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Eating soy may reduce risk of certain cancers.

Epidemiological studies indicate that populations consuming plant-based diets have a lower risk of certain cancers than those that consume animal-based diets. Scientists at Solae undertook a meta-analysis to evaluate epidemiological studies that correlate soy consumption to cancer risk in humans. Essentially, their analyses indicate that consuming soy foods could lead to a reduced risk of breast, prostate, and gastrointestinal cancer.

The investigators conducted a Medline search in English-language publications covering soy and breast, prostate and gastrointestinal (esophageal, stomach and colorectal) cancers. They wanted the study to provide a risk estimate, have a 95% confidence interval (95% CI) and have soy intake assessed as soy foods--as a group of soy foods or a specific type of soy food.

Researchers did not include any studies assessing fermented soy foods. They conducted three analyses using a random-effects model and detected publication bias using a trim-and-fill model. Fourteen studies on breast cancer met the criteria.

An analysis of these studies yielded a risk estimate of 0.78, indicating a 22% reduction in breast cancer risk. Six studies on prostate cancer met the criteria. An analysis of these studies showed a risk estimate of 0.66, indicating a 34% risk reduction. Nineteen studies on gastrointestinal cancer met the criteria, and results of the analysis yielded a risk estimate of 0.70, indicating a 30% risk reduction. No publication bias was detected in any of these analyses.

FYI: Soy-based liquid shakes may have the nutritional equivalence of steady behavioral therapy (milk-base shake diets), according to a study in the June 2005 Journal of the American College of Nutrition. The study also claimed that a soy-based liquid shake diet is nutritionally better than most medications for weight loss.

The report indicates that soy-based shakes can help people with other health issues, in addition to losing weight. For example, high cholesterol and trigylceride levels are substantially lessened after the starting of a soy-based shake diet.

The study, headed by Dr. James W. Anderson and Dr. Lars H. Hole from the University of Kentucky, compared a soy-based shake diet with a milk-based shake diet. They decided to choose for their study NutriPharma as their soy-based shake diet. All of the participants in the study did lose weight over the three-month duration of the entire process. What makes the study so significant is that both groups lost roughly the same amount of weight. This shows that soy-based diets are comparable to the traditional milk-based shake diet. Soy-based dieters showed better levels when it came to bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides.

Further information. L. Yan, Cancer Research, Solae Co., 1034 Danforth Dr., St. Louis, MO 63102; phone: 800-325-7108; URL:
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Publication:Emerging Food R&D Report
Date:Jun 1, 2006
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