Does Eating Soy Products Make You Effeminate?

Food products made from soybeans contain phytoestrogens, which, as I understand, can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. If a man were to eat a lot of soy products, would it make him more effeminate? What would be the effects of such a diet??


Dunno. I drink a lot a soy milk these days (as I seem to have developed a mild lactose intolerance), and I haven’t noticed any urge to be called “Loretta” or anything like that. How much soy would one have to consume in order to have consumed a significant amount of phytoestrogens?

It may be pretty bad.

So says Testosterone magazine. Who are these guys?

Testosterone is a weightlifting mag. However, their science is usually pretty good, and if even half that stuff is true, soy is bad. Besides, the article’s quality is the relevant factor here, not who published it.

Fair enough. Just trying to correct for potential bias in an unfamiliar publication.

But is soy better than the hormone-filled alternatives?

Well, I have no dog in this fight as I don’t like soy, however I note the following from the magazine:

Emphasis added

That is not a sign of good science nor even a good overview, children. If this is typical of the magazine, I advise discounting our dear poster’s characterization as good science. Frankly most such magazines have piss poor science, so I am inclined to discount regardless.

Their spin in the end might be valid, however this passage tells me the article itself is hatchet job. The letter is interesting but needs context.

I have read many reports claiming the amount of oestrogen used in the manufacturer of certain plastics is dramatically lessening sperm counts in males in every subsequent generation (and also homogenising fish in rivers). The plastics are impossible to avoid as they are used to wrap food products we consume every day.

Of course, this causation is not accepted globally in the scientic community.

Scientific community, even.

If so many articles have been written on the benefits of soy, and you want to emphasize that soy may not be as good as it looks, do you include data about how good soy is?

The article is not intended as an overview of the health effects of soy protein. It’s an attempt to present data from peer-reviewed studies that show that there are negative effects of soy protein. I have no personal stake in the article, and I’d be very interested in seeing a refutation, or a critique.

The paramount question here is whether the article makes the case that it set out to make, and whether the supporting data is valid.

My response was to Collounsbury’s post.

You know, I have been feeling an urge to redecorate lately. And a little…swishy.

Soylent Queen is girleyman?

I’m not really concerned about magazine articles about soy. But what does matter is articles in scientific journals. Judging from the review ultrafilter posted, there may be some negative effects from soy products in specific populations (namely rats, mice, pigs, infants getting soy-based formula, and one infant with a predisposition to hyperthyroidism). The naysayers have nine articles, including animal studies, written in lesser journals over a six-year period. One of those articles documents the effects of soy in Japanese men.

Since we’re talking about something that has been a regular part of the Asian diet for 2,000 years, I suspect the pluses far, far outweigh any possible negatives.

I found a study that says that eating tofu makes you stupid-

Significant associations to midlife tofu consumption included poor cognitive test performance, enlargement of ventricles, and low brain weight. Poor late life cognitive tests were also observed. Those participants who consumed tofu 2 or more times per week fared the worst.


Slight nitpick:

Oestrogen/estrogen is not used in the manufacture of plastics. Several compounds/polymers (such as that nice lining inside your can of corn) are “estrogen mimics” sometimes called “endocrine disruptors” which can have effects similar to estrogen.

So we’ve got no apparent support for the estrogen thing – and by the way, Surreal, us guys have estrogen too, so it’s not like man + estrogen = effeminate. And we don’t have a lot for the “soy is bad” stuff either. Which is fortunate, since I gave up on the ‘regular’ stuff, if you can call milk that, for the soy kind some time ago.

Not exactly. It’s indisputable that soy products contain phytoestrogens. Of course so do plums, spinach, cucumbers and a whole range of other plants.

We just don’t have enough evidence to draw any further conclusions though.

If you eat a lot of anything, it’s bad, for the most part. I have heard many bad things about soy back when I used to research this kind of stuff. I drink a serving of soy milk every morning, and make sure not to eat any more soy-specific products.

If one or two servings of soy makes me a woman, than I wasn’t a man to begin with!

I don’t find it impossible to avoid foods wrapped in plastic. I don’t do so deliberately, but it happens that most of the food I eat is sold unwrapped or wrapped in cardboard or paper. If I stopped drinking milk and asked my butcher to wrap my meat in paper instead of putting it in polythene bags none of my food would be wrapped in plastic.

By the way, I read in a recent New Scientist that there are now studies showing that women eating or drinking soy products during their pregnancies is associated with a slight but statistically significant increase in spina bifida and genital abnormalities in the resulting children, and that soy-based infant formula is associated with nutritive problems in infants (too little of the right fats, perhaps?). The article went on to say that no studies published to date show any evidence of problems associated with foods containing phytoestrogens in the quantities in which they appear in human diets. (But I guess that if you fee beagles enough soy milk to choke a horse you can produce lab results to show that soy milk is about as dangerous as cyclamate.)