With all the conflicting information about soy, it's very difficult to know if soy is good for you or not. Some say soy is healthy. And others say it's dangerous. Who should you believe?

In an attempt to clear up the confusion, 13 top researchers from the Israeli health ministry did a yearlong study on soy and the research behind its health claims and warnings. The members were concerned about published reports linking soy to digestive problems, thyroid dysfunction, ADD/ADHD, dementia, reproductive disorders, and even cancer.

Many of these diseases are common in Israel, where religious dietary laws prohibit mixing milk with meat. So many Israeli children are fed soymilk instead. The researchers were looking to see if there's a connection.

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As you may know, soy contains estrogen-like compounds called isoflavones. Studies show isoflavones have been shown to reduce cholesterol and may have benefits in heart disease and osteoporosis. But the Israeli researchers found these benefits may be outweighed by potential risks. These risks include breast cancer and reduced male fertility.

As a red-blooded American man, I'm always careful about anything that affects male sexual performance. Not long ago, I saw a disturbing study on primates. In this study, researchers fed male newborns soy formula. They discovered the soy blocked the normal surge in testicular testosterone production that occurs in the first six months of life. The long-term ramifications of this are unknown. But logically, I would not have supported blocking my own postnatal testosterone for any reason. So I don't think infants should ever consume soymilk.

The Israelis agree. In addition, they said all others should use soy only in moderation.

I've been very cautious in my comments on soy through the years. But the more data that comes out, the more I think defining soy as a health food is a mistake. While there are some great studies suggesting its value, there are just too many that cause great concern.

Years ago, I used to eat tofu at least two to three times per week. I now eat it only when I eat out, which is about two to three times per month. I suggest, until there's more definitive information, you limit how much you eat as well.

Yours for medical freedom,

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