New book in Dutch

Eet vet word slank

Eet vet word slank gepubliceerd januari 2013

In dit boek lees je o.a.: * heel veel informatie ter bevordering van je gezondheid; * hoe je door de juiste vetten te eten en te drinken kan afvallen; * hoe de overheid en de voedingsindustrie ons, uit financieel belang, verkeerd voorlichten; * dat je van bewerkte vetten ziek kan worden.

Trick and Treat:
How 'healthy eating' is making us ill
Trick and Treat cover

"A great book that shatters so many of the nutritional fantasies and fads of the last twenty years. Read it and prolong your life."
Clarissa Dickson Wright

Natural Health & Weight Loss cover

"NH&WL may be the best non-technical book on diet ever written"
Joel Kauffman, PhD, Professor Emeritus, University of the Sciences, Philadelphia, PA

The Marketplace National Grocery

The MarketPlace Natural Grocery

Newsletter April/May 2002

The following articles have been published in the MarketPlace Natural Grocery Newsletter, Santa Fe New Mexico.


Isoflavones Pack A Punch Of Unknown Strength

By Barbara Gerber

“Contains isoflavones” is a claim that many consumers have come to expect when buying soy protein powders, bars and other soy-enriched products. Advertisements from food industry giants such as Archer Daniels Midland and Protein Technologies International claim that soy isoflavones also known as phytoestrogens fight certain cancers, reduce the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis, and lessen the effects of menopause.

But the public has received only part of the story.

FDA: Claims, petitions, protest

In 1998, Protein Technologies International (a division of Dupont), submitted a petition to the FDA requesting a health claim for isoflavones, based on assertions that “only soy protein that has been processed in a manner in which isoflavones are retained will result in cholesterol-lowering.” According to Sally Fallon, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, an organization that promotes traditional foods and is an outspoken critic of soy foods and the soy industry, the FDA later made the unprecedented move of rewriting PTI’s petition, removing any reference to isoflavones and substituting a claim for soy protein, a move that contradicts FDA regulations.

Many observers assume that the change in the petition was made because of a protest letter submitted to the FDA in February 1999 by two of its own scientists. Daniel M. Sheehan, Ph.D, the director of the FDA’s Estrogen Base Program, Division of Genetic and Reproductive Toxicology; and Daniel R. Doerge, Ph.D., a member of the FDA’s Division of Biochemical Toxicology, submitted the letter in an effort to block PTI’s claim.

Sheehan and Doerge wrote: “We oppose this health claim because there is abundant evidence that some of the isoflavones found in soy, including genistein and equol, a metabolite of daidzen, demonstrate toxicity in estro­gen sensitive tissues and in the thyroid. This is true for a number of species, including humans. Additionally, the adverse effects in humans occur in several tissues and, apparently, by several distinct mechanisms.”

The scientists asserted: “Isoflavones are like other estrogens in that they are two-edged swords, conferring both benefits and risk. The health labeling of soy protein isolate for foods needs to considered just as would the addition of any estrogen or goitrogen to foods, which are bad ideas.”

In 1998 the FDA had also received the final British government report on phytoestrogens, which failed to find much evidence of benefit and warned against potential adverse effects.

Sheehan and Doerge also noted that soy protein does not have GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe) status, and wrote: “It would seem appropriate for FDA to speak with a single voice regarding soy protein isolate.”

In October 1999, however, the FDA agreed” to allow certain food products containing soy protein to carry the following claim: “Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 25 grams of soy protein a day may reduce the risk of heart disease.”

So although soy protein isolate is not generally regarded as safe, the FDA has approved a health claim for it.


The cancer gamble

Although the FDA has not approved the claim that soy isoflavones reduce the risk of cancer, carefully worded claims are present in much of the industry’s literature and on the companies’ web sites.

Soy Online Service (SOS), drawing on an extensive list of studies, frames the issue in these general terms: “It is not uncommon for hormonally active agents, such as the soy phytoestrogens, to act as both estrogens and anti-estrogens. In simple terms this means that they can act to stimulate or inhibit the growth of certain types of cells, such as those found in the human breast.... Both natural hormones and hormonally active agents can work quite differently in people according primarily to dose and life stage.. . .There can be no blanket approach to cancer prevention and an agent that may reduce the risk of cancer in one person may increase the risk of cancer in another.”

