Category Archives: soy

Soy and breast cancer … there’s more to the story

istock_000014130416xsmallSoy is certainly a controversial subject. And if you rely on soy as a dairy or protein substitute, you’ve undoubtedly heard and read about conflicting information regarding its health effects.

Could your daily soy lattes up your risk of breast cancer or lend a protective effect? So far, the research has been conflicting. While some studies have shown that soy can increase tumor growth at the cellular level, other research has found that soy may actually have a protective effect. However, most of what we know about this link comes from epidemiological studies (looking at broad population data), which have not been able to find a clear cause-and-effect link between soy and breast cancer.

Now, a new study published in the JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute directly compared women who took soy supplements with women who took a placebo to determine what effect soy would have on the expression of genes associated with breast cancer.

The researchers looked at 140 patients who had been recently diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. In the 2-3 weeks before their surgery (either a mastectomy or lumpectomy), these women were given either soy supplements (the equivalent of about four 16 oz. glasses of soy milk or four large servings of tofu) or a placebo every day. “The hypothesis was that soy food for a limited period of time could influence the behavior of already established breast cancer,” says study co-author Jacqueline Bromberg, M.D., Ph.D., breast medical oncologist and researcher at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

After a few weeks, they found that some women in the soy group had high levels of genistein, a metabolite of soy, while the women in the placebo group did not. And interestingly, patients with high levels of this metabolite saw an increase in the genes associated with tumor growth. However, it’s important to note that the tumors were not actually growing better in these women.

Basically, taking a huge amount of soy in a short period of time led to changes in gene proliferation for some women with invasive breast cancer. But importantly, this didn’t lead to an actual change in the appearance or growth of a tumor, explains Bromberg. While the researchers definitely saw changes in the expression of these genes, they don’t know if this would lead to even greater changes if the women had been taking soy supplements for longer than 2-3 weeks.

So does that mean you should limit soy or avoid it completely if you have breast cancer?

Not necessarily. Like many things, soy seems to be safe in moderation, and there is definitely research showing it’s protective effects against a variety of cancers, including breast cancer. That said, this study does suggest that high amounts of soy may have an effect on women who have already been diagnosed. Bromberg notes that normal amounts of soy are probably fine for women with breast cancer, but she strongly advises against taking soy supplements. Moderation in a healthy diet is key, she says.

“Our study simply says that [after taking] large amounts of soy for a short period of time, a subgroup of patients who had high levels of the soy metabolite genistein had an increase in the expression of genes involved in the growth of tumor cells,” says Bromberg. “But that did not translate to an increase in actual growth.”

FoodFacts.com knows that many in our own community have had questions about the health benefits of soy vs. possible negative health effects. This new information does help to put some of those questions to rest. The advice certainly isn’t foreign — moderation in our dietary habits is always for the best.

http://www.today.com/health/latest-soy-breast-cancer-what-you-need-know-2D80192077

Soybeans discovered to have anti-cancer properties

FoodFacts.com is always a big fan of information pointing to foods as possible treatments for serious disease. Natural treatments for chronic, sometimes deadly conditions could help millions of people worldwide and save them from traditional, often painful and debilitating treatments that sometimes have limited results.

A recent study from University of Arkansas researchers points to the possibility that soybeans show potential as a treatment for cancer. It appears that proteins found in soybeans may have the ability to block the growth and development of lung, liver and colon cancer tumors. The peptides derived from soybean meal have shown to inhibit cancer cell growth.

Soybean meal is a bi-product from the oil extraction of soybean seeds. Proteins make up about 40 percent of the nutritional components of the seeds and can also contain high amounts of a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid.

The researchers looked at the role soybeans could have in the prevention of cancer. They used a variety of soybean lines which were high in oleic acid and protein and monitored the activity between the peptides derived from the soybean meal and various types of human cancer.

The study showed that peptides derived from soybean meal inhibited cell growth by 73% for colon cancer, 70% for liver cancer and 68% for lung cancer cells using human cell lines. This suggests that certain soybean lines could have a potential nutraceutical affect in helping to reduce the growth of several types of cancer cells.

FoodFacts.com will follow this information and keep our community informed of other research done to further these results. These exciting new findings raise hope that those afflicted with these cancers can someday receive treatments that are not only more natural and kind to the body, but also more effective in fighting their disease.

Read more: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130320095033.htm

Is the government helping to make America fat?

So with all the constant talk about health problems in the U.S. – obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. – we probably all think that the government works hard, if not to actually do something about it in the form of specific laws, then at least to make sure that they’re not actually supporting some of the reasons the problems are happening in the first place.

