Myth 1: Soy consumption increases the risk of breast cancer.
The main fear behind soybeans is the isoflavones contained within them. Isoflavones are phytoestrogens, a plant compound that can chemically act like estrogen. Thus, a primary concern is that breast cancer, especially estrogen-positive breast cancer, can grow in the presence of estrogen.
However, multiple research studies suggest that there is no association between consuming soy and breast cancer, and that soy consumption may even lower the risk of breast cancer. Isoflavones have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that have the potential to reduce cancer growth. Although it is true that isoflavones have similar chemical properties to estrogen, the compound also has antiestrogen properties, including the ability to block natural estrogens from binding to estrogen receptors and halting estrogen formation in fat tissue. View study.
Myth 2: Soy phytoestrogens have feminizing effects on men.
Another widespread misconception about soy is that it decreases the testosterone levels in men and can lead to prostate cancer. These concerns, however, originate from studies in rodents that showed the impaired ability for male rats to produce offspring when given high doses of phytoestrogens. It’s important to distinguish that rodents metabolize soy isoflavones differently than humans – it has not been shown to have the same effect in humans. Furthermore, a meta-analysis research study (a method of combining data from several selected studies) published in Fertility and Sterility presented that soy protein or isoflavones did not affect the reproductive hormones in men. View study.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also published a research study that showed men who actually increased their intake of soy reduced the risk of prostate cancer by 25 percent. View study
So what’s the takeaway according to Harvard & many other credible sources?
Soy is a unique food that is widely studied for its estrogenic and anti-estrogenic effects on the body. Studies may seem to present conflicting conclusions about soy, but this is largely due to the wide variation in how soy is studied. Results of recent population studies suggest that soy has either a beneficial or neutral effect on various health conditions. Soy is a nutrient-dense source of protein that can safely be consumed several times a week, and is likely to provide health benefits—especially when eaten as an alternative to red and processed meat. View study.
At No Harm Done, we aren't scientist, chemist or biologist... We're a family owned company that trusts the data of those in the field who know far more than we do about this topic.