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Soy and Health Issues in Children

Many people have turned to soy alternatives in the belief that these foods and beverages are healthier for their children. However, consistent research over the past several years has indicated that soy products may ultimately cause more harm than good.

A large factor contributing to the health dangers presented by soy is the fact that so many soy based products are processed. Soy milks, soy burgers, soy cheese, soy ice cream, and any other processed type of “healthy” junk food should all be avoided by people of every age. However, the dangers that soy products pose for children, particularly infants, is the most serious health issue facing us.

Some studies have produced results indicating that soy contains glycosides of daidzein and genistein (plant based chemicals) that strongly resemble estrogen. These chemicals contain hormonal and non-hormonal components, and the concentrations of them that appear in products such as soy infant formula and soy milk are 13,000 to 22,000 times higher than estrogen found naturally in the blood. Infants that consume soy based products are consuming estrogen at a rate that is six to eleven times higher than adults who consume soy foods.

Toxins found in Soy

  • Manganese
  • Nitrosamines
  • Phytic acid
  • Protease inhibitors
  • Soy lectins
  • Soyatoxin

These toxins are even found in soy products that are marketed as organic. It is also important to be aware of the fact that many farm animals are fed some type of soy in their diets. When purchasing chicken or beef, make sure you read labels carefully in an effort to try to determine what type of diet the animal was fed. If at all possible, try to purchase your meats from a trusted market that specializes in all natural or organic products. These stores will be much more likely to have products that carry labels listing the product’s origins. If labels don’t clearly specify the type of diet the animal was fed, ask someone in the meat department if they can provide you with the information.

How Soy Affects Children

Phytoestrogens have been linked to early sexual development in girls and boys. In some girls, breast development is occurring prior to the age of eight. In boys, the presence of estrogen inhibits the normal development of testosterone. During the first three months of a baby boy’s life, testosterone actually surges through the body in a normal process during which many male characteristics become programmed into the brain. This natural process ensures that boys have certain behaviors and characteristics once they reach puberty, so it essentially defines male behavior as it is supposed to be.

If the testosterone’s natural processes are inhibited by the presence of estrogen, the normal male behaviors and characteristics may not develop properly, and in some cases may not develop at all.

Basically, feeding your infant soy products is equivalent to giving him or her hormone replacement therapy medication or birth control pills. In fact, researchers have discovered as much as 22,000 times more estrogen compounds in infants who consume soy products than in those who are fed traditional formulas.

By Andrew Van Vooren

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