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How Much Soy Is Too Much?

How Much Soy Is Too Much?While It May Have Health Benefits, Tufts Researchers Caution Against Too Much Soy.

Boston [02.19.01] While research may link soy with a number of health benefits -- including lower cholesterol and a possibly decreased risk of breast cancer -- some scientists caution that too much of the food can be dangerous.

Soy contains isoflavones - a plant version of estrogen -- which may be responsible for soy's health benefits, said Barry Goldin, a researcher at Tufts' Medical School.

"Whenever you mention estrogen, you're talking about concern," Goldin told the Washington Post. "Estrogen is a double-edged sword."

Small doses of soy's isoflavones are not dangerous, Goldin told the Post. "If a person wanted tofu mixed into her stir-fry vegetables once or twice a day, I would not see any problems at all," he said. "But I would not take 100 milligrams of isoflavones a day," or more than one or two servings of foods containing soy a day.

One Tufts researcher recommends eating even less soy. "I feel most comfortable with a range of 35 to 55 milligrams," Tufts nutrition expert Margo Woods told the Post.

Both researchers noted that soy should not be taken as a medicine. "Soy is not a miracle treatment," Woods said. "People think a food is going to be like penicillin. It's not."

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