Experts Denounce High Soy Diet of Illinois Prisoners


The Weston A. Price Foundation Contact: Kimberly Hartke, Publicist
For Immediate Release 703-860-2711,



Too Much Soy Causes Serious Health Problems, Plaintiffs Claim


Washington, DC, June 26, 2012 — Plaintiffs in the lawsuit Harris et al. v. Brown, et al., Case No. 3:07-cv-03225 have submitted testimony of four qualified experts confirming the claim that large amounts of soy in the prison diet can cause serious health problems. In 2004, the state of Illinois began using large amounts of soy in prison menus to save money and use less meat.


Sponsored by the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nutrition education non-profit foundation, the lawsuit claims that the soy being fed to the plaintiffs, in the amounts being fed to them, constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the eighth amendment to the Constitution, as well as a denial of plaintiffs’ liberty in violation of their due process rights under the fourteenth amendment to the Constitution.


Plaintiff health complaints include chronic and painful constipation alternating with debilitating diarrhea, vomiting after eating, sharp pains in the digestive tract, especially after consuming soy, passing out, heart palpitations, rashes, acne, insomnia, panic attacks, depression and symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as low body temperature (feeling cold all the time), brain fog, fatigue, weight gain, frequent infections and thyroid disease.


Public Health Expert Sylvia P. Onusic, PhD, submitted an analysis of prison menus showing that soy protein in prison meals approaches 100 grams per day, four times greater than the amount recommended by the Food and Drug Administration. Soy protein is added in large amounts to meat patties, meat mixes and sauces, and in smaller amounts to almost all baked goods. The soy in the prison food is a deliberate artificial manipulation using processed soy products, manufactured using highly technical process and toxic chemicals


Toxicologist Mike Fitzpatrick, PhD, provided evidence that even 50 grams of soy can cause thyroid problems, including thyroid cancer. Soy contains compounds called phytoestrogens, which depress thyroid function and cause endocrine disruption.


Physician David Brownstein, MD, submitted his opinion that the amount of soy fed to the plaintiffs is, to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty, responsible for causing their health problems, including gastrointestinal distress and bowel dysfunction, vitamin deficiencies (vitamins B12 and D) as well as thyroid disorders.


Laboratory analysis expert William Shaw, PhD, noted that soy protein has the highest oxalate level of any known food and that the prisoners are receiving hundreds of milligrams of oxalates per day. According to Shaw, virtually all of the plaintiffs’ health problems can be explained by their high-oxalate diet. The toxicity of oxalates is well established; oxalates can deposit sharp crystals not only in the kidneys, but in virtually every tissue and organ of the body, including joints, heart, blood vessels, teeth, gums, eyes, skin, brain, nerves, thyroid and thymus glands. Oxalates also block the absorption of many essential minerals, leading to malnutrition.


The defendants have responded by arguing that the Illinois prisoners receive only minimal amounts of soy protein in their diets.


“Presiding judge Harold Baker has stated the importance of scientific and medical testimony in the case,” says Sally Fallon Morell, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation. “We have provided both the science and the medical evidence and look forward to the next steps in this trial.

The Weston A. Price Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nutrition education foundation with the mission of disseminating accurate, science-based information on diet and health. Named after nutrition pioneer Weston A. Price, DDS, author of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, the Washington, DC-based Foundation publishes a quarterly journal for its 14,000 members, supports 572 local chapters worldwide and hosts a yearly international conference. The Foundation phone number is (202) 363-4394,,


See this news release on the NASDAQ Globenewire.

Sally Fallon Morell is the founding president of the Weston A. Price Foundation and founder of A Campaign for Real Milk. She is the author of the best-selling cookbook, Nourishing Traditions (with Mary G. Enig, PhD) and the Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care (with Thomas S. Cowan, MD). She is also the author of Nourishing Broth (with Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, CCN).

39 Responses to Experts Denounce High Soy Diet of Illinois Prisoners

  1. r says:

    How about the fact that they feed soy foods to our CHILDREN in their school lunches…!!!?? We “save money” by feeding children and prisoners terrible food, then wonder why Medicaid costs are growing. Will they EVER put 2 and 2 together??

  2. Ann says:

    when will people get it?
    Wow! This is just amazing. When will the public get it that the soy is killing them? I wonder if the soy was given to the prisoners knowing it would hurt them? It really should just be illegal to sell soy anywhere.

