Obesity Smoking Lifestyle And Genetics Are Riskier Than Soy
Unfortunately when people worry about something like soy intake when it may not be a risk for breast cancer they may not be worrying as much as they should about true risk factors.
Removing attention from these can be the greater risk, Dr. Roesch says.
These other behavioral risk factors for breast cancer like obesity, smoking at an early age, a sedentary lifestyle or high saturated fat intake are bigger concerns than consuming plant estrogens like soy, she says.
Genetics also play a major role in a persons risk of developing certain types of breast cancer.
What Did The Present Study Find
This study of over 1 million women from 21 different cohorts found that dairy products, overall, are unlikely to increase breast cancer risk, and that fermented dairy products may lower risk, especially of harder to treat estrogen receptor-negative tumors, explains , Senior Scientific Director, Epidemiology Research, at the American Cancer Society, and one of the researchers on the study.
Concerns about dairy and breast cancer were largely put to rest. The researchers found null or very weak inverse associations between the dairy foods studied, calcium , and the risk of developing overall or estrogen receptor -positive breast cancer.
Further, the researchers found that certain dairy foods, such as yogurt, ricotta cheese, and cottage cheese are associated with a weak reduction in the risk of breast cancer.
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Intake Of Soy Soy Isoflavones And Soy Protein And Risk Of Site
Associations between intake of soy, soy isoflavones and soy protein and risk of specific cancer sites were investigated in 54 studies . Participants in the highest category of soy intake had a 33% lower risk of lung cancer compared with those in the lowest category . A similar inverse association was also observed between soy intake and risk of prostate cancer , with low heterogeneity detected among studies . The dose-response analysis showed that each 25 g/d increment of soy intake was marginally associated with 6% lower risk of prostate cancer . Regarding the association of soy isoflavones with lung cancer, the pooled RR of lung cancer was 0.85 when comparing the extreme categories of soy isoflavones intake. Association of soy protein intake and risk of most individual cancers could not be evaluated due to the limited number of studies. The dose-response analysis revealed a significant 6% decrease in risk of lung cancer for a 10 mg/d increase in soy isoflavones intake .
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A Possible Link Between Soy Intake And Estrogen
Soy contains a high concentration of isoflavones, a class of flavonoids that has many beneficial anticarcinogenic, antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. More specifically, isoflavones are a type of plant estrogen known as phytoestrogen, which is structured similarly to human estrogen but has much weaker effects. Nevertheless, the similarities between phytoestrogen and estrogen have raised some concerns within the general medical community that soy intake could potentially increase the risk of certain estrogen-sensitive cancers, such asbreast,endometrial andovarian cancer.
However, studies performed to date have consistently confirmed that phytoestrogen is not identical to estrogen. Furthermore, after performing many clinical trials, researchers have been unable to establish any link between soy consumption and cancer. In fact, some data suggest a protective effect. For instance, although phytoestrogen may act like estrogen in some ways, it also contains anti-estrogen properties, which means it may prevent natural estrogen from binding to estrogen receptors in cancer cells.
Myth: All Soy Foods Raise Your Risk For Breast Cancer
Thereâs no need to banish tofu and edamame from your diet.
âFor years, soy got a bad rap because of its isoflavones,â says Marleen Meyers, MD, director of the Perlmutter Cancer Center Survivorship Program at NYU Langone Medical Center.
These plant-based chemicals are similar in structure to estrogen. Most breast cancers are sensitive to estrogen which means that estrogen fuels their growth.
âSo there was a fear that soy could act as estrogen in the body and stimulate cancer cells,â Meyers says. âIt was spread on blogs, and people would tell each other to avoid soy.â
But a steady stream of studies showed that a diet high in soy didnât increase the chances of developing breast cancer and may even reduce that risk.
In one study of more than 73,000 Chinese women, researchers found that those who ate at least 13 grams of soy protein a day, roughly one to two servings, were 11% less likely to develop breast cancer than those who got less than 5 grams.
âIn Asian cultures, where people eat a lot of soy from a young age, there are lower rates of breast cancer,â Meyers says. And in those societies, people still eat soy in its traditional forms.
Meanwhile, another analysis of eight studies showed that those who got the most soy isoflavones — about the amount in a serving of tofu – were 29% less likely to get the disease compared to those who got the least.
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Why Was There A Concern
There used to be concern regarding eating isoflavones due to its estrogen-like activity in the body. However, isoflavones bind to estrogen receptors differently and function differently than estrogen. It is also important to note that the concern was based on findings of isoflavone consumption in rodent studies, and not humans. The human body metabolizes isoflavone differently than rodents. These findings are not true of human isoflavone consumption and metabolism.
The Real Truth: Does Soy Cause Breast Cancer
A university student walked into my office one afternoon and asked me how she could increase her protein intake. As a vegetarian, she was worried about not getting adequate amounts of recommended nutrients. I listed several suggestions such as nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, and lentils, and I also mentioned that tofu or any soy products are great options.
