Bad News for the Soy Industry

soy-iconSoy food sales are finally slowing down. According to the recent market study Soyfoods: The U.S. Market 2005, soy food sales hit $4 billion in 2004 but climbed only 2.1 percent that year, the slowest growth for the industry since the early 1980s.

Industry spokesman Peter Golbitz of Soya-tech blamed consumer “boredom” with the products currently in the marketplace and consumer concerns about news reports and articles that have “questioned the health benefits of consuming soy-based food products.”

In fact, the media have not only questioned the health benefits of soy but begun reporting on the risks. In July, the Israeli Health Ministry warned that babies should not receive soy formula, that children should eat soy no more than once per day to a maximum of three times per week and that adults should exercise caution because of increased risk of breast cancer and adverse effects on fertility. The Ministry based its advice upon the conclusions reached by a 13-member committee of nutritionists, oncologists, pediatricians and other specialists who spent more than year examining the evidence. They concluded that the estrogen-like plant hormones in soy can cause adverse effects on the human body and strongly urged consumers to minimize their consumption of soy foods until absolute safety has been proven.

That same month Cornell University’s Program of Breast Cancer and Environmental Risk Factors issued a “Fact Sheet” warning that women at risk for breast cancer should take it easy on their soy consumption. Cornell explained that researchers once thought that soy phytoestrogens would block the effects of endogenous estrogens in the body to reduce breast cancer risk but are now seriously concerned about the mounting evidence that high-soy diets cause greater cell multiplication in the breast. Increased cell multiplication is a widely acknowledged risk factor for the development of breast cancer. Then, just in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, the Journal of the American Dietetic Association reported that high intake of soy may increase breast cancer risk and that “health professionals should take an active role in communicating and clarifying such information.”

In a strategy to counteract a slowdown in sales, the soy industry had put its soybeans mostly in one basket–winning approval of an FDA-approved health claim that soy prevents cancer. This hope was dashed early in October of this year when the Solae Company withdrew its petition to the FDA in the face of growing evidence that soy can cause, contribute to or accelerate the growth of cancer. Solae petitioned the FDA for the health claim in February 2004 with the stated intent of doubling the sales of its soy protein products. The FDA’s current extension ended on October 23.

According to Solae officials, the withdrawing of their petition had “nothing to do” with the science but was a strategy designed to allow the company to “re-structure” their petition. However, between June 2004 and April 2005, the Weston A. Price Foundation submitted three detailed and heavily referenced documents to the FDA that refuted Solae’s claims that soy prevents cancer. In response to a request by the Weston A. Price Foundation, over 1000 people wrote letters of protest. (The FDA has posted these comments at http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/04Q0151/04Q0151.htm.)

This summer the Foundation also drew the FDA’s attention to the warning issued by the Israeli Health Ministry.

Solae still contends that a qualified health claim is warranted because of “substantial scientific agreement” among experts that soy protein reduces the risk of breast, prostate and colon cancers. In fact, no such consensus exists. Scientists at the FDA’s own Center for Toxicological Research have warned of soy protein’s carcinogenic potential and of the health dangers of excess soy-food consumption. In addition to the recent soy warning issued by the Israeli Health Ministry, expert scientists with the British Committee on Toxicity, Swiss Federal Health Service and other government agencies have all expressed concern about soy’s potential to disrupt the digestive, immune and neuroendocrine systems of the human body and its role in rising rates of infertility, hypothyroidism and some types of cancer including thyroid and pancreatic cancers. The Swedish National Food Administration has warned that allergic reactions to soy are increasingly common, ranging from mild to life-threatening, and that fatalities have been reported.

Clearly, Solae knew that the FDA could not approve its proposed soy protein and cancer health claim. The FDA advised Solae on at least one occasion that it had not convincingly established the claim that soy can prevent cancer and that it had failed to counter massive evidence that soy can cause, contribute to or accelerate cancer growth. Back in 1999, the FDA sided with the soy industry and allowed a soy-and-heart-disease health claim, but today’s FDA is under intense scrutiny because of the Vioxx debacle and could not afford to approve an unfounded soy-prevents-cancer health claim.

Earlier this summer the Freedonia Group, a market research organization, predicted that new research and health claims would “hot up” the demand for soy and drive sales upward from $4 billion in 2004 to a $8.5 billion in 2007. Instead, researchers are saying “better safe than sorry” and there won’t be another soy health claim in the near future. What’s more, the Weston A Price Foundation will soon petition the FDA for warning labels on soy products.


