|Not So Soy Healthy For The Heart|
|Written by Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, CCN|
|Friday, 13 March 2009 14:49|
Soy does not lower cholesterol, does not prevent heart disease and does not deserve an FDA-approved soy heart health claim. This amazing announcement comes from none other than the American Heart Association (AHA) published in the January 17, 2006 issue of its journal Circulation.
Athletes At Risk
Not long before, University of Colorado researchers reported in the January issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation that soy worsens cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease that is very much on the rise, afflicting one in 500 Americans. Cardiomyopathy, defined as a weakening of the heart muscle or change in structure of the heart, is the leading cause of death among young athletes, a group that may consume a lot of soy in the form of protein powders and energy bars.
Women At Risk
Now investigators have found more damning evidence against soy. High levels of soy isoflavonesâ€”plant estrogens found in products like soy milk and soy nuts as well as many menopausal supplementsâ€”put women at risk for cardiovascular disease. The studyâ€”reported in the May, 2007 issue of Journal of Womenâ€™s Healthâ€”began when Carl J. Pepine, MD, chief of cardiology at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville, along with ten other researchers from his own and five other medical institutions, aimed to find out whether women who have high concentrations of isoflavones in their blood had better vascular health. Subjects were participants in the Womenâ€™s Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation (WISE) who had reported chest pain and were thus suspected to suffer from myocardial ischemia (defined as pathological loss of or reduction in blood flowâ€”ischemiaâ€”to a part of the muscular tissue of the heartâ€”myocardium).
More than 900 women have participated in the WISE project, which was founded a decade ago by the National Institutes of Health to study whether heart disease develops differently in women than in men. Because heart disease is more likely to occur after menopause, scientists have blamed waning estrogen levels. Dr. Pepine and his colleagues had expected that women with high levels of genistein (the primary isoflavone found in soybeans) would show improved vascular health, but found the opposite to be true. Speaking to a reporter for Science News, Dr. Pepine said: â€śThere are a lot of women taking these things (isoflavone-rich products), without any direct evidence that theyâ€™re beneficial.â€ť He warned that there is a â€śsmall but growing body of research suggesting there could be a down side to overindulging in them.â€ť
Industry response to mounting evidence for soyâ€™s lack of benefit has been entirely predictable: endless references to soy being both low in saturated fat and free of cholesterol (twin evils that â€śeveryone knowsâ€ť cause heart disease) combined with chipper reports of hot, new evidence â€śprovingâ€ť that soy is the best thing for the heart since love. Although some of this hype has made it into the newsâ€”particularly in magazines where soy foods and soy milk are heavily advertisedâ€”a shift has definitely taken place. Health magazines are increasingly leaving soy off lists of healthy foods. These days they arenâ€™t yet reporting risks from soy, but they arenâ€™t singing its praises either.
Soy Book Ban
The July/August issue of Energy Times featured an â€śOmnivore versus Veganâ€ť debate designed to help readers decide whether Mother Nature designed us as to eat animal products or whether we should consider veganism â€śour next big evolutionary leap.â€ť Speaking for the vegans was Hope Ferdowsian, MD, of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Representing the omnivores was WAPF board member Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, who was invited to participate only on the grounds that she not speak out about soy. Apparently the advertisers were so nervous about the subject that they didnâ€™t even permit her to be credited as author of The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of Americaâ€™s Favorite Health Food. Whereas health magazines have often chosen to eliminate the bookâ€™s informative subtitle, Energy Times excised all mention of the book. In addition to the usual array of soy advertisements, the back inside cover of the magazine featured an advertisement in the guise of a footnoted article. Its title? â€śThe Good News About Soy Continues.â€ť Among other claims: soy is very heart healthy.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Fall 2007.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 June 2009 01:19|