearly checked her sources, too - so i'm satisfied that soy is fine and dandy. i eat tofu often and drink soy milk daily.
intensebandgeek intensebandgeek 9 years
(*whew!*) I'm so glad...I love soy products!
flowidme flowidme 9 years
i love soy milk! such a pity if soy really does cause breast cancer.
susanec susanec 9 years
Some docs don't recommend it for people who have had breast cancers (or other female cancers) since some portions can be estrogen receptive while other parts of the tumor may not be estrogen receptive. Getting off topic, I've also had friend who have been warned off of it while trying to get pregnant. Personally, I can't tolerate because it triggers my migraines. They're not normally hormonal but phytoestrogens don't work for me. Studies aren't conclusive either way so you just have make the best judgement call for your history and situation, as with anything, moderation might be best.
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 9 years
I love soy! I've grown-up enjoying tofu, soy milk and soy beans. I like chicken and that's pretty much the only real meat that I have. I love Bocca patties and tofu & bean salads. People can tell me all they want about how soy is bad/useless however I will never give in to that idea.
raptinrainbows raptinrainbows 9 years
stay far away from soy if you have hypothyroidism. as tivo said, it can wreak havoc with one's endocrine system.
vivalasvegas vivalasvegas 9 years
I think the real issue is the level of processing when it comes to soy...tofu, edamame, and soy milk are much less processed than all those fake meat products. The more you process anything, the less nutritional value it has and the more artificial it is. (I read an article on this recently, but can't find it, boo.)
c0rkie c0rkie 9 years
ok good cause i eat tofu like... everyday :)
TivoAteMyBaby TivoAteMyBaby 9 years
I have thyroid disease..hashimodo thyroidosis..had right half removed due to a very large nodule..First thing both my endo told me..NO SOY!! Causes havoc on the endrocine system, and is like the worst thing you can eat if you are prone to thyroid trouble..
rosey_y rosey_y 9 years
Hmmm, I've been hearing lots about the possible dangers of soy lately. Nothing seems to have been proven conclusively, so I'd love to see some more research done. My aunt has always been huge on soy - soy milk, soy cheese, soy ice cream, the whole nine yards. She's consumed large amounts for years. She was diagnosed with breast cancer two weeks ago. We have no family history plus she's always eaten well and been active so she's been looking at other lifestyle factors and soy is one of them. Of course soy might have not contributed to the cancer at all, but she's cutting it out just in case.
marley11 marley11 9 years
i love soy anything. i find soy milk to be much better in terms of flavor and benefits compared to regular milk. The downside is definitely the pricing of most soy products. I think in the long run, its worth all the money.
iheartstarbucks iheartstarbucks 9 years
i like soy. i absolutely loved edamame :)
Fitness Fitness 9 years
Tralala - I appreciate your comments... I checked out that website and first of all, it's not a reliable source. And second of all, that article is from Aug 2000. It's tough to find goos sources out there about soy!
tralala2 tralala2 9 years
Excerpt from the aforementioned article: Is soy bad for you? It contains high quantities of various toxic chemicals, which cannot be fully destroyed even by the long cooking process. These are: phytates, which block the body's uptake of minerals; enzyme inhibitors, which hinder protein digestion; and haemagluttin, which causes red blood cells to clump together and inhibits oxygen take-up and growth. Most controversially of all, soy contains high levels of the phytoestrogens (also known as isoflavones) genistein and daidzein, which mimic and sometimes block the hormone oestrogen. Surely, the Japanese eat huge quantities of soy, and as a result have low rates of breast, uterus, colon and prostate cancers? That's the big myth on which the idea of 'healthy' soy is built. In fact, the Japanese don't eat that much soy: a 1998 study showed that a Japanese man typically eats about 8g (2 tsp) a day, nothing like the 220g (8oz) that a Westerner could put away by eating a big chunk of tofu and two glasses of soy milk.
tralala2 tralala2 9 years
Soy in small amounts is good for you, very small amounts. Soy in any quantity larger than 1/4 a cup is overdoing it, and can wreak major havoc on your body. Do your research! For instance: Check this article "The Truth about Soy and the Soy Industry"
divinedebris divinedebris 9 years
I eat a lot of soy products and it's an acquired taste. I take soy milk in my coffee for a healthy-ish start to my day. Chocolate soy milk is definitely better for people who can't stand the taste of regular soy milk.
gigglesss gigglesss 9 years
Well..this isn't fair! lol hopefully it isnt true bc i eat soooo much soy products as a vegetarian
tabloidprincess tabloidprincess 9 years
I used to be a vegetarian a while back and I used to buy soy milk.... Well I know its good for you but it tastes gross.
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