Do soy products increase the risk of disease? – Specialized naturopathic and naturopathic portal

Soy products like tofu are enjoying increasing popularity. But some people claim that consuming it could increase the risk of breast cancer. (Image: Olena Mykhaylova /

Can soy cause breast cancer?

In recent years, high protein soy products have become increasingly popular as a plant-based alternative to foods of animal origin. But we can read over and over again that soy consumption increases the risk of breast cancer. But is it really true?

According to a recent article from the famous Cleveland Clinic (USA), the relationship between soy consumption and breast cancer risk has been studied and studied for more than 25 years. This is because soy products contain isoflavones, molecules similar to the hormone estrogen. This similarity has raised concerns that soy may increase the risk of estrogen-sensitive cancers (including breast cancer).

Breast cancer rates higher in the West

However, scientific research shows that isoflavones are actually not the same as estrogen. And this difference is very important, says Dr. Erin Roesch. According to clinical studies, taking isoflavones does not affect the risk of breast cancer. These human studies have not confirmed an association between natural soy consumption and the development of breast cancer. Some deny this link and even suggest a protective effect. But misinformation about a supposed increased risk of breast cancer from soy consumption persists.

Dr. Roesch also points out that breast cancer rates in Western countries, such as the United States, are generally much higher than in many Asian countries, where soy products are an important part of the diet. . Plus, they usually eat a low fat diet, which also has an effect on cancer rates. Why breast cancer has recently increased in these countries might have something to do with the introduction of a Western diet and lifestyle, which may include a higher intake of saturated fat – and not because of soy consumption, according to the doctor.

Worry about the real risk factors

Unfortunately, while people worry about something like consuming soy, which doesn’t pose a risk for breast cancer, they don’t worry much about the real risk factors, says Dr. Roesch. Factors like obesity, early smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, or a high intake of saturated fat are a bigger problem than consuming plant-based estrogen like soy, she says. Genetics also play an important role in a person’s risk of developing certain types of breast cancer.

Natural soy is the healthiest choice

When choosing soy products, consider choosing natural options over highly processed foods. And eat them in moderation, recommends Dr. Roesch. Vegetable sources like soy milk, tofu, and edamame are good choices. But integrate them into a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fat.

Avoid isoflavone extracts

Dr. Roesch advises women to avoid soy isoflavone extracts, especially in high doses. She points out that it’s generally better to get nutrients from food sources rather than supplements. The doses in dietary supplements containing isoflavones can “be several hundred times higher than what you would take if you ate tofu or drank soy milk, and that could be a potential problem,” the doctor said.

“Whether you are concerned about your risk or have a high risk of breast cancer, it is always best to talk to your doctor about what you put in your body,” says the expert. “Together, you can eliminate misinformation and find out what works best for staying healthy,” said Dr. Roesch. (a d)

Author and source information

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This text complies with the requirements of specialized medical literature, medical directives and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.


Cleveland Clinic: Can Soy Cause Breast Cancer ?, (Accessed October 18, 2020), Cleveland Clinic

Important note:
This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.