What a terrific title: A devil food is turning our kids into homosexuals! It’s from Wingnut Daily, of course, and it’s simply one of their kooks taking a germ of fact and amplifying it into a flaming reactionary whimper of fear. He’s complaining about soy.
Soybeans do contain compounds called isoflavones that resemble and weakly mimic estrogens. I’ve read a few papers that discuss their possible effects on human physiology, and they usually fall into the category of “Hmmm…suggestive, no evidence either way yet, needs more study.” Our wingnut author seems to have a different source than the scientific literature, though, because he makes some rather definitive claims.
Doctors used to hope soy would reduce hot flashes, prevent cancer and heart disease, and save millions in the Third World from starvation. That was before they knew much about long-term soy use. Now we know it’s a classic example of a cure that’s worse than the disease. For example, if your baby gets colic from cow’s milk, do you switch him to soy milk? Don’t even think about it. His phytoestrogen level will jump to 20 times normal. If he is a she, brace yourself for watching her reach menarche as young as seven, robbing her of years of childhood. If he is a boy, it’s far worse: He may not reach puberty till much later than normal.
So, I searched PubMed, and there’s nothing on soy and menarche or menstruation; I found a few articles on soy and puberty, and they say things like “The literature offers no evidence of endocrine effects in humans from infant consumption of modern soy-based formulas” and “To date, no adverse effects of short- or long-term use of soy proteins have been observed in humans and exposure to soy-based infant formulas does not appear to lead to different reproductive outcomes than exposure to cow milk formulas” and “Available evidence from adult human and infant populations indicates that dietary isoflavones in soy infant formulas do not adversely affect human growth, development, or reproduction.” There are many more papers on its putative effects on breast cancer and the symptoms of menopause, and even there it’s a study in ambiguity: some reports of slight positive effects, many more stating that there isn’t a detectable effect.
There doesn’t seem to be any strong evidence that eating tofu will turn your sons into girlie-boys, I’m afraid; there are better grounds to be concerned about known endocrine disruptors like atrazine and PCBs.
Of course, I have failed to take into the synergistic effects of water fluoridation, that commie plot, or the corrupting influence of Big Agriculture on science, that capitalist plot. I am amused at the fact, though, that here in rural Minnesota, where the kids rail against those homosexuals, that one of the most important crops these kids’ parents raise is soybeans. I wonder what the effect of this WND wingnuttery would be on conservative farmers out here? I expect that would trigger a more strongly measurable response than what the soybeans are doing to their gonads.
Ah, but what do I know. The author has impeccable credentials.
James Rutz is chairman of Megashift Ministries and founder-chairman of Open Church Ministries. He is the author of “MEGASHIFT: Igniting Spiritual Power,” and, most recently, “The Meaning of Life.”
See? He’s a gladhanding Jesus-promoter who makes his money founding “ministries” and selling self-help books. You can trust him.
Klein KO (1998) Isoflavones, soy-based infant formulas, and relevance to endocrine function. Nutr Rev 56(7):193-204
Jenks BH (2004) Safety of soy-based infant formulas containing isoflavones: the clinical evidence. J Nutr 134(5):1220S-1224.
Armenio L (2003) Soy-based formulas and phyto-oestrogens: a safety profile. Acta Paediatr Suppl 91(441):93-100.