Critics suggest that soy formula, because it contains a chemical similar to the female hormone, estrogen, might disrupt normal hormone levels and impair development
In a recent study, a team of researchers conducted telephone interviews with 248 men and women aged 20 to 34 years who were fed soy-based formula as infants. Each of the participants answered questions that attempted to assess "health in young adulthood, with an emphasis on reproductive health."
The group that consumed soy formula was then compared with 563 similarly aged men and women who consumed cow milk-based formula during infancy and answered the same questions.
The only difference between the groups was that women who had been fed soy-based formula reported menstrual bleeding that lasted an average of one third of a day per month longer compared with women in the cow milk-based formula group.
The study relied on the memory of study participants, which may bias their answers.
Infants fed soy-based formula have long-term health outcomes similar to those who are fed cow milk-based formula, the researchers say.
JAMA August 15, 2001;286:807-814
If you can believe a "telephone interview" study fundedby the the baby formula industry, then maybe you will believe thisnonsense. I know I sure don't. The study was funded in part by theInternational Formula Council, a trade group that represents manufacturersof infant formula.
Another example of the well-funded edible oil industry slippingtheir research into the public media. If you have not read Dr. O'Shea'sDoors of Perception articleplease do so, as you will have a better example of how the industryattempts to shift your views.
One of the reasons why this issue is so important is that nearly20% of infants are fed soy formula, with 750,000US infants receiving soy formula every year.
There are some MAJOR flaws in the design of this study, butwhat would you expect from a study that is funded by the InfantFormula industry?
The major problem is that it was a phone survey. Other concernsinclude
- Some people would not respond
- The study did not address the thyroid issue
- No medical examinations were performed
- Only reviewed 250 children given soy formula
The authors also intentionally manipulated the statistics byfailing to evaluate still-births or pregnancy failures which werehigher in the soy group, while evaluating miscarriages whichwere slightly higher in the milk group.
The lack of any information on dose and time of soy exposureseriously impairs any usefullness of this study. The only time exposurediscussed is 16 weeks, which is conrasted to the commonly recognizedpermanent harm resulting from about six months' exposure in girlsand nine months in boys.
It is not only the phytoestrogen levels of soy formula (or soymilk) that are an issue, but the levels of manganese and aluminumin the products.
A soy-fed baby receives the equivalent of five birth controlpills' worth of estrogen every day. These babies' isoflavone levelswere found to be from 13,000 to 22,000 times higher than in non-soyfed infants.
My comments in February of 2000 are still valid:
Folks, soy formula is one of the worst foods that you couldfeed your child. Not only does it have profoundly adverse hormonaleffects as discussed above, but it also has over 1000% more aluminumthan conventional milk based formulas.
I don't recommend either, but if one, for whatever reason, cannotbreast feed, then Carnation Good Start until six months and CarnationFollowUp after that seem to be the best commercial formula currentlyavailable, although it may not contain taurine, in which case itshould be added..
The milk protein is hydrolyzed 80% which tends to significantlydecrease its allergenicity. It is also important to note that whenbreast feeding it is wise to avoid drinking milk as it has beenshown for several decades that the milk will pass directly intothe breast milk which can cause potential problems in the infant.