SOS cites a 1996 study conducted by Dr. Nicholas Petrakis, of the University of California, San Francisco, which concluded that postmenopausal women who consume soy isoflavones as a natural hormone replacement therapy may place themselves at greater risk of breast cancer. “Prolonged consumption of soy protein isolate has a stimulatory effect on the premenopausal female breast, characterised by increased secretion of breast fluid, the appearance of hyperplastic epithelial cells and elevated levels of estradiol. These findings are suggestive of an estrogenic stimulus from the isoflavones genistein and daidzein contained in soy protein isolate.”

Similarly, Dr. Bill Helferich, of the University of Illinois, recently stated: “There is potential for dietary genistein to stimulate the growth of estrogen-dependent tumors in humans with low circulating endogenous estrogen levels, such as those found in postmenopausal women.”

Similar findings abound on the SOS and Weston A Price Foundation web sites, but the public hears little about them. Critics charge that this silence is due to the fact that various media outlets are owned by soy producers, who are able to control news content. (Remember those television reporters in Florida who were fired for airing a negative report on the Monsanto product rBGH? Although they later won a case against the station, this kind of corporate control in the media goes unchallenged every day.)

Thus, the soy industry and isoflavone supplement manufacturers suggest " and even sometimes promote " that their products are cancer-preventing without mentioning that soy may increase the risk of cancer, and without including basic information such as what constitutes a safe dose.


Female and male infertility

That phytoestrogens inhibit fertility in animals has been long known " studies involving laboratory mice, birds, cattle, sheep and captive cheetahs have confirmed it again and again. But the phytoestrogens in soy are now being seen as powerful endocrine disrupters that can adversely affect human fertility, along with environmental estrogens such as PCBs, DDT, hormones in feedlot beef and the chemical bisphenol-A, which migrates into food from plastic containers and plastic-lined cans.

Many scientists now point to soy infant formula and a steady diet of modern processed soy foods to help explain two trends in child development today: Girls are developing earlier and boys are developing later. Apart from what this means to the lives of individual children, early sexual maturation in girls is linked to an increased risk of infertility, breast cancer and ovarian cancer later in life.

According to studies cited by SOS, human sperm count has decreased markedly over the past five decades, which many believe is due to the introduction of soy in the western diet. SOS asserts that there is strong evidence that genistein can inhibit an enzyme that is required for the synthesis of testosterone and the development of the male genital tract. In addition, there is also evidence that genistein, which has also been described as a potent immunosuppressant, and daidzein are toxic to human sperm.

Katie Singer, a local author who teaches fertility awareness, a natural method for preventing and achieving pregnancy and gauging gynecological health, has made several observations through the classes she teaches at Women’s Health Services in Santa Fe.

“A significant percentage of women under 25 who take my classes are not ovulating, or aren’t ovulating regularly,” Singer said. ‘Just because you’re menstruating doesn’t mean you’re ovulating,” she added.

“Once they remove tofu and soy milk from their diets and introduce healthy fats, such as organic butter, nut butters, coconut milk, avocadoes and organic meats, many of them start ovulating more regularly,” Singer said. She stresses that this is not an organized study but an observation made from teaching approximately 200 women over five years. She also draws on the work of herbalist Susun Weed in steering women away from unfermented soy products.

“It raises questions that starting from birth, formula-fed babies are getting high levels of phytoestrogen,” Singer said. “Then we commonly do soymilk on cereal. Then we introduce the pill to teenage women for everything from acne to mild depression to the prevention of pregnancy. They may be introduced to the pill before they even ovulate.

“Then when (women) want to get pregnant, they get put, on Clomid (an ovulation enhancing drug). Then, later in life, they go on hormone replacement therapy. From where I sit it encourages me to learn as much as I can about food and medicine " to know how our bodies work and to know how to feed ourselves well and not to rest on assumptions.”


No cure for menopause

Susan R. Davis, FRACP, Ph.D, echoes many other researchers when she writes that there is no reason to believe that the consumption of soy isoflavones reduces the symptoms of menopause.

“Epidemiological studies, primarily comparing Asian and Western popula­tions, have been interpreted to indicate that consumption of a diet rich in phytoestrogens ameliorates estrogen deficiency symptoms in postmenopausal women,” Davis writes. “However, there is no evidence to support the belief that even a very high intake of soy products will alleviate hot flushes, night sweats, and other symptoms such as vaginal dryness, mood changes, and musculoskeletal symptoms.. . . Women experiencing mild menopausal symptoms may gain relief by dietary modification and lifestyle changes, such as reducing smoking and consumption of caffeine and alcohol, stress management, and increased exercise.”