  3. Child Health Advocate
    Thank you Weston A Price Foundation!!!! Hoping prisoner rights will lead to the rights for all people to someday be allowed truthful soy phyto-toxic labeling information. Soy is also repeatedly proven as toxic to developing fetus due to maternal soy consumption during pregnancy. Trusting parents feeding their infants soy formulas and foods have not been allowed the righteous opportunity to know horribly toxic soy hormone disruptor truth. What the FDA knows about decades of massive published study evidence repeatedly proving soy-cause of physiological, reproductive, and neurological adverse health effects while deliberately refusing truthful public disclosure is nothing less than criminal!

  4. Roger Bird says:

    Long ago
    Long ago in the 1970’s an Anthroposophical MD from Holland named Robert Gorter or Gortor told a crowd of us that soy was poisonous. He said that you could tell because the beans are so colorful.

  5. Linda Hall Adair says:

    I have been speaking against this for years! Having family and friends in the Florida Department of Corrections, I know that they are actually replacing the meat rather than extending it as TVP (textured vegetable protein)was meant to be used. I hope this lawsuit prevails and goes nationwide. Inmates might deserve to be locked up, but they don’t deserve to be tortured. They also need to look at nursing homes’ food service as well as schools, jails and prisons.

    We need to stop feeding our population with fake foods. If you can’t recognize what the ingredients on the side of the boxes are, your body doesn’t recognize it either. When will that soak in??

  6. Pat Jackson says:

    Would the members of the FDA and others who say there is nothing wrong with SOY foods eat it as much as the public,prisoners are being feed and giving it to school children,is it know wonder there are so many illnesses around.

  7. Teresa says:

    my question to all the hype of soy is this soy washed in water or alcohol wash? This claim has not been cleared
    as to what kind of soy is being used. I do keep an opened mind on issues such as this since an opinion can go
    from one extreme to the other. I think it would be wised when making such claims or comments that both sides
    are discussed and explained just what kind of product is being used wrongly, ie; water base or alcohol base.
    With such comments being made I take information like this with a grain of salt.

  8. Patience O'Dowd says:

    Sounds like it is the incorrect processing of Soy that is the issue. Corporate of A is responsible for this, not the Soy bean. I understand that many plants make thier own insecticide and especially GMO! This is what I have read needs the correct soaking or fermenting as the Chinese have long done. I understand that TOFU is soaked plenty and Tempeh is fermemnted. I understand these two Soy products are fine. In Japan they serve plates of soy beans too that are very tasty. I have had digestive issues possibly due to the incorrect processing of Soy, but in my research and experience, TOFU does not bother at all. Have not tried Tempeh yet.

    • John says:

      Fermented soy, as long as it is not GMO, si what most Japanese people eat and the bacteria eat the bad things in soy, such as the goitrogens that damage the thyroid. Tofu is what was created to eliminate the libido in Monks and it worked then as it does now. 60% of the sperm in males is eliminated by eating soy that is not fermented. There is a lot of stomach cancer in Japan and they eat a lot of sea minerals in their food each day that replenishes the minerals that are removed by soy.

  9. Pam says:

    I don’t quite understand. I use organic soy milk and find it hugely helpful with my arthritis. Is it perhaps the GM soy and way it is being processed that’s the problem? Judging only on personal use, since I cannot use regular milk, I have been using soymilk now for about 8 years without any issues, in fact, if I get acid reflux from something I use it for that as well and it immediately gives relief. The calcium from soy seems to be able to be used by the body, unlike most supplements/pills, and the effects of drinking soymilk is noticeable on the respite it offers from arthritic pain for me. Chinese people have been using soy sauce for hundreds of years as well as tofu and other things made from soy. I find it possible to believe that soy can be MADE to be bad for you, or that it’s possible to eat too much of it (like oxalic acid found in some veggies can be bad for you if you eat too much of them) but to say that all soy is poisonous period I find unbelievable, sorry.

    • amcken3 says:

      WAKE UP PPL!!! SOY I S EVIL!!!
      Pam and others here who refuse to believe how evil soy is, DO SOME RESEARCH! Chinese eat FERMENTED SOY ONLY and in very small amounts…irritating, I guess the saying you can lead a human to knowledge but you can’t make them think applies here. smilies/angry.gif

    • DePaw says:

      Pam, the calcium in soy milk is a supplement, they add it to the milk!

