Should women with estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer avoid soy foods?
Studies suggest plant-based diets are best for cancer prevention.
Soy foods like tofu. Harmful? Harmless? Helpful? Well, if you take Chinese dwarf hamsters— how could anyone ever hurt a hamster? Well, if you feed them the equivalent of 300 cups of soy milk every day they don’t do so well, and you can read all sorts of crazy stuff on the internet but what does the human data show?
Just from the last couple months—eating soy can cut your diabetes risk in half, can help you double your weight loss for those on a diet and drop your bad cholesterol 14%, even just adding soy milk to your diet can have a measurably powerful effect on reducing cardiovascular risk.
Bumping it up a notch, not just soy, but soy for women with active estrogen receptor positive breast cancer. The phytoestrogens, the plant estrogens in soy protect the breast tissue from the more powerful ovarian estrogens, and so in terms of preventing breast cancer, the only question has been does it cut your risk by 30%, or 50%? But what if you already have breast cancer that reacts to estrogen—do you want to be consuming any estrogenic type compounds? This was one of the most controversial questions in nutrition, until now.
Soy intake and breast cancer survival on Long Island. So what do you think? Harmful? Harmless? Helpful?
They calculated all-cause mortality for women diagnosed with breast cancer and eating soy or not eating soy, and those eating soy cut their risk of dying by 50%! So not only does soy prevent breast cancer, but women with breast cancer eating soy live longer.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.
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R. Villegas, Y.T. Gao, G. Yang, H.L. Li, T.A. Elasy, W. Zheng, & X.O. Shu. Legume and soy food intake and the incidence of type 2 diabetes in the Shanghai Women’s Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr, 87(1):162-167, 2008.
F.H. Liao, M.J. Shieh, S.C. Yang, S.H. Lin, & Y.W. Chien. Effectiveness of a soy-based compared with a traditional low-calorie diet on weight loss and lipid levels in overweight adults. Nutrition, 23(7-8):551-556, 2007.
C.D. Gardner, M. Messina, A. Kiazand, J.L. Morris, & A.A. Franke. Effect of two types of soy milk and dairy milk on plasma lipids in hypercholesterolemic adults: a randomized trial. J Am Coll Nutr, 26(6):669-677, 2007.
M. Iwasaki, M. Inoue, T. Otani, S. Sasazuki, N. Kurahashi, T. Miura, S. Yamamoto, & S. Tsugane. Plasma isoflavone level and subsequent risk of breast cancer among Japanese women: a nested case-control study from the Japan Public Health Center-based prospective study group. J Clin Oncol, 26(10):1677-1683, 2008.
B.N. Fink, S.E. Steck, M.S. Wolff, J.A. Britton, G.C. Kabat, M.M. Gaudet, P.E. Abrahamson, P. Bell, J.C. Schroeder, S.L. Teitelbaum, A.I. Neugut, & M.D. Gammon. Dietary flavonoid intake and breast cancer survival among women on Long Island. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 16(11):2285-2292, 2007.
Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the Soy and Breast Cancer Survival video and the accompanying blog post. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos--please feel free to explore them as well!
You may also want to check out my associated blog posts for more context: Eating To Extend Our Lifespan, Stool Size and Breast Cancer Risk, Breast Cancer and Diet and Soy and breast cancer: an update.
Studies on the growth of human cancer cells in a Petri dish suggest herbal tea benefits.
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