Depressed thyroid function

Sheehan and Doerge also cite studies indicating that genistein reduces thyroid hormone concentrations by inhibiting thyroid peroxidase activity, the enzyme that catalyzes thyroid hormone biosynthesis. “The association between soybean consumption and goiter in animals and humans has a long history,” they write. “Inhibition can be expected to generate thyroid abnormalities, including goiter and autoimmune thyroiditis. There exists a significant body of animal data that demonstrates goitrogenic and even carcinogenic effects of soy products.”

If this accounting is too bleak, a more cheerful version of the isoflavone story can be found on the web site of the soy-producing giant Archer Daniels Midland, at Click on “Health Bulletins” and settle in for a good read. Although many experts believe these bulletins are pure fiction, they also agree that the soy industry sure can spin a good yarn.


Spotlight on soy, new research, new concerns

By Barbara Gerber

This story references an article written by Sally Fallon, M.A., and Mary C. Enig, Ph.D., of the Weston A. Price Foundation, along with other sources. Fallon’s and Enig’s article draws from an extensive list of studies and was first published with footnotes in Health Freedom News.

A tremendous amount of research has recently come to light that exposes the soy­bean as a potentially dangerous food. This damning body of evidence, coupled with the soy industry’s habit of skewing, minimizing or denying it, is shocking to many natural foods advocates. For decades soy has seemed the perfect protein source for vegetarians, dieters, or anyone in need of an inexpensive and convenient form of protein. But this trust is now giving way to scrutiny and, in some arenas, outrage.

The soy industry’s schtick goes like this: Soy is high in protein, low in calories, carbohydrates and fats, loaded with vitamins, cheap and versatile. It doesn’t matter that it was virtually unknown to most of the world until this century, because Asians have been eating it for centuries " and they’re still alive " so every person on the planet should be eating it in great quantities, too.

But there is a lot more to the soybean " and the industry’s marketing campaign " than meets the eye, or the consumer’s palate. Enzyme inhibitors, phytates, unavailable proteins and isoflavones present a vast gamut of difficulties for the human or animal who eats great amounts of modern-processed soy.


Brief history of the bean

The fact that Asian peoples have been eating soy for centuries is not a cogent argument for the kinds of products the soy industry would like us to believe are beneficial or, at the very least, safe. Traditionally fermented shoyu, for example, has nothing in common with today’s soy protein isolate.

It is believed that soybeans were first cultivated in China in approximate­ly 1,500 BCE. Early pictographs, however, suggest that the soybean was not grown as a food, but as a soil enhancer grown in rotation with food crops.

Sally Fallon, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, an organization that promotes traditional foods and is an outspoken critic of soy foods and the soy industry, writes that during the Chou Dynasty (1134 to 246 BCE) the soybean was designated one of the five sacred grains, along with barley, wheat, millet and rice. But while the four other grains are shown with the seed and stem structure of the plant, the pictograph for the soybean emphasizes only the root structure. (As a legume the soybean fixes nitrogen in the soil, capturing airborne nitrogen and, with the help of beneficial bacteria, delivering it to the soil through its root structure.) Fallon concludes that the pictograph, along with agricultural literature of the time, indicates that soy did not have a place at the table until the discovery of fermentation techniques, sometime later during the Chou Dynasty.

Shoyu and miso were likely the first fermented soy products, with tempeh and natto following close behind. These products soon spread to other parts of Asia, most notably Japan and Indonesia.

Tofu was likely the next soy product to be developed by the Chinese, although its date of invention varies widely " while some sources place it in the second century BCE, others argue that it was not invented until the 10th century CE. While tofu is not a fermented product, it is “precipitated” by the addition of certain minerals.

Soymilk, which also originated in China, was neither fermented nor precipitated, and was sold by street vendors as a weak tea. Many sources confirm that soymilk was rarely fed to infants.

Fallon asserts that soy foods have historically been eaten as a complement to a meal, not as a major source of protein. A study of the history of soy use in Asia shows that it was used by the poor during times of extreme food shortage, and the beans were carefully prepared.


Enzyme inhibitors, mineral blockers, unavailable proteins

According to Fallon and the extensive research of the organization Soy Online Service SOS), the soybean contains large quantities of a number of harmful substances. First among them are potent enzyme inhibitors large, tightly folded proteins that block the action of trypsin and other enzymes needed for protein digestion, which can result in organ damage, especially of the pancreas. These “antinutrients” can create serious gastric distress, reduced protein digestion and chronic deficiencies in amino acid uptake.

The soybean, sources claim, also contains haemagglutinin, a clot-pro­moting substance that causes red blood cells to clump together. In addition, soy contains goitrogens, substances that depress thyroid function and can cause goiter and autoimmune thyroid disease.

