FRANKLY I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS SOYA. PEOPLE SAY. CARDIOLOGISTS SAY. THAT SOYA IS GOOD FOR INFANTS, AND OLD MEN ALIKE.
I TOOK TO CONSUMING SOYA ONCE I WAS TOLD BY MY CARDIOLOGIST THAT IN MY BLOOD LDL (BAD CHOLESTEROL) WAS HIGHER AND TRIGLYCERIDES ALSO TRESPASSED THE BOUNDARIES. SO I STARTED TAKING SOYA DESPITE ITS ODOUR NOT SO PLEASING.
TO MY SURPRISE ONE DAY I LEARNT FROM ONE OF THE ARTICLES FROM A LEADING WEEKLY FROM SOUTH INDIA THAT SOYA (AS IS MANUFACTURED IN INDIA AND ALSO ASIAN COUNTRIES) IS NOT TREATED FOR REMOVING THE CARCINOGENIC SUBSTANCE WHICH IS CALLED APHLOTOXIN. WHEN I ENQUIRED THE DEALERS AND MANUFACTURERS THEY HARDLY KNEW THAT SOYA, A NATURAL FOOD, CONTAINS SUCH A HARMFUL SUBSTANCE.
I DO NOT KNOW WHETHER IN MY ANXIETY TO REDUCE MY LDL LEVELS IN BLOOD, I WOULD BE SLOWLY MAKING WAY TO A WARD IN A CANCER HOSPITAL, BECAUSE OF CONSUMPTION OF SOYA.
I WOULD LIKE MEDICOS, RESEARCHERS, DIETICIANS TO THROW MORE LIGHT ON THE SUBJECT.
AN ARTICLE REGARDING THE HARMFUL EFFECTS OF SOYA IS APPENDED.
The soybean contains large quantities of a number of harmful substances. First among them are potent enzyme inhibitors which block the action of trypsin and other enzymes needed for protein digestion. These 'anti-nutrients' are not completely deactivated during ordinary cooking and can produce serious gastric distress, reduced protein digestion and chronic deficiencies in amino acid uptake. In test animals, diets high in trypsin inhibitors cause enlargement and pathological conditions of the pancreas, including cancer. 1The food industry touts soy products for their cancer-preventing properties. Isoflavone aglycones are anticarcinogenic substances found in traditionally fermented soybean products. However, in non-fermented soy products such as tofu and soy milk, these isoflavones are present in an altered form as beta glycoside conjugates, which have no anticarcinogenic effect. 2 Some researchers believe the rapid increase in liver and pancreatic cancer in Africa is due to the introduction of soy products there. 3"While fermented soy products contain protein, vitamins, anticarcinogenic substances and important fatty acids, they can under no circumstances be called nutritionally complete. Like all pulses [members of the legume family], the soybean lacks the vital sulfur-containing amino acids cystine and methionine, which our bodies do not synthesise. These are usually supplied by rice and other grains in areas where the soybean is traditionally consumed. "Soy should never be considered as a substitute for animal products like meat or milk. Claims that fermented soy products like tempeh can be relied on as a source of vitamin B12, necessary for healthy blood and nervous system [and much more], have not been supported by scientific research."5 Soy protein isolate is the main ingredient of soy-based infant formulas. That means, "the soy protein isolated from the carbohydrate and fatty acid components that naturally occur in the bean. Soybeans are first ground and subjected to high temperature and solvent extraction processes to remove the oils. The resultant defatted meal is then mixed with an alkaline solution and sugars in a separation process to remove fiber; then it is precipitated and separated using an acid wash. "Finally, the resultant curds are neutralised in an alkaline solution and spray-dried at high temperatures to produce high-protein powder. This is a highly refined product in which both vitamin and protein quality are compromised, but some trypsin inhibitors remain, even after such extreme refining! Trypsin inhibitor content of soy protein isolate can vary as much as fivefold. In rats, even low-level transit-inhibitor soy protein isolate feeding results in reduced weight-gain compared to controls.6 "Soy product producers are not required to state trypsin inhibitor content on labels, nor even to meet minimum standards; and the public, trained to avoid dietary cholesterol, a substance vital for normal growth and metabolism, has never heard of the potent anti-nutrients found in cholesterol-free soy products.7 "Along with trypsin inhibitors, these formulas have a high phytate content. Use of soy formula has caused zinc deficiency in infants.8 Aluminum content of soy formulas is 10 times greater than milk-based formula, and 100 times greater than unprocessed milk.9 Aluminum has a toxic effect on the kidneys of infants, and has been implicated as causing Alzheimer's disease in adults [recent research points the finger of guilt