Soy: The Edible EDC

By: Grace Danon, Kennedy Meyer, Hussain Naib, Rachel Smith, and Mary Tran

Can phytoestrogens be your friend?

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Whether you enjoy stir-fry or store-bought cereal, you have a stake in soy. Like most widely consumed foods, soy’s health effects have been deeply scrutinized. Unlike most foods, its health effects include hormone-disrupting properties which stem from phytoestrogens in the soybean. Phytoestrogens are naturally-occurring endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) found in plant foods. When consumed, these chemicals breakdown into hormone-like forms, altering normal endocrine function. Soy is the most common and most potent source of phytoestrogens in modern diets. These effects have been widely misrepresented as dramatically feminizing, exploiting conservative gender ideals to demonize soy itself. Consumers are still racked with confusion. Is soy good for you? Is it dangerous? To get readers up to date, we use social and scientific lenses to assess how history, culture, microbiology, nutrition, and gender impact this complex little bean.

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