Soy and breast cancer
The topic of soy and breast cancer is very popular. Research has shown that high levels of the hormone estrogen increases the risk of breast cancer. The confusion and fear surrounding soy comes from the fact that soy contains "phytoestrogens" or "dietary estrogens". Phytoestrogens are compounds naturally found in plants and in many foods such as soy. Phytoestrogen looks similar to estrogen found in the female body. But when ingested, phytoestrogens affect your body in a much weaker way than estrogen.
In fact, research shows that consumption of soy is safe for women with breast cancer. More research is needed, but some studies suggest that breast cancer survivors that ate a moderate amount of had a lower risk of cancer recurrence than those who avoided soy. It is important to note that most of the research has been conducted in soy-containing foods. For this reason, soy supplements should be avoided until more research data is available. Overall, if you choose a diet that includes soy, a moderate amount of soy is safe to enjoy.
What is a moderate amount of soy?
The American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR) defines a moderate amount of soy as "1-2 standard servings daily of whole soy foods such as tofu, soy milk, edamame, and soy nuts."
An example of 1 serving
- 1 cup soy milk
- 1/3 cup (or about 3 ounces) of tofu, tempeh, or soy meats
- 1/2 cup cooked soy beans
- 1/4 cup (or 1 ounce) soy nuts