For breast cancer survivors, soy is protective and alcohol is harmful

 Two new studies have examined the effects of certain dietary factors on recurrence of breast cancer in survivors. Soy had protective effects, and alcohol had detrimental effects.  Read the full article on

Soy and breast cancer recurrence


Some individuals suspected and even promoted the idea that soy was potentially dangerous with regard to breast cancer risk, because of the phyto-estrogenic compounds it contains. However, in Asian countries where soy is a staple food, rates of breast cancer were much lower than those in the U.S. This paradox launched much debate and hundreds of studies on the relationship between soy and breast cancer.

A review of the most recent clinical studies on this subject supports a protective effect of soy:

  •  2006: A meta-analysis in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute examining data from 18 studies on soy and breast cancer that were published between 1978 and 2004 concluded that soy overall has a protective effect.1
  • 2008: A meta-analysis in the British Journal of Nutrition compiling data from 8 different studies (not included in the 2006 meta-analysis) also concluded that soy consumption decreases breast cancer risk. These effects were dose-dependent – a 16% reduced risk for each 10 mg of soy isoflavones consumed daily.2

In spite of these clear documented results, the myth that soy contributes to breast cancer has persisted. Plus, many scientists and physicians continue to doubt the safety of soy for current or previous breast cancer patients, because of soy’s phytoestrogen content.

A new study of breast cancer survivors has shown that these doubts are unwarranted too. Premenopausal breast cancer survivors who consumed more soy had a 23% reduced risk of recurrence.3

Which soy products are most beneficial?

Cruciferous vegetables are the most powerful anti-cancer foods. In addition, Dr. Fuhrman also recommends consuming a variety of beans, including soybeans, as components of an anti-cancer diet. Soybeans may be consumed as edamame (whole soybeans), or in minimally processed forms such as unsweetened soymilk, tofu, and tempeh. As little as 10 mg of soy isoflavones consumed per day has a protective effect with regard to breast cancer – this equates to approximately 1 ounce of one of these soy foods.


Alcohol and breast cancer recurrence


In contrast to the mainstream assumption that alcohol is heart healthy, even moderate amounts of alcohol are associated with increased risk for breast cancer.4

The current study of breast cancer survivors showed that women who consumed 3-4 alcoholic drinks per week were 34% more likely to experience a recurrence than the women who had less than 1 drink per week. This study was presented last week at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.5

Alcohol has no beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system, it only inhibits the blood’s clotting mechanisms. Since breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women (second to cardiovascular disease), Dr. Fuhrman recommends minimizing alcohol consumption in order to reduce this risk.

Read the full article here.

Read “Dr. Fuhrman on Breast Cancer” to learn more diet and lifestyle strategies for breast cancer prevention.



1. Trock BJ et al. Meta-analysis of soy intake and breast cancer risk. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2006 Apr 5;98(7):459-71.

2. Wu AH et al. Epidemiology of soy exposures and breast cancer risk. British Journal of Cancer (2008) 98, 9– 14

3. Guha N et al. Soy isoflavones and risk of cancer recurrence in a cohort of breast cancer survivors: the Life After Cancer Epidemiology study. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2009 Nov;118(2):395-405. Epub 2009 Feb 17.

4. Lew JQ et al. Alcohol and risk of breast cancer by histologic type and hormone receptor status in postmenopausal women: the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. Am J Epidemiol. 2009 Aug 1;170(3):308-17. Epub 2009 Jun 18.



Soy Might Help Men Not Forget Things

I’m a guy. I forget things, little things, like birthdays, where I left my car keys, or to put on underwear. Luckily, some soy might fix that.

According to a new study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, isoflavones in soy could help improve men’s mental function and memory.

Researchers recruited 34 healthy men and participants were given a daily dose of 116 milligrams of soy isoflavones. Then men were tested on memory, mental function and visual-spatial processing.

Data showed guys getting the soy isoflavones committed 23% fewer errors and needed 17% less time to complete tasks. So ladies, if your man is a big dummy. Go get him some soymilk.

Soy is a super food! Previous reports have found it lowers risk of breast cancer, improves heart health and helps build strong bones, but don’t go soy crazy. Dr. Fuhrman says no diet should be based on just one food, not even soy.

Via Nutra Ingredients.

Image credit: ImageMD

Soy Lowers Breast Cancer Risk...

