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Vegan Health & Nutrition Discussion Forum

I'll be frank; while I've tried some of my own research, all I've found are completely varied responses on my concerns with soy. From nutritionists to doctors to magazines, everyone seems to have a different take.

I'm concerned with rumours(from both vegan and carnivorous sides) that soy and tofu have high levels of estrogen, which could pose potential health problems to whoever eats them.

Does anyone have any information on this? I'll admit I'm suspicious this is just something cooked up by meat/dairy industries, but I can't help but be concerned.

Any information would be greatly appreciated!

Responses (27)

  • auungbong's avatar
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    Posted by auungbong at 02/08/08 08:26:05

    "It is child abuse to feed a baby soy formula. A baby fed soy will receive, through the phytoestrogens, the equivalent of approximately 5 birth control pills per day! The damage is incalculable."

    I retreived this information from the website above. I along with Alexandrs am concerned. If anyone can help, that would be great in fixing this ehh mix up?

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    Posted by Tatiana at 02/08/08 12:06:09

    There has been a lot of research in this arena. Most of the concern seems to be super excessive levels of soy. Here are the current recommendations from the National Institutes of Health:

    It is a difficult subject as research continues to come out that seems contradictory, but the current recommendations are that consuming moderate amounts of soy is safe. If you want more help, I'd suggest going to see you doctor or registered dietitian.

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    Posted by Tatiana at 03/06/08 20:27:23

    There's also a good article in the February issue of VegNews written by a dietitian regarding this issue.

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    Posted by DC Vegan at 03/13/08 15:56:50

    What, you think dairy is better? The cows are pumped up with hormones and antibiotics, and they are far more powerful than than phytoestrogens in soy.


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    Posted by Tatiana at 03/13/08 16:25:42

    DC Vegan - definitely not! yuck!

    The article in VegNews is great, you should really read it.

    The question here is NOT about soy vs dairy at all. It is looking solely at soy and some of the concerns vs rumors that have come out the past few years.

    There are also other alternatives like rice milk and nut milks.

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    Posted by Katylynn2000 at 05/08/08 08:09:10

    Alexandrs - That is a crazy/intense article! I think I need to start a mission on research because someone mentioned the harmful affects of soy in a recent chat AR;o).

    I have heard of the estrogen properties and I am wary if giving it to my 2 year old...

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    Posted by Tatiana at 05/08/08 10:09:02

    Katylynn - There is lots of ongoing research on the subject. It is very frustrating as they have not yet found a clear answer. My personal take on it is that I use soy products (I grew on on Japanese food, so it's always been a part of my diet) but I don't rely on them to be my sole source of protein. I think the risks of danger come in excess use. I'd recommend following the current NIH guidelines, which are moderate in soy intake. However, there is no good info on kids! They current recommend not using isolated soy proteins, so hopefully that is somewhat helpful :( (See the NIH link I posted a while back if you want to see the current guidelines) Hopefully more solid research will start to emerge!

  • auungbong's avatar
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    Posted by auungbong at 05/10/08 07:42:54

    Okay, so I went to the local health store yesterday afternoon and saw "Raw cow's milk" from NJ. My question err well concern is.... this company that produces 'raw' dairy products, are the animals at just as a high risk of being mistreated than those companies (hood, stonyfield..etc) that also produce similiar dairy products ....milk yogurt....?

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    Posted by Tatiana at 05/12/08 10:34:07

    I can't say 100% for sure, but I know the only real difference between raw milk and regular milk is that the milk is not pasteurized. That doesn't say anything about the treatment of the cows, only about the milk. The reasoning behind drinking raw milk is the idea that the enzymes are left intact, which may be beneficial to your body. Unfortunately, research is lacking in that area to prove what affect it really has. Also, there is a much higher risk for food borne illness, such as E.Coli and Listeria. See article here:

    I think bottom line, to answer your question, is not necessarily. The cows may be just as mistreated, their milk is just not heated up before being processed and sent to store shelves.

  • KellyVeganGirl's avatar
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    Posted by KellyVeganGirl at 06/18/08 19:56:44

    I think these soy rumors were started by the dairy farmers. Right? LOLCome on soy is healthy and won't cause illnesses.

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    Posted by Ducati at 08/04/08 08:47:24

    Propaganda! Pure and simple. I have heard that soy will make men gay, make men grow breasts, and shrink your brain. I should be a large breasted, small brained, gay man by now and I am not. Even if eating large amounts of soy are harmful, (which wouldn't surprise me, because large amounts of anything are unhealthy) it is still better than even consuming small amounts of meat or dairy.

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    Posted by Katylynn2000 at 07/17/08 10:51:07

    There is enough research to scare the crap out of me! Especially the isolated soy proteins. I think more and more info is going to come out of it how it is harmful in the amounts that people are eating. Just about anything when it is motified can't be good for you in my humble opinion.

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    Posted by JohnnySensible at 07/20/08 16:55:11

    Hey Guys,

    My suggestion.

    Focus on "whole foods".

    Isolated soya proteins are "yummily addictive" & are perhaps good to eat when you are in the process of kicking an addiction to flesh products / dairy (liquid cruelty).

    Isolated soya proteins are the "Methadone" of vegetarians.

