cup of cow's milk contains 290 mg of calcium.
One cup of cow's milk contains 32 mg of magnesium.
cup of store-bought soymilk contains 10 mg of calcium.
One cup of store-bought soymilk contains 47 mg of magnesium.
cup of homemade soymilk contains 32 mg of calcium.
One cup of homemade soymilk contains 33 mg of magnesium.
absorbs the same amount of calcium from
a glass of homemade soymilk and cow's milk.
You will absorb only one-third the amount of
calcium in store-bought soymilk.
examining both numbers together (mg of calcium
and mg of magnesium), the lower of the two numbers
becomes the lowest common denominator. Yes, cow's
milk is saturated with calcium, but the low level
of magnesium means that only a small amount of that
dietary calcium is absorbed. Although there are
290 mg of calcium in one cup of cow's milk, the
32 mg of magnesium limit calcium absorption to
a mere 32 mg. Homemade soymilk contains 32 mg
of both calcium and magnesium. Exactly the perfect
soymilk does not.
Unfortified soy milk, such as that produced from the machine Cohen
sells using about 2oz dry beans per quart, provides more absorbed
calcium than both cow's milk and commercial soy milk, because magnesium
must be absorbed 1:1 by weight with calcium.
Calcium from cow's milk is well absorbed. Fortified soy milk
containing added calcium is a comparable source of absorbed calcium
to cow's milk. Unfortified soy milk from whole beans is a poor source
of calcium as it contains very little. Unless magnesium is so low
in the diet as to cause severe deficiency (very rare), dietary magnesium
has no measurable effect on calcium absorption. Cohen's claim that
calcium absorption requires an equal weight of magnesium is flatly
contradicted by nutritional research.
In this one
brief e-mail, Cohen promotes three baseless misconceptions which
are to his commercial advantage.
soy milk is a useful source of dietary calcium. It isn't.
- Cow's milk
is a poor source of calcium. Although a third of the calcium absorbed
from cow's milk is lost in extra protein induced losses, in contrast
to calcium from green leafy vegetables, it is still a good source
soy milk is a poor source of calcium. If fortified with calcium
it is a much superior source of calcium compared with the home-made
unfortified version; otherwise both commercial and home-produced
soy milks are poor sources.
23 May, 2002:
NOTMILK - - TOUCHING EVERY BASE
column is about touching all of the bases.
There is a new soy company called Frulatte. They
make soy smoothies.
an attempt to manufacture their version of
a "perfect" product, the Frulatte people have
tried to touch every base by including one
politically correct additive after another
into their soy-based drinks.
add Vitamin B-12. They add Vitamin D-3.
does commercial Vitamin B-12 come from?
Animals, primarily beef liver.
does Vitamin D-3 come from?
Animals, primarily sheep skin and wool.
spoke to Frulatte's chief chemist, Chris
also promised to get back to me regarding
the source of the Vitamin B-12 his company
uses. I spoke to him yesterday, and he told me
that it's microbrial. I am waiting for details.
Those same "microbes" producing Vitamin B-12 in the
human body live in the lower recesses of our
intestines in regions where the sun don't shine.
prepared Vitamin B-12 from microbes
is extracted from feces.
added to commercial soy milk comes from animals, primarily beef
liver, or from faeces.
B12 in commercial soy milk and other fortified foods comes from
the excretions of hygienically fermented bacteria. As is often the
case, Robert Cohen takes a grain of truth as the seed for an outright
distortion. Some of the bacteria used in fermentations for B12 were
first isolated from faeces or manure but there is no faeces used
in the fermentation process that produces all commercial B12 and
is at least as hygienic as the more familiar fermentations used
to produce beer. The Encyclopedia of Microbiology (2000) gives a
clear explanation of the process used
the ultimate source of B12 for all land-dwelling animals. Our ape
relatives get their B12 from insects, faeces and in some cases small
amounts of meat. Fortified foods and supplements allow us to get
our B12 hygienically and without any harm to any sentient being.
a baseless misconception to his commercial advantage and the detriment
of his readers by suggesting that vegans should not consume B12-fortified
products, such as many commercial soy-milks, or other forms of commercially
produced B12. His suggestion that commercial B12 comes from animals
or faeces is simply untrue and is dangerously misleading as it deflects
vegans from getting vital (and entirely vegan) vitamin B12, as recommended
by all major vegan and vegetarian societies.
that D3 is derived from animals is correct. D2 is the only form
of vitamin D suitable for vegans.
2002: Silk - the deadly poison
you buy SILK soymilk for yourself
or your loved ones?
you answered in the affirmative, you
may be placing your family in grave danger.
