Whey vs. Soy - You've Been Tricked

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  1. Whey vs. Soy - You've Been Tricked

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know it's an article by Elite, the universally hated board. But the information is legit, and it's a very informative article...


    Whey vs. Soy -- You've Been Tricked

    Source: Elite Fitness: Online Bodybuilding Magazine

    If you remember many years ago, weight gainers were the big thing and protein powders were out! Then, in like a storm came the "low calorie" weight gainers (yeah right!) and the criticism of the high calorie diet. Right after this came the inundation of whey protein. Here's the trend: promote something, then dispel it, promote it again, then dispel it. This way, the supplement companies always have something "new" to bring to the market. I predict that soon, there will be a resurgence in the high calorie diet. I'm sure it will be slightly modified, but a high calorie diet nonetheless.

    Most supplement companies do not really care what the truth about supplements really is -- they will promote what is "hot". Translation: what has the lowest production costs, and the greatest money-making potential. Back to protein powders -- is whey really the king protein? And are you getting what you pay for? The answer is that you've been misled again.

    In this issue of Elite Fitness News, we'll take a close look at whey protein and how it compares to other proteins -- soy protein in particular. We'll look at how in many ways it is not the superior protein that the bodybuilding magazines would lead you to believe. We'll look at the following:

    BV vs PDCAAS BV (Biological Value) vs PDCAAS (Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score).
    A brief history of Soy-Protein Isolate.
    Soy Protein Isolate put to the Test
    Glutamine: Which protein has the most.
    Protein Concentrate vs. Protein Isolate
    Soy Protein Isolate for body-builders
    Soy Protein Isolate for Dieters
    The Health Benefits of Soy Isolate

    I guarantee that after reading this newsletter, you'll never look at proteins the same way again. I also guarantee that the information in this letter will save you money and help you get closer to finding the ultimate protein source for building a hard lean muscular physique.

    If you read any of the bodybuilding magazines for the last few years now, it is hard not to notice the concerted effort that the publishers have made to push whey protein as bodybuilding's superior protein source. You've seen the claims and the hype, "biological value of 168--over 50% better that egg protein," "ion- exchanged," "richest source of glutamine," and the list goes on and on. What many bodybuilders do not realize, is that this hype is just that - hype. Much of what you have heard about whey's superiority as a protein source is just plain untrue. Let's take a closer look.

    Most people do not realize whey protein's humble origins. Originally, whey was a by-product of cheese production. Cheese is mostly fat and casein. In the cheese making process, whey was a left over by-product, and it was simply poured down the drain. Now, that was some time ago - back then, the manufacturers thought, wouldn't it be nice if we could find a way to sell the waste and make some money out of it. And the stuff was cheap as could be. Maybe they thought, "we'll sell it to bodybuilders! They'll eat (believe) anything." And the rest is history.

    History has repeated itself for the other sources of protein as well, when eggs were cheap, they were the preferred protein, now that they are not quite the bargain they once were, they are no longer in vogue. Later on, dairy subsidies made milk casein pricing more attractive, so it then became the star. Then along came whey, and you know the rest of the story.

    1. BV (Biological Value) vs PDCAAS Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score).

    Several studies have been done to assess any differences in weight gain between individuals supplementing with whey protein, soy protein, or egg protein. SURPRISE, SURPRISE! There were NO differences whatsoever (statistically speaking) between the effectiveness of the proteins. Remember, all three of these proteins are designed to stimulate growth-- albeit in chicks, calves, etc. So, is one really better than another? Not according to the weight gained in the studies. Proponents of whey say that it has an ultra high BV (biological value), exceeding by far every other protein. One manufacturer even claims that their protein has a BV of 168-- over 50% better that egg protein!

    Scoring Protein by BV is the first area where the bodybuilding public is being deceived and manipulated. Elite Fitness has researched this topic rather thoroughly and has talked to experts in the field who work for the actual companies which manufacture and process the raw, bulk products. I have questioned several experts as to the quality of the various proteins and have found a few interesting facts. First and foremost, BV and PER (protein efficiency ratio) are OUTDATED. The newest and most accurate measurement of a protein's quality for a HUMAN is the PDCAAS--Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score. A mouthful I know, and yet it is the industry standard.

    According to the PDCAAS scale, whey is not necessarily the best protein. In fact, soy and whey are both considered a ONE (top score) on the scale. Does this mean that both of these proteins are equal? Not at all--I will discuss the pros and cons of each protein later in the article. What it does mean is that either will supply the BASIC BUILDING BLOCKS for muscle tissue growth and recuperation as well as the next one.

    2. A brief history of Soy-Protein Isolate.

    The first thing that I do when a consultation client asks me about Soy Isolate Deluxe protein is to ask them to forget whatever they have heard about soy protein. Soy has received a bad reputation in recent years because it is a protein source that comes entirely from soybeans. Since soy is derived from a plant source, it has been viewed as an inferior and incomplete protein. It also doesn't help that its two greatest consumers in the U.S. today are vegetarians and people with milk allergies such as lactose intolerance; not exactly the type of people you expect to see squatting 500-lbs reps at your local gym.

    Soy protein powders first came on the market as a food supplement around 20 years ago in the form of soy protein concentrate. At that time, soy protein concentrate was about 70% protein by weight. This protein was loaded with carbohydrates, sodium, and had a poor amino acid profile that made it inefficient for use as a quality muscle building supplement.

    The production and development of soy protein changed dramatically over the following decade with the introduction of isolation. Isolation is a method of extracting the soy protein from the beans and concentrating it to make it far more useful to the body than the old soy concentrate. This new product is called soy protein isolate and contained over 90% protein.

    3. Soy Protein Isolate put to the Test

    This new soy-protein isolate looked fantastic on paper. Imagine a food supplement that contains over 90% protein by weight with near zero amounts of carbohydrates and fats. In addition, soy-protein isolate could be manufactured for a fraction of the cost of other protein sources. This is due to the U.S. producing more than $15 billion worth of soybeans each year for use as foodstuffs for animals and humans. The biggest question however was how efficiently would your body use this soy-isolate as a protein source?

    In 1989, soy protein was put to the test to see how it stacked up against other proteins on a scale of protein quality. The most advanced protein-quality measurement scale is the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS). The highest PDCAAS score possible is 1.0. Any protein with a score of 1.0 is considered complete for use by the human body. Soy was tested along with egg white, casein (derivative of milk protein), beef, and a variety of beans to determine their PDCAAS rating. Soy-protein isolate, along with egg white, whey, and casein proteins, came back with a perfect 1.0 score. Interestingly enough, beef scored only a .92 while kidney beans came in highest among the beans with a .68 rating.

    But what about hydrolization (breaking the proteins into smaller fractions like "di and tri peptides") couldn't this make whey into the superior product that it is supposed to be? What we found was that the hydrolyzed whey promotes less nitrogen retention than a similar non-hydrolyzed whey (a bad thing for a bodybuilder because a positive nitrogen balance is a must for anabolic muscle gain.) As a note: the hydrolyzed product that we studied was the BEST in the industry with a 27% hydrolization, no bitter taste, and at a cost from the manufacturer of greater than $8.00 per pound! Rest assured, NO manufacturer is selling a whey product where the raw materials for the protein cost anywhere close to $8 per pound.

    Consider the above and you will quickly realize that supplement companies (who don't actually manufacture the whey but buy the raw product from an actual manufacturer) are telling "some fibs" about whey protein. BV of 168--ABSOLUTELY LUDICROUS! Real whey manufacturers sometimes still use BV to grade protein, and they always rate whey protein as a 94 BV! When you see a 168 BV claim listed on the label of several manufacturers' whey protein, just turn your head, know you're being scammed, and absolutely don't buy!

    Now let's consider the other claims and statements about the di-and tri- peptides, about glutamine, and about the BCAAs (Branch Chain Amino Acids).

    If hydrolization doesn't further increase nitrogen retention, then what is the point of breaking protein into its smaller fractions like di- and tri- peptides? There IS a good reason for hydrolyzing a protein and having short peptides but it has nothing to do with BV/nitrogen retention. Instead, it has everything to do with how FAST and EASY the product is absorbed in the gut. Regular, undigested whey will be broken down into di- and tri-peptides via enzymes in a person's gut and will be absorbed as such. The caveat is that the whole process just takes a little longer. Hydrolyzed products are basically only useful in baby food or hospital situations where a person's digestive system is not functioning optimally or when protein delivery is needed very quickly.

    Is there any benefit of a hydrolyzed product for the bodybuilder? To tell you the truth, I would have to say NO -- except possibly for the benefit of having a quickly absorbed protein immediately after a workout to ensure the muscle tissue is flooded with nutrients in a timely manner albeit with a nitrogen penalty. Interestingly, this entire argument about hydrolized protein is academic as it is not currently sold on the market. Here's why. One, the cost of hydrolyzed whey is outrageous and two, its taste is ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE. Trust me, if you're want to induce vomiting, just take a little hydrolyzed whey protein!