They are one of the few vegetarian options that consist of a complete protein. This means that any soy product contains all nine essential amino acids that are required by our bodies and are only available through our diet. I could sense her concern because she then asked, Doesnt eating too much soy cause breast cancer?
With breast cancer being the leading cause of cancerous death among women, it makes sense to wonder does soy cause cancer, and to be aware of breast cancer causes. Soy is found in many foods, especially in Asian cuisine. If youve ever eaten tofu, tempeh, miso, edamame, or most vegetarian burgers and meats, then youve definitely consumed some variety of a soy product.
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How To Make Soy Milk
Making soy milk is a fairly simple process, using just two ingredients soybeans and water.
The first thing you need to do is soak your soybeans. Soak the beans in water for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
Note* Ive read that if you have issues digesting beans then adding a splash of apple cider vinegar to your beans while they are soaking will help leech out phytic acid content, without affecting the flavor.
Youll notice that soaked soybeans will expand between 2-3 times in size.
Once they are soaked, you can then optionally peel the beans. This isnt 100% necessary, although it will help to blend smoother homemade soy milk and only adds a couple of extra minutes of prep time to the recipe. After soaking the beans, the skins will come off very easily.
Close up of the three beans dry, soaked unpeeled, soaked peeled.
Next, add the soaked beans into a high-speed processor/blender for just 10-15 seconds to break down the seeds slightly.
Add the cups of water and blend again until smooth and creamy.
You then do an initial strain into a large pot. This will reduce the risk of any of the beans burning to the bottom of the pot. However, I transfer the entire mixture into the saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat as I stand over the pot during this process and stir often.
When the mixture starts boiling, continue to cook for 3-4 minutes.
While boiling, remove the foam that starts floating on top. You want to try and skim as much of this foam as you can.
Favor Whole Soy Foods
While foods made using whole soybeans like edamame, tofu, and soy milk have health benefits, highly processed soy products likely do not. Some food companies have separated protein from whole soybeans and used it to make soy protein isolate. Theyve packed this isolate into shakes and turned it into meat substitutes. Unfortunately, soy protein isolate may not be healthy. In fact, its been shown to increase the amount of insulin-like growth factor in the blood, just like cows milk. Insulin-like growth factor can promote cancer growth. So stick to simple soy products like tofu, tempeh, edamame, soy milk, or miso. These foods may help protect against cancer while providing health benefits.
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Milk And Breast Cancer: Is There A Link
A recent study concludes that women who drink greater amounts of milk might have an increased risk of developing breast cancer than those who drink little or no milk.
According to the American Cancer Society, in 2019, there were around 268,600 new cases of breast cancer among women in the United States.
Over the years, scientists have uncovered a number of lifestyle-related risk factors for breast cancer these include alcohol consumption, higher body mass index, and lower levels of physical activity.
Many scientists believe that there may also be nutritional risk factors, but as the authors of a recent study explain, Results have been inconsistent for virtually all nutritional factors to date.
Two food groups that have received a fair amount of attention are soy and dairy. Their impact on breast cancer has proven difficult to pinpoint.
increase breast cancer risk.
However, because individuals who consume more soy are likely to consume less dairy, and vice versa, untangling the relationship has proven challenging.
Unperturbed, the authors of a recent study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology set out to look for links between milk and soy consumption and breast cancer.
To investigate, the authors delved into a unique dataset created as part of the Adventist Health Study-2 they used data from 52,795 women aged 30 or older.
When they analyzed the effect of dairy, however, they found a significant interaction. The authors concluded:
Differences In How Soy Is Processed
First, mice process the soy differently than humans do. To understand how, a little background is necessary. Soy contains several kinds of phytoestrogens . Phytoestrogens are plant-based substances that act like estrogen in the body.
According to the American Cancer Society , certain types of breast cancer have been traced to increased estrogen in the body. Thats what gave researchers cause for concern about soy and breast cancer. However, in humans, phytoestrogens turn into genistein and daidzein, two isoflavones that are very different from and much weaker than human estrogen.
In fact, soy has been proven to in tissues. In tissues with breast cancer cells, estrogen stimulates the multiplication of cancer cells. When soy blocks this stronger form of estrogen, it is playing an active role in reducing the risk of breast cancer.
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The Foodsforbetterhealth Bottom Line
Does soy cause cancer? Theres not enough evidence to answer yes or no. To meet protein requirements, as my client was encouraged to, and as I would recommend to all of you, feel free to include these plant-based proteins into her diet. Soy is a great and healthy alternative to meat.
Enjoy eating a healthy, well-balanced meal full of plenty of vegetables and fruit. It is safe to consume moderate amounts of soy products for both the general public and cancer survivors.
Eat no more than three servings per day . However, since theres not enough research about the benefits of supplementing your diet with soy, I do not recommend taking soy or isoflavone supplements.
Soy and breast cancer: what dietitians need to know, Practice-based Evidence in Nutrition November 2012 , last accessed August 4, 2013. Access only by subscription.