SILK? GOT CANCER!
contains a dangerous substance,
Andrew Weil recently warned his readers about
the dangers of carrageenan. This well-respected
medical doctor wrote:
can cause ulcerations and
cancers of the gastrointestinal tract."
order to get more information, I spoke on
the phone today (3/25/2002) with one of America's
carrageenan experts, Joanne Tobacman.
explained to Dr. Tobacman that I rejected animal
studies (as cited in Dr. Weil's column), and
requested evidence that carrageenan might be
dangerous to humans.
learned from Dr. Tobacman that carrageenan is
highly sulferated. Forty percent of carrageenan,
by molecular weight, is sulfur. You may recall
from previous notmilk columns that amino acids
containing sulfur create an acid condition in
the bloodstream, and that the human body neutralizes
the acid by leeching calcium from bones. Methionine
is one such amino, and methionine converts
to homocysteine, an amino acid that Dr. William
Castelli calls a key to heart disease. Castelli is
the lead researcher in the Framingham heart study,
the largest heart study in the history of mankind.
Commercial soy milks containing carrageenan are dangerous as carrageenan
will raise homocysteine levels, promote bone loss and promote
Carrageenan in the form added to foods has been classified as
non-toxic and non-carcinogenic based on several recent independent
reviews, including one by the World Health Organisation. Carrageenan
is a non-starch polysaccharide (a form of fibre). Very little of
its sulphur gets into the blood and even if it all did it would
have absolutely no effect on homocysteine as it is not in the form
of amino acids. Cohen attempts to tar carrageenan with the same
brush as sulphur-containing amino acids, but there is no connection
Indeed, as discussed
below, there are much more important determinants of homocysteine
than sulphur-containing amino acids.
for a more extensive discussion of Cohen's attack on the Silk soy
2002: Omnivores have healthier hearts
did scientists find when they compared
the cardiovascular systems of vegetarians to
HAVE HEALTHIER HEARTS!
the study cited in this column, that is true.
The key here, though, is what kind of vegetarians
did the scientific study consider?
are vegetarians who eat absolutly no
animal products. These vegetarians call
are vegetarians who exclude meat, poultry,
and seafood from their diets. This group of
vegetarians consume eggs and dairy, and
are called lacto-ovo vegetarians.
there are the vegetarians who drink milk
and eat dairy products. These vegetarians call
vegetarians are unhealthy, as the study
largest heart study in history, the
Framingham study, continues to be conducted
in Massachusetts by a group of scientists,
including the lead investigator, William
year, I had the honor of spending a
few minutes with Dr. Castelli. I was told that
the hottest area of research today and the
leading cause of heart disease is homocysteines.
are amino acids whose center atom
is sulfur. Another amino acid, methionine,
converts to the heart-dangerous homocysteine.
Animal protein contains significantly more
methionine than do plant proteins. For example,
Swiss cheese contains 10.6 times the amount of
methionine as does soft silken tofu.
study in question, published in the February,
2000 issue of the Journal of Nutrition (132: 152-158),
Homocysteine Levels in Taiwanese
Vegetarians Are Higher than Those of Omnivores"
team of eight scientists (Chien-Jung Hung, et. al)
measured and compared the blood serum levels of
homocysteine of 45 female Buddhist lacto-vegetarians
(milk drinkers) to the homocystein levels of
45 omnivores (meat eaters), and found that the milk -
drinking vegetarians had "significantly" higher levels
of homocysteine than did the omniovores.
negative effects of homocysteine on the female
heart and female skeletal mass have been determined
to do enormous damage.
and dairy products play the key role in causing
homocysteine levels observed in Taiwanese vegetarians were due to
As noted in the paper Cohen is commenting on, "Taiwanese vegetarian
diets include few or no dairy products and consist mainly of rice,
vegetables, fruits and significant amounts of soy products."
Thus, it is not reasonable to claim that dairy products account
for the observed elevation in homocysteine.
one study in Australia, two studies in Germany and one study in
Czechoslovakia have directly compared vegan homocysteine levels
to lacto-vegetarian homocysteine levels. In all four studies, the
vegan levels were higher than the lacto-vegetarian levels, due to
lower blood B12 levels and lower B12 intake. One other study, of
California Seventh day Adventists, found vegan homocysteine levels
to be desirably low, due to extensive use of B12-fortified foods
or supplements, providing 6 micrograms per day of B12.
B12 that Cohen denigrates above (as coming from animals or faeces)
is the key to vegans having desirably low homocysteine levels and
avoiding the health risks associated with elevated homocysteine.
for more information on B12 in vegan diets.
If one were
to take Robert Cohen at face value, his soymilk maker machine would
seem to produce a much healthier product than that of his competitors.
In creating this impression, he has largely distorted or misrepresented
the nutritional literature. His conclusions are often unwarranted
and sometimes (as in his denigration of commercial B12 and his misleading
information on sources of calcium) potentially dangerous to anyone
relying on the information he provides.
enjoys a very visible role in the vegetarian movement as a guest
speaker at important conferences and events. While this benefits
his commercial interests, it discredits the vegetarian movement
and gives undue credibility to Cohen's inaccurate claims.