      For more on the dangers of soy:

      The Chinese, etc, eat small amounts of fermented soy only, such as traditional soy sauce (not the modern stuff), AND eat a lot of other nutritionally rich foods to counter-act the soy, such as tons of fish to boost their thyroid from the iodine, animal fats and broth, and lots of organs meats (they eat all the animal).

      • Janet says:

        about 10 years ago I had a reaction to tofu. 2013 my sister and I went to a steak house I had no ideal that I was allergic to soy I ate a small piece of bread, My throat and tongue started hurting. I told my sister something is wrong we have to go to the hospital. it was just down the street took us 5mins, the Doctor told me had I waited 5 mins more I would be dead, my tongue was swelling. Now I carry a EpiPen in my purse I have one in my car. I have to make sure everyone that’s with me knows how to use it just in case I eat anything that has soy. I read everything I cook all my food from starch. soy is in everything I can only eat real butter anything else has soy in it.

    • nwo201 says:

      Pam, any substance that suppresses your immune function will alleviate arthritis. X-rays also do the same. Do you belive X-rays are good for you too?

    • karen wilfong says:

      Pam, any substance that suppresses your immune function will alleviate arthritis. X-rays also do the same. Do you belive X-rays are good for you too?

      • John W says:

        WAP has argued strenuously against soy for some time. What is the motivation for this. Much of the case presented is not accepted within the nutrition scientific community. If you examine the evidence presented by WAP in depth the holes become apparent.

        Selective quotes from named “experts” is not testimony that stands without close analysis of data, examination of experimental method, significance of relationships within results and also identification of causal mechanisms : all being clearly identified within a wider holistic view.
        The toxicity of meat appears to be absent in the testimony given so the sponsors products are not held up to question.

    • John says:

      That soy milk you are drinking contains lots of sugar to soften the bitterness of soy and titanium dioxide to change the brown color to white. Titanium dioxide is white oil paint. The phyto estrogens in the soy milk is terrible for you and can throw your estrogen to progesterone balance way out of whack. I suggest to you that if you have arthritis, I suggest you do what I do for patients to get rid of it. It is caused by infections in the body and soy pulls minerals out of the body, especially iron (over 50%). Inflammation that causes pressure on the nerves and gives you the pain is due to high omega 6 fatty acids that greatly outweigh the omega 3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation. The body uses the omega 6s to create inflammation to get blood supply increased to a damaged area.

      Joints, in particular, have very low vascular tissue and once it becomes dehydrated, takes a long time to get water back into the joints. Taking a combination of omega 3 fatty acids (several tsps.) along with over 5 grams (not milligrams, but grams) per day along with the cilantro will do wonders for you. Additionally, I highly recommend you consume alfalfa in good quantities each day. That cleans the blood and greatly helps put minerals into your body. Doing these things will do more for you than any soy you make believe is doing good things. Get rid of the arthritis instead of treating the symptoms!

  10. karen wilfong says:

    Can you send me some information on your foundation and how they help prisoners?
    My son recived information from you awhile back saying you wanted information and 200 dollars to take his case into court. I want to be sure you handle his type of problems. One is the soy products served in Florida prisons and the other is medical problems the State does not want to pay for. His illness could become terminal.

  11. ashley says:

    While soy is bad, please spend your money on someone besides criminals. “Cruel and unusual punishment”?? Really?? The founding fathers were referring to being drawn & quartered, disembowelment, burning at the stake, etc.

    As r said, why not focus on children???

    • Melody says:

      Prisoners are people. What a comment. Many, many people are imprisoned for nonviolent drug offenses, who should not be there, who are only there because of the ridiculously punitive laws that private prison operators had state legislators pass, to keep their prisons fulll and profitable. These people do not deserve to be malnourished. No one does.

  12. GARY FRIEL says:


    • John says:

      I can assure you that you have not only been misinformed about how soy may be good for you, but you most likely are not aware of the side effects due to lack of information rather than lack of side effects.

      I deal with many very sick people everyday and find anyone eating soy has lots of issues and many times until I point them out, they were simply not aware as I suspect you are.

    Pardon me Sally but I read some of the ignorant comments that were made above and it pains me to know that people cannot see the bigger picture. It pains me that people are so judgmental. To the person who said we should help children > If won this case will set a precedent and send a message that soy causes health issues and cancer. This is how we save children’s lives, and someone like me who lost her daughter due to SOY INFANT FORMULA could use this precedent and maybe they greedy B-tards will finally remove soy from the shelves. And just because these men are prisoners we are not suppose to care. Shame on you, you have no right to judge anyone, there crimes are between them and God.