Dong, J.Y., et al., Soy isoavones consumption and risk of breast cancer incidence or recurrence: a meta-analysis of prospective studies, Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 2011 125:315-323.
Getz, L., Soyfoods and cancer, Todays Dietitian 2013 15:30
McCullough, M., The bottom line on soy and breast cancer risk, American Cancer Society Website, 2012 , last accessed August 3, 2013.
Does Soy Prevent Heart Disease
The FDA says that 25 mg of soy, along with a healthy diet, can reduce LDL and may help prevent health disease. However, the AHA says that it is impossible to eat enough soy to make any difference. Kaayla Daniel said that soy is actually linked to heart problems. Dr Mark Hyman said that soy is certainly better for your heart than chicken nuggets or other alternatives. The general rule of thumb that Dr Hyman offered is If it grows on a plant then eat it, and if it is made in a plant skip it. Dr Oz said that at the end of the day, in small portions, soy is a good low fat protein source and a great substitute for higher fat protein. I have to say that this segment of Dr Ozs show did nothing to alleviate my fear of all of the negative things I have read lately about health issues related to soy, so for now at least, I will be avoiding soy. What about you will you be skipping soy or continue eating it? Leave a comment below!
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What Is The Benefit Of Milk
Low fat dairy can be an important part of a complete diet for the following reasons:
- Milk is an excellent source of calcium, providing 30% of the recommended daily intake. A product can be labeled as an excellent source of a nutrient if it contains 20% or more of the recommended daily intake for that nutrient. It can be labeled as a good source if it contains 10-19% of the recommended daily intake.
- It is fortified with vitamin A and vitamin D,
- It is also a good source of protein. One cup of milk contains 8 grams of protein.
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Healthy Populations Around The World Eat Soy And Have A Low Rate Of Breast Cancer
Several factors complicate soy research, including:
- Study design
- Human vs. animal trials
- Soy foods vs. isolated components of soy
Because soy studies are not identical, the results of one study may not apply to all people. Some of the best research on soy comes from populations who enjoy soy foods as part of their regular diet.
Populations around the world that eat soy a few times a week, such as those in Asia, show that soy lowers breast cancer risk, says Groeger.
The most extensive study on soy and breast cancer risk is the Shanghai Womens Study that followed more than 73,000 Chinese women over seven years. According to the study, women who ate the most soy had nearly a 60 percent lower risk of breast cancer. A follow-up study on the same population seven years later confirmed the initial findings of lower risk.
Another study conducted on breast cancer survivors in the U.S. and Canada, The Breast Cancer Family Registry, came to similar conclusions. They found that women who ate more soy had a lower risk of recurrence of breast cancer and a lower risk of death.
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What About Soy Supplements
Most studies looking at soy and breast health have focused on soy foods rather than soy supplements.10
In the lab, researchers can separate soy proteins into individual compounds, called isolates. Individual isolates do not occur in nature. This is similar to say, vitamin A. While many natural things contain vitamin A, pure vitamin A does not appear in nature. Isolates, like pure vitamin A, can only be created in a lab. Because soy supplements are created in a lab, they can contain individual soy protein isolates.
Some lab studies of cells have shown that soy protein isolates may increase cancer growth.2 So, soy supplements are not currently recommended.
Intake Of Soy Soy Isoflavones And Soy Protein And Risk Of Cancer Mortality In General Population
The associations between soy, soy isoflavones and soy protein intake and risk of cancer mortality in general population were reported in 17 studies . Among these studies, most did not report a significant inverse association except one study . The pooled RR for cancer mortality comparing the extreme categories of soy intake was 0.99 . No heterogeneity was found between these studies . Both soy isoflavones and soy protein intake were not associated with risk of cancer mortality, with a pooled RR of 1.03 and 0.98 , respectively .
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Looking For Clues On Breast Cancer Risk
In the newly reported study, researchers from the University of Massachusetts wanted to find out if breast milk obtained from lactating women held useful information about breast cancer risk.
Study researcher Kathleen F. Arcaro, PhD, examined breast milk samples provided by close to 250 lactating women considered to be at high risk for breast cancer because they had had a breast biopsy or were scheduled to have one.
Most women who submitted milk samples were enrolled in the Love/Avon Army of Women project, which registers women willing to participate in breast cancer research.
The women submitted milk samples from both breasts, which were processed within 24 hours of being expressed. The researchers looked for potentially cancerous cells, known as epithelial cells, from the breast milk and then isolated DNA from these cells.
Are Processed Soy Foods Safe For Survivors
Soy protein powder and isoflavone supplements were not found to have an effect on markers of breast cancer risk. When soy protein isolate is one of many ingredients, it often does not offer as much isoflavone content as a standard serving of less processed soy. Cooking methods, however, may also deplete isoflavone content by up to 80-90%. Soy foods that have undergone minimal processing may be the best choice, as they offer more total isoflavones along with dietary fiber and phytochemicals. Lets compare:
Type of Soy
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