Finally, the Truth About Soy
by Leo Babauta.
of those things that has spread on the Internet and unbelievably, has become accepted truth to many people: that soy is
unhealthy, even dangerous.
(to otherwise smart and informed people) that I drink soymilk sometimes, and a look of pity comes over their faces.
This guy doesnt know the dangers of soy, and might get cancer, or worse
man boobs, theyre thinking.
about every fitness expert I read people I respect and trust says that soy is bad for you, from Tim Ferriss to the primal/paleo folk. I absolutely respect most of these guys and
otherwise think their work on fitness-related matters is great. And yet, when I look for their sources on soy, often
they dont exist, and when they do, I can always trace them back to one place.
Weston A. Price Foundation.
Seriously. Ive never seen anyone cite a single peer-reviewed study that shows that soy is unhealthy. The only sources
are the Weston A. Price Foundation, or other articles that use the Weston A. Price Foundation as a source (read
the thing: the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) have been on a vendetta against soy (and on a campaign for meat and raw
milk) for a couple decades now, and they have no solid evidence to back up their vendetta. They have lots of
quasi-scientific evidence, lots of reasonable-sounding arguments, but if you look for solid proof, you wont find any.
They are not scientists, and have conducted no actual peer-reviewed studies of their own (that I know about).
amazing how many people have been influenced by WAPFs wacky writings whenever you read articles not only against soy,
but about the myths of cholesterol or saturated fat (WAPF dangerously advocates a diet high in saturated fat), or about
raw milk or meat, or about coconut oil and butter
it is based on the work of WAPF. WAPF has even influenced the
writings of major writers as Gary Taubes and Michael Pollan.
going to tell you to fill your diet with soy. I eat it moderately, like anything else, but am not afraid of it. What I
am going to do is clear up some myths, and challenge those who disagree with me to show actual peer-reviewed studies
(not articles by WAPF or that cite WAPF as their source).
are the Weston A. Price Foundation?
do an entire treatise on WAPF, as others have done it better:
encourage you to read these and consider the arguments and evidence, not the sources. While some of these articles are
from vegetarians, that doesnt negate the arguments they just seem more motivated to do the research on WAPF than most
basically the WAPF is a fringe group that advocates some weird health claims about meat, raw milk, butter
but who came
along just at the time when the meat and dairy industry was worried about soy being promoted as a healthy alternative.
WAPF claims they dont take money from agribusiness or the food processing industry, which is both true and admirable
but they do receive funding from sponsors and members a large percentage of whom are dairy and meat farmers.
the problem is not where their funding comes from its their science. Sally Fallon (WAPF founder) and her co-author
Mary Enig, WAPF board member Dr. Joe Mercola, Stephen Byrnes, and other WAPF authors use quack science to promote their
agenda, and yet most people cant distinguish between good and bad science. When they make claims about Eskimo diets
being entirely meat and fat based, that sounds reasonable to most people, who dont realize that you cant just observe
a people and make conclusions that are then generalized to other populations, or that the Inuit Greenlanders had the
shortest life expectancy of any indigenous North Americans and high cancer rates (read
more). Most people dont understand how empirical science is done, and so dont understand why criticism by the
WAPFs Chris Masterjohn of The China Study is a
misinterpretation of the evidence.
take my word for it. Read the links above, become informed, weigh the evidence. Ask for the results of actual
peer-reviewed studies, instead of relying on scientific-sounding arguments.
soy contain dangerous estrogens?
the most-repeated of WAPFs myths about soy is that it contains dangerous estrogens that will cause cancer, man boobs,
and a host of other health problems. So I thought it would be good to clear this up.
no evidence that eating soy causes any of the problems caused by raised levels of estrogen (a hormone thats already
naturally in our bodies).
confusion that WAPF plays on is that soy contains a natural, non-steroidal compound called phytoestrogens but actually
many other plants and plant foods contain phytoestrogens too,
including flaxseeds, sesame seeds, hummus, garlic, peanuts, and more.
Phytoestrogens are not estrogens, and though they might be similar, they have completely different effects on the human
body. They do not affect the sperm count or concentration in men, nor do they affect the size of your testicles or
volume of ejaculate. Note: A small-scale, preliminary study by Harvard researcher Jorge Chavarro found that processed
soy might have some effect on sperm counts of obese men, but even Chavarro cautioned that nothing conclusive
has been found.
Phytoestrogens dont cause breast cancer in women (more).
infant formula, while not nearly as good as human breast milk, is safe (more
can see, Ive linked to a few peer-reviewed studies that look at actual evidence, not pseudo-scientific arguments. There
are many more that are easily found via Google. If you read or hear people making claims about soy and estrogen, ask for
the sources, and ask that they be peer-reviewed studies.
soy been shown to be unhealthy? In a word: no.
wont claim that soy is a magic bullet for getting healthy, it also doesnt have the dangers that WAPF and others claim
it does. In fact, there is no evidence for any of those claims. I wont get into all the claims, but just touch on a
couple of the most prevalent:
1. FALSE: Soy inhibits the digestion of nutrients (anti-nutrients). Its true that soy, like many plants, have
anti-nutrients but when you cook, ferment, soak, roast, or sprout these plants, you do away with the anti-nutrients.