    • Dale says:

      Gloria, From an experimental design perspective, we all will, if done properly, benefit from the “population” of prisoners being administered the treatment (variable). The results are already in, they just have to be compared to a control group from the general population that does not use soy, or eats regular (still adulterated with additives) food for statistical significance; which, I believe, will more than reject the null hypothesis, being, that there is no significance.

      Hitler loved to do things like this against little “populations” as experiments–things like sleep deprivation, cold survival without clothes (anecdotal), and lots more. Throughout history prisoners have been unwilling participants in “experiments”. I wonder what Johnny Cash would think of this prison, and what kind of song he would sing for these prisoners.

  14. Kay says:

    Soy 91% GMO…44575.html

    According to this article, 91% of US grown soybeans are GMO.

    After spending a month in school studying GMO and their building blocks, I will not eat GMO products. (The way they were discovered is that they found a bacteria that could withstand being poisoned and put those genes in the crops we eat.) I don’t want to intentionally eat bacteria.

    If you want your brain to age faster than normal, eat tofu (soy).

    There is growing research that says that soy is bad for a person. If I just had to have soy, it would be in very minimal amounts.

    • John says:

      I spent a lot of time with Jeffrey Smith learning from him about the problems with GMO’s, but nothing I learned from him was more devastating than what I learned from Stephanie Seneff and Dr. Huber regarding the herbicides being put on GMO’s. We now know that RoundUP that is made with glyphosate is causing over 25 major degenerative diseases that have no become epidemic in America today! Now we have Dow chemical responding to the ever changing genetics and DNA destruction of GMO crops by adding 2-4 D chemical with glyphosate in their new herbicide to kill weeds! 2-4 D is one ingredient of 2 in Agent Orange! That is going on our food supply now! Since the gut bacteria use the same metabolic pathway as plants called the shikimate pathway, humans gut bacteria are now blocking all kinds of functions that the gut bacteria are responsible for in humans! Since 93% of all soy in America is GMO, why would anyone consume that garbage?

  15. Nick says:

    Health insurance already costs as much as food if you are single. How can bad food save money? We should provide nutricius food to everyone, especially those who can’t afford it and are saving money on food.

  16. raymond cooper says:

    soy is crap
    i used to drink lots of soy milk starting in 1998 because i dont do well with dairy, i also was led to believe by my doctor that soy was a really great health food, so i started drinking soy milk and eating more tofu and i cut out fast food and was also eating lots more fruit and veggies, even added soy protien powder to the soy milk, my doc told me to cut back on meat, so i did all this, by the end of 2001 i was a mess, i was depressed like never before, inflamation in my body in sevaral areas increased and had alot more bloating and gas, i didnt even look all that healthy (i was in my early 30’s) Well in 2007 i finally got burned out and tired of the taste of soy milk so i stopped drinking it and started drinkin almond and coconut milk and started eating nutiva coconut oil right off the spoon, i started to research soy and started to see a connection on why i was sickly and tired all the time, today i eat no soy stuff with the exeption that there might be some soy in restaurant food, but i rarly eat out, i switched to grass fed meats, tropical oils, still eat fruits and veggies and added raw sesame oil and seeds and other nuts and seeds, today i am 47 and i am in far better health than i was at 37, leaner, no depression, very minor inflamation, my coworkers in their 20’s envy my health, my family thinks i am crazy because of the saturated fat in tropical oils that i use, they are used to me being sick and weak, they are uncomfortable with it, so what, they dont pay my bills or live my life, gotta go because i am starting to rant.

    • John says:

      I am a certified nutritional therapist, written books on health, have been interviewed several times on radio talk shows by several well known doctors, been studying nutrition since the early 1960’s, and work with doctors and chiropractors to make people healthy and I have seen most everything, but am constantly amazed at the ignorance I see with doctors, pharmacies, and many health food people promoting bad information.

      I find that 98% of the people that come to me do not understand digestion and then find that these people have very poor digestion going on due to ignorance, not only of the food they are eating, but allergies, food intolerance’s, metabolic intolerance’s that can easily be found with some simple tests they can do at home. The way medical science is treating acid reflux, indigestion and intestinal problems is horrendously terrible. In fact, most of the remedies are causing pancreatic problems.

      I spend more time undoing problems doctors are causing than promoting healthful solutions to most people. This is incredibly sad.

      • M Lotis says:

        Interesting response. You spend most of your space beating your chest (or patting your back), but offer absolutely nothing constructive for Ray Cooper and others in his shoes. Too bad one can’t delete comments on this site.

