Have you noticed there are many conflicting messages regarding soybean nutrition? The abundance of online marketing and the mobile information network have made it easy for consumers to become confused about the health benefits of soy products and who to listen to.
Sadly, I have spoken with many parents who have abandoned soy products altogether because the soy critics have become so loud. The information out there is just too much to wade through. I can’t say that I blame them.
In fact, I would probably be in that same boat had I not learned of a few expert voices and some helpful tips to filter the information.
Solid Scientific Research Does Not Always Get The Most Clicks
Often times, the more “sensational” messages about soy become the loudest and most popular. This is true of anything in marketing and news headlines. A catchy headline will undoubtedly get more clicks. As the article or post goes viral, it quickly moves up in Google’s page rank. So the next time someone comes online to do a search, guess what pops up?
So, how do we cut through the fog?
I believe the answer is to use discernment in selecting credible authors and sources. Think of it as a filtering system. A good system will eliminate questionable sources and those more sensational headlines. Just because a soy article is one of Google’s top 10 pages does not guarantee that it’s grounded in sound scientific research.
A good system will also give you a few credible experts in the area of soy research. These sources will give you a standard by which you can filter much of the misinformation that’s out there.
Two Reputable Voices On Soybean Nutrition
Here are two sources that I personally trust when it comes to information on soy.
Dr. Mark Messina is an adjunct professor at Loma Linda University and the Executive Director of the Soy Nutrition Institute. He has been studying the health effects of soy for more than 20 years. Dr. Messina has published more than 60 scientific papers and given more than 500 presentations on soy foods to health professionals. I would say that makes him a pretty good expert when it comes to the truthful health impact of soy.
Dr. Stephen Chaney received his B.S. Degree in Chemistry from Duke University and his Ph.D. Degree in Biochemistry from UCLA. He is a distinguished professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics, and the Department of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Dr. Chaney teaches first year medical and dental students.
Dr. Chaney has published 97 papers and 12 reviews in peer-reviewed scientific journals as well as two chapters on nutrition for one of the leading biochemistry textbooks for medical students. He also ran an active cancer research program for 37 years. Dr. Chaney is definitely an expert when it comes to deciphering scientific fact from fiction and interpreting what the solid research says concerning soy protein.
These doctors are only two of many reputable voices out there on soy health, but bouncing messages off of their research is a great start!
The Problem With Cell Culture & Animal Studies
Unfortunately, some of the bad press that soy receives is based on cell culture and animal studies. You may ask, “Isn’t this good research to pay attention to?” Well, not exactly.
Here is what Dr. Stephen Chaney has to say concerning this type of research:
“Any good scientist will tell you that these experiments have only a 10% chance of proving true in humans. We don’t discount those experiments, but rather use them as a basis for designing human clinical trials that will definitively test the hypothesis that they have raised.” 1
Did you catch that? The best nutrition research always comes from human clinical trials. So don’t be led astray by soy critics making truth claims based on unsubstantiated or unpublished research.
Don’t believe everything you read.
Always consider the source and check all references.
I hope these tips have been helpful as you sift through the various messages about soy and its impact on our health.
What conflicting messages about soy have you heard? Are there articles that you’re not sure about? Feel free to share your thoughts and questions below!
Related Links On Soy Nutrition
1. Chaney, Dr. Stephen G. Letter to Dr. Falentin, a personal response to and critique of Nexus magazine’s article, “Soy Products: Tragedy and Hype”, personal files.