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Friday, June 23, 2006

No Health Risks Found for Soy Infant Formulas

I don't know exactly when soy became controversial. Seems that I just looked up one day and articles were all over the net screaming that soy caused as many problems as, well, dairy.

This is a huge concern for those parents who put their infants on soy formulas. To get it out of the way: of course breastfeeding is the best thing for infants. But not everybody can do so all the time, for various reasons. Babies may become temporarily lactose intolerant because of illnesses striking their intestines. And dairy proteins can leak through into the breastmilk and create symptoms in babies with allergies. Soy formulas are routinely suggested as the best alternatives.

Parents want to know: are soy formulas safe? The answer appears to be: yes.

On foodconsumer.org, Julia R. Barrett wrote a survey article on " The Science of Soy: What Do We Really Know?" Although she notes that experts urge caution because soy can also be an allergen, she quotes Susan Baker, a pediatric gastroenterologist at the Children's Hospital of Buffalo and former chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition, as saying "It's always true that there could be something subtle that we didn't look for or didn't know to look for, but so far we haven't seen any major health problems." And Marisa Salcines, director of communications for the Atlanta-based International Formula Council, which represents infant formula manufacturers, says " "There haven't been any studies that have shown any negative effects in adults who consumed soy-based infant formulas as babies."

The real issue is that good long-term studies comparing soy-based formula, cow's milk-based formula, and breast milk have not yet been concluded. There are several going on now, however.

In the meantime, the evidence that soy is a major problem for any substantial number of people is lacking. And that's good news for those of us who try to avoid dairy.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This article is sadly outdated and should be removed from your site. Soy does, indeed, cause many health problems. I encourage your readers to do their own research and not just assume that whatever is posted to this site is the most accurate and up-to-date information available. The affects of soy on the human body are, at the very least, of significant concern. Before feeding a food like this to your infant, I would highly recommend you scour the Internet for much safer alternatives.