Does soya affect the development of girls?

| Post published on June 3, 2014
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Early onset of menarche (the first period) may negatively influence the future health of women – in particular, it has been linked to an increased risk of hormone-related cancers such as ovarian and breast. Some types of food have been implicated (meat, milk, animal protein and fats in general) and to clarify whether soya can play a role, a team of scientists examined this in a high soya-consuming population. The study included 339 girls (12–18 years old) living in California and Michigan and their soya consumption was monitored through dietary questionnaires that included following soya food categories: meat alternatives, tofu/traditional soya foods and soya beverages. Their average intake was 13 servings of soya (all categories) a week, seven portions of meat alternatives, just over two servings of tofu or traditional soya foods and four servings of soya beverages per week (though for many the intake was much higher). The results revealed that neither total soya intake nor any of the three types of soya foods were associated with an early or late onset of menarche. This is yet more evidence that soya is a healthy and safe food.

Find out more about soya and download our fact sheet and The Soya Story guide at: Soya facts

Segovia-Siapco et al., 2014. Is soy intake related to age at onset of menarche? A cross-sectional study among adolescents with a wide range of soy food consumption. Nutrition Journal. 13:54.

About the author
Dr. Justine Butler
I joined Viva! as a health campaigner in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. My scientific training helped me research and write numerous reports, guides and fact sheets for Viva! including Meat the Truth, Fish-Free for Life, One in Nine (breast cancer and diet) and the substantial report on the detrimental health effects of consuming dairy; White Lies. This accompanied Viva!’s report The Dark Side of Dairy which spelt out the inherent cruelty of dairy farming. We were the first UK group to take on the dairy industry in this way, and many of our supporters go vegan after reading these reports.

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