From Dr. Andrew Weil: There is no scientific data suggesting that soy consumption leads to mineral deficiency in
humans. (more) Fallon, Enig, and the other WAPF writers have
failed to provide any evidence at all for this claim (more).
2. FALSE: Soy increases the risk of cancer. In fact, the evidence shows just the opposite. The
Health Professionals Follow-up Study found a 70% reduction in prostate
cancer for men who consume soy milk daily. The American Institute for Cancer Research, in collaboration with the World
Cancer Research Fund, issued a major report in 1997 that analyzed more
than 4,500 research studies, with more than 120 contributors and peer reviewers, including those from the World Health
Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Agency on Research in
Cancer, and the U.S. National Cancer Institute. The report said that Phytoestrogens are found in high concentrations in
soy beans, and have been shown in vitro to exhibit a plethora of different anti-cancer effects, including inhibiting
proliferation. The report found some evidence that soy protects against stomach and prostate cancers. In 2000, Riva
Bitrum, the President of Research for the American Institute for Cancer Research, said that Studies showing
consistently that just one serving a day of soy foods contributes to a reduction in cancer risk are encouraging.
Consuming one serving of soy foods is a step most individuals would not find too difficult to take. For healthy women,
according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, even two or three servings a day of soy foods should be fine as
one part of a mostly plant-based diet. (more)
3. FALSE: Soy causes (insert scare claim here: Alzheimers, birth defects, etc.). There isnt any evidence for
any of the scare claims that originate from WAPF. Im not going to argue them all, but I urge you to read these articles
from John Robbins,
Dr. Neil Barnard,
Syd Baumel, and
Dr. Joel Fuhrman
they contain many more sources than I could list here, and theyre based on actual evidence.
4. Legitimate concerns. Like most foods (meat, milk, peanuts, nuts, berries, chocolate, etc.), there are people
with certain conditions that should be more careful. None of the legitimate concerns about soy are causes for alarm.
Some people are allergic to soy. There is conflicting evidence about soys effect on women who already have breast
cancer some evidence suggests that it might be beneficial, but its not conclusive. If you already have a thyroid
disorder, excess soy consumption (more than a couple times a day) could affect thyroid function (more).
Genetically modified soybeans (common in the U.S. because of Monsanto) are not as healthy as organic soybeans try to
eat organic more than not. Soy formula for infants is less healthy than human breast milk (as is milk-based formula)
though decades of people brought up on soy formula as babies have shown no ill effects. Still, human breast milk is much
better. Again, none of these legitimate concerns is anything to be scared about most people can eat soy a few times a
day with no effects, according to the overwhelming mass of evidence, and even those who might have a concern can eat
some amounts of soy with no problems.
should I eat soy?
honestly dont care if you do or not. My general recommendation is to eat mostly real, whole foods veggies, fruits,
nuts, beans, seeds, a moderate amount of whole grains. I dont eat meat or dairy for ethical reasons, but if you do eat
meat, you should limit your intake of red meat (many
health risks of red meat).
has been eaten in moderation for centuries, and as I said above, has not been shown to be unhealthy. It can be included
in a healthy diet tofu, some soy milk, whole soy beans, tempeh can all be good for you if you mix them in with the
other real foods I mentioned above. Soymilk is basically whole soy beans soaked in water and squeezed to produce a milky
liquid, and tempeh is actual soybeans fermented.
be cautious about overly processed soy foods processed soy protein just as I would any other processed foods.
Meaning, dont be afraid of them, but dont make them a major part of your diet. Eat real foods instead. And organic is
As a last
note to doubters: I welcome your doubt its important not to take my word as final. But instead of rebutting me with
scientific-sounding arguments, show me the peer-reviewed studies. And not just one study, as no one study will be proof
of anything show me the mass of research thats been done. When you look at the entirety of the research that has been
done on soy, the evidence is overwhelmingly clear. Id love to see someone show otherwise.
entire blog post is reproduced above, because it so perfectly represents our opinion, and is very well balanced. We know
there are many fans of Dr. Mercola out there, but we all need to be wisely selective about who and what we choose to
believe - in others words, Dr. M. is not right about everything, in our opinion.
This is also enlightening:
Soy Myth Busters Webinar
(under continuing education).
The soy in Juice Plus+ Complete
is non-GMO and water-washed (the lowest form of processing possible); it is one
of the five sources of 13 grams of protein in each serving. Here are the labels
listing the ingredients of the
Here's what Dr. Mitra Ray (PhD
biochemist) says on this subject: "With all the controversy over soy,
this link is
an objective look at it's safety. I think it is fine. Soy is neither an
incredible health panacea nor is it dangerous. All food, even broccoli can be
bad for you if that is all you eat and there is no variety in your diet. And
Juice Plus+ Complete is such a good product and so many people have used for
over 12 years now, that I cannot believe that if there were any health
challenges, we wouldnt know by now. The only issue I ever had with Complete is
when a person is downright allergic to soy. Other than that, Juice Plus+
Complete should be incorporated without hesitation into a persons health
Other related articles:
To learn more please watch the Webinar
below by Jan Roberto, MD
on the role of Juice Plus+ and Juice Plus+ Complete in your health,
fitness and nutrition program.