Sidebar

Press Release and Victory Action Alert

The following press release was sent to the media and all WAPF Action Alert recipients. If you would like to send this to your local newspaper, radio or television station, please email the Foundation at info (at) westonaprice.org to receive this document in electronic form.

FDA Says”No” to Soy Soy Industry Giant Withdraws from FDA Cancer Health Claim Battle

Washington, DC: The FDA has confirmed the fact that the Solae Company withdrew its petition for a soy protein and cancer health claim on October 4. Solae, a joint venture of Dupont and Bunge, had applied for a Cancer Prevention Health Claim with the intent of doubling the sales of its product, soy protein.

“This represents a major blow to the soy industry,” says Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, author of The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food. “Had this health claim been approved, it would have created huge profits for the soy industry while putting American men, women and children at risk. Clearly Solae knew that the FDA could not approve its proposed soy protein and cancer health claim. The FDA advised Solae on at least one occasion that it had not convincingly established the claim that soy can prevent cancer and that it had failed to counter massive evidence that soy can cause, contribute to or accelerate cancer growth.”

Dr. Daniel joined the Weston A. Price Foundation, a non-profit nutrition education foundation based in Washington, DC, to present much of the scientific evidence against soy that led to the FDA’s concerns and to Solae’s withdrawal. The Weston A. Price Foundation has been a leader in alerting the public to the fact that processed soy protein and soy oil in the food supply have been linked to digestive distress, thyroid damage, reproductive problems, infertility, ADD/ADHD, dementia, heart disease and cancer.

Solae first petitioned the FDA for a health claim in February 2004. Food manufacturers put health claims approved by the FDA on labels and packages to increase sales because they encourage consumers to make “healthier” purchases.

Between June 2004 and April 2005, the Weston A. Price Foundation submitted three detailed and heavily referenced documents to the FDA that refuted Solae’s claims that soy protein prevents cancer. This summer the Foundation drew the FDA’s attention to a July 2005 health advisory issued by the Israeli Health Ministry which warned that soy infant formula should not be given to infants, that children should be fed soy foods no more than once per day to a maximum of three times per week and that adults should exercise caution because of increased risk of breast cancer and adverse effects on fertility.

In its petition to the FDA, Solae contended that a qualified health claim was warranted because of “substantial scientific agreement” among experts that soy protein reduces the risk of breast, prostate and colon cancers. “No such consensus exists,” says Dr. Daniel. “Scientists at the FDA’s own Center for Toxicological Research have warned of soy protein’s carcinogenic potential and of the health dangers of excess soy-food consumption. We showed the FDA that Solae was highly selective in its choice of evidence and biased in its interpretations. We reported on the fact that they had omitted many studies proving soy to be ineffective in preventing cancer, emphasized favorable outcomes in studies with mixed results and excused the results of the few unfavorable studies that they included to give the illusion of balance. Most importantly, we drew the FDA’s attention to the fact that Solae excluded many studies showing that soy protein can cause and accelerate the growth of cancer, particularly breast cancer.”

In addition to the recent soy warning issued by the Israeli Health Ministry, expert scientists with the British Committee on Toxicity, Swiss Federal Health Service and other government agencies have all expressed concern about soy’s potential to disrupt the digestive, immune and neuroendocrine systems of the human body and its role in rising rates of infertility, hypothyroidism and some types of cancer including thyroid and pancreatic cancers.

Soy is also highly allergenic. Most experts now place soy protein among the top eight allergens, and some rate it in the top six or even top four. The Swedish Health Ministry has warned that allergic reactions to soy are increasingly common, ranging from mild to life threatening, and that fatalities have been reported.

“People are finally starting to learn that soy is not a ‘miracle food,’” says Dr. Daniel. “More and more expert scientists are issuing warnings about soy. The FDA made a big mistake in 1999 when it sided with the soy industry and allowed a soy-and-heart-disease health claim. Today’s FDA is under intense scrutiny because of the Vioxx debacle and could not afford to approve an unfounded soy-prevents-cancer health claim. Solae withdrew its petition because it knew that its science was unconvincing and that the FDA had no choice but to turn them down. The bottom line is that soy does not prevent cancer.”

 

 


This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Fall 2005.

Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, CCN, is The Naughty NutritionistTM because of her ability to outrageously and humorously debunk nutritional myths. A popular guest on radio and television, she has appeared on The Dr. Oz Show, ABC's View from the Bay, NPR's People's Pharmacy and numerous other shows. Her own radio show, "Naughty Nutrition with Dr. Kaayla Daniel," launches April 2011 on World of Women Radio. Dr. Daniel is the author of The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America's Favorite Health Food, a popular speaker at Wise Traditions and other conferences, and recipient of its 2005 Integrity in Science Award. Her website is www.naughtynutritionist.com and she can be reached at Kaayla@DrKaaylaDaniel.com.

4 Responses to Bad News for the Soy Industry

  1. mulan says:

    ways to make soya products healthy?
    folks,
    i’m just concerned because i love soybean custard and it’s a business well known from where i am.

    what can you suggest be altered in the making of soybean custard to a healthier product? please detail so i can do my part to help promote health than health degeneration.

  2. Annie says:

    I am a breast cancer victim, and 39 years old with young children yet to raise; and a lot of living I had not yet experienced. I was told my prognosis was six months, at best. Unacceptable terms to me. Completely unacceptable.

    After surgeries, chemo, and radiation had brought me through to a ‘cancer free’ diagnosis, my doctor warned me of several things to avoid:
    1) Charcoal…use a gas grill instead
    2) excess weight
    3) High Fructose Corn Syrup
    4) Aspartame
    5) Soy

    My six months terminal prognosis was back in 1992. Today’s date is June 6, 2011. I have avoided the above list to the absolute best of my ability. Soy is extremely difficult to avoid because it is in absolutely everything…including ice cream and tuna! The trick is to avoid canned and processed foods.

    Way back in 1992, my doctor was aware of the dangers of soy. In fact, the FDA has known since 1939 that soy is dangerous and hazardous to human and animal populations! Yet, our esteemed government continues the approval of soy in almost every food on the shelves of our neighborhood grocery stores. It is even fed to the chickens that lay the eggs we purchase…to this day!

    I know there haven’t been posts here in almost a year, but I am hoping that if one person reads this, it will save their life. In women, soy promotes breast cancer and pancreatic cancer; in men it promotes infertility and pancreatic cancer. We have the power…stop! buying the products that contain soy. Let your market managers know that you are boycotting all soy products. A small mom and pop market here has stopped offering soy products and upgraded to more natural and organic foods. Their sales figures are beginning to soar and the trips to the rural health care clinic have declined. So you decide.

    To your health,

    Annie

  3. William says:

    I thought soy was suppose to be good for you?
    Were can i this information and more?
    Enjoy your holday.

    Thank you no more soy products

  4. Harmony says:

    My family and I have known the dangers of soy since 1990. We did, ignorantly consume it thru the 1980s because of all the health hype in advertising. I have personally witnessed it’s damaging effects on friends and families and their children. We have friends who’s children were allergic to milk and milk products (due to the extreme processing), so they were giving all soy milk, soy based treats, soy to replace protein, because they were vegetarians. The wife has had bouts of breast cancer, and fibroid breast tumors, arthritis, skin problems, depression, and many other health issues despite her other attempts of health promoting aspects; Her husband is an acupuncturist and into holistic diet and herbs. their son and daughter have many allergies, asthma, ADD, and ADHD etc. Despite efforts to enlighten them via various evidential reports (such as this site) They still consume soy products daily and still continue to experience health issues. We have enlightened many people and directed them to publications and health professionals who tell them the facts about the truth about soy and they have stopped using it and help to spread the word, however, It’s not enough, every health food restaurant, and health food store we know stocks their shelves and serves soy and soy products in huge amounts. How can we counteract the damage already done by the unscrupulous corporations and advertising? It makes me sick to see the damage being done. There is no regard for fellow humans and our health up against the corporate, selfish greed. We are continually lied to and manipulated for profit only. Humanity does not know where to turn, what to believe any more. Every one is confused. That’s the way they want us to be, I guess. Until people stop putting their health and well being in the hands of others and “Drink the Kool_aid” of what ever health hype is being advertised at the moment, Keep being sheep for the corporate elite to make profit off of our sickness and suffering, we will continue to line their pockets at our and our families expense. Seek the truth, research, find the evidence, take back our right to great health.
    Great article, Great site, Great research… Thank You

Leave a reply

© 2015 The Weston A. Price Foundation for Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and the Healing Arts.