Soy Sales Up, but Looks Who’s Eating

 “Soyfood sales top $4 billion.”
 That’s the news trumpeted by the soy industry in its latest market report “Soyfoods: The U.S. Market 2009.” Sales topped $4 billion in 2008 because “increasingly, knowledgeable consumers voted with their feet even as the financial crisis has set in.” (Interesting phrase there. Sounds to me like a prescription for “foot-in-mouth” disease.)
 Seems that the image-conscious soy industry would have us believe that increased sales are due to “consumer awareness of health benefits.” That claim is debatable, however. Whether the new customers are knowledgeable, health conscious and willing to pay extra is subject to doubt given the fact that the same report indicates that most of the increased sales came heavily from soy’s “expanded presence in multiple distribution channels.” In plain English that means  Wal-Mart, club stores and food service operations, places where soy sales grew in 2008 by 3 per cent as opposed to 1.8 percent in supermarkets and natural food stores. Food service operations are places where cost cutting and assembly line food production methods rule, as in school and hospital cafeterias, restaurant and hotel chains, the military. . . and prisons.
 Although $4 billion represents a lot of soy sold and presumably eaten, the figure is a far cry from the $8 billion per year projected back in 2004. At that time, the industry had high hopes that the FDA would approve a soy-prevents-cancer health claim that would scare cancer-fearing American consumers into gobbling down twice the amount of soy. Instead the Solae Company (a joint venture of DuPont and Bunge) quietly withdrew its petition in 2005 in the face of massive evidence, presented by the Weston A. Price Foundation, that soy can cause, contribute to and accelerate the growth of cancer, particularly breast cancer. Although Solae promised to revise its petition and resubmit, that hasn’t happened and isn’t likely to anytime soon or ever.
 Instead, the soy industry is dancing as fast as it can just to keep the 1999 soy-prevents-heart disease health claim in place. Even the mainstream American Heart Association is after the FDA to revoke it. Judging from this latest market report, the industry plan is keep the bad news under cover and repeat the mantra “health benefits” literally ad nauseum, until it is seared into mass consciousness. As the report states, “Health remains a main driver with soy products slipping into the mainstream . . .”     Based on soy industry promises, those Wal-Mart customers should start looking real healthy real soon.  

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 and she can be reached at

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