soy formula, baby feeding, safety, emasculinization, feminization, sexual function,

Ask the Doc: Are Soy Foods Safe?

Ask the Doc: Are Soy Foods Safe?

2006 Wellness Clubs of

A lady in our area is teaching that we are emasculating our boys by allowing them to eat soy products. She says she learned of this on the Internet. What do you think? K.G.

Dear K.G.: Its astounding how quickly the Internet has become the ultimate source of reliable information in the minds of many people. Im reminded of what my father used to say when I was growing up. When someone would relate a story and quote television as the source my father would facetiously tell me, Son, if you see it on TV you can believe it! If he was still alive today Im sure he would be saying, Son, if you see it on the Internet you can believe it!

It appears that this controversy stems from an article written in 1998 by an animal and veterinary sciences group in New Zealand. They calculated the amount of plant estrogens in soy formulas and soy cereals and suggested that the effects of soy formulas and soy cereals on human babies be studied.

The facts are that soy-based infant formulas have been in use for over 60 years, have been fed to millions of infants worldwide, and have been subjected to controlled research studies. No adverse effects of soy intake in infants and children have been reported in the medical literature. The most recent report, published by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, found no statistically significant differences in 30 different outcomes including onset of puberty, menstrual history, fertility, height and weight, and current health among men and women fed soy or cow milk formulas as infants between 1965 and 1978.

Provided that the contents are certified to be non-genetically modified, soy-based infant formulas are a safe, nutritionally complete feeding option for most infants, and you should not feel that you are putting your sons at risk by including soy foods in their diet.  -Dr. Peterson

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