Probably the best academic treatment of why modern foods play a role in diseases of civilization.
Soy: Playing with poisons
Earlier on Twitter I circulated an interesting recent paper a commenter pointed me to- Hypogonadism and erectile dysfunction associated with soy product consumption. The paper documents the case of a 19 year old who had type 1 diabetes, but no other health problems. After starting a vegan diet he experienced alarming erectile dysfunction and general loss of libido. Upon examination, low testosterone levels were found. When asked about his habits, he revealed that he had recently switched to a vegan diet: "This diet included a large amount of soy products equalling 360 mg of isoflavones per day. The diet consisted of soy milk, soy cookies (soy crisps), tofu, soy sauce, soy nuts, and soybeans (edamame)." He quit the vegan diet, but it took almost a year for his testosterone levels to normalize (and the normal line should be higher for a young man).
It's funny because professional soy shill (he works for the Soy Board) and (not coincidentally) animal rights activist Mark Messinahas written many articles that male vegan friends of mine have showed me about how soy doesn't feminize men. He even published a review on it in which he concludes "Thus, men can feel confident that making soy a part of their diet will not compromise their virility or reproductive health." This despite the infancy of the science. For example, look at how long these studies are:
And how much soy? For whom? Are their genetic differences in processing isoflavones? Hmm. I can't say that soy is always an issue for men, but like any plant food, it can have powerful hormonal effects that people should be aware of. On the other side of the spectrum is a man who used phytoestrogens to improve his sperm quality and was able get his wife pregnant.
One thing that struck me about the list of foods from the young man is that they are all the processed dreck that Messina and his Soy Board shills want to sell us. They are hyperpalatable and my experience with them is that they are very easy to overeat. I remember buying a box of Tofutti Cuties and eating them all in a single night...
I am not one of those folks who doesn't ever eat soy. I enjoy miso and soy sauce when I eat Japanese food. Like most traditional soy foods, they are very strong and it's hard to eat too much of them. When I was at ag school in Illinois, I had a class that was a series of seminars. One of them was a visit to the food science lab sponsored by the Soy Board. In that lab the lead scientist talked about how they were removing (or overpowering) the natural bitter flavors in soy to make tastier soy foods! Hmm. That bitter taste is what keeps us from eating too much plant poison. I feel bad for vegans who care more about their health than about soy farmers, because the reality is that you CAN do a vegan diet with reasonable levels of soy or no soy at all.
In other news, my spell checker wants to correct edamame into "damned."