    4. Glutamine: Which protein has the most.

    Isn't the claim true about whey having significantly higher amounts of glutamine and BCAAs? Sorry, but NO! Whey does have the highest amounts of BCAAs of any protein but NOT SIGNIFICANTLY higher amounts. When it comes to the amounts of glutamine, soy beats whey hands down. For every 100 grams of protein, whey has 20.1 grams of BCAAs and 4.9 grams of glutamine. Maybe to your surprise, soy has 18.1 grams of BCAAs and a whopping 10.5 grams of glutamine! Again, we have been lied to and deceived.

    5. Protein Concentrate vs. Protein Isolate

    Most companies are selling whey protein concentrate (WPC) and saying that their product is whey protein isolate. Ion exchange protein really doesn't mean anything in terms of the quality of the protein powder as a whole! Any high quality, pure protein will be labeled an ISOLATE and this is what you MUST look for. A true ion-exchange process CAN yield a good isolate but it is not the only process available for getting a superior whey protein. An isolate will have very little fat and lactose and will be about 90% protein (the protein fractions are "isolated" from the rest of the material).

    On the other hand, a WPC made through protein filtration is vastly inferior to an isolate with about 7% fat and lactose and only 75% protein (The actual protein in WPC is usually pretty good, but who wants to deal with all of the fat and lactose?) Interestingly, WPC costs less than half of what an isolate costs. Unfortunately, both products look and taste about the same so it becomes very hard to know what you have--you basically have to trust the manufacturer (supplement company) of the particular product.

    Here's the picture--the industry through various articles in muscle magazines touts the benefits and characteristics of a whey protein ISOLATE and turns around and uses a CONCENTRATE. Tell me, who's the wiser? The supplement companies, that's who, and they're a whole lot richer to boot! Some manufacturers will put 98% WPC in their product and then put in 1% of a hydrolyzed product (remember this tastes horrible!) and 1% of an isolate. Then, they can legally claim all types of stuff on their label-- di and tri peptides, ion-exchange, blah, blah, blah!

    What about the other available proteins--egg, casein, and soy? How do these compare? First, let me state that all of the above proteins are decent if processed correctly. Each will provide the body very efficiently with the protein that it "needs". I would definitely stay away from casein and egg white. Casein has been shown to have detrimental effects on a person's cholesterol profile and egg white protein tastes poorly, is expensive, and consists of about 10% carbohydrates.

    Before you say it, I know your response--"That's all wonderful, but what is the best protein for me, a bodybuilder/weightlifter?" If you were to use any ONE protein source then I would have to say that it's a toss up between a soy isolate and a whey ISOLATE (you know, the one that no one can buy.) WPC provides a good protein; however the accompanying fat and carbs is something you do not want. If I had a choice, I would pick a soy isolate. A soy isolate is inexpensive, has the highest score on the PCDAAS, is very soluble if instantized, is extremely bland (a good thing), IMPROVES kidney function (unlike any other protein), is anticarcinogenic, is anti-estrogenic, lowers LDL (bad) and raises HDL (good) cholesterol, IMPROVES THYROID FUNCTION, etc, etc--the list goes on and on. But best of all, unlike whey isolate, pure soy isolates exist.

    6. Soy Protein Isolate benefits for Bodybuilders

    Animal research suggests some great advantages of using soy protein isolate as a bodybuilding supplement. Research has shown that the isoflavone daidzein found in soy-protein isolate might have a gender specific normalizing effect on sex-hormone production. Lab animals experienced testosterone and growth hormone excretion as well as muscle growth in males, while the female animals experienced a decrease in these hormones and fat loss.

    Daidzein is a key isoflavone found in soy that acts as a potent phyto-estrogen. It is structurally a very weak "pseudo-estrogen" (about 1000 times weaker than the body's primary estrogen estradiol). This is good news to the bodybuilder because weak estrogens like daidzein will compete with stronger estrogens like estradiol for available receptor sites to "bind" to. By binding to the receptor sites daidzein then "blocks" the stronger estrogens from binding to and activating receptor sites. With the daidzein isolflavone attached, estrogen receptor sites remain inactive. This inactivity further minimizes the negative effects of estrogen in the body. Many researchers believe this effect is the reason soy protein is linked to a reduction in the risk for many forms of breast, endometrial, and prostate cancer. This mechanism works similarly to the prescription drug Nolvadex (tamoxifen citrate)--an anti-estrogen staple in the bodybuilding community.

    Research also indicates that the soy-protein isolates may reduce nitrogen loss and keep you in a positive nitrogen balance to better facilitate muscle growth. The human body can only repair and build muscles when it has a positive nitrogen balance.

    Of particular interest to the bodybuilder is Soy Isolates high concentration of the amino acids glutamine and arginine. These two aminos are extremely important to a body builder for their ability to release growth hormone, aid in immune system functions, and for their ability to speed muscle cell recovery.

    Glutamine (per 100g)


    Milk Protein


    Many bodybuilders understand the importance of the essential amino acid L- glutamine to their muscle building supplementation. What many bodybuilders don't
    know is that soy protein isolate has the highest concentration of glutamine among protein sources-over twice that of whey protein! (7) Glutamine has been used for years in hospitals to speed muscle cell recovery and improve maintenance of muscle mass during periods of starvation, infection, and exercise trauma. (8) Glutamine supplementation has been shown to promote muscle glycogen accumulation, which has been linked to an increase in muscle protein synthesis. (10) Glutamine has also shown the ability to increase muscle cell volume through the process of cellular hydration. (11) Glutamine supplementation in as little as 2 grams per day has been shown to increase plasma growth hormone levels. This increase in growth hormone has been shown to help shift the fuel for muscle from glucose to fatty acids. (9) Research has suggested that a bodybuilder should consume between 8 - 15 grams of glutamine each day. Supplementing 3-5 grams of glutamine 3 times per day has been shown to elicit a positive response without stimulating the excretion of glutamine in the urine.

    Arginine (per 100g)






    L-Arginine is another important amino acid with respects to body building. Arginine plays several roles in the body such as fighting mental and physical fatigue, but its
    main job is to assist with growth. This amino acid promotes the release of two highly anabolic hormones, insulin and growth hormone. Arginine promotes gains further by assisting in recovery from post workout muscle trauma through its ability to speed tissue healing. This amino acid aids in the detoxification of the liver by removing ammonium from the body. Arginine has also shown the ability to lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. Arginine is used in the medical treatment of angina, congestive heart failure, male infertility and wound healing. Soy isolate protein contains higher amounts of this important amino acid than any other protein source.

    As a hard training bodybuilder, your body needs protein every 2 -2 1/2 hours even if you may not think you need it. The human body does not store protein long term as it does for fat and carbohydrates. Instead, your body holds amino acids in three pools that provide the body's necessary protein for fuel. These pools are constantly in a state of flux and are replenished either from dietary protein or the breakdown of muscle. It is extremely important to keep these amino acid pools topped off through the feeding of protein every 2 - 2 1/2 hours. When feeding stops, there is a fall in protein synthesis and a rise in protein breakdown. This translates into a loss of lean body mass after extended periods without protein.

    7. Soy Protein Isolate for Dieters

    For years, bodybuilding gurus have recommended the use of soy protein for pre-contest bodybuilders who need to shed body fat while keeping as much lean muscle as possible. Normally when the body is forced into a low calorie diet program, it reacts by slowing down your metabolic rate. This will make it increasingly more difficult to lose body fat. Soy-protein isolate helps lessen this effect through several different pathways. First, soy-protein isolate has been found to enhance endogenous production of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), thyroxin (T4), and triiodothyronine (T3). Thyroxin is the main player in the regulation of your metabolic rate. The more thyroxin you have the faster your metabolism will be. A faster metabolism insures that more of the food you eat will be used as fuel and less will be stored as fat, an important advantage to any dieter.

    Another way soy accelerates fat loss is with its unique concentration of amino acids. Soy-protein isolate has the highest concentration of amino acids in what is called the "critical cluster". This cluster of amino acids contains the three branch chain amino acids (BCAA's) and two essential aminos - glutamine and arginine. These critical amino acids help a bodybuilder spare muscle while losing body fat during a pre-contest diet. Any time you diet, your body tries to break down muscle glycogen in an effort to provide the body with more calories. In fact, your body will often try to use broken down muscle for fuel before it uses stored body fat. This is called muscle catabolism or muscle breakdown. These three branch chain amino acids are the first amino acids that are used for fuel when your body begins muscle catabolism. If you have a high amount of these branch chain amino acids in your diet, your body will first use these for fuel before it breaks down your stored muscle.