strongly at mercury from amalgam fillings].10 "Soy milk formulas are often given to babies with milk allergy; but allergies to soy are almost as common as those to milk.11 Use of soy formulas to treat infant diarrhoea has had mixed results, some studies showing improvement with soy formula while others show none at all.12 "A number of other substances, which are unnecessary and of questionable safety, are added to soy formulas including carrageenan, guar gum, sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), potassium citrate monohydrate, tricalcium phosphate, dibasic magnesium, phosphate trihydrate, BHA and BHT [butylated hydroxytoluene, an artificial antioxidant; neither it nor BHA has been proved safe for human consumption]. Nitrosamines, which are potent carcinogens, are often found in soy protein foods, and are greatly increased during the high-temperature drying process.6 PHYTATE INTERFERENCE "Not surprisingly, animal feeding studies show a lower weight-gain for rats on soy formula than those on whole milk, high-lactose formula;13 similar results have been observed in children on macrobiotic diets which include the use of soy milk and large amounts of whole grains. Children brought up on high phytate diets tend to be thin and scrawny."8 "Also known as phytic acid&emdash;an organic acid&emdash;these phytates are present in the bran or hulls of all seeds; they block the uptake of essential minerals&emdash;calcium, magnesium, iron and especially zinc&emdash;in the intestinal tract. Phytates found in soy products interfere with zinc absorption more completely than with other minerals.14 Zinc is called the intelligence mineral because it is needed for optimal development and functioning of the brain and nervous system. It plays a role in protein synthesis and collagen formation; it is involved in the blood-sugar control mechanism and thus protects against diabetes; it is needed for [immunity and for] a healthy reproductive system."1 Literature extolling soy products tends to minimise the role of zinc in human physiology and to gloss over the deleterious effect of diets high in phytic acid.1 "Only a long period of fermentation will significantly reduce the phytate content of soybeans. Thus-fermented products such as tempeh and miso provide nourishment that is easily assimilated; but the nutritional value of tofu and bean curd, both high in phytates, is questionable. Asian and oriental children who do not get enough meat and fish products to counteract the effect of a high phytate diet, frequently suffer rickets, stunting and other growth problems.15 "Scientists are in general agreement that grain- and legume- based diets high in phytates contribute to widespread mineral deficiencies in third world countries.16 Analysis shows that calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc are present in the plant foods eaten in these areas, but the high phytate content of soy- and rice-based diets prevents their absorption. "The soybean has a higher phytate content than any other grain or legume that has been studied.17 Furthermore, it seems to be highly resistant to many phytate-reducing techniques such as long, slow cooking. In test animals they cause enlarged organs, particularly the pancreas and thyroid gland, and increased deposition of fatty acids in the liver."18,19 TRYPSIN INHIBITORS AND DENATURED PROTEINS "Trypsin inhibitors and haemagglutinin, a clot-promoting substance that causes red blood cells to clump together (a situation that hardly promotes cardiac health), are both found in soybeans. They have both been labelled 'growth-depressant substances'. These are deactivated during the process of fermentation.1 This involves soaking in an alkaline solution. The puréed solution is then heated to about 115°C (239°F) in a pressure cooker. "This method destroys most (but not all) of the anti-nutrients but has the unhappy side-effect of so denaturing the proteins that they become very difficult to digest and much reduced in effectiveness.20 "The phytate content remains in soy milk to block the uptake of essential minerals. In addition, the alkaline soaking solution produces a carcinogen, lysinealine, and reduces the cystine content, which is already low in the soybean.21 [Cystine/cysteine are essential for liver detoxification of the hundreds of chemicals to which we are all exposed every day, mostly indoors.] Lacking cystine, the entire protein complex of the soybean becomes useless unless the diet is fortified with cystine-rich meat, eggs, or dairy