Soybeans are also exceptionally high in phytic acid, an organic acid that is present in the bran or hulls of all seeds. These phytates block the uptake of essential minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, iron and especially zinc. According to Fallon, scientists are in general agreement that high-phytate grain- and legume-based diets contribute to widespread mineral deficiencies in developing countries. She writes that while essential minerals are present in the plant foods eaten in these countries, a high consumption of soy prevents their absorption. The phytates in soy are highly resistant to common phytate reducing techniques, such as soaking, sprouting or long, slow cooking.

But a long period of fermentation can significantly reduce many of the soybean’s undesirable components. Sources maintain that during the process of fermentation, trypsin inhibitors and haemagglutinin are deactivated, phytate content is significantly reduced, and the protein is freed up. This means that fermented products such as tempeh and miso provide nourishment that is easily assimilated.

In the tofu making process, these substances concentrate in the soaking liquid rather than in the curd; thus the anti-nutrients are reduced, but are not completely eliminated. Tofu, which contains some phytates, still has a mineral-blocking effect. However, the traditional ways in which tofu is served " in mineral-rich fish broths or with seaweed " often compensate for this.

A soy product that is raw, unfermented and/or unprecipitated, however, is ingested with its protein locked up, its anti-nutrients intact and the mineral-blocking effects of its phytates unchecked.



Then there is the matter of estro­gens contained in soy, called phytoestrogens, or isoflavones. No one denies that soy contains large amounts of plant estrogens, but the public has been told for years that this is a good thing, that these estrogens even fight certain types of cancer.

Putting aside whether soy phytoestrogens can indeed fight cancer, the question remains: Is it beneficial for every person, regardless of age or gender, to ingest these estrogens? Do developing infants need a constant influx of estrogen? Do men need estrogen? Do young girls and women of child-bearing age need estrogen? Should menopausal women be taking uncontrolled amounts of estrogen as their own self-managed hormone replacement therapy?

The upshot of this issue is that the phytoestrogens in soy are endocrine disrupters. That young girls are developing breasts and beginning to menstruate at younger and younger ages is well established. Many researchers now point to a steady diet of soy products, and particularly soy infant formula, as factors contributing to this trend. Fallon cites many studies when she asserts that at dietary levels, soy phytoestrogens can prevent ovulation, stimulate the growth of cancer cells and cause hypothyroidism. The FDA has not even granted GRAS status (Generally Recognized as Safe) to isoflavones arid soy protein isolate.


More processing, more problems

While the anti-nutrient components of soy are well-recognized, the ways in which the soy industry attempts to neutralize these substances creates its own problems. In the production of commercial soy milk, for example, in order to remove as much of the trypsin inhibitor as possible the beans are soaked in an alkaline solution and then heated to about 115 degrees C. This method destroys most of the anti-nutrients, but the phytate content remains largely intact and the proteins become denatured, making them difficult to digest and reducing their bioavailability.

The manufacture of soy protein powder is extremely complex. Since soybeans contain about 20 percent oil, the first order of processing is to extract that oil (see “Soy Processing,” this issue). After extraction, the defatted meal is mixed with an alkaline solution and sugars to remove the fiber. The solution is then precipitated and separated using an acid wash. Finally the resultant curds are neutralized in an alkaline solution and spray-dried at high temperatures.

This soy protein isolate, which, is the protein isolated from the bean’s carbohydrate and fatty acid components, is a highly refined product in which both vitamin and protein quality are compromised. Yet it still contains some trypsin inhibitors, and that content can vary as much as five-fold. The producer is not required to state the trypsin-inhibitor content on the label, nor even to meet minimum standards.

Many soy products, including baby formulas, protein bars, protein supplements and some brands of soy milk, are made with soy protein isolate.

Soy protein isolate and texturized vegetable protein are used extensively in school lunch programs, commercial baked goods, diet beverages and fast food products. Fallon writes that they are heavily promoted in developing countries and form the basis of many food give-away programs.


What cholesterol-lowering effects?

Soy products are often promoted as having cholesterol-lowering effects, and are therefore purported to promote heart health.

This claim that soy lowers choles­terol, Fallon writes, is drawn largely from a 1995 rneta-analysis by Dr. James Anderson, sponsored by Protein Technologies International and published in the New England Journal of Medicine. A meta-analysis is a review and summary of the results of many clinical studies on the same subject, a method upon which many in the scientific community frown. Fallon quotes Sir John Scott, President of the Royal Society of New Zealand: “Researchers substituting meta-analysis for more rigorous trials risk making faulty assumptions and indulging in creative accounting…… Like is not being lumped with like. Little lumps and big lumps of data are being gathered together by various groups.”