In more than a few very interesting articles FoodFacts.com read this week, we learned that, in fact, our government is actually subsidizing ingredients that are linked with (and possibly directly lead to) more than a few of our nation’s health woes.

We’re all very aware that obesity in the United States is a tremendous problem. Just how big a problem it actually is, is reflected in the fact that almost one in five kids between the ages of six and eleven are seriously overweight. That puts them at risk for heart disease, diabetes and many other serious health problems. It’s clear that the government is urging citizens to do something about these problems – mayors in cities around the countries are coming up with “creative” tax ideas to hopefully dissuade people from indulging in sugar-laden beverages which are felt to contribute to obesity.

Sadly, on the other side of the coin, our government is spending over $1.28 Billion annually to subsidize the crops farmers are growing that are used for additives in the same foods and beverages they’re trying to talk us out of consuming. Both corn and soy farmers are receiving tremendous subsidies from Congress and the Department of Agriculture … the same corn and soy used to make hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, corn starch and vegetable shortening … to name a few.

A report released by the consumer advocacy group, the U.S. PIRG Education Fund is shedding light on this government policy. $277 Billion has been spent on farm subsidies since 1995. Of that huge dollar amount, $81.7 Billion were corn subsidies and $26.3 Billion were soybean subsidies. That’s 39% of the total amount to only two crops being grown in the United States. Sadly, those are the two crops found in almost every processed food on the market, and that are most often genetically modified.

The study actually states that “our own government policy is responsible for promoting obesity-fueling empty calories,” adding that “even as nutritionists and researchers tell us to cut down on junk food in order to end the childhood obesity epidemic, federal agricultural policy is busily underwriting the problem.”

This is information that every nutritionally-conscious American needs to know and understand. FoodFacts.com will keep an eye out for any developments regarding the unusual (and senseless) decisions our government is making that are actually exacerbating the obesity epidemic they’d like to curtail.

Read more: http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2012/07/25/Billions-in-Tax-Dollars-Subsidize-Junk-Food-Industry.aspx#page1#ixzz22K8bF4Vw

Food Recalls!

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BUI Natural Tofu of Portland, OR, has recalled its shrimp salad and vegetarian salad rolls because they contain undeclared soy and wheat.

People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to soy and wheat run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume such products.

The recall was initiated after the Oregon Department of Agriculture found that soy and wheat ingredients weren’t listed on the product labels. No illnesses have been reported in connection with the salad rolls.

The salad rolls containing undeclared allergens are:

– Shrimp Salad Roll with the UPC number 8 95467 00203 8.

– Vegetarian Salad Roll with the UPC number 8 95467 00204 5.

These salad rolls were distributed to retail stores in the Portland metropolitan area and sold under the “BUI Fresh from the Bean” brand.

The products are packaged in a tray with a clear plastic wrapper, and are coded with a white sticker identifying expiration dates from 9/2 through 9/13. The products are refrigerated and have a shelf life of about three days.

Consumers may return them the recalled salad rolls to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 503-803-3059 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pacific Time.

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Watkins Inc. of Winona, MN, is recalling 1,535 units of its individual 7.7 ounce containers of SoyNilla protein powder, because of an undeclared milk ingredient. SoyNilla was distributed nationwide through the Watkins network of independent contractors, associates and mail orders.

The recall was initiated after a routine review revealed that the product contained milk but that ingredient was not listed on the label, indicating a temporary breakdown of the company’s allergen identification process.

No illnesses have been reported.

People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk may run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reactions in consuming it. Symptoms may include hives, wheezing, vomiting, anaphylaxis and digestive problems, such as bloating, gas or diarrhea.

The vanilla-flavored protein powder comes in a 7.7 ounce, white plastic package marked with lot #3000280 on the side of the package.

Consumers who purchased the 7.7 ounce of SoyNilla may call for a return or credit instructions. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-800-243-9423 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., CT, Monday through Friday.

(FoodSafetyNews.com)

Research shows NEGATIVE effects in mammals consuming GMOs

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Most “foodies” and concerned Foodfacts.com followers are familiar with the underlying fear of genetic modification (GM) in the worldwide food supply. Why does this subject frighten most? We barely know the effects that this type of engineering may have on our health and well-being. Most crops are much more complicated than a simple seed blooming into a root or flower. Instead, most seeds now have DNA and genomes crossed, or linked, to resist this one pesticide, but absorb this herbicide, and not to produce seeds, etc! Also, because there is not yet a labeling requirement for GMO products, we’re not quite sure what is and isn’t modified. We have little to no control over biotechnology, which leaves us vulnerable.