products. "The growth of vegetarianism among the more affluent classes has greatly accelerated the acceptability and use of these ersatz products. This helps American farmers to sell their enormous yearly output of soybeans. Unfortunately, as we have seen, they pose numerous dangers."1 The fatty acid profile of the soybean includes large amounts of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids compared to other pulses; but these omega-3 fatty acids are particularly susceptible to rancidity when subjected to high pressures and temperatures. This is exactly what is required to remove oil from the bean, as soybean oil is particularly difficult to extract. Hexane or other solvents are always used to extract oil from soybeans, and traces remain in the commercial product.1 Hexane is "any of the five colorless, volatile, liquid hydrocarbons C6H14 of the paraffin series". Do you really think that ingestion of hexane, even in tiny quantities, will benefit your baby? "Further, soy formulas lack cholesterol, which is absolutely essential for the development of the brain and nervous system; they also lack lactose and galactose, which play an equally important role in the development of the nervous system."1 "Neither milk-based nor soy-based infant commercial formulas can be recommended for optimal development of the infant. Mothers who cannot breastfeed, for whatever reason, should prepare homemade formula based on whole milk for their babies. The rare child allergic to whole milk formula should be given a whole food meat-based formula, not one made of soy protein isolate. [These suggestions will appeal most to mothers who are not employed away from home.] "Time invested in preparing homemade formula will be well rewarded with the joys of conferring robust good health on your children." Endnotes: 1. Fallon, S. W. and Enig, M. G., "Soy products for dairy products? Not so fast", Health Freedom News, September 1995, pp. 12-20; published by National Health Federation, PO Box 688, Monrovia CA 91016, USA, phone (818) 357 2181, fax (818) 303 0642. 2. Coward, L., et al., "Genisfein, daidzen and their betaglycoside conjugates: Antitumor isoflavones in soybean food from American and Asian diets", J. Agric Food Chem. 1993:41, pp. 1961-1967. 3. Katz, S. H., "Food and biocultural evolution: A model for the investigation of modern nutritional problems", Nutritional Anthropology, Alan R Liss, Inc, NY, USA, 1987, p. 50. 4. Hattersley, J.G., "High-dose vitamin B 12 for the elderly", for submission to Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients for publication. 5. Scheer, J. F., Health Freedom News, March 1991, p. 7. 6. Racks, J. J., et al., "The USDA trypsin inhibitor study; I. Background, objectives and procedural details", Qual. Plant Foods Hum. Nutr. 1958:35, pp. 232-240. 7. Fallon and Enig, op cit. 8. Lonnerdal, B. et al., "The effect of individual components of soy formula and cows' milk formula on zinc bioavailability", Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 1984:40, pp. 1064-l070. 9. Palmer, G., The Politics of Breastfeeding, Pandora Press, London, UK, 1993, p. 310. 10. Ely, J. T. A., "Potential break-through on mercury problems", Well Mind Assoc. Bulletin, June 1993. 11. Ganse, R., "Doctors still sleuthing cause of food allergies", Sch. Foodserv. J. 1986:40, pp. 38-39. 12. Alarcon, P. et al., "Clinical trial of home available, mixed diets versus a lactose-free soy-protein formula for the dietary management of acute childhood diarrhea", J. Pediatr. Gastroenterol. Nutr. 1991:12, pp. 224-232. 13. Dukakis, E. S. et al., "Evaluating the nutritional quality of infant formula", Nutr. Res. 1989:9, pp. 93-104. 14. Phytate reduction of zinc absorption has been demonstrated in numerous studies; results are summarised in Leviton, R., Tofu, Tempeh, Miso and Other Soyfoods: The Food of the Future&emdash; How to Enjoy its Spectacular Health Benefits, Keats Pub., New Canaan, CT, USA, 1982, pp 14-l5. 15. (a) Mellanby, E., "Experimental rickets: The effect of cereals and their interaction with other factors of diet and environment in producing rickets", Med. Res. Council 1925:93, pp. 2-65. (b) Wills, M. R. et al., "Phytic acid and nutritional rickets in immigrants", Lancet, 8 April 1972, pp. 771-773. 