According to a recent article by the renowned Cleveland Clinic (USA), the connection between soy consumption and breast cancer risk has been researched and investigated for over 25 years. The reason is that soy products contain isoflavones, molecules similar to the hormone estrogen. This similarity has led to concerns that soy may increase the risk of estrogen-sensitive cancers (including breast cancer).
In recent years, protein-rich soy products have become increasingly popular as a plant-based alternative to animal foods. However, it is often read that soy consumption increases the risk of breast cancer. But is this really true?
However, scientific studies show that isoflavones are actually not identical with estrogen. And this difference is very important, says breast cancer specialist Dr. Erin Roesch. According to clinical studies the intake of isoflavones does not affect the breast cancer risk. These studies in humans have not confirmed any association between the consumption of natural soy and the development of breast cancer. Some deny this connection and even suggest a protective effect. But the misinformation about an allegedly increased risk of breast cancer due to soy consumption is persistent.
Breast cancer rates higher in the West
Dr. Roesch also points out that breast cancer rates in Western nations such as the United States are generally much higher than in many Asian countries where soy products are an important part of the diet. In addition, there is generally a lower-fat diet there, which also has an effect on the cancer rate. Why breast cancer has recently increased in these countries could have something to do with the introduction of a Western diet and lifestyle that may include a higher intake of saturated fats – and not because of soy consumption, according to the medical expert.
While people worry about something like soy consumption, which is not a risk for breast cancer, they are unfortunately not so concerned about real risk factors, says Dr. Roesch. Factors such as obesity, early smoking, lack of exercise or a high intake of saturated fatty acids are a larger problem than the consumption of vegetable estrogens such as Soja, she says. Genetics also plays an important role in the risk of a person developing certain types of breast cancer.
When choosing soy-based products, you should choose natural options rather than highly processed foods. And eat them in moderation, recommends Dr. Roesch. Herbal sources such as soy milk, tofu and edamame are a good choice. But make them part of a balanced diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fats.
“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 are giving in your body,” the expert emphasizes. “Together you can eliminate misinformation and find out what works best to stay healthy,” says Dr. Roesch. (ad)
Dr. Roesch advises women to avoid soy isoflavone extracts, especially in large doses. She points out that it is usually better to obtain nutrients from food sources rather than from dietary supplements. The doses in dietary supplements containing isoflavones can be “several hundred times higher than those you would take if you were eating tofu or drinking soy milk, and this could be a potential problem,” she says.
Can soya cause breast cancer?
WashingtonNewsday Health and Wellness.