Proponents of a soy diet often point out that Japanese and Chinese people are healthier than their American counterparts. However, research has found soy does not seem to be why.
Soy has been used in China since around 1000BC, when it was first fermented. Typical use of soy in Chinese and Japanese cuisine is to ferment it for up to 3 years and then use a 2 Tbsp serving (10g) as a condiment to fish or pork. The primary ingredient of a Japanese diet is fish and fish products; the primary ingredient of a Chinese diet is pork.
Scientists have found that healthy bones in these areas of the world can often trace to the rich fish and meat stocks they eat - full of calcium and vitamin D.
In comparison, just about any processed food found in the US is full of soy - because it's a cheap filler product. In addition, the excess soy that farmers could not get rid of in animal feed got re-marketed as a "natural health product" even though 50% is genetically modified. So soy intake in the US hit new records.
So actually, any studies which compared soy intake in the US vs the orient would have to put the US high on the soy intake side, and the Asian countries on the low side, and then compare how the health of the two areas of the world differ.
Probably the best reason that people in China and Japan lead healthier lives is that they have strong family support systems, eat fresh fruits and vegetables daily, eat fresh fish and pork, and have stress reduction as a normal part of their daily routine. In the West, we already have much higher soy intake levels and it grows daily - and in the meantime we have less support and stress relief. It's time to find a more natural way of living, involving fresh food, friends to enjoy life with, and ways to reduce our stress.
NOTE: I get email occasionally from a Soy company complaining about this article, but my continued research bears out that it is far more than just "eating soy" that keeps the Okinawans and other Japanese fishermen healthy.
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