    8. The Health Benefits of Soy Isolate

    Now that we know that soy is a quality protein source, what health benefits can soy protein bring to its consumer? The intake of soyfoods has long been associated with a reduced risk for certain cancers. Research has suggested that phytic acid and protease inhibitors, two of the nonnutritive compounds in soybeans, contribute to the observed anticarcinogenic effects of consuming soy. (1) Residents of the United States and the United Kingdom, as a whole, consume the smallest amounts of soyfoods but have the highest instances of breast and prostate cancer. Japanese residents in comparison are the largest consumers of soyfoods and have the lowest instances of these cancers. (3) Researchers point to the isoflavones genistein and daidzein, which are found exclusively in soy and soy protein isolate, as the major components behind soy's anti-carcinogenic effects.(2)

    Soy protein isolate has shown the ability to promote bone health, which in turn aids in the prevention of Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a chronic disease characterized by a decrease in bone density, which results in abnormally porous and fragile bones. It has been suggested that a high protein diet may increase the excretion of calcium in the urine, which can lead to this health condition. Studies have shown that not all proteins have the same effect on calcium excretion. Compared with animal protein, soy does not result in an increased loss of calcium in the urine thus promoting a more optimal calcium balance. (4) In addition, the isoflavones in soy protein have been shown to increase both bone mineral content and bone mineral density which will improve the health of abnormally porous bones.(5)

    Soy protein isolate has shown the ability to effectively lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. Experts agree that these cholesterol-lowering effects can be achieved through the consumption of as little as 25 grams of soy isolate protein each day. The experts point to the high levels of the amino acid arginine for this lipid lowering effect. (6) LDL cholesterol is one of the primary factors behind progressive atherosclerosis. This medical condition is caused by the progressive build up of plaque that clogs blood flow in the arteries.

    Soy protein has also shown the ability to improve kidney function. While scientists agree that the high protein intake of bodybuilders is necessary for proper muscle building and repair, they also agree that this diet will place additional stress on the kidneys. Studies of both humans and animals have shown that soy proteins filter more easily in the kidneys thereby reducing their workload. In 1993, a study was performed on the Romanian Olympic swimming and rowing teams. In this study, the athletes were supplemented with 1.5 grams per kg of bodyweight of soy protein along with their dietary protein (2 grams per kg of bodyweight) per day. This additional protein showed no detrimental effects on kidney function and actually showed from 5 to 46 percent improvement in kidney function.


    (1)(2) Messina M, Messina V. Increasing use of soyfoods and their potential role in cancer prevention. J Am Diet Assoc 1991;91:836-840

    (3) American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures-1996.

    (4)(5)(6)Ross PD. osteoporosis: Frequency, consequences and risk factors. Archives of Internal Med 1996's 156.1399-1411.

    (7)(8)(9) Bulus, N., Pysysiological Importance of Glutamine. Metabolism Vol.38, No.8, August 1989.

    (10)(11) Parry-Billings, M. Effects of changes in cell volume on the rates of glutamine and alanine release from rat skeletal muscle in vitro. Biomedical Journal, 276, 1991.

  2. Very interesting. I'm confused later J

  3. Bump, interested to hear others thoughts. later J

  4. I mix 1 scoop of whey and 1 scoop of egg protien with soy milk 3 times a day. I figure that's gotta be some good **** right there.

  5. Originally posted by T-Bar
    I mix 1 scoop of whey and 1 scoop of egg protien with soy milk 3 times a day. I figure that's gotta be some good **** right there.
    definitely, but because of the egg powder!

    You should also know that one of the reasons Soy is pushed to high hell is it is one of the most dirt cheap protein sources in the world.

  6. Sheesh,

    Good post, and interesting read for sure. Thing is, any article of this sort, no matter where it comes from, needs to be taken with a *pound* of salt. I thought Glutamine was determined to be unnecessary and that you get enough from your diet? I mean, I already eat 250g of protein every day - am I not getting enough Glutamine? Or is this supplement back in vogue?


  7. Yup, they even mentioned how cheap it is in the Elite article. I'd never heard that Casein was bad for your cholesterol levels, though. Always heard you gained less bodyfat supplementing with it than with whey. Maybe I should reconsider my standard MRP/nighttime mix of mostly micellar casein and calcium caseinate.

  8. Anyone ever try this out for themselves (IE: anyone use just whey for a X amount of time then switch it over to soy for the same X amont of time) - see any different results or better/worse progress??

  9. Originally posted by Pfunk47
    Anyone ever try this out for themselves (IE: anyone use just whey for a X amount of time then switch it over to soy for the same X amont of time) - see any different results or better/worse progress??
    I read a study that pitted WPI vs. SPI, to see which one built muscle the best. Both groups gained the same amount of muscle.

    I'll see if I can dig up the full text, or at least the abstract..

  10. Okay, I see two things that are questionable in this argument:

    "This is good news to the bodybuilder because weak estrogens like daidzein will compete with stronger estrogens like estradiol for available receptor sites to "bind" to."

    Don't estradiol and test bind to the same receptor sites? Couldn't daidzein and genistein also bind to androgen receptor sites? I have no idea, just speculating.

    "Research has suggested that phytic acid and protease inhibitors, two of the nonnutritive compounds in soybeans, contribute to the observed anticarcinogenic effects of consuming soy."

    Why would we want to inhibit protease, when we need it to digest the protein in the first place?

    Any thoughts on these two issues?

  11. I am highly lactose intolerant. So, I have been relying on soy for a high percentage of my protien supplementation for the last couple years. About 6 months ago, I decided that it was time for a switch to Optimum Whey, because I was concerend with the whole estrogen thing and because I was not happy with the results I was seeing.

    From my personal experience, I would say that I have seen much better results while I have bee on Optimum. Now in saying this, understand that all things are not equal. I am more experienced now than I was a couple years ago, and I have also begun relying on a bigger variety of protien sources in the last 6months. However, I think that I am responding better to the whey than the soy in general. I just have to be more careful with my diet to avoid the whole lactose issue.

  12. are there any CHEAP sources for good tasting soy?

  13. Quote Originally Posted by Boss_K
    are there any CHEAP sources for good tasting soy?
    It's not a terribly popular product, at least not like whey. So, I don't think that it's manufactured in high enough quantities to really bring the price down.

    I like the Silk brand "no-added sugar" soy milk (green carton). Unfortunately it's not terribly cheap. It's got a decent taste. The regular Silk soy milk (red carton) is very good, except it's got a bunch of sugar carbs in it. It's texture is very close to whole milk.

    As for bulk soy powders, I never found one that I was really sold on and I tried a bunch of them. Chances are if you are going to choose soy as your protein of choice, you are doing so for a reason other than price.

  14. I used to love adding soy isolate to a protein customizer blend. It looks like the price has gone up, I think it used to be around $3.95/lb.

  15. My fav protein gives me whey, egg protein, soy, and 2 others in which i forgot.

  16. Quote Originally Posted by Boss_K
    are there any CHEAP sources for good tasting soy?

  17. I had a soy oil discusion a while back on another board, heres some article



    soy is known to raise estrogen levels...notice the one link, it is a transexual health,
    Men trying to become women.However I did not see anything on amounts, I have used soy as a part
    of cholestrol lowering program.I assume moderation.


  18. Right, there are two specific estrogens that can be raised by consuming large quantities of soy. (As I remember it...)

    However, I think that these problems can be largely avoided if you consume Soy Isolate (more expensive). Atleast I read a couple abstracts on along those lines. I don't remember where, and sorry I don't have time to look them up.

  19. Taken From Optimum Sports Nutrition:
    It may be good for dieting, soy?

  20. Quote Originally Posted by cctez
    The regular Silk soy milk (red carton) is very good, except it's got a bunch of sugar carbs in it. It's texture is very close to whole milk.
    It only has 6g sugars per serving,1g fiber, 8g carbs total.
    Skim milk has 13g sugars,no fiber, and 14g carbs total!
    Not a bad trade off for me. The Red Carton is the bomb its what I use in my smoothies.

  21. Soy Alert -- Tragedy and Hype
    The Third International Soy Symposium

    by Sally Fallon & Mary Enig, PhD

    First published in Nexus Magazine, Volume 7, Number 3, April-May, 2000
    © 2000 by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD. All rights reserved.

    Marketing the Perfect Food

    Cinderella's Dark Side

    Soy Protein Isolate

    The FDA Health Claim

    Soy and Cancer

    Phytoestrogens -- Panacea or Poison?

    Birth Control Pills for Babies

    Dissension in the Ranks

    GRAS Status

    The Next Asbestos?


    Far from being the perfect food, modern soy products contain antinutrients and toxins and they interfer with the absorption of vitamins and minerals.

    "Each year, research on the health effects of soy and soybean components seems to increase exponentially. Furthermore, research is not just expanding in the primary areas under investigation, such as cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis; new findings suggest that soy has potential benefits that may be more extensive than previously thought." So writes Mark Messina, PhD, General Chairperson of the Third International Soy Symposium, held in Washington, DC, in November 1999.[1]

    For four days, well-funded scientists gathered in Washington made presentations to an admiring press and to their sponsors -- United Soybean Board, American Soybean Association, Monsanto, Protein Technologies International, Central Soya, Cargill Foods, Personal Products Company, SoyLife, Whitehall-Robins Healthcare and the soybean councils of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota.