  17. Dee says:

    I am new to a paleo diet, just started researching it in the last couple of weeks, and came upon your site today. Thank you so very much for this information. I kept reading not to eat soy, but had no idea why. I even went to our local library for a few particular books today, but they didn’t have any in the regions database – one of the books was on soy.

    • John says:

      The best book you will ever read on the subject of SOY is called “The Whole Soy Story” by Kaayla Daniels. She wrote this book with incredible references, has done her homework and the book has been peer reviewed and is probably the most complete study of soy explaining all the goods and bad’s (mostly bad’s).

      In regard to the paleo diet, it is important to understand that what you feed animals and how you grow food, the conditions of the soil, are all important aspects of that diet. Dr. Weston Price’s book “Nutrition and physical degeneration” is a great book, but you have to read it in context of what he was looking at in these cultures. GRASS FED animals, not grain fed, fermented foods and naturally fertilized, etc. If you eat grain fed animals like those in America, that paleo diet will be doom to failure because of that. RAW MILK from grass fed cows contains no human pathogens and does not need pasteurization, but grain fed cows produce sick milk and you must pasteurize. All these things must be taken into account. Also, as we age, you produce less and less HCL in your stomach. All carnivores have this, but herbivores do not use HCL to digest. That difference is important when you eat more meat. If you are not making good HCL, you will not do well on that diet. By the time you are 70, you will be producing only about 5% of the HCL you did when you were 25 years old. You can take supplements, but that HCL must not be made in a laboratory because it is not cellular resonant and it’s not the same as your body makes. There are a very few HCL supplements available, but you have to know what you are looking for.

      good luck to you

      • John Kaye says:

        Your posts, especially on soy are spot on. I agree 100%, especially in support of KD’s fine book. My DIL, is Japanese and she eats soy, NATTO which is dbl fermented, but tastes yuk!

        BTW what is a source of a good HCL supplement? Thanks for your posts.

  18. bonnie says:

    soy in drink powders
    does anyone know re: the soy in the diet and protein drinks? someone is saying that this soy is not processed, hence it’s okay. (soy esolate, soy lecithin)i find soy in supposedly healthier resources as well as in others i wouldn’t necessarily have reason to trust.

    • John says:

      Not processed? Who says that? It’s terrible for you! Read the book “The Whole Soy Story” by Kaayla Daniels and you will learn what’s good and bad about soy.

  19. bonnie says:

    i apologize…i should have said “products”, not resources. maybe that will clarify a bit.

  20. Janet says:

    Isn’t most soy these days GMO? GMOs are not safe see the movie on the internet, Raymond, one alternative to dairy is goat milk. I’ve been drinking that for a few years now. AS HUMANITY, WE ALL DESERVE HEALTHY FOOD AND WATER. (MAKE SURE THE WATER YOU DRINK DOESN’T HAVE FLUORIDE ADDED TO IT). Fluoride is a neuro-toxin AND IS DETRIMENTAL TO THE THYROID. Reverse osmosis is a way to remove it.
    Good luck with this law suit-I hope the prisoners get better food!

  21. jason says:

    I was in illinios prison in vandalia we had soy everyday the only time we didnt was when chicken was served the food was really horrible i mean down right nasty and livin conditions in vandalia are really bad and im not what you call a lifetime prisoner i made a mistake and paid my debt but to be feed such unheathy food should be something done and the overcrowding

  22. BUB says:

    Before soybeans became popular in the food industry, they used this bean as an industrial product by adding the oil to paint and varnishes. It was very inexpensive to grow and it was a prolific grower. Then someone got the idea to start placing it on the market as a food product; only trouble was it was a highly toxic inedible bean. So they decided to detox the bean and they do it with petroleum products. Knowing this, why would anyone want to poison their bodies with this horrible bean. All the claims about it being nutritious were false since the clear motive for its success was money. And to think many years ago I was eating that tasteless soybean product called Tofu. I was young and ignorant then. I research everything now and I have become very distraught with the food that is being placed on the shelves in our supermarkets. There is soy in practically everything. You even have to be careful with some organic foods since there can be soy in those foods also. I don’t care if it is organic soy: I WILL NOT EAT IT!!!!!! I am also upset with institution food. It is nothing but chemical laden garbage. And to think we send our loved ones to hospitals that serve them unhealthy diets. It is nothing but frankenfood.

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