It is our understanding that different varieties of crops by genetic engineering became available starting in 1996. Currently, about 70 percent of corn, 96 percent of soy, and 80 percent of canola in the US is genetically modified. Unsurprisingly, the also US accounts for two-thirds of all GM crops. Other major players in the biotechnology game are Canada, Brazil, Argentina, and China.

Many people eat GM products, whether they know it or not. Sadly, a large portion of people would recognize the name “Britney Spears” before they recognized a GM company; which they potentially give business to everyday. However, this is because Monsanto and other major biotechnology companies pay to stay out of mainstream media. With their massive revenue and control over most agriculture processes, they are able to persuade government lobbyists to keep them under the radar.

Surprisingly, we’ve come across one study published in 2009 from the International Journal of Biological Sciences shining a negative light on genetic engineering. The interesting part, the trials were done by Monsanto. The European government was able to obtain the raw data to have it scrutinized and further evaluated. Three French scientists conducted a research paper using this data to examine the effects of genetically modified corn on general mammalian health. Three types of commercialized corn were given to rats over a 14 week period. During this time, urine and serum samples were collected to determine and compare physiological effects that occurred.

Researchers found the following results to be possibly associated with glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup; which are highly toxic at very low concentrations to human embryonic kidney cells, and other organs of the body.

- Renal leakage
- Weakened heart muscles
- Diminished liver function
- Elevated triglycerides
- Increased spleen, adrenal gland, heart and kidney weight
… to name a few.

Check out this study and let us know what you think!

http://www.biolsci.org/v05p0706.htm

The Great Soy Debate!

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Many active or athletic vegetarians look to soy as a reliable way to get their daily protein requirements. Soy is also becoming a popular item on the health food shelves. But there is a cloud of controversy surrounding this new star in the grocery aisle. Here are some of the issues that have created what some are calling “the great soy debate”.

Soy products, made from the soybean, have been eaten for thousands of years in Asia, and have always been traditionally prepared. Typically, soybeans are soaked for long periods, then often fermented or slowly boiled and eaten with animal proteins. Vegetarian travelers to Asia often find themselves unexpectedly staring at a “vegetarian” tofu dish containing pork or egg. This is because, in addition to long soaks, slow boils and fermentation, animal proteins help improve the digestibility of this ancient legume. These methods of cooking and eating soy turn off the anti-nutrient qualities of the phytic acid found in soybeans; phytic acid can block our body’s ability to break down the protein in the soy. Studies of Asian eating patterns have found that no more than 2 – 3 tablespoons of soy products are typically eaten per day.

Nowadays, soy is one of North America’s top three genetically-modified (GM0) foods, next to wheat and corn. Animals raised for meat consume up to 90% of U.S. soy crops. Since most soy is genetically-modified, that means huge tracts of land are being plowed, watered and soaked with insecticides, herbicides and pesticides, mainly to support the meat industry. Most soy products on the market today are also made from this genetically-modified soy.

If you are eating soy that has been prepared quickly, or not alongside animal protein, you may be causing undue stress on your digestive system. Anti-nutrients in the soy may be blocking absorption of protein and other minerals your body requires such as calcium and especially zinc. This is particularly problematic for vegetarians who generally consume less zinc due to a lack of meat in their diets, which is an adequate source of zinc for omnivores.

A big concern in the soy debate is that the isoflavones contained in soy may pose a threat to women, children and to thyroid health in general. These isoflavones are found in high concentration in soy milk, soy protein isolate and soy infant formulas.

Most doctors already advise pregnant women against consuming too much soy, while this possible health threat is being further studied. There is also heated debate over whether the goitrogens contained in soy (and other foods like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage) increase the risk of thyroid disease. These goitrogens are said to block or suppress hormones that would normally circulate in our bodies and this can lead to thyroid disease, growth problems, immune system and menstrual cycle issues. Again the thyroid disease risk is mostly a concern for vegetarians who do not eat sea vegetables, because meat eaters get the thyroid-supporting mineral iodine in their diet through fish, thereby balancing out any negative effects of the goitrogens.