    The symposium marked the apogee of a decade-long marketing campaign to gain consumer acceptance of tofu, soy milk, soy ice cream, soy cheese, soy sausage and soy derivatives, particularly soy isoflavones like genistein and diadzen, the oestrogen-like compounds found in soybeans. It coincided with a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decision, announced on October 25, 1999, to allow a health claim for products "low in saturated fat and cholesterol" that contain 6.25 grams of soy protein per serving. Breakfast cereals, baked goods, convenience food, smoothie mixes and meat substitutes could now be sold with labels touting benefits to cardiovascular health, as long as these products contained one heaping teaspoon of soy protein per 100-gram serving.

    Marketing the Perfect Food

    "Just imagine you could grow the perfect food. This food not only would provide affordable nutrition, but also would be delicious and easy to prepare in a variety of ways. It would be a healthful food, with no saturated fat. In fact, you would be growing a virtual fountain of youth on your back forty." The author is Dean Houghton, writing for The Furrow,[2] a magazine published in 12 languages by John Deere. "This ideal food would help prevent, and perhaps reverse, some of the world's most dreaded diseases. You could grow this miracle crop in a variety of soils and climates. Its cultivation would build up, not deplete, the land . . . this miracle food already exists . . . It's called soy."

    Just imagine. Farmers have been imagining -- and planting more soy. What was once a minor crop, listed in the 1913 US Department of Agriculture (USDA) handbook not as a food but as an industrial product, now covers 72 million acres of American farmland. Much of this harvest will be used to feed chickens, turkeys, pigs, cows and salmon. Another large fraction will be squeezed to produce oil for margarine, shortenings and salad dressings.

    Advances in technology make it possible to produce isolated soy protein from what was once considered a waste product -- the defatted, high-protein soy chips -- and then transform something that looks and smells terrible into products that can be consumed by human beings. Flavourings, preservatives, sweeteners, emulsifiers and synthetic nutrients have turned soy protein isolate, the food processors' ugly duckling, into a New Age Cinderella.

    Lately, this new fairy-tale food has been marketed not so much for her beauty but for her virtues. Early on, products based on soy protein isolate were sold as extenders and meat substitutes -- a strategy that failed to produce the requisite consumer demand. The industry changed its approach. "The quickest way to gain product acceptability in the less affluent society," said an industry spokesman, "is to have the product consumed on its own merit in a more affluent society."[3] So soy is now sold to the upscale consumer, not as a cheap, poverty food but as a miracle substance that will prevent heart disease and cancer, whisk away hot flushes, build strong bones and keep us forever young. The competition -- meat, milk, cheese, butter and eggs - has been duly demonised by the appropriate government bodies. Soy serves as meat and milk for a new generation of virtuous vegetarians.

    Marketing costs money, especially when it needs to be bolstered with "research", but there's plenty of funds available. All soybean producers pay a mandatory assessment of one-half to one per cent of the net market price of soybeans. The total -- something like US$80 million annually[4] -- supports United Soybean's program to "strengthen the position of soybeans in the marketplace and maintain and expand domestic and foreign markets for uses for soybeans and soybean products". State soybean councils from Maryland, Nebraska, Delaware, Arkansas, Virginia, North Dakota and Michigan provide another $2.5 million for "research".[5] Private companies like Archer Daniels Midland also contribute their share. ADM spent $4.7 million for advertising on Meet the Press and $4.3 million on Face the Nation during the course of a year.[6] Public relations firms help convert research projects into newspaper articles and advertising copy, and law firms lobby for favourable government regulations. IMF money funds soy processing plants in foreign countries, and free trade policies keep soybean abundance flowing to overseas destinations.

    The push for more soy has been relentless and global in its reach. Soy protein is now found in most supermarket breads. It is being used to transform "the humble tortilla, Mexico's corn-based staple food, into a protein-fortified `super-tortilla' that would give a nutritional boost to the nearly 20 million Mexicans who live in extreme poverty".[7] Advertising for a new soy-enriched loaf from Allied Bakeries in Britain targets menopausal women seeking relief from hot flushes. Sales are running at a quarter of a million loaves per week.[8]

    The soy industry hired Norman Robert Associates, a public relations firm, to "get more soy products onto school menus".[9] The USDA responded with a proposal to scrap the 30 per cent limit for soy in school lunches. The NuMenu program would allow unlimited use of soy in student meals. With soy added to hamburgers, tacos and lasagna, dieticians can get the total fat content below 30 per cent of calories, thereby conforming to government dictates. "With the soy-enhanced food items, students are receiving better servings of nutrients and less cholesterol and fat."

    Soy milk has posted the biggest gains, soaring from $2 million in 1980 to $300 million in the US last year.[10] Recent advances in processing have transformed the grey, thin, bitter, beany-tasting Asian beverage into a product that Western consumers will accept -- one that tastes like a milkshake, but without the guilt.

    Processing miracles, good packaging, massive advertising and a marketing strategy that stresses the products' possible health benefits account for increasing sales to all age groups. For example, reports that soy helps prevent prostate cancer have made soy milk acceptable to middle-aged men. "You don't have to twist the arm of a 55- to 60-year-old guy to get him to try soy milk," says Mark Messina. Michael Milken, former junk bond financier, has helped the industry shed its hippie image with well-publicised efforts to consume 40 grams of soy protein daily. Now it's OK for stockbrokers to eat soy.

    America today, tomorrow the world. Soy milk sales are rising in Canada, even though soy milk there costs twice as much as cow's milk. Soybean milk processing plants are sprouting up in places like Kenya.[11] Even China, where soy really is a poverty food and whose people want more meat, not tofu, has opted to build Western-style soy factories rather than develop western grasslands for grazing animals.[12]

    Cinderella's Dark Side

    The propaganda that has created the soy sales miracle is all the more remarkable because, only a few decades ago, the soybean was considered unfit to eat -- even in Asia. During the Chou Dynasty (1134&endash;246 BC) the soybean was designated one of the five sacred grains, along with barley, wheat, millet and rice. However, the pictograph for the soybean, which dates from earlier times, indicates that it was not first used as a food; for whereas the pictographs for the other four grains show the seed and stem structure of the plant, the pictograph for the soybean emphasises the root structure. Agricultural literature of the period speaks frequently of the soybean and its use in crop rotation. Apparently the soy plant was initially used as a method of fixing nitrogen.[13]

    The soybean did not serve as a food until the discovery of fermentation techniques, some time during the Chou Dynasty. The first soy foods were fermented products like tempeh, natto, miso and soy sauce. At a later date, possibly in the 2nd century BC, Chinese scientists discovered that a purée of cooked soybeans could be precipitated with calcium sulphate or magnesium sulphate (plaster of Paris or Epsom salts) to make a smooth, pale curd -- tofu or bean curd. The use of fermented and precipitated soy products soon spread to other parts of the Orient, notably Japan and Indonesia.

    The Chinese did not eat unfermented soybeans as they did other legumes such as lentils because the soybean contains large quantities of natural toxins or "antinutrients". First among them are potent enzyme inhibitors that block the action of trypsin and other enzymes needed for protein digestion. These inhibitors are large, tightly folded proteins that are not completely deactivated during ordinary cooking. They can produce serious gastric distress, reduced protein digestion and chronic deficiencies in amino acid uptake. In test animals, diets high in trypsin inhibitors cause enlargement and pathological conditions of the pancreas, including cancer.[14]

    Soybeans also contain haemagglutinin, a clot-promoting substance that causes red blood cells to clump together.

    Trypsin inhibitors and haemagglutinin are growth inhibitors. Weaning rats fed soy containing these antinutrients fail to grow normally. Growth-depressant compounds are deactivated during the process of fermentation, so once the Chinese discovered how to ferment the soybean, they began to incorporate soy foods into their diets. In precipitated products, enzyme inhibitors concentrate in the soaking liquid rather than in the curd. Thus, in tofu and bean curd, growth depressants are reduced in quantity but not completely eliminated.

    Soy also contains goitrogens -- substances that depress thyroid function.

    Soybeans are high in phytic acid, present in the bran or hulls of all seeds. It's a substance that can block the uptake of essential minerals -- calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc -- in the intestinal tract. Although not a household word, phytic acid has been extensively studied; there are literally hundreds of articles on the effects of phytic acid in the current scientific literature. Scientists are in general agreement that grain- and legume-based diets high in phytates contribute to widespread mineral deficiencies in third world countries.[15] Analysis shows that calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc are present in the plant foods eaten in these areas, but the high phytate content of soy- and grain-based diets prevents their absorption.

