Harvard Health Letter

An update on soy: It's just so-so

Soy's earlier promise as a health food has been dimmed somewhat by the results of more recent research. Early research suggested that soy protein was "heart healthy" because it could lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, but subsequent studies and judgments have dampened that enthusiasm. The results for soy protein have been so unimpressive that the American Heart Association has asked the FDA to rescind its 1999 decision that allowed food companies to label soy products as having heart disease–reducing benefits. There have also been worries that the estrogen-like chemicals in soy, called isoflavones, might promote the growth of estrogen-sensitive cells and therefore increase the chance of breast cancer recurrence. 
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