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Medicine Still Doesn't Understand The Soy Myth

You may be hearing about a new study touting the benefits of eating "uncooked" soy as a means to lower your cholesterol by as much as 9 percent, but don't be fooled about the mythical safety of processed soy products.

This so-called drop in LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol comes from consuming 12-ounce servings of soy milk or 2-ounce servings of tofu twice a day. But doubling that daily intake yielded only a modest improvement (1-2 percent tops).

Interestingly, the lead researcher, who was largely responsible for making the soy/cholesterol link better known 10 years ago, compared soy to a drug that needs to be taken in doses for patients to reap any benefit from it.

And, while this researcher's concept of using food as a therapeutic tool to optimize your health certainly mirrors my own, consuming non-fermented, processed soy products like tofu, soy milk or soy protein won't do anything for you, aside from harming your health.

The trouble with non-fermented soy products: They contain phytic acid, which has anti-nutritive properties, that binds with certain nutrients, including iron, to inhibit their absorption. On the other hand, this same effect isn't found in fermented soy products like natto, miso and tempeh.

MSNBC October 31, 2005

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