16. (a) Van Rensburg, et al., "Nutritional status of African populations predisposed to esophageal cancer", Nutr. Cancer 1983:4, pp. 206-216. (b) Moser, P. B. et al., "Copper iron, zinc and selenium dietary intake and status of Nepalese lactating women and their breast-fed infants", Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 1988:47, pp. 729-734. (c) Harland, B. F. et al., "Nutritional status and phytate; zinc and phytate X calcium: Zinc dietary molar ratios of lacto-ovo vegetarian Trappist monks: 10 years later", J. Am. Diet. Assoc. 1988:88, pp. 1562-1566. 17. El Tiney, A. H., "Proximate composition and mineral and phytate contents of legumes grown in Sudan", J. Food Composition Analysis 1989:2, pp. 67-78. 18. Ologhobo, A. D. et al., "Distribution of phosphorus and phytate in some Nigerian varieties of legumes and some effects of processing", J. Food Science 1984:49, pp. 199-201. 19. (a) Smith, A. K., Soybeans: Chemistry and Technology, Avi Pub., Westport, CT, USA, 1972, p. 183. (b) Jenkins, M. Y. et al., "Nutritional assessment of twelve protein foods/ingredients", Nutr. Res. 1989:9, pp. 83-92. 20. Wallace, G. M., "Studies on the processing and properties of soy milk", J. Sci. Fd. Agric. 1971:22, pp. 526-535. 21. Berk, Z., "Technology of production of edible flours and protein products from soybeans", FAO Agr. Serv. Bulletin 1992:97, Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, p. 85. 22. Webster's New World Dictionary, Simon & Schuster, NY, Second College ed., 1982. 23. Annand, J. C., "Hypothesis: Heated milk protein and thrombosis", J. Atherosclerosis Res. 1967:7, pp. 797-801. 24. Carper, J. "High vitamin C levels boost production of good cholesterol", Seattle Post Intelligencer, 10 August 1994. 25. Price, W. A., Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, Keats Pub., New Canaan, CT, USA, 1945. 26. Pariza, M. W., "Newly recognized anti-carcinogenic fatty acid identification and quantification in natural and processed cheeses", J. Ag. Food Chem. 1989:37, pp. 75-81. 27. Taylor, C. B. et al., "Spontaneously occurring angiotoxic derivatives of cholesterol, Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 1979:32, pp. 40-57. 28. Hattersley, J. G., "Acquired atherosclerosis: Theories of causation, novel therapies", J. Orth. Med. 1991:6, pp. 83-98. 29. Hattersley, J. G., "Vitamin B6: The overlooked key to preventing heart attacks", J. Applied Nutrition 1995:47, pp. 24-31. 30. Hattersley, J. G., "The importance of vitamin C and vitamin B6 in prevention and reversal of acquired atherosclerosis", J. Orth. Med. (in press). 31. "Microwave tragedy", PPNF Nutr. J. 1994:18(1&2), pp. 1-5. About the Author: Joseph G. Hattersley is an independent medical health researcher and writer. Only a dissertation short of a Ph.D. in economics, he became a stockbroker and research analyst, but found a new calling 20 years ago, at age 54, when a serious allergy turned his attention to finding ways to improve his own and others' health. For the last 13 years Mr Hattersley has been writing on such subjects as non-drug/non-surgical avoidance of heart attacks and the role of vitamin B6, and his work has been published in alternative medical and health journals around the world. He was a contributor to the book, Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide (1993), for which he wrote the chapter on cardiac health. Working with two Australian physicians, Mr Hattersley has been writing a book on heart attacks, due for 1997 publication by Lothian, Melbourne. His other new book, tentatively titled Stopping Crib Death (co-written with Dr Lendon Smith, et al.), is scheduled for late 1997/early 1998 release. Article 2: THE GENETICALLY ENGINEERED SOYA BEAN Not Real Food Monsanto's Soya Bean is the first crop ever to be sold as a food ingredient which has been manipulated genetically. It's not REAL food. Instead, the genetically engineered soya has been radically manipulated to insert foreign genes which, given the choice, we would almost certainly not want to eat. Genes from bacteria, a virus, and a petunia..... We have never before eaten these "ingredients" in the human diet. Yet the makers assure us it is safe. How do they know? They have done no long term tests to prove it. Instead they have disregarded scientists fears that more allergies could be caused by the added "foreign" proteins. Other health problems are entirely unpredictable. If we eat genetically engineered soya we are all in a giant experiment - waiting to see the results. Meanwhile, the damage is being done. The genetically engineered soyacrop could devastate our environment, with experts predicting that our countryside could be changed irreversibly. Weedkiller resistance for example- built into the soya by the genetic scientists - could spread into the