    The soybean has one of the highest phytate levels of any grain or legume that has been studied,[16] and the phytates in soy are highly resistant to normal phytate-reducing techniques such as long, slow cooking.[17] Only a long period of fermentation will significantly reduce the phytate content of soybeans. When precipitated soy products like tofu are consumed with meat, the mineral-blocking effects of the phytates are reduced.[18] The Japanese traditionally eat a small amount of tofu or miso as part of a mineral-rich fish broth, followed by a serving of meat or fish.

    Vegetarians who consume tofu and bean curd as a substitute for meat and dairy products risk severe mineral deficiencies. The results of calcium, magnesium and iron deficiency are well known; those of zinc are less so.

    Zinc is called the intelligence mineral because it is needed for optimal development and functioning of the brain and nervous system. It plays a role in protein synthesis and collagen formation; it is involved in the blood-sugar control mechanism and thus protects against diabetes; it is needed for a healthy reproductive system. Zinc is a key component in numerous vital enzymes and plays a role in the immune system. Phytates found in soy products interfere with zinc absorption more completely than with other minerals.[19] Zinc deficiency can cause a "spacey" feeling that some vegetarians may mistake for the "high" of spiritual enlightenment.

    Milk drinking is given as the reason why second-generation Japanese in America grow taller than their native ancestors. Some investigators postulate that the reduced phytate content of the American diet -- whatever may be its other deficiencies -- is the true explanation, pointing out that both Asian and Western children who do not get enough meat and fish products to counteract the effects of a high phytate diet, frequently suffer rickets, stunting and other growth problems.[20]

    Soy Protein Isolate

    Soy processors have worked hard to get these antinutrients out of the finished product, particularly soy protein isolate (SPI) which is the key ingredient in most soy foods that imitate meat and dairy products, including baby formulas and some brands of soy milk.

    SPI is not something you can make in your own kitchen. Production takes place in industrial factories where a slurry of soy beans is first mixed with an alkaline solution to remove fibre, then precipitated and separated using an acid wash and, finally, neutralised in an alkaline solution. Acid washing in aluminium tanks leaches high levels of aluminium into the final product. The resultant curds are spray- dried at high temperatures to produce a high-protein powder. A final indignity to the original soybean is high-temperature, high-pressure extrusion processing of soy protein isolate to produce textured vegetable protein (TVP).

    Much of the trypsin inhibitor content can be removed through high-temperature processing, but not all. Trypsin inhibitor content of soy protein isolate can vary as much as fivefold.[21] (In rats, even low-level trypsin inhibitor SPI feeding results in reduced weight gain compared to controls.[22]) But high-temperature processing has the unfortunate side-effect of so denaturing the other proteins in soy that they are rendered largely ineffective.[23] That's why animals on soy feed need lysine supplements for normal growth.

    Nitrites, which are potent carcinogens, are formed during spray-drying, and a toxin called lysinoalanine is formed during alkaline processing.[24] Numerous artificial flavourings, particularly MSG, are added to soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein products to mask their strong "beany" taste and to impart the flavour of meat.[25]

    In feeding experiments, the use of SPI increased requirements for vitamins E, K, D and B12 and created deficiency symptoms of calcium, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, copper, iron and zinc.[26] Phytic acid remaining in these soy products greatly inhibits zinc and iron absorption; test animals fed SPI develop enlarged organs, particularly the pancreas and thyroid gland, and increased deposition of fatty acids in the liver.[27]

    Yet soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein are used extensively in school lunch programs, commercial baked goods, diet beverages and fast food products. They are heavily promoted in third world countries and form the basis of many food giveaway programs.

    In spite of poor results in animal feeding trials, the soy industry has sponsored a number of studies designed to show that soy protein products can be used in human diets as a replacement for traditional foods. An example is "Nutritional Quality of Soy Bean Protein Isolates: Studies in Children of Preschool Age", sponsored by the Ralston Purina Company.[28] A group of Central American children suffering from malnutrition was first stabilised and brought into better health by feeding them native foods, including meat and dairy products. Then, for a two-week period, these traditional foods were replaced by a drink made of soy protein isolate and sugar. All nitrogen taken in and all nitrogen excreted was measured in truly Orwellian fashion: the children were weighed naked every morning, and all excrement and vomit gathered up for analysis. The researchers found that the children retained nitrogen and that their growth was "adequate", so the experiment was declared a success.

    Whether the children were actually healthy on such a diet, or could remain so over a long period, is another matter. The researchers noted that the children vomited "occasionally", usually after finishing a meal; that over half suffered from periods of moderate diarrhoea; that some had upper respiratory infections; and that others suffered from rash and fever.

    It should be noted that the researchers did not dare to use soy products to help the children recover from malnutrition, and were obliged to supplement the soy-sugar mixture with nutrients largely absent in soy products -- notably, vitamins A, D and B12, iron, iodine and zinc.

    The FDA Health Claim

    The best marketing strategy for a product that is inherently unhealthy is, of course, a health claim.

    "The road to FDA approval," writes a soy apologist, "was long and demanding, consisting of a detailed review of human clinical data collected from more than 40 scientific studies conducted over the last 20 years. Soy protein was found to be one of the rare foods that had sufficient scientific evidence not only to qualify for an FDA health claim proposal but to ultimately pass the rigorous approval process."[29]

    The "long and demanding" road to FDA approval actually took a few unexpected turns. The original petition, submitted by Protein Technology International, requested a health claim for isoflavones, the oestrogen-like compounds found plentifully in soybeans, based on assertions that "only soy protein that has been processed in a manner in which isoflavones are retained will result in cholesterol lowering". In 1998, the FDA made the unprecedented move of rewriting PTI's petition, removing any reference to the phyto-oestrogens and substituting a claim for soy protein -- a move that was in direct contradiction to the agency's regulations. The FDA is authorised to make rulings only on substances presented by petition.

    The abrupt change in direction was no doubt due to the fact that a number of researchers, including scientists employed by the US Government, submitted documents indicating that isoflavones are toxic.

    The FDA had also received, early in 1998, the final British Government report on phytoestrogens, which failed to find much evidence of benefit and warned against potential adverse effects.[30]

    Even with the change to soy protein isolate, FDA bureaucrats engaged in the "rigorous approval process" were forced to deal nimbly with concerns about mineral blocking effects, enzyme inhibitors, goitrogenicity, endocrine disruption, reproductive problems and increased allergic reactions from consumption of soy products.[31]

    One of the strongest letters of protest came from Dr Dan Sheehan and Dr Daniel Doerge, government researchers at the National Center for Toxicological Research.[32] Their pleas for warning labels were dismissed as unwarranted.

    "Sufficient scientific evidence" of soy's cholesterol-lowering properties is drawn largely from a 1995 meta-analysis by Dr James Anderson, sponsored by Protein Technologies International and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.[33]

    A meta-analysis is a review and summary of the results of many clinical studies on the same subject. Use of meta-analyses to draw general conclusions has come under sharp criticism by members of the scientific community. "Researchers substituting meta-analysis for more rigorous trials risk making faulty assumptions and indulging in creative accounting," says Sir John Scott, President of the Royal Society of New Zealand. "Like is not being lumped with like. Little lumps and big lumps of data are being gathered together by various groups."[34]

    There is the added temptation for researchers, particularly researchers funded by a company like Protein Technologies International, to leave out studies that would prevent the desired conclusions. Dr Anderson discarded eight studies for various reasons, leaving a remainder of twenty-nine. The published report suggested that individuals with cholesterol levels over 250 mg/dl would experience a "significant" reduction of 7 to 20 per cent in levels of serum cholesterol if they substituted soy protein for animal protein. Cholesterol reduction was insignificant for individuals whose cholesterol was lower than 250 mg/dl.

    In other words, for most of us, giving up steak and eating vegieburgers instead will not bring down blood cholesterol levels. The health claim that the FDA approved "after detailed review of human clinical data" fails to inform the consumer about these important details.

    Research that ties soy to positive effects on cholesterol levels is "incredibly immature", said Ronald M. Krauss, MD, head of the Molecular Medical Research Program and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.[35] He might have added that studies in which cholesterol levels were lowered through either diet or drugs have consistently resulted in a greater number of deaths in the treatment groups than in controls -- deaths from stroke, cancer, intestinal disorders, accident and suicide.[36] Cholesterol-lowering measures in the US have fuelled a $60 billion per year cholesterol-lowering industry, but have not saved us from the ravages of heart disease.

    Soy and Cancer

    The new FDA ruling does not allow any claims about cancer prevention on food packages, but that has not restrained the industry and its marketeers from making them in their promotional literature.

    "In addition to protecting the heart," says a vitamin company brochure, "soy has demonstrated powerful anticancer benefits . . . the Japanese, who eat 30 times as much soy as North Americans, have a lower incidence of cancers of the breast, uterus and prostate."[37]

    Indeed they do. But the Japanese, and Asians in general, have much higher rates of other types of cancer, particularly cancer of the oesophagus, stomach, pancreas and liver.[38] Asians throughout the world also have high rates of thyroid cancer.[39] The logic that links low rates of reproductive cancers to soy consumption requires attribution of high rates of thyroid and digestive cancers to the same foods, particularly as soy causes these types of cancers in laboratory rats.