There is also the added temptation for researchers, particularly those funded by industry, to omit studies that prevent desired conclusions. Fallon asserts that Anderson discarded eight studies for various reasons, leaving a remainder of 29. The published report suggested that individuals with cholesterol levels over 250 mg/dl would experience a “significant” reduction of 7 to 20 percent in levels of serum cholesterol if they substituted soy protein for animal protein. Cholesterol reduction was insignificant for individual whose cholesterol was lower than 250 mg/dl. The health claim that the FDA approved “after detailed review of human clinical data” fails to inform the consumer about these details.

One hundred grams of soy protein, the maximum suggested cholesterol-lowering dose (and the amount recommended by PTI), can contain almost 600 mg of isoflavones, an amount that many consider toxic. In 1992, the Swiss health service estimated that 100 grams of soy protein provided the estrogenic equivalent of a birth control pill.


What cancer cure?

The soy industry also touts soy products for their cancer-preventing properties. Fallon writes that anticarcinogenic substances known as “isoflavone aglycones” are indeed found in traditionally fermented soybean products. But in non-fermented soy products, these isofiavones are present in an altered form, as “betaglycoside conjugates,” which have no anti-carcinogenic effect. Some researchers even believe these compounds promote cancer, and suggest that the rapid increase in liver and pancreatic cancer in Africa is due to the introduction of soy products there.

And, despite the soy industry’s claim that isoflavones can reduce the risk of breast and other hormone-related cancers, recent research indicates that phytoestrogens could actually increase the risk of cancer.


Rancid fats

The fatty acid profile of the soybean includes large amounts of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids as compared to other legumes. However, these omega-3 fatty acids are particularly susceptible to rancidity when subjected to high pressures and temperatures, which is exactly what is required to remove oil from the bean, as soybean oil is partic­ularly difficult to extract.


Marketing might

Large scale cultivation of the soybean in the US began after World War II, and quickly rose to 140 billion pounds a year. Although most of the crop is made into animal feed and soy oil for margarine and shortening, over the past 20 years the industry has concentrated on finding markets for the by-products of oil manufacture, including lecithin and soy protein.

With 72 million acres of soy under cultivation in the US, the soy industry spends millions of dollars in advertising each year. And although marketing costs money, especially when it is bolstered with “research,” there are plenty of funds available: All soybean producers pay a mandatory assessment of.5 to 1 percent of the net market price. The total, estimated by Fallon at $80 million annually, supports United Soybean’s program to “strengthen the position of soybeans in the market place 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 annually for research and private companies also contribute their share.

Fallon writes that public relations firms help convert research projects into newspaper articles and advertising copy; law firms lobby for favorable government regulations; IMF monies fund soy processing plants in foreign countries; and, free trade policies keep the soy flowing to overseas destinations. Private companies such as Archer Daniels Midland, the world’s major soy processor, has holdings in leading newspapers, lobbies heavily in Washington and supports university research programs.

The soy industry is huge, powerful and well capitalized. But activists and concerned scientists, armed with information, are beginning to get their message heard. As Fallon writes, “Consumer beware. There is no joy in soy "it’s a ploy.”

The Oxford Companion to Food, edited by Alan Davidson (Oxford University Press, New York, 1999) was also referenced for this story.


Soy infant formula: What's in that bottle?

By Barbara Gerber

For decades, the breast-versus bottle debate has focused on what a baby does not receive when it is bottle-fed. We’ve read that the formula-fed baby does not receive colostrum through its mother’s milk, a nutritional power pack that cannot be duplicated in any lab; the baby does not receive antibodies from its mother, which confer immunity to many illnesses; the baby is deprived of a food source that changes according to its needs; and the baby misses out on close contact with its mother.

But researchers and activists have recently begun telling parents what their babies actually do receive from soy-based infant formulas, and the news is not so good: In addition to anti-nutrients and phytates, toxic levels of manganese and aluminum and a host of additives, soy formula delivers a load of estrogen that can be equivalent to five birth control pills a day.


Phytoestrogens, development and fertility

The presence of phytoestrogens, or isoflavones, is the most serious problem with soy formula, writes Sally Fallon, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, a non-profit organization that advocates a diet based on traditional foods and is an outspoken critic of soy foods and the soy industry. Fallon specifically references many studies to back up her claims.

