Monday, June 05, 2006
Hidden Soya In Fast Food 'Cutting Men's Fertility'
Hidden soya In Fast Food 'cutting Men's Fertility' Antony Barnett, public affairs editor Sunday November 7, 2004 The Observer 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.'