    Just the name tells you that they are far removed from nature & are going to seriously mess up your health if eaten too often.

    Linda McCartney helped animals greatly -

    So did Greg Sams -

    I remember selling "Vegeburgers" by the pallet load in the UK - we "needed" them in the mid 80's after Morrissey so expertly woke people up to the fact that "Meat is Murder" -

    Now is the time to eat like "poor people" do & you won't go far wrong - cooked carb's & a selection of raw & steamed / baked veggies - plus good quality fruit.


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    Posted by Tatiana at 08/05/08 10:20:07

    Katy - which article?

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    Posted by Ducati at 08/07/08 09:08:41


    Were you eating meat and dairy before switching to soy? How do you know that you are not returning to a normal cycle after the abnormal cycle from all the hormones in meat and dairy? Dr. Colin mentions menstrual cycles in his book "The China Study".

    And have you considered adopting? There are tens of millions of children who need loving parents already.


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    Posted by treehugger at 08/05/08 02:17:39

    Ducati - I have been saying this for months and it's something I firmly believe.
    Nothing but a load of prpoganda probably started by the big meat industries and the governments who make a LOT of money from them.

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    Posted by Katylynn2000 at 08/05/08 08:53:40

    Okay, I read this in the first article posted:
    And in fact, 2 glasses of soy milk/day, over the course of one month, contain enough of the chemical to change the timing of a woman's menstrual cycle.
    I am really curious about this because I have been trying to get pregnant for a while now and my cycles are getting weird long - even this month is the longest ever. I see a Dr and have been tested for infertility but the more I am digging into the information... it has def peaked my interest in regards to estrogen.

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    Posted by Quasi Vegetarian at 08/11/08 07:41:07

    I have never been attracted to soy products of any kind. And the few times I tried to eat or drink them to be courteous to a friend the taste alone told me they were not something I wanted to ingest into my system.
    I realize taste is a personal thing and I will not dis anyone who chooses to use soy products.

    Here is an idea of something to try if you want to have something besides 100% fruit and or vege juice and good old water to drink.
    Try almond milk. It is really tasty, full of nutrients, and will substitute just fine for milk. You can also make walnut milk and I think it is tasty as well, but I prefer almond milk.
    Just a thought.


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    Posted by treehugger at 08/11/08 08:52:32

    Yeah there are lots of different kinds of "milks" out there.
    Almond is very nice but doesn't go too well in a cup of tea.

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    Posted by Tatiana at 08/11/08 09:10:30

    Found another alternative for yogurt fans - coconut milk yogurt!

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    Posted by Quasi Vegetarian at 08/11/08 19:31:11

    treehuger: thank you. You make me smile:)

    I must confess I have never tried almond milk in tea. I was however an actor in the play "Arsenic and Old Lace" and you have returned to me many fond memories.

    Your are a gem.


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    Posted by HM at 08/11/08 21:22:49

    Almond milk is all I drink in my tea:)
    Ok, so here's a shot...
    I went to a seminar a few months back out of curiosity. The woman was giving a lecture on nutrition. She was the developer of a class called "master vegetarian" and I was curious of her definitions.
    Her definition of vegetarian was similar to the one I had at 18 when I first became vegetarian and never heard of vegan. That if it didn't come from a plant it wasn't vegetarian (still makes sense) and I didn't get people who were eating cheese and whatnot while calling themselves vegetarian(still don't quite I guess).
    ANYways, she gave a fabulous seminar. I don't recall from anything she said that soy was necessarily bad, but that it shouldn't be overdone, as a vegan diet NEEDS variety.
    However she did express the need to avoid too much processed soy, such as tofu and soy milk and whatnot. Processed anything beyond minimal is never good.
    She did recommend almond milk for kids to soy milk. Also hemp milk. Agreed, there are many non animal milks out there.
    Anyway, I'll look back into my emails and look for the invitation if I still have it, and see if I can dig up her name. Can't promise anything, but will try.

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    Posted by Tatiana at 08/12/08 11:12:25

    Quasi - I was too, one of the old ladies! We used to do student run plays called Bits 'n Pieces in high school, and we did a scene from Arsenic and Old Lace.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Quasi Vegetarian at 08/12/08 17:26:18

    I was the mean older brother who would put hot needles under his little brothers fingernails. ( so who says I have no compassion, or a sense of humor? )
    I was a thespian throughout high school and collage. It was a lot of fun.

    Quasi :)

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    Posted by louis at 08/13/08 06:32:43

    Hi,This is a contentious but interesting topic:a few studies have investigated the relationship between brain aging and tofu consumption after. The results showed that even after controlling for other factors such as age, sex, education and other food intake, higher tofu consumption is independently associated with indicators of cognitive impairment. The most recent study:

    Article 1


    Article 2

    The researchers of the 2008 study say it's unclear whether the negative associations between tofu consumption and worse memory are
    atributable to phytoestrogens or potential toxins.

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    Posted by JohnnySensible at 08/13/08 09:44:20

    Interesting indeed!

    I just read both pages.

    Thank you for posting them.

  • emilyplay's avatar
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    Posted by emilyplay at 08/13/08 16:16:31

    Yes thank you.

    This is excellent to read.

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