- Britons' love of convenience food packed full of 'invisible'
soya is a cause of declining sperm counts and a host of fertility problems,
new research into its impact on Western diets reveals.
- Many healthy foods such as soya milk and soya yogurt
are also implicated.
- A team led by Sheena Lewis, professor of reproductive
medicine at Queen's University in Belfast, has conducted studies linking
soya to reduced male fertility. Scientists believe chemicals in the soya
bean mimic the female hormone, oestrogen.
- The research is disclosed in an investigation into the
multi-billion dollar global soya industry published in today's Observer
Food Monthly magazine. It reveals that soya is no longer eaten just by
vegetarians but used as cheap protein in most processed and fast foods.
- Other research has linked the hormonal chemicals in soya
to certain cancers, brain disease and developmental abnormalities in infants.
- Lewis said: 'Chemicals found in soya can lower sperm
count ... The results do give us concerns and there need to be further
studies on a much larger scale.'
- One of his team, Dr Lorraine Anderson, said: 'If you
alter the oestrogen that a man is exposed to, you can not only affect their
sperm quality but you can get an increase in structural abnormalities like
undescended testes.' She believes this could lead to other problems later
in life, such as testicular cancer.
- The Soya Protein Association, which represents food makers,
said: 'We have seen no convincing evidence that soya causes any harm.'
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