environment creating super weeds that need more or stronger chemicals to control them. If we accept this soya, other products, also resistant to the same toxic herbicide, are being readied for release into our environment. Consumers are saying "no" to genetically engineered food - now foodproducers must resist it, and provide us with the REAL food we want. GENETIC ENGINEERING THREATENS OUR HEALTH Most of us eat soya. 60% of processed supermarket foods contain it ... some 30,000 food products including bread, chocolate, cakes, margarine, ice cream, biscuits, pasta, and vegetable oil. For vegetarians it is one of the healthiest non-meat sources of protein. Soya beans are also used as a high protein food supplement for livestock, just one more route into our food chain. If use of genetically engineered soya goes unchecked, we will be eating more and more of it every day. Yet no one can guarantee that eating it is safe. The genes incorporated in the new soya bean have never before been part of the human diet. Eating them makes each of us part of an experiment with an unpredictable end. All we can do is wait for the results. Regulatory authorities in the US and EU who have okayed the soya for planting and use in foods didn't conduct their own tests but relied on information given by Monsanto. In the US, where `regulatory relief' was granted to the genetic engineering industry, a manufacturer simply has to state that its product is safe. No independent scientific evidence, toxicological studies or long term food studies are needed to gain approval. In Europe the soya was approved despite Governments expressing concern. In the UK, the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP) said "It is .... impossible to predict what long-term effects, if any, the genetic modification may have on the plant." (MAFF 1995) Monsanto's own data failed to give the whole picture. Even though the soya is specifically designed to be used with glyphosate, Monsanto's tests for the safety of the beans to human health were done on beans which had not been treated with the herbicide. The potential build up of toxins and substances that cause allergies urgently needs to be investigated. Proof already exists that allergens can be transferred to plants through genetic engineering. Scientists trying to add a brazil nut gene to soya beans had to withdraw the end result because it caused allergies in humans. Nuts are a well known allergen, and could be tested for. Others will be unknown until they start to take affect, and as soya is so widely used it will be difficult to identify this as the cause of any problems and to do anything about it. "Most biotechnology companies use microorganisms rather than food plants as gene donors, even though the allergenic potential of these newly introduced microbial proteins is uncertain, unpredictable and untestable." (Dr. Nestle (1996) Allergies to transgenic foods. New England Journal of Medicine 334: 726-728) GENETIC ENGINEERING MEANS MORE POLLUTION Monsanto like to say their mutant bean is a "green bean" because only one herbicide will be needed to control weeds and the killing chemical in glyphosate breaks down in soil. But the "built-in" herbicide resistance of their crop carries even greater risks to the environment. If the herbicide resistant gene is passed on to local weeds, the new soya could help create super weeds impossible to control without greater use of ever more toxic chemicals. If farmers are tempted to use more glyphosate because their crop is immune to it, this could add to the spread of herbicide resistance, as well as building up more harmful chemicals in the environment. The chemicals in glyphosate are lethal to most vegetation. While Roundup Ready soya will keep on growing, everything around it that is green will die. Rare plants, trees, and other flora will be killed, along with beneficial animals such as ladybirds, lacewing-flies and earthworms. Damage to one part of an ecosystem has a knock on effect on others. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has identified 74 endangered plant species which may be made extinct by glyphosate. Genetically Engineered Soya Relies on Weedkiller Glyphosate GLYPHOSATE IS KNOWN TO: damage soil .... maple trees and clover damaged after treatment with it are thought to have suffered from lack of nitrogen in the soil. Beneficial bacteria, fungi and micro-organisms that live in the soil, are affected by the toxic chemical in glyphosate. destroy natural vegtation .... even tiny amounts of drifting glyphosate is dangerous to non target plants. Wild plants can be damaged or killed by less that 10 micrograms per plant. Even ground based spraying can cause damage at 100 metres. destroy habitats and food sources for birds and amphibians such as toads. This changes the make up of an entire ecosystem. damage trees. The UK Forestry Commission believes glyphosate can affect hedgerow trees causing dieback. In the US it is linked to reduced winter hardiness and resistance to disease in trees. damage fish and aquatic invertebrates. Glyphosate becomes even more toxic in higher water temperatures. Once in the environment these changes to nature are irreversible. Such a destructive influence in the environment can hardly be called "green". NO CHOICE FOR CONSUMERS The very first American harvest of genetically engineered soya was gathered in 1996 with one million acres devoted to the new crop. Europe is one of the biggest buyers of American soya beans, importing around 14 million tonnes every year. In 1996 only 2% of the US crop was genetically engineered, but if the market accepts it this will escalate to around 50% or more in 1998. (Eurocommerce) The three main food producers for Europe, Unilever, Nestle and Danone use US soybean in many of their products. Since so many consumers are opposed to genetically engineered products in their food, some branches of these food producers have said they prefer not to use them but Monsanto are denying both consumers and producers any choice. By refusing to separate the genetically engineered beans from the natural ones Monsanto are making it impossible for food processors to refuse or label their products. On 13 November 1996 the European Parliament demanded clear labelling of GE-products and segregation of GE soya, yet there are no laws to enforce this. Segregation is possible. Monsanto are already collecting the seeds from GE crops to be used for future planting, and tests exist which can identify the GE soya from all the rest. With consumers increasingly demanding GE free food the food producers must respond and call for separation or avoid Monsantos tainted product. Kraft Jacobs Suchard, fourth largest food company in Europe has said that for the foreseeable future it will only use soya free from genetic engineering in its European products. Now its up to Unilever, Nestle and Danone to do the same. WHO MADE THE SOYA AND WHY? The three new genes genetically engineered into the soya bean - from a bacteria, a cauliflower virus and a petunia - don't do a thing for the taste, cost or nutritional value of the bean. Instead the unusual genetic combination - which would never be created by nature - makes the soya resistant to a weed killer. The makers, American chemical giant Monsanto (who made Agent Orange defoliant as used in the Vietnam war) say this will mean more soya from each crop, but they cannot guarantee it. They already produce the weedkiller, glyphosate, (brand name Roundup); now they produce the only bean (Roundup Ready) that can be sprayed with it during growth. Normally soya is too delicate to spray once sprouting from the ground. Since two of its products - the bean and the weedkiller are now so closely linked, Monsanto gets to sell more of both. HOW DO WE GET THE SOYA? America produces over half the world's soya. The beans travel on trucks from the "cornbelt" in Iowa to the main inland harbours along the Mississipi. Here they are stored in silos until they go to New Orleans to be loaded on cargo ships. It's here that the beans are mixed by international grain traders - the main ones being multinational Cargill, Central Soya and Archer Daniel Midlands (ADM). Beans are shipped to Europe to go to processors who crush them to make oil, or extract derivatives such as lecithin which goes into chocolate. Then food processors such as Unilever, Danone and Nestle buy these products to use them in our food. The US companies also sell seed to farmers all over the world. The soya beans are already being grown in Argentina. Experimental field trials have been done in Canada, Brazil, France, Italy, Japan and Costa Rica. But even farmers do not really benefit. Using the bean in the USA, for example, ties the farmers to a contract with Monsanto. They pay a premium for the seed and agree to certain conditions: to use only Monsanto's Round-Up herbicide; not to use any of their harvest for the next year's sowing; and to allow spot checks by Monsanto for three years to ensure they are sticking to the agreement. Although farmers may