    Just how much soy do Asians eat? A 1998 survey found that the average daily amount of soy protein consumed in Japan was about eight grams for men and seven for women -- less than two teaspoons.[40] The famous Cornell China Study, conducted by Colin T. Campbell, found that legume consumption in China varied from 0 to 58 grams per day, with a mean of about twelve.[41] Assuming that two-thirds of legume consumption is soy, then the maximum consumption is about 40 grams, or less than three tablespoons per day, with an average consumption of about nine grams, or less than two teaspoons. A survey conducted in the 1930s found that soy foods accounted for only 1.5 per cent of calories in the Chinese diet, compared with 65 per cent of calories from pork.[42] (Asians traditionally cooked with lard, not vegetable oil!)

    Traditionally fermented soy products make a delicious, natural seasoning that may supply important nutritional factors in the Asian diet. But except in times of famine, Asians consume soy products only in small amounts, as condiments, and not as a replacement for animal foods -- with one exception. Celibate monks living in monasteries and leading a vegetarian lifestyle find soy foods quite helpful because they dampen libido.

    It was a 1994 meta-analysis by Mark Messina, published in Nutrition and Cancer, that fuelled speculation on soy's anticarcinogenic properties.[43] Messina noted that in 26 animal studies, 65 per cent reported protective effects from soy. He conveniently neglected to include at least one study in which soy feeding caused pancreatic cancer -- the 1985 study by Rackis.[44] In the human studies he listed, the results were mixed. A few showed some protective effect, but most showed no correlation at all between soy consumption and cancer rates. He concluded that "the data in this review cannot be used as a basis for claiming that soy intake decreases cancer risk". Yet in his subsequent book, The Simple Soybean and Your Health, Messina makes just such a claim, recommending one cup or 230 grams of soy products per day in his "optimal" diet as a way to prevent cancer.

    Thousands of women are now consuming soy in the belief that it protects them against breast cancer. Yet, in 1996, researchers found that women consuming soy protein isolate had an increased incidence of epithelial hyperplasia, a condition that presages malignancies.[45] A year later, dietary genistein was found to stimulate breast cells to enter the cell cycle -- a discovery that led the study authors to conclude that women should not consume soy products to prevent breast cancer.[46]

    Phytoestrogens -- Panacea or Poison?

    The male species of tropical birds carries the drab plumage of the female at birth and `colours up' at maturity, somewhere between nine and 24 months.

    In 1991, Richard and Valerie James, bird breeders in Whangerai, New Zealand, purchased a new kind of feed for their birds -- one based largely on soy protein.[47] When soy-based feed was used, their birds 'coloured up' after just a few months. In fact, one bird-food manufacturer claimed that this early development was an advantage imparted by the feed. A 1992 ad for Roudybush feed formula showed a picture of the male crimson rosella, an Australian parrot that acquires beautiful red plumage at 18 to 24 months, already brightly coloured at 11 weeks old.

    Unfortunately, in the ensuing years, there was decreased fertility in the birds, with precocious maturation, deformed, stunted and stillborn babies, and premature deaths, especially among females, with the result that the total population in the aviaries went into steady decline. The birds suffered beak and bone deformities, goitre, immune system disorders and pathological, aggressive behaviour. Autopsy revealed digestive organs in a state of disintegration. The list of problems corresponded with many of the problems the Jameses had encountered in their two children, who had been fed soy-based infant formula.

    Startled, aghast, angry, the Jameses hired toxicologist Mike Fitzpatrick. PhD, to investigate further. Dr Fitzpatrick's literature review uncovered evidence that soy consumption has been linked to numerous disorders, including infertility, increased cancer and infantile leukaemia; and, in studies dating back to the 1950s,[48] that genistein in soy causes endocrine disruption in animals. Dr Fitzpatrick also analysed the bird feed and found that it contained high levels of phytoestrogens, especially genistein. When the Jameses discontinued using soy-based feed, the flock gradually returned to normal breeding habits and behaviour.

    The Jameses embarked on a private crusade to warn the public and government officials about toxins in soy foods, particularly the endocrine-disrupting isoflavones, genistein and diadzen. Protein Technology International received their material in 1994.

    In 1991, Japanese researchers reported that consumption of as little as 30 grams or two tablespoons of soybeans per day for only one month resulted in a significant increase in thyroid-stimulating hormone.[49] Diffuse goitre and hypothyroidism appeared in some of the subjects and many complained of constipation, fatigue and lethargy, even though their intake of iodine was adequate. In 1997, researchers from the FDA's National Center for Toxicological Research made the embarrassing discovery that the goitrogenic components of soy were the very same isoflavones.[50]

    Twenty-five grams of soy protein isolate, the minimum amount PTI claimed to have cholesterol-lowering effects, contains from 50 to 70 mg of isoflavones. It took only 45 mg of isoflavones in premenopausal women to exert significant biological effects, including a reduction in hormones needed for adequate thyroid function. These effects lingered for three months after soy consumption was discontinued.[51]

    One hundred grams of soy protein -- the maximum suggested cholesterol-lowering dose, and the amount recommended by Protein Technologies International -- can contain almost 600 mg of isoflavones,[52] an amount that is undeniably toxic. In 1992, the Swiss health service estimated that 100 grams of soy protein provided the oestrogenic equivalent of the Pill.[53]

    In vitro studies suggest that isoflavones inhibit synthesis of oestradiol and other steroid hormones.[54] Reproductive problems, infertility, thyroid disease and liver disease due to dietary intake of isoflavones have been observed for several species of animals including mice, cheetah, quail, pigs, rats, sturgeon and sheep.[55]

    It is the isoflavones in soy that are said to have a favourable effect on postmenopausal symptoms, including hot flushes, and protection from osteoporosis. Quantification of discomfort from hot flushes is extremely subjective, and most studies show that control subjects report reduction in discomfort in amounts equal to subjects given soy.[56]

    The claim that soy prevents osteoporosis is extraordinary, given that soy foods block calcium and cause vitamin D deficiencies. If Asians indeed have lower rates of osteoporosis than Westerners, it is because their diet provides plenty of vitamin D from shrimp, lard and seafood, and plenty of calcium from bone broths. The reason that Westerners have such high rates of osteoporosis is because they have substituted soy oil for butter, which is a traditional source of vitamin D and other fat-soluble activators needed for calcium absorption.

    Birth Control Pills for Babies

    But it was the isoflavones in infant formula that gave the Jameses the most cause for concern. In 1998, investigators reported that the daily exposure of infants to isoflavones in soy infant formula is 6 to11 times higher on a body-weight basis than the dose that has hormonal effects in adults consuming soy foods. Circulating concentrations of isoflavones in infants fed soy-based formula were 13,000 to 22,000 times higher than plasma oestradiol concentrations in infants on cow's milk formula.[57]

    Approximately 25 per cent of bottle-fed children in the US receive soy-based formula -- a much higher percentage than in other parts of the Western world. Fitzpatrick estimated that an infant exclusively fed soy formula receives the oestrogenic equivalent (based on body weight) of at least five birth control pills per day.[58] By contrast, almost no phytoestrogens have been detected in dairy-based infant formula or in human milk, even when the mother consumes soy products.

    Scientists have known for years that soy-based formula can cause thyroid problems in babies. But what are the effects of soy products on the hormonal development of the infant, both male and female?

    Male infants undergo a "testosterone surge" during the first few months of life, when testosterone levels may be as high as those of an adult male. During this period, the infant is programmed to express male characteristics after puberty, not only in the development of his sexual organs and other masculine physical traits, but also in setting patterns in the brain characteristic of male behaviour. In monkeys, deficiency of male hormones impairs the development of spatial perception (which, in humans, is normally more acute in men than in women), of learning ability and of visual discrimination tasks (such as would be required for reading).[59] It goes without saying that future patterns of sexual orientation may also be influenced by the early hormonal environment. Male children exposed during gestation to diethylstilbestrol (DES), a synthetic oestrogen that has effects on animals similar to those of phytoestrogens from soy, had testes smaller than normal on manturation.[60]

    Learning disabilities, especially in male children, have reached epidemic proportions. Soy infant feeding -- which began in earnest in the early 1970s -- cannot be ignored as a probable cause for these tragic developments.

    As for girls, an alarming number are entering puberty much earlier than normal, according to a recent study reported in the journal Pediatrics.[61] Investigators found that one per cent of all girls now show signs of puberty, such as breast development or pubic hair, before the age of three; by age eight, 14.7 per cent of white girls and almost 50 per cent of African-American girls have one or both of these characteristics.

