The Soy & Breast Cancer Conundrum

By Victoria Shanta Retelny, R.D., "The Soy Conundrum," November/December 2009

Does eating soyfood prevent or promote breast cancer? Or both?

"I started drinking soymilk after age 40 primarily for the fiber to manage my weight. At that time I also had problems with breast tenderness as a side effect of PMS, but the soymilk took care of it. Now at age 53 there is no breast...

Bottom Line: Adding soy to your diet in midlife might not offer much protection against breast cancer. But it probably won’t hurt either: soyfoods are a healthy, protein-rich, low-saturated-fat alternative to foods like red meat, says Sally Scroggs, M.S., R.D., at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Because theoretically soy isoflavones can act like estrogen, it’s best to eat soyfoods in moderation at any age—up to two servings daily, which is equivalent to 1⁄2 cup tofu or edamame and 1 cup soymilk.

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