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Oestrogen and progesterone are responsible for the healthy functioning of the reproductive system and other organs. Menopause and osteoporosis arises out of a decline of levels of these hormones.
Isoflavones are naturally occurring weak oestrogens are rich in soya. Studies show that consuming soya and isoflavones may reduce the symptoms brought about by the menopause (removed, 1997) . However, other studies have not shown any difference.
Studies have shown that experiments on rodents using isoflavones could reduce risk (removed, 1995). One study showed lower risk of breast cancer as reported by the participants when their diet was high in soy (removed, 1997).
Soya could help to reduce cholesterol metabolism. A number of trial with (meta-analysis) observed 9.3% decrease in total cholesterol, a 12.9% decrease in LDL cholesterol. (removed,1995).
Other studies showing the effect of isoflavones have reported no significant effects.
Controls viscosity in drinks – creamy or full-bodied
Provides an elastic gel texture – mouth feel effect
Increases the protein content of processed meat – major driver for functional soy protein ingredients. Used as a cheap filler, texture, gelation, fat and water binding (pizzas, patties, intuitional feeding)
As lecithin – emulsifying and stabilizing agent, reduces or prevents oxidation, crystallization, spattering control
Soy protein concentrates are preferred in milk replacer for baby animals
i.e calves, lambs, pigs
Bakery: better crumb structure, increases absorption, improves toasting characteristics, enhances crust colour. Increased percentage of protein incorporated into bread
Hydrogenated – oil is used to deep fry fast food
Spaghetti: increases absorption of spaghetti and promote firmness
Dumping surpluses of GM soya on poor nations; substituting their traditional diets. Such foods are often presented as charity.
Increase of soya production had put many small farmers out of business, creating dependence on multinationals/corporations.
In 15yrs Argentine dairy farms decreased 50%, from 30,000 in 1988 to 15,000 in 2003
Europe and US is looking to Africa to provide the land where soya will be grown to be used as the new bio fuel. This may lead to rising grain prices, displacement of rural communities and hence greater food insecurity
There is growing concern about the level of isoflavones in soya infant formulas as these compounds act in similar way to hormones. On average infants receive 38mg. This is far too high on a body-weight basis compared to average intake in Asia.
The Food Standards Agency advices that soya should only be given to babies in exceptional circumstances after examining clinical trials on animals and case studies on various groups in the population. (removed, 2003)
According to a report in New Scientist magazine, male rats exposed to high levels of genistein an (isoflavones) in the womb grew up to have larger prostate glands and smaller testes.
Studies on monkeys given infant formula had reduced testosterone levels compared to the ones given dairy formula (removed, 2002)
Soy contain goitrogens that can block the synthesis of thyroid hormones. Cooking and processing methods does not remove isoflavones – only solvent extraction. There’s been an increase of thyroid disorders in the US and Europe. Around 1980, British government researchers pointed out that soy-consuming vegans were at risk. (reference removed)
Effect on Reproductive system
Studies have shown reduced levels of reproductivity in animals such as the cheetah and the quail.
There’s been a decline in sperm count, motility and quality stated by Dr Sharpe head of Medical Research Council. Studied the decline in male fertility over a period as well as the effects of soya milk in young male monkeys. Observed that the soya interferes with testosterone levels.
There appears to be conflicting information in regards to the benefits of soya which can be attributed to vested interests. The United Soybean Organisation has invested millions into medical research. It is stated that Protein Technologies International helped fund the Food and Drug Association's (FDA) cholesterol lowering heart health claim (reference removed)
Scientists have been unable to prove the health benefits of soy. There has been and are ambiguous health claims. We are yet to discover the impact on health which is currently a main concern. Research statistics suggest bias.
Soya, is it the new panacea? It appears that soya is indeed the universal remedy to global issues. However research is still on going.