Do Soy Foods Cause Cancer?

Question: Do Soy Foods Cause Cancer?
What's the latest on the soy-breast cancer connection? I just heard a report about a newly discovered link.

Answer: By Andrew Weil, M.D.(Published 08/12/2004)
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Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recently announced results of research suggesting that the highly purified soy foods and soy supplements marketed in the United States may promote the growth of some pre-existing breast cancers. The study results, to be published in a future issue of the journal Carcinogenesis, showed that breast tumors in mice grew when the animals were fed highly processed soy products missing some of the natural components of whole soybeans. In the study, scientists used products that contained the soy isoflavone genestein in various stages of isolated purity. Breast tumors neither grew nor regressed when the mice were fed foods containing minimally processed soy flour. Whole soy foods, such as tofu, tempeh, edamame and miso - much used in Asian diets - seem to be protective.

Until further research answers the question of safety with long-term use, I recommend that you avoid soy supplements entirely. However, I still recommend one to two servings a day of whole soy foods. A serving is a cup of soy milk or one half-cup of tofu, tempeh, edamame or soy nuts. At those amounts you'll get the benefits of soy without the theoretical risks of taking in too many isoflavones.

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