    New data indicate that environmental oestrogens such as PCBs and DDE (a breakdown product of DDT) may cause early sexual development in girls.[62] In the 1986 Puerto Rico Premature Thelarche study, the most significant dietary association with premature sexual development was not chicken -- as reported in the press -- but soy infant formula.[63] The Woman, Infants and Children (WIC) program, which supplies free infant formula to welfare mothers, stresses soy formula for African Americans because they are supposedly allergic to milk.

    The consequences of this truncated childhood are tragic. Young girls with mature bodies must cope with feelings and urges that most children are not well-equipped to handle. And early maturation in girls is frequently a harbinger for problems with the reproductive system later in life, including failure to menstruate, infertility and breast cancer.

    Parents who have contacted the Jameses recount other problems associated with children of both sexes who were fed soy-based formula, including extreme emotional behaviour, asthma, immune system problems, pituitary insufficiency, thyroid disorders and irritable bowel syndrome -- the same endocrine and digestive havoc that afflicted the Jameses' parrots.

    Dissension in the Ranks

    Organisers of the Third International Soy Symposium would be hard-pressed to call the conference an unqualified success. On the second day of the symposium, the London-based Food Commission and the Weston A. Price Foundation of Washington, DC, held a joint press conference, in the same hotel as the symposium, to present concerns about soy infant formula. Industry representatives sat stony-faced through the recitation of potential dangers and a plea from concerned scientists and parents to pull soy-based infant formula from the market. Under pressure from the Jameses, the New Zealand Government had issued a health warning about soy infant formula in 1998; it was time for the American government to do the same.

    On the last day of the symposium, presentations on new findings related to toxicity sent a well-oxygenated chill through the giddy helium hype. Dr Lon White reported on a study of Japanese Americans living in Hawaii, that showed a significant statistical relationship between two or more servings of tofu a week and "accelerated brain aging".[64] Those participants who consumed tofu in mid-life had lower cognitive function in late life and a greater incidence of Alzheimer's disease and dementia. "What's more," said Dr White, "those who ate a lot of tofu, by the time they were 75 or 80 looked five years older".[65] White and his colleagues blamed the negative effects on isoflavones -- a finding that supports an earlier study in which postmenopausal women with higher levels of circulating oestrogen experienced greater cognitive decline.[66]

    Scientists Daniel Sheehan and Daniel Doerge, from the National Center for Toxicological Research, ruined PTI's day by presenting findings from rat feeding studies, indicating that genistein in soy foods causes irreversible damage to enzymes that synthesise thyroid hormones.[67] "The association between soybean consumption and goiter in animals and humans has a long history," wrote Dr Doerge. "Current evidence for the beneficial effects of soy requires a full understanding of potential adverse effects as well."

    Dr Claude Hughes reported that rats born to mothers that were fed genistein had decreased birth weights compared to controls, and onset of puberty occurred earlier in male offspring.[68] His research suggested that the effects observed in rats ". . . will be at least somewhat predictive of what occurs in humans. There is no reason to assume that there will be gross malformations of fetuses but there may be subtle changes, such as neurobehavioral attributes, immune function and sex hormone levels." The results, he said, "could be nothing or could be something of great concern . . . if mom is eating something that can act like sex hormones, it is logical to wonder if that could change the baby's development".[69]

    A study of babies born to vegetarian mothers, published in January 2000, indicated just what those changes in baby's development might be. Mothers who ate a vegetarian diet during pregnancy had a fivefold greater risk of delivering a boy with hypospadias, a birth defect of the penis.[70] The authors of the study suggested that the cause was greater exposure to phytoestrogens in soy foods popular with vegetarians. Problems with female offspring of vegetarian mothers are more likely to show up later in life. While soy's oestrogenic effect is less than that of diethylstilbestrol (DES), the dose is likely to be higher because it's consumed as a food, not taken as a drug. Daughters of women who took DES during pregnancy suffered from infertility and cancer when they reached their twenties.

    GRAS Status

    Lurking in the background of industry hype for soy is the nagging question of whether it's even legal to add soy protein isolate to food. All food additives not in common use prior to 1958, including casein protein from milk, must have GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status. In 1972, the Nixon administration directed a re-examination of substances believed to be GRAS, in the light of any scientific information then available. This re-examination included casein protein which became codified as GRAS in 1978. In 1974, the FDA obtained a literature review of soy protein because, as soy protein had not been used in food until 1959 and was not even in common use in the early 1970s, it was not eligible to have its GRAS status grandfathered under the provisions of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.[71]

    The scientific literature up to 1974 recognised many antinutrients in factory-made soy protein, including trypsin inhibitors, phytic acid and genistein. But the FDA literature review dismissed discussion of adverse impacts, with the statement that it was important for "adequate processing" to remove them. Genistein could be removed with an alcohol wash, but it was an expensive procedure that processors avoided. Later studies determined that trypsin inhibitor content could be removed only with long periods of heat and pressure, but the FDA has imposed no requirements for manufacturers to do so.

    The FDA was more concerned with toxins formed during processing, specifically nitrites and lysinoalanine.[72] Even at low levels of consumption -- averaging one-third of a gram per day at the time -- the presence of these carcinogens was considered too great a threat to public health to allow GRAS status.

    Soy protein did have approval for use as a binder in cardboard boxes, and this approval was allowed to continue, as researchers considered that migration of nitrites from the box into the food contents would be too small to constitute a cancer risk. FDA officials called for safety specifications and monitoring procedures before granting of GRAS status for food. These were never performed. To this day, use of soy protein is codified as GRAS only for this limited industrial use as a cardboard binder.

    This means that soy protein must be subject to premarket approval procedures each time manufacturers intend to use it as a food or add it to a food. Soy protein was introduced into infant formula in the early 1960s. It was a new product with no history of any use at all. As soy protein did not have GRAS status, premarket approval was required. This was not and still has not been granted. The key ingredient of soy infant formula is not recognised as safe.

    The Next Asbestos?

    "Against the backdrop of widespread praise . . . there is growing suspicion that soy -- despite its undisputed benefits -- may pose some health hazards," writes Marian Burros, a leading food writer for the New York Times. More than any other writer, Ms Burros's endorsement of a low-fat, largely vegetarian diet has herded Americans into supermarket aisles featuring soy foods. Yet her January 26, 2000 article, "Doubts Cloud Rosy News on Soy", contains the following alarming statement: "Not one of the 18 scientists interviewed for this column was willing to say that taking isoflavones was risk free." Ms Burros did not enumerate the risks, nor did she mention that the recommended 25 daily grams of soy protein contain enough isoflavones to cause problems in sensitive individuals, but it was evident that the industry had recognised the need to cover itself.

    Because the industry is extremely exposed, contingency lawyers will soon discover that the number of potential plaintiffs can be counted in the millions and the pockets are very, very deep. Juries will hear something like the following: "The industry has known for years that soy contains many toxins. At first they told the public that the toxins were removed by processing. When it became apparent that processing could not get rid of them, they claimed that these substances were beneficial. Your government granted a health claim to a substance that is poisonous, and the industry lied to the public to sell more soy."

    The "industry" includes merchants, manufacturers, scientists, publicists, bureaucrats, former bond financiers, food writers, vitamin companies and retail stores. Farmers will probably escape because they were duped like the rest of us. But they need to find something else to grow before the soy bubble bursts and the market collapses: grass-fed livestock, designer vegetables . . . or hemp to make paper for thousands and thousands of legal briefs.


    Program for the Third International Symposium on the Role of Soy in Preventing and Treating Chronic Disease, Sunday, October 31, through Wednesday, November 3, 1999, Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, DC.

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    Van Rensburg et al., "Nutritional status of African populations predisposed to esophageal cancer", Nutrition and Cancer, vol. 4, 1983, pp. 206-216; Moser, P.B. et al., "Copper, iron, zinc and selenium dietary intake and status of Nepalese lactating women and their breastfed infants", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 47:729-734, April 1988; Harland, B.F. et al., "Nutritional status and phytate: zinc and phytate X calcium: zinc dietary molar ratios of lacto-ovovegetarian Trappist monks: 10 years later", Journal of the American Dietetic Association 88:1562-1566, December 1988.

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    Sandstrom, B. et al., "Effect of protein level and protein source on zinc absorption in humans", Journal of Nutrition 119(1):48-53, January 1989; Tait, Susan et al., "The availability of minerals in food, with particular reference to iron", Journal of Research in Society and Health 103(2):74-77, April 1983.

    Phytate reduction of zinc absorption has been demonstrated in numerous studies. These results are summarised in Leviton, Richard, Tofu, Tempeh, Miso and Other Soyfoods: The `Food of the Future' -- How to Enjoy Its Spectacular Health Benefits, Keats Publishing, Inc., New Canaan, CT, USA, 1982, p. 1415.

