Monday, August 30, 2010

To Soy or Not to Soy...That is the Question

Glass of soy milk and soy beans.
There has been a lot of buzz about giving soy products and soy formula to babies.  I did a little bit of online research, because I too give my son tofu, soybeans, and small amounts of soy milk in his food.  It seems like this was really a hot button topic in the late 1990's and early 2000's because there is tons of conflicting info on the internet from that time.  From what I have read that the major long term issues of giving excessive amounts of soy products to babies, are thyroid and reproductive disorders.  Also there is rising concern over genetically engineered (GE) soybeans.  It is thought that megadoses of phytoestrogens in soy formula and genetically engineered soybeans have been implicated in the current trend toward increasingly premature sexual development in girls and delayed or retarded sexual development in boys.

This is an excerpt from 1999 post at bnet.  Check out the full story

In 1996, Dr. Kenneth Setchell of the Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati studied five leading brands of soy-based baby milk. He found the products contain the phytoestrogen level of several contraceptive pills every day, about six to 11 times the amount that alters the menstrual cycle.  

The Infant Formula Council (IFC) supports the Food and Drug Administration's view that GE [genetically engineered] soybeans are safe. However, the Center of Ethics and Toxics (CETOS), a nonprofit research organization, recently published research indicating a 200 to 300 percent increase in phytoestrogen levels of transgenic soybeans.  "There may be a big difference when you genetically modify plants from their original form," says CETOS' Mark Lappe. "The assumptions that the FDA and U.S. regulators have made exempting transgenic food from harm may be fallacious." 

Even if you're certain that your soy formula was produced from organic, non-GE sources, you're left with questions about safe dosage levels. Unfortunately, no standards exist. The FDA regards supplements and baby formulas as food, not drugs, and exempts them from extensive testing protocols. "Soy is used like water here and I think that's very scary," says Baumslag. "People are getting their information from drug and food companies rather than from careful research."
This information is certainly concerning, however this post is more than 10 years old.  I would be interesting to see what the regulations are now, and if the phytoestrogen levels are still that high?  Surprisingly there isn't a whole lot of recent literature on the web.  I was considering giving my son soy milk instead of cows milk when he turns one year, but honestly now I am reconsidering.  I have talked to a few moms who use rice milk and almond milk.  I have also heard of oat milk but don't know much about it...I'll keep you posted.  Would love to hear the opinion of anyone else who is interested in this topic!
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Mrs. Caccamise said...

I have been giving my kids only soy milk since they were one. I too read the recent "buzz" about the dangers of soy and asked my doc about it. she said anything fine in moderate intake and there is no more concern than worrying about the hormones in regular milk. I mean if I remember one year olds only need about 2 and a half cups a day...I suppose for formula that would be a lot. We have tried almond milk 2 and the kids like it but the nutritional content is not as good. hope this helps. also, you can't stop there..what about all the hormones in meats and chemicals in everything else..where does it end?..mia

mush momma said...

Mia, I agree...if it isn't the "genetically engineered" soybeans it's the cows injected with hormones to increase milk production. And in reality the almonds that they make the almond milk out of, are probably somehow genetically enhanced! It could drive us crazy if we worried about every single thing. Makes me want to move to the country and have a big garden. At least that way we would have some idea what we are putting in our kids mouths! It makes me smile that you are reading my Blog:-)