Phytoestrogens are powerful endocrine disrupters that can alter growth patterns and contribute to infertility, many researchers conclude. A recent study found that babies fed soy-based formula had 13,000 to 22,000 times more isoflavones in their blood than babies fed milk-based formula; almost no phy­toestrogens have been detected in human milk, even when the mother consumes soy products.

Sally Euclaire Osborne, MS, CCN, is a local nutritionist and author who teaches nutrition classes and heads the Santa Fe chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation. In her heavily foot-noted book The Whole ~Soy ~Story, which will be published this fall by New Trends Publishing, Osborne writes: ‘A crucial time for the programming of the human reproduction system is right after birth. ... Normally during this period the body surges with natural estrogens, testosterones and other hormones that Mother Nature intended to occupy receptor sites on cells where they set oil a series of biochemical reactions. The newborn’s reproductive system is thus prepared to mature from infancy through puberty and into adulthood.

“For infants on (soy) formula, the programming may be interrupted,” Osborne continues. “The phytoestrogens in soy formula.. .bear a strong family resemblance to the natural estrogens produced by the human body, as well as to the synthetic estrogens found in contraceptive pills. Strictly speaking, these phytoestrogens are not hormones but ‘estrogen mimickers,’ or ‘xenoestrogens’ (alien estrogens), but the bottom line is that the human body mistakes them for hormones. The result is that alien phytoestrogens can easily take over receptor sites in cells and tissues that nature intended for.. . real hormones.”

This means that these alien estrogens can restructure the developing infant’s endocrine system " essentially hijack it " by occupying and deactivating receptor sites in the brain. Thus, Osborne writes, the alien estrogens block messages normally transmitted by cell signal transduction pathways. These soy isoflavones also inhibit the action of certain enzymes that allow the body to manufacture hormones.

Many researchers are now linking the early maturation of girls with the endocrine-disrupting effects of soy phytoestrogens. According to a recent study reported in the journal Pediatrics, 1 percent of all girls now show signs of puberty, such as breast development or pubic hair, before the age of 3; by age 8, 14.7 percent of Caucasian girls and 48.3 percent of African-American girls had one or both of these characteristics.

Osborne poses the following question regarding the huge numbers of African-American girls displaying early maturation: Is it coincidental that bottle-fed African-American babies receive soy formula more often than Caucasian babies because of’ lactose intolerance?

Although environmental estrogens such as PCBs, agricultural chemicals, hormone implants in cattle and certain chemicals in plastics are also implicated in early sexual development in girls, many now place soy high on that list of endocrine disrupters.

Osborne writes that early maturation in girls is frequently linked to problems with the reproductive system later in life, including failure to menstruate, menstrual cycles in which no egg is released, follicles failing to develop into healthy eggs, hormonal surges and other problems associated with infertility. Osborne also writes that the presence of soy estrogens at a susceptible time could predispose girls to breast cancer, another condition that is on the rise and is linked to early puberty. Soy Online Service reports that a higher incidence of ovarian cysts has been found in girls who develop breasts at an early age, and the early incidence of ovarian cysts is an established risk factor in the later develop­ment of ovarian cancer.

On the flip side of the phytoestrogen picture is a growing number of boys whose physical maturation is delayed or does not occur at all, including lack of development of the sexual organs. Fallon writes that when male infants undergo a “testosterone surge” during the first few months of life, the “programming” that takes place is not only about expressing male traits and sexual development after puberty. At this time, male hormones also set patterns in the brain that are characteristic of male behaivour. In monkeys, for example, a deficiency of male hormones impairs learning, impairs the ability to perform visual discrimination tasks, and retards the development of spatial perception. It's not a great leap, then, to suggest that human males who experience a deficiency of male hormones could experience a similar impairment, which could contribute to learning disabilities.

The number of children who have learning disabilities, especially boys, is ever growing. Research now suggests that soy infant feeding, which floods the bloodstream with female hormones that inhibit the effects of male hormones, could be a cause for these trends.


Thyroid problems

Soy-based formula has been associated with goiter (thyroid enlarge­ment associated with thyroid hormone deficiency) in infants for over 40 years. One mechanism by which isoflavones reduce thyroid hormone concentra­tions is by inhibiting thyroid peroxi­dase activity, the enzyme that catalyzes thyroid hormone biosynthesis.

The cases of goiter that were reported in soy formula fed infants in the late 1950s were corrected when manufacturers added more iodine to their products. Many critics argue, however, that the simple addition of more iodine to soy formulas is not an appropriate way to counteract the goitrogenic and anti-thyroid effects of the phytoestrogens. The fact is that soy formula-fed infants appear to be at risk of long-term thyroid damage.


