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HEALTH ARTICLES

Real Men Do Eat Soy!

from Jana Mitcham
July 2, 2004

Real men do eat soy, and for many good health reasons! Some of our Affiliates have had questions concerning the use of soy by men. This article says its okay!

Real Men Do Eat Soy
By Sally Squires
Washington Post

Yes, your wife, girlfriend or significant other has been eating a lot of soy lately, mainly to boost her female hormones.That doesn't mean it's bad for you, fella.

Instead of pushing aside that soymilk, pour some on your cereal. Dig into the soy burgers at the office cafeteria and the tofu in your takeout stir-fry.

It turns out that soy, at least in the doses most people will consume it in food, may be good for guys, too. A growing number of studies suggest that soy has plenty of health benefits for men – from lowering cholesterol levels to protecting against prostate cancer – and few downsides.

"Real men should eat soy," said Kenneth Setchell, professor of pediatrics at the Cincinnati Children's Medical Center, who has studied soy for 30 years.

While there have been worries that men who consume large quantities of soy foods may get a little too in touch with their feminine sides, research has generally not borne that out.

"Soy is a very healthy food," said physician James Anderson, who has studied soy for 15 years at the University of Kentucky in Lexington and is convinced enough of its benefits to eat about a dozen servings of soy per week. "It's very safe."

Most concerns about soy have centered around the fact that it is a rich source of isoflavones, substances that mimic the effects of the female hormone estrogen. To determine what these plant-based chemicals might do, Steven Zeisel and his colleagues at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill fed megadoses of soy to men as part of a recent National Cancer Institute study.

And if you stick with foods rich in soy as opposed to supplements, researchers say, there's no evidence of harm, unless you are among the one in every 1,000 people who is allergic to soy.

Not only is soy a rich source of high-quality protein, but it also contains complex carbohydrates, fiber, folic acid (a key B vitamin), healthy fat and antioxidants that help protect against cancer.

Soy milk, tofu and the soy isolates found in meatless burgers and hot dogs have been shown to be very effective, said David Jenkins, professor and chairman of nutrition and metabolism at the University of Toronto and St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. By contrast, soy sauce has only minimal levels of active soy ingredients and comes with massive amounts of sodium.

Just resist any urge to eat raw soy. Uncooked soybeans contain a substance that inhibits trypsin, a key enzyme required for protein digestion. "Horses who eat raw soybeans die," said Zeisel. While raw soybeans may not be

Here's how cooked soy stacks up in health benefits:

Bone health. Studies suggest that soy helps preserve bone and may help build it in some people.

Blood pressure. Soy appears to lower blood pressure slightly.

Cholesterol. Since 1999, foods containing 6.25 grams of soy protein per serving can be promoted for their ability to lower blood cholesterol when combined with a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol. About 25 grams of soy protein daily helps lower the most damaging form of blood cholesterol -- low-density lipoprotein (LDL) --by up to about 10 percent and total cholesterol by up to 7 percent.

Diabetes. Soy contains healthy carbohydrates with a low glycemic index, meaning they are less likely than more-processed carbs to raise blood sugar levels.

Muscles. As a protein source, soy ranks at the top of the list… A soy burger, a handful of soy nuts or a soy smoothie after a weight training session is plenty, according to Jeff Potteiger, an exercise physiologist at Miami University in Ohio.

Prostate. In Asian countries, where soy consumption is high, incidence of prostate cancer is similar to that in Western countries, but the disease is much less likely to kill. Studies of Seventh-Day Adventists, who eat no meat, have found that drinking one glass per day of soy milk appears to lower prostate cancer risk by 30 percent; two glasses per day may lower risk by up to 70 percent.

© 2004 Wichita Eagle and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved. http://www.kansas.com

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