No, eating soy won’t turn you into a woman.
Here’s what the science says.
In at least some curious vegan men, plant protein is inextricably linked to sex. Thought-provoking brothers like podcast guru Joe Rogan and pop/clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson have turned to all-meat diets, fueling a dietary trend that appeals to a sense of purity or purity. natural order, though they know the burden of their choices on the planet. Taken to extremes, some men believe that the main ingredient in countless vegan products will literally turn them into women.
Yes, you may have heard on social media that soy can have a “feminizing” effect on men.
But what does the research actually say about this? We are investigating.
Does soy “feminize” men? not likely
Soy is rich in high quality protein and contains B vitamins, fiber, minerals and the isoflavones daidzein, genistein and glycitein.
Isoflavones are similar in structure to natural estrogens and are sometimes called “phytoestrogens” (phyto means plant). Soy isoflavones can bind to estrogen receptors in the body. They can act similarly to natural estrogens, but with a much, much weaker effect.
Some studies have flagged concerns, but these tend to relate to people consuming extremely high amounts of soy – such as an unusual case report of a man with gynecomastia (enlarged breast tissue in men) who, he turned out, was drinking nearly three liters of soy milk a day.
As noted in a review of the literature, many other studies highlighting concerns in this area are based on animal testing or rare single cases (case reports).
The same literature review noted that, although longer-term data in Western countries are needed, moderate amounts of soy in “traditional soy formulas offer modest health benefits with very high risk. limited potential adverse health effects”.
What about a cancer risk?
A study of 73,223 Chinese women over seven years found:
Women who regularly ate a large amount of soy foods during adolescence and adulthood had a significantly reduced risk of breast cancer. No significant association with the consumption of soy foods was found for postmenopausal breast cancer.
This could be due to the different types and amounts consumed (as well as genetics).
Some animal trials and cell studies show that very high doses of isoflavones or isolated soy protein can stimulate breast cancer growth, but this is not evident in human trials.
A study in Japanese men reported a high consumption of miso soup (1 to 5 cups per day), may increase the risk of gastric cancer.
But the authors also said:
We thought other ingredients in miso soup might also play a role. […] For example, high concentrations of salt in miso soup could also increase the risk of gastric cancer.
What about heart health?
Soy contains isoflavones, healthy fats like polyunsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals, and is also low in saturated fat.
Swapping meat in the diet with soy products will reduce the amount of saturated fat you eat while increasing intake of important nutrients.
A study of nearly half a million Chinese adults without cardiovascular disease showed that those who ate soy four or more days a week had a significantly lower risk of dying from a heart attack than those who didn’t. never consumed it.
Replacing red meat with plant proteins, including soy products, has been linked to a lower risk of developing heart disease.
Moderate intake is good
If you want to include soy in your diet, choose whole soy foods like calcium-fortified soy beverages, tempeh, soy bread, tofu, and soybeans over highly processed foods high in salt and in saturated fat.
Research is ongoing and we still need more long-term data on Australian intakes and health benefits.
Overall, however, moderate amounts of soy foods can be eaten as part of a healthy diet and may even help relieve some menopausal symptoms.
According to the Victorian Government’s Better Health Channel:
one or two daily servings of soy products can be beneficial to our health.
The Harvard University School of Public Health states that soy:
can be safely eaten several times a week, and probably more often, and is likely to have health benefits, especially when eaten as an alternative to red and processed meat.
So don’t worry too much about the soy milk in your coffee and tea or the tofu burger for lunch.
Via conversation and editors.