Other problems

Other problems that have been anecdotally associated with children of both sexes who were fed soy-based formula include extreme emotional behavior, asthma, immune system problems, pituitary insufficiency, thyroid disorders, aggressive behavior, hyperactivity and irritable bowel syndrome.


The bad news continues:

· Soy protein isolate, a main ingredient in many soy formulas, has not been given GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe) status by the FDA.

· Soybeans, which contain high levels of phytates, reduce the uptake of zinc. As early as 1967, researchers testing soy formula found that it caused negative zinc balance in every infant to whom it was given.

· The soybean plant has the ability to absorb manganese from the soil and concentrate it to an extent that soy infant formulas can contain as much as 200 times the level of manganese found in breast milk. In babies, excess manganese is stored in body organs. Approximately 8 percent of the excess manganese is stored in the brain in close proximity to the dopamine-bearing neurons responsible, in part, for adolescent neurological development. According to Fallon, there are implications that one in eight infants raised on soy formula during the first six months of life may be at risk of brain and behavioral disorders that do not become evident until adolescence.

· The aluminum content of soy formula is 10 times greater than milk-based formula, and 100 times greater than unprocessed milk. (Aluminum has a toxic effect on the kidneys of infants, and has been implicated as a cause of dementia in adults.)

· Soy formula can cause vitamin deficiencies. According to Fallon, soy increases the body’s requirements for vitamin B12; some studies have indicated that soy blocks the uptake of fats, which might explain why soy seems to increase the body’s requirements for fat-soluble vitamin D.

· Soy formula lacks cholesterol, which is essential for the development of the brain and nervous system.

· Soy formula lacks lactose and galactose, which play an important role in the development of the nervous system.

· Many soy formulas include additives such as carrageenan, guar gum, corn syrup, sucrose, soybean oil, soy lecithin, synthetic vitamins, potassium citrate monohydrate, tricalcium phosphate, dibasic magnesium phosphate trihydrate, sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), BHA and BHT. Formulas can also contain free glutamic acid (MSG) and aspartic acid, which are neurotoxins that can form during the processing of soy (and milk) protein powders.

· The soy industry often claims that soy formula is less allergenic than milk-based formula, but studies indicate that allergies to soy are almost as common as those to milk.

· Approximately 25 percent of babies in the U.S. are fed soy formula. (For parents who cannot or choose not to breastfeed, there are recipes available for home-made, milk-based infant formulas that do not present the host of dangers that soy presents. For this and other further information see the box labeled “For More Information” in this issue.)

The core issue behind the formula industry is that no one makes money when women breastfeed their babies. For corporations to profitably insert themselves between mother and infant, they must mislead the public, and that is precisely what they have been doing for decades.

Naomi Baumslag, a clinical professor of pediatrics at Georgetown University Medical School and presi­dent of the Women’s International Public Health Network in Bethesda, MD, writes in the magazine Wise Traditions that infant food companies are guilty of all manner of shameful acts rising out of concern for profit, not public health.

According to Baumslag, infant food companies have: given money to doctors, nurses, medical students and departments of pediatrics for research, equipment, gifts, payments, conferences, travel and publications with the goal of enlisting their endorsement and promotion of their products; lobbied to weaken laws intended to protect women from misinformation; interfered with the production of breastfeeding educational materials; bribed public health officials; worked against labor laws that allow for breastfeeding breaks at work; given free samples of formula to hospital workers and uneducated women even when this was against the law; infiltrated breastfeeding groups; threatened governments that if they were not allowed to freely promote their products they would take their business out of the country

. And so on.

Baumslag writes, “We have to take action to protect public health and end inferior feeding practices that interfere with breastfeeding and only benefit corporate profit.... Society has to recognize the value of mothers and support them. But most of all, women need to recognize the unique importance of their ability to breastfeed and stand up for their rights.”


Soy processing both ancient and modern


Also known as “bean paste,” miso is a fermented paste of soybeans and, often, rice or barley. Miso is fermented in two stages. First, an Aspergillus mold is grown ‘on steamed grain. This forms the koji (starter) for the eventual mixture. The soybeans are soaked, steamed and chopped, then mixed with the koji (including the grain), salt and water. The water contains yeasts arid lactic bacteria, which are responsible for the final flavor. The mixture is left to ripen for as long as required, usually one to two years. When the fermentation is complete the mixture in ground to a paste and used as a condiment or soup base.

Some modem manufacturers pro­duce miso much faster, by keeping tem­peratures high to speed fermentation.

