Soy Many Scares, Soy Little Time

Discussion in 'Food and nutrition' started by [email protected], Jan 5, 2006.

  1. January 4, 2006

    Soy Many Scares, Soy Little Time

    By Jeff Stier, Esq.

    Soy worsens heart disease! Or at least, that's what all the papers
    would be saying today if soy were an industrial chemical, or even a
    pesticide. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation
    found that soy-filled diets increased the likelihood of heart disease
    -- in certain male mice.

    Reports by Reuters and others on the study emphasized scientists'
    cautions that the study has no clear implications for humans -- but the
    same could be said for virtually every chemical scare that makes
    headlines, based as they are upon high-dose rodent studies with little
    relevance to ordinary-dose human exposures. Reporters, politicians,
    and regulators automatically fall in line to condemn the latest
    purported threat (as gauged solely by rodent tests) from industry, but
    when the "threat" is just as "real" -- and comes from nature -- society
    moves quietly onward, unperturbed.

    If the precautionary principle (by which environmentalists decree that
    no substance should be used if it shows even the slightest potential
    for harm) and EPA regulations (such as the ones inspiring ACSH's recent
    lawsuit) were applied to nature as readily as to manmade products, we
    have to ban half the molecules on the planet.

    Not only environmental activists but most people who shop at Whole
    Foods Markets or similar stores will tell you that there is a chance
    that non-organic products could be harmful -- and that until they have
    proof otherwise, it's "better to be safe than sorry" and so they will
    avoid the mainstream food. To be intellectually consistent -- however
    foolish -- these shoppers and the organic stores themselves would have
    to immediately pull all soy products off the market until we have 100%
    proof that this one animal study doesn't apply to humans.

    But nature is in, industry is out, and soy will no doubt get a free
    ride from the people who usually serve as scaremongers.

    Jeff Stier, Esq., makes a mean stir fry and is an associate director of
    the American Council on Science and Health (,

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