All of this might sound like reason enough to avoid soy. Even the FDA is monitoring the issue, although they initially approved the soy industry’s request for health claims. “FDA continues to monitor the debates about the relative safety of these individual soy components and the scientific research that will eventually resolve them,” says the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

However, there are some very good reasons to seek out soy products. As an alternative to dairy, a glass of soy milk contains no saturated fats and is rich in polyunsaturates (Omega 6s) that are good for our health. A glass of soy milk also contains less total fat and generally fewer calories than a glass of whole milk. Beware the flavored soy milks on the market which are filled with sugar and calories. Organic, and non-GM soy products also contain none of the antibiotics and hormones that may be found in conventional dairy products.

Soy products may be good for heart health, and this is why the FDA gave it the green light as a health product in the first place. However, some scientists are now disputing this claim. They state that the reason for study participants’ improved cardiac health was that soy products replaced or reduced the amount of potentially artery-clogging foods like red meats and dairy products in their diets.

There are no doubts that eating more legumes is a very good way to increase your intake of fiber, polyunsaturated fats and also a good non-animal source of protein. But to be safe, pregnant women and those with thyroid disease should probably avoid eating soy products, or at least try to reduce them in the diet.

People with digestive problems should look for soy products that are prepared by soaking overnight or longer. You can find this out by going to manufacturers’ websites or calling their toll-free customer service line. It’s good practice to ask questions of our food providers; whether they be farmers at the market, restaurant managers or manufacturers, they should always be able to answer our questions about food quality or safety. Also, look for soy products that are low in isoflavones such as tofu or soy nuts or the beans themselves prepared traditionally. Soy milks and especially soy protein isolates will have higher concentrations of isoflavones, unless they say so otherwise on the label. Watch out for calorie-rich flavored soy milks with added sugars. Even “natural” flavored soy milk often has sugar added. Alternatives to soy milk (for vegans) are almond milk, rice milk and there are some delicious grain milks on the market. Lactose-intolerant dairy product lovers can sometimes find lactose-reduced yogurts and milk products, as well as rice-milk frozen desserts.

Wherever possible try to get organic non-GMO soy, which also tends to be processed in a more traditional manner. If you’re looking for alternative non-animal sources of protein, don’t forget all the other legumes which also should be soaked overnight before cooking, and whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa.

Ultimately, we need to think carefully about what we eat, now that we live in a world where we do not grow or raise our food in our own backyards. It’s our responsibility to make informed choices about the food on the grocery store shelves. Many of the packaged foods we find there will be quick and convenient, but not necessarily the best ingredients for our optimal health.

Article provided by Caroline Rechia

Is Soy Really Healthy?

Soy | Foodfacts.com

Soy | Foodfacts.com

Editor’s Note: The Food Facts Blog and Food Facts.Com does not take an editorial position on controversial nutritional issues, but we feel it is important to present news and opinions on nutritional issues of the day.

Only a few decades ago, unfermented soybean foods were considered unfit to eat – even in Asia.  These days, people all over the world believe that unfermented soy foods like soymilk and soy protein are “health foods”.  Continue reading

It Looks, Feels, And Tastes Like Chicken, But It’s Made Of Soy

Tastes Like Chicken | Foodfacts.com | Photo: Stuckincustoms

Tastes Like Chicken | Foodfacts.com | Photo: Stuckincustoms

New Material Created For Fuel Cells

Some delicacies might taste just like chicken, but they usually feel and look much different. Foodfacts.com members know that soy meat alternatives, such as the soy burger, have become more popular recently, with increased sales of eight percent from 2007 to 2008. Now, scientists at the University of Missouri have created a soy substitute for chicken that is much like the real thing. The new soy chicken also has health benefits, including lowering cholesterol and maintaining healthy bones. Continue reading

Beware: Genetically modified omega 3 oils to appear in foods

Genetically Modified Omega 3 Oils | Foodfacts.com

Genetically Modified Omega 3 Oils | Foodfacts.com

Foodfacts.com has discovered a news report revealing that a major food manufacturer is allegedly planning to flood the food market with poor quality omega 3 oils from its genetically modified (GM) soy beans.

According to the news report, the company is planning to introduce genetically modified seeds, which will, in turn, be sold to processed food companies. The food companies will then claim that their frozen dinners and microwave meals are healthy because they contain omega 3 oils.

Yet you can bet your bottom dollar that the packaging on these TV dinners won’t reveal that the omega 3 oils are from GM soy. If you’ve missed the headlines, you can research why GM-food has a suspicious history and why these food ingredients are considered unhealthy.

This information comes from the rear page of the study released recently and is viewed by some as evidence of a conflict of interest in terms of violating scientific impartiality. Some nutritional experts believe that it is also a clear instance of how science, medical journals, pharmaceutical companies and the food companies sometimes work together for profit, since GM-soy is very cheap.