    Mellanby, Edward, "Experimental rickets: The effect of cereals and their interaction with other factors of diet and environment in producing rickets", Journal of the Medical Research Council 93:265, March 1925; Wills, M.R. et al., "Phytic Acid and Nutritional Rickets in Immigrants", The Lancet, April 8, 1972, pp. 771-773.

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    See www.truthinlabeling.org.

    Rackis, Joseph, J., "Biological and Physiological Factors in Soybeans", Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society 51:161A-170A, January 1974.

    Rackis, Joseph J. et al., "The USDA trypsin inhibitor study", ibid.

    Torum, Benjamin, "Nutritional Quality of Soybean Protein Isolates: Studies in Children of Preschool Age", in Soy Protein and Human Nutrition, Harold L Wilcke et al. (eds), Academic Press, New York, 1979.

    Zreik, Marwin, CCN, "The Great Soy Protein Awakening", Total Health 32(1), February 2000.

    IEH Assessment on Phytoestrogens in the Human Diet, Final Report to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, UK, November 1997, p. 11.

    Food Labeling: Health Claims: Soy Protein and Coronary Heart Disease, Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR, Part 101 (Docket No. 98P-0683).

    Sheegan, Daniel M. and Daniel R Doerge, Letter to Dockets Management Branch (HFA-305), February 18, 1999.

    Anderson, James W. et al., "Meta-analysis of the Effects of Soy Protein Intake on Serum Lipids", New England Journal of Medicine (1995) 3335):276-282.

    Guy, Camille, "Doctors warned against magic, quackery", New Zealand Herald, September 9, 1995, section 8, p. 5.

    Sander, Kate and Hilary Wilson, "FDA approves new health claim for soy, but litte fallout expected for dairy", Cheese Market News, October 22, 1999, p. 24.

    Enig, Mary G. and Sally Fallon, "The Oiling of America", NEXUS Magazine, December 1998-January 1999 and February-March 1999; also available at http://www.westonaprice.org/facts_ab...ts/oiling.html.

    Natural Medicine News (L & H Vitamins, 32-33 47th Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101), USA, January/February 2000, p. 8.

    Harras, Angela (ed.), Cancer Rates and Risks, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, 1996, 4th edition.

    Searle, Charles E. (ed.), Chemical Carcinogens, ACS Monograph 173, American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, 1976.

    Nagata, C. et al., Journal of Nutrition (1998) 128:209-213.

    Campbell, Colin T. et al., The Cornell Project in China.

    Chang, K.C. (ed.), Food in Chinese Culture: Anthropological and Historical Perspectives, New Haven, 1977.

    Messina, Mark J. et al., "Soy Intake and Cancer Risk: A Review of the In Vitro and In Vivo Data", Nutrition and Cancer (1994) 21(2):113-131.

    Rackis et al, "The USDA trypsin inhibitor study", ibid.

    Petrakis, N.L. et al., "Stimulatory influence of soy protein isolate on breast secretion in pre- and post-menopausal women", Cancer Epid. Bio. Prev. (1996) 5:785-794.

    Dees, C. et al., "Dietary estrogens stimulate human breast cells to enter the cell cycle", Environmental Health Perspectives (1997) 105(Suppl. 3):633-636.

    Woodhams, D.J., "Phytoestrogens and parrots: The anatomy of an investigation", Proceedings of the Nutrition Society of New Zealand (1995) 20:22-30.

    Matrone, G. et al., "Effect of Genistin on Growth and Development of the Male Mouse", Journal of Nutrition (1956) 235-240.

    Ishizuki, Y. et al., "The effects on the thyroid gland of soybeans administered experimentally in healthy subjects", Nippon Naibunpi Gakkai Zasshi (1991) 767:622-629.

    Divi, R.L. et al., "Anti-thyroid isoflavones from the soybean", Biochemical Pharmacology (1997) 54:1087-1096.

    Cassidy, A. et al., "Biological Effects of a Diet of Soy Protein Rich in Isoflavones on the Menstrual Cycle of Premenopausal Women", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1994) 60:333-340.

    Murphy, P.A., "Phytoestrogen Content of Processed Soybean Foods", Food Technology, January 1982, pp. 60-64.

    Bulletin de L'Office Fédéral de la Santé Publique, no. 28, July 20, 1992.

    Keung, W.M., "Dietary oestrogenic isoflavones are potent inhibitors of B-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase of P. testosteronii", Biochemical and Biophysical Research Committee (1995) 215:1137-1144; Makela, S.I. et al., "Estrogen-specific 12 B-hydroxysteroid oxidoreductase type 1 (E.C. as a possible target for the action of phytoestrogens", PSEBM (1995) 208:51-59.

    Setchell, K.D.R. et al., "Dietary oestrogens -- a probable cause of infertility and liver disease in captive cheetahs", Gastroenterology (1987) 93:225-233; Leopald, A.S., "Phytoestrogens: Adverse effects on reproduction in California Quail," Science (1976) 191:98-100; Drane, H.M. et al., "Oestrogenic activity of soya-bean products", Food, Cosmetics and Technology (1980) 18:425-427; Kimura, S. et al., "Development of malignant goiter by defatted soybean with iodine-free diet in rats", Gann. (1976) 67:763-765; Pelissero, C. et al., "Oestrogenic effect of dietary soybean meal on vitellogenesis in cultured Siberian Sturgeon Acipenser baeri", Gen. Comp. End. (1991) 83:447-457; Braden et al., "The oestrogenic activity and metabolism of certain isoflavones in sheep", Australian J. Agricultural Research (1967) 18:335-348.

    Ginsburg, Jean and Giordana M. Prelevic, "Is there a proven place for phytoestrogens in the menopause?", Climacteric (1999) 2:75-78.

    Setchell, K.D. et al., "Isoflavone content of infant formulas and the metabolic fate of these early phytoestrogens in early life", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, December 1998 Supplement, 1453S-1461S.

    Irvine, C. et al., "The Potential Adverse Effects of Soybean Phytoestrogens in Infant Feeding", New Zealand Medical Journal May 24, 1995, p. 318.

    Hagger, C. and J. Bachevalier, "Visual habit formation in 3-month-old monkeys (Macaca mulatta): reversal of sex difference following neonatal manipulations of androgen", Behavior and Brain Research (1991) 45:57-63.

    Ross, R.K. et al., "Effect of in-utero exposure to diethylstilbestrol on age at onset of puberty and on post-pubertal hormone levels in boys", Canadian Medical Association Journal 128(10):1197-8, May 15, 1983.

    Herman-Giddens, Marcia E. et al., "Secondary Sexual Characteristics and Menses in Young Girls Seen in Office Practice: A Study from the Pediatric Research in Office Settings Network", Pediatrics 99(4):505-512, April 1997.

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    Freni-Titulaer, L.W., "Premature Thelarch in Puerto Rico: A search for environmental factors", American Journal of Diseases of Children 140(12):1263-1267, December 1986.

    White, Lon, "Association of High Midlife Tofu Consumption with Accelerated Brain Aging", Plenary Session #8: Cognitive Function, The Third International Soy Symposium, November 1999, Program, p. 26.

    Altonn, Helen, "Too much tofu induces `brain aging', study shows", Honolulu Star-Bulletin, November 19, 1999.

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    Doerge, Daniel R., "Inactivation of Thyroid Peroxidase by Genistein and Daidzein in Vitro and in Vivo; Mechanism for Anti-Thyroid Activity of Soy", presented at the November 1999 Soy Symposium in Washington, DC, National Center for Toxicological Research, Jefferson, AR 72029, USA.

    Hughes, Claude, Center for Women's Health and Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA.

    Soy Intake May Affect Fetus", Reuters News Service, November 5, 1999.

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    "Evaluation of the Health Aspects of Soy Protein Isolates as Food Ingredients", prepared for FDA by Life Sciences Research Office, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) (9650 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20014, USA), Contract No, FDA 223-75-2004, 1979.

  22. Very informative counter-article. My article only countered the postives for bodybuilders, yet didn't look into the safety of consumption. I've been taking roughly 15-20 g. of soy protein isolate daily, and I've only seen benefits, no negatives. This article makes me want to reconsider that. I will dig through some literature and make my choice.

  23. could someone summarize this thread for me.. i think i have a slight case of ADD i can't read thru it without my mind wandering.. either that or lack of sleep cuz i'm on 2 hours of it..

  24. The thing that kept me away from soy was that it didn't have the best amino profile.

  25. You can quote phd's and nutritional experts all day long that say soy sucks, and you can quote phd's and nutritional experts all day long that say soy is awesome.

    It never fails to amaze me.

    I think one of the main reasons for these experts having completely opposite viewpoints is agenda.

    On one side we have the meat eaters bashing soy with science and on the other the veggie-lovers selling soy's virtues with science.

    I give up. I may as well fall back on folklore with the old saying 'you are what you eat'

    I wanna be a dense and enormous muscle so i guess i'll eat dense and enormous muscles...i sure as hell don't want to be an enormous piece of tofu! yuck!


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