see short term reductions in costs they may ultimately lose out if the consumer says no to genetically engineered soya. While small scale and organic farmers may be driven completely out of business as more emphasis is put on large scale, intensive farming. SOYA IS THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG The Soya bean is only the first genetically engineered crop on the market and industry is hoping it will steam roller the customer into accepting the principle of genetically engineered foods. If consumers swallow this product hundreds of other foodstuffs with radically altered genetic make-ups will reach our stores. Others are being designed to be glyphosate resistant - oilseed rape, sugar beet, maize, potato, tomatoes, cotton and flax, for instance. This means more and more glyphosate will be used in the environment, causing more unecesssary damage to plant and animal life, and an ever increasing build up of residues in the soil. No one has calculated the risks this brings - or can guarantee it won't cause massive future problems for agriculture and the environment. It's just one big genetic experiment that we're all being made a part of. Article 3: Special report: what's wrong with our food? by Antony Barnett, public affairs editor Sunday August 13, 2000 A health warning was sounded last night over the dangers of eating soya after two senior American government scientists revealed that chemicals in the product could increase the risk of breast cancer in women, brain damage in men and abnormalities in infants.The disclosure, which sent shockwaves through the multi-billion dollar food industry, came after the scientists decided to break ranks with colleagues in the US Food and Drug Administration and oppose its decision last year to approve a health claim that soya reduced the risk of heart disease. They wrote an internal protest letter warning of 28 studies revealing toxic effects of soya. In an interview with The Observer, one of the scientists, Daniel Doerge, an expert on soya, said: 'We have very real worries that this health claim will be used by the industry as an endorsement of much wider health benefits to soya beyond the heart. Research has shown a clear link between soya and the potential for adverse effects in humans.'BSE and other health scares related to meat have led to rocketing sales of soya-related products in Britain. But it is not just vegetarian foods such as tofu that use soya. It is a key ingredient in products from meat sausages and fish fingers to salad creams and breakfast cereals. The concerns of Doerge and fellow FDA researcher Daniel Sheehan focus on chemicals in soya known as isoflavones which have effects similar to the female hormone oestrogen. While these chemicals may help to prevent a range of conditions including high cholesterol, they also lead to health problems in animals including altering sexual development of foetuses and causing thyroid disorders. Although soy is thought to protect against breast cancer, some studies show that chemicals in soya may increase the chances of breast cancer which uses oestrogen-type hormones for growth. Their letter to the FDA seen by The Observer states: 'There is abundant evidence that some of the isoflavones found in soy demonstrate toxicity in oestrogen sensitive tissues and in the thyroid. Additionally, the adverse effects in humans occur in several tissues.'During pregnancy in humans, isoflavones per se could be a risk factor for abnormal brain and reproductive tract development.' This will frighten mothers who increasingly use soya milk for babies. Doerge said: 'They are exposing their children to chemicals which we know have adverse effects in animals. It's like doing a large uncontrolled and unmonitored experiment on infants.'The soya industry insists that most research shows the health benefits of soya outweigh risks and that adverse effects seen in animals do not apply to humans. Richard Barnes, European director of the US Soy Bean Association, said: 'Millions of people around the world have been eating soya for years and have shown no signs of abnormalities or disorders.' Useful links: http://www.rediffmail.com/cgi-bin/red.cgi?red=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eifrn%2Ebbsrc%2Eac%2Euk%2Fpublic%2FFoodInfoSheets%2Fsoya%2Ehtml&isImage=0&BlockImage=0 Institute of Food Research information sheet on soya The message is that eat anything in moderation. Continue to follow traditional food patterns and habits of the regions, because it is time tested.