Shoyu, Tamari and Soy Sauce

Traditional shoyu contains only cracked wheat, soybeans, salt and koje (starter). First the wheat is toasted and the soybeans are steamed, These are mixed together in equal parts and inoculated with spores of an Aspergillus mold. After athree­day incubation period the wheat and soybeans are covered with a fragrant, fluffy mycelium, or kingus, and are then added to a brine solution. This is fermented for one to two years in large wooden vats, sometimes with the addition of more bacteria and yeasts. This thick mixture, called moromi, is occasionally agitated with long wooden rakes. The moromi is then placed in cotton sacks and pressed under great force to extract its dark liquid, a mixture of shoyu and soy oil. The oil, which rises to the surface, is removed and the shoyu is ready for pasteunzing and bottling.

Tamari is similarly made, but contains no wheat. Traditionally, however, tamari was the by-product of miso-making. A purposefully wet soybean rniso was made, and after fermentation its liquid was pressed out and decanted.

Today, many manufacturers use defatted soybeans and ferment the moro­ml at high temperatures, reducing the fer­mentation period to three to six months.

Synthetic “soy sauce,” however is a different product altogether. Made from hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrochloric acid, corn syrup, caramel color, salt and water, it bears little resemblance to natural shoyu or tamari.


Natto is unusual in that the soybeans are fermented with a bacteria (Bacillus sub-tills) instead of a mold. The bacteria give the beans a whitish coating with a strong musty aroma, and develop a stringy “slime” that stretches like melted cheese, Although natto was traditionally made by wrapping soybeans in rice straw and relying on naturally occurring microorganisms to start fermentation, today, soybeans are inoculated and placed in small containers or bags and incubated for 14 to 18 hours. Nato is usually sold frozen, and is traditionally served over rice with a dash of mustard and shoyu.


Tempeh (or tempe) is a thin cake traditionally made by fermenting soybeans, although modern tempeh also incorporates grains, seeds and other legumes. Tempeh is especially irnportant.:in the cuisine of Java and other parts of Indonesia.

To make tempëh, soybeans are washed, soaked until soft, partially dehulled and boiled for a short time. The beans are then cooled to lukewarm and inoculated with a starter culture of the F~.hizopus oryzae mold, (A, small amount of tempeh from a previous batch may also be used as a starter) The tempeh is traditionally wrapped in banana leaves and left to ripen for 6 to 48 hours, although 24 is most common.

Soy Milk

To make soy milk, soybeans are commonly soaked in an alkaline solution, drained, ground with more water, heated above the boiling point and filtered.


Also known as “bean curd,” tofu is made by soaking, draining and grinding whole soybeans. The ground beans are boiled and the bean pulp is strained and pressed dry, yielding a soy “milk.” The pulp is discarded and a coagulant such as calcium sulfate is added to the milk .to curdle, or “precipitate” it, which separates the curds from the whey. The curds are then poured or ladled into boxes or cotton-lined molds that are perforated for drainage. The curds are pressed until they take on a ‘cake’ form and become firm.

Soybean Oil

Most soybean oil is solvent-extracted, not expeller-pressed. The beans are ground and heated at high temperatures with a solvent such as hexane; the solvent is then evaporated and recovered for reuse, leaving the oil. (Oftentimes, traces of solvents remain in the finished product.)

Soybean oil is particularly vulnerable to oxidation, which means it is easily made rancid. Because it has a high “smoke point,” it can withstand temperatures of up to 492 degrees F. Soybean oil is the world’s most commonly used cooking oil.

Soy Lecithin

Lecithin is a by-product of soybean oil production. It is used as an emulsifier and also as a dietary supplement.

Soy Protein Isolate

Soy protein isolate is the protein isolated from the carbohydrate and fatty acid components that naturally occur in the bean. After the beans are ground and the oil removed, the defatted meal is mixed with an alkaline solution and sugars in a separation process to remove fiber This is then precipitated and separated using an acid wash. (Acid washing in aluminum tanks can leach aluminum into the final product.) The resultant curds are neutralized in an alkaline solution and spray-dried at high temperatures to produce high protein powder (Critics charge that carcinogens called nitrosamines are formed during spray drying, and a toxin called lysinoalanine is formed during alkaline processing.)

Texturized Vegetable Protein (TVP)

With high temperature and high pressure, soy protein isolate is extruded to produce textured vegetable protein, which is used primarily as a meat extender and meat substitute. Numerous additives, particularly MSG, are often included in TVP products to mask their strong “beany” taste and impart the flavor of meat. In addition, free glutamic acid, or MSG, is often formed during processing.




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