A new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals high intake of soy foods during teenage years may reduce the risk of breast cancer prior to menopause. For the study, scientists used a survey to determine consumption of soy foods during teenage years and adulthood, linked to breast cancer. Experts documented 592 cases of cancer, finding soy was associated with a 43% to 59% lower risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer; Nutra Ingredient explains.

And last year, a report in the International Journal of Cancer found soy foods reduce the risk of breast cancer tumors. Soy is also a bone builder. A compound of in soy called genistein, an isoflavone phytoestrogen, may help improve bone mineral density in women.

In related news, previous studies have found women regularly eating soybeans have less risk of heart disease and soybeans help improve artery health in stroke patients.

Image credit: potaufeu

Q & A: Men, Soy Does Not Lower Testosterone

Soy gets a bad rap, people associate it with being a hippie and tree hugging, even though soy is a very healthy food, like edamame beans, but there is this silly notion that eating soy lowers testosterone and is bad for men. Not true. From his member center, Dr. Fuhrman talks about soy and manliness:

Question: My husband and I just started your plan, but recently my mother-in-law said that I was hurting my husband by making him eat more soy. She said that soy is not good for men because it contains phytoestrogens. Is what she is saying true? She cited an article in Men's Health that mentioned lower testosterone and sperm counts.

Dr. Fuhrman: Totally untrue, that is a biased, meat-promoting article written to bash soy. Men's magazines are not the place for reliable information about complicated health issues. If soy did lower testosterone it might be good because the high-meat American diet causes an excess of testosterone, leading to higher prostate cancer risk. Nevertheless this is not true anyway. See this study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Flickr: John McNab

Omega-3's Help Fight the Complications of Obesity

New findings in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology reveal eating omega-3 fatty acids may protect the liver from damage caused by obesity, specifically insulin resistance. The experiment, which used mice with altered genes to make them obese and diabetic, discovered those mice feed a diet rich in omega-3’s had less hepatic inflammation and improved insulin tolerance. Researchers hope these findings will help doctors and nutritionists develop better weight-loss diets for obese patients; ScienceDaily investigates.

Now, sources of omega-3’s include flaxseed, 1.7 grams per tablespoon; flax oil, 2.2 grams per teaspoon; walnuts, 2 grams per serving of 12 walnut halves; soybeans, 2 grams per 1 1/2 cups; and tofu, 2 grams per 1 1/2 cups. And according to Dr. Fuhrman, nuts and seeds are perfectly adapted for human consumption.

Other studies have shown omega-3 fatty acids boost brain power and eye health and reduce the risk of type-1 diabetes and lower the likelihood of having another stroke.

Image credit: ocadotony

Human Torch Turned Green, Gives Up Veggies...

I don’t like the Fantastic Four. They’re too wimpy for me. I’m a Batman guy. So it didn’t surprise me when the Human Torch, aka Chris Evans, star of the new movie Push, quit being veggie after his friends said he was turning green. Evans, who’s normally very pale, said he went vegetarian because a girlfriend convinced him it was the way to go, but soon after they broke up, plus the razzing of friends, he went back to burgers; via Ecorazzi.

Sparky also complained he was getting too skinny. But he was probably eating a lot of junk. Just not eating meat, doesn’t make your diet is healthy. Vegetarian junk foods, like processed soy meats and sweets, aren’t good. As for the color change, if you eat a lot of veggies you may get a little yellow, due to beta-carotene, but green? I think not.

Now, Batman star Christian Bale might be hot-tempered and a tiny bit crazy, but the dude’s ripped, not green and vegetarian. So man up flame boy!

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Hotdogs Linked to Leukemia Risk

Last year, it was discovered processed meats and cheese speed up the growth of lung cancer tumors. And now, new research in BMC Cancer found children who consume cured meats, like hotdogs and bacon, were 74% more likely to develop leukemia. It’s believed nitrites, which build up in cured and smoked meats, amplify cancer-risk. Conversely, researchers suggest the potent antioxidants in vegetables and soy foods may help protect against cancer; Reuters reports.

Not surprising, Dr. Fuhrman considers processed meat, like luncheon meat, as one of the worst meat options available and discourages eating them, especially expectant mothers. Women who eat hotdogs while pregnant put their child at risk for brain tumors later in life.

And other research has shown diets high in saturated fat, i.e. meat, increase the progression of prostate cancer, while eating lots of fruits and vegetables stomps breast cancer risk!

Image credit: Bettnet