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From: Clo (
Subject:         Don't bother!
Date: March 7, 2006 at 11:14 am PST

In Reply to: Where can I buy the book The Whole Soy Story posted by D. Leonard on March 5, 2006 at 4:21 pm:

It's full of misinformation. This is vegan author John Robbins' response to the author of that books's anti-soy article in Mothering magazine:

To see the author's viewpoint, this is one of the recommendations her article entitled “Why Broth is Beautiful”(an article promoting gelatin for joint health, which she admits even Knox gelatin doesn’t endorse.):

“Boil a piece of pig skin for at least 3 hours until it becomes very soft. Eat it as is, with mustard or horseradish, or put it through a mincer and add it to other food. The important thing is regular use—a tablespoon or more every day, along with a diet that contains adequate animal protein and lots of nourishing animal fats. "

In this article she cites old studies that even Knox gelatin discarded claiming, among other things, that gelatin detoxifies the liver.

Here is a letter from some of the scientists she whose data she misinterprets in the Mothering article she wrote:

"Thyroid and gyn issues

We are writing in response to the article by K. Daniels entitled "The Whole Soy Story," to comment on her misleading statements about our work.

The "buried" findings regarding thyroid problems, cervical cancer, polycystic ovarian syndrome, blocked fallopian tubes, and pelvic inflammatory disease specifically mentioned by Dr. Daniel were all based on a very small number of events. The differences between the group of patients receiving soy formula and those receiving milk formula for each of these medical conditions did not even approach statistical significance.

The finding regarding the use of asthma or allergy drugs was reported in a table in the published paper because it was based on a larger number of events, and it showed a statistically significant difference between the two formula groups in females but not in males.

In our study we examined a large number of outcomes, including thyroid function, which Dr. Daniel alleged was excluded as a subject for study. Yet consistent with standard scientific principles, prior to the start of the study we decided which outcomes would be the focus of primary analyses and which would be designated as secondary. We summarized the results from all our analyses, and we published the results from the primary analyses, but also made available the results from the secondary analyses to anyone who requested them, including Dr. Daniel.

Finally, we find insulting the implication by Dr. Daniel that the soy industry that sponsored part of this research influenced the outcomes of our research. If it had not sponsored the research, Dr. Daniel would have (rightly) criticized the manufacturers for not evaluating the risks from their products. Further, we state emphatically that the sponsor did not control the research design, the methods of data analysis, or the content and conclusions of our study. Most important, our study met all scientific criteria for rigorous peer-reviewed scientific research.


Here is an artcle by registered dietician Virginia Messina:

"Should Men Worry About Estrogens in Soy?
Virginia Messina, RD

January 15, 2001

Q.)As an almost vegan, I consume a lot of soy. As a 21-year-old guy, I was wondering if the estrogen in soy that is so good for women might be doing weird abnormal stuff to me like reducing my testosterone levels. If so, how bad is this? Should I be consuming less soymilk and tofu?

A.) Soybeans contain plant forms of estrogen called phytoestrogens (the chemical name is isoflavones). Phytoestrogens have very weak estrogen-like activity but can also act like antiestrogens, reducing the effects of naturally-produced estrogen. This is one reason that soy might possibly be protective against the development of some types of breast cancer which are stimulated by estrogen.

There is no evidence that men who eat moderate amounts of soy experience any feminizing effects, which is what I am guessing you are concerned about. Certainly we don’t see these effects in cultures where daily consumption of soy is common.

There is some evidence that vegetarian men have somewhat lower blood testosterone levels than omnivore men. There are several possible explanations for this. Soy consumption could certainly be one of them but the evidence for this is not very clear. The higher fiber intake of vegetarians could also affect testosterone levels. Also dietary fat and obesity increase testosterone levels and vegetarians tend to eat less fat and be slimmer.

But before you bolt for dinner at the nearest steakhouse, let’s put this into perspective. There is no evidence that vegetarian men have testosterone levels that are too low. There is a range of what is normal and as long as you are in that range, there is no advantage to being at the higher end of the range. In fact, being at the lower end of the normal range could have benefits.

For example, lower testosterone levels are associated with reduced risk for prostate cancer in some studies. And, not surprisingly, there is evidence that consuming soy reduces risk for prostate cancer. This compares to the situation in women. Evidence suggests that vegetarian women have lower estrogen levels–perhaps for the same reasons noted above for testosterone. And this might help to protect against breast cancer.

Because the average American is a meat-eater, we have a tendency to base our ideas of what is normal or optimal based on what occurs in meat-eaters. Of course, we know that for many things this is not true. For example, "normal" cholesterol levels–the levels typically seen in meat eaters–are too high for good health. The situation for testosterone may be similar. Judging these levels based on those that occur in people eating an unhealthy diet doesn’t make sense."

Soy estrogens are "plant estrogens" or "phytoestrogens" (phyto is Greek for plant). They are found in many plant foods besides soy.

This is an article about phytoestrogens from the Institute of Food, Science and Technology of the UK:

It is worth reading. Here is the beginning of it:

"Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring phenolic plant compounds, present in foods such as beans, cabbage, soyabean, grains and hops, and are part of a wider class of polyphenols found in all plants. They are structurally similar to the mammalian oestrogen, oestradiol, and have oestrogenic properties. However, their oestrogenic activity is generally much less than that of human oestrogens (oestrogenic activity ranges from 1/500 to 1/1000 of the activity of oestradiol). Hence phytoestrogens can act as anti-oestrogenic agents by blocking the oestrogen receptors and exerting a much weaker oestrogenic effect compared with the hormone. As a consequence it has been suggested that they might partly suppress or inhibit normal
oestrogenic activity in oestrogen-responsive tissues such as breast tissue and may reduce the risk of breast cancer. They may, in addition to their endocrine effects, have action on cellular targets which are independent of oestrogen, thereby complicating the prediction of their properties in humans.

Dietary intake of phytoestrogens
Phytoestrogens are found in the seeds, stems, roots or flowers of plants, serving as natural fungicides and acting as part of the plant's defence mechanism against microorganisms. They also are the molecular signals that emanate from the root of leguminous plants that attract specific nitrogen-fixing soil bacteria. The main classes of phytoestrogens are the isoflavones, coumestans and lignans."

So, as you can see, phytoestrogens are not only found in many, many plants besides soy, but they are many, many times weaker than human or artificial estrogens.

What many people don't consider when worrying about phytoestrogens, is that there is good evidence of estrogen contamination in meat and dairy products.

Articles about estrogen in dairy products:

Articles about estrogen in meat:

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