We are going to discuss a study Soy (and Cocoa) Promote Heart Health In Post -Menopausal Women With Cardiovascular Disease and Type 2 Diabetes:
That study was funded by a UK based Charity, Diabetes UJK, and supported by Frutarom Ltd., Israel, and Barry Callebaut, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products, was published February, 2012, in Diabetes Care. [1]
The problem with the study is that it  involved  two simulataneous active ingredients :
“…combined one-year intervention with flavan-3-ols and isoflavones resulted in a significant improvement in biomarkers of CVD risk in postmenopausal type 2 diabetic patients, compared to placebo…”
So what was responsible for the positive outcome:   flavanols?  Isoflavone? Both?

Soy bounty

Soy has bad press in some of the nutrition community, but that might have been unjustified.
We were privy to a  fiery discussion in  LinkedIn were the majority of participants were opposed to the consumption of off shelf supermarket soy milk, but let us examine the issues:
The study [1]  here mentioned is another feather in soy’s cap,  but the soy isoflavones’s phytoestrogens it contains have pro and cons. (Phytoestrogens are plant estrogens.) The question as whether your body can take phytoestrogen as human estrogen is debated.
Women’s health and Cancer:
  • Some studies claim isoflavones are actually beneficial against endometrial cancer [2]: 

“…Some phytoestrogenic compounds, at the levels consumed in the typical American-style diet, are associated with reduced risk of endometrial cancer…”

  • Other studies do not find association between breast cancer and phytoestrogen [3]:
“… high intake of isoflavones or mammalian lignans is not significantly related to breast cancer risk…”
Men’s health  and Phytoestrogens
  • For men, there seem to be a  concern could be fertility and sperm quality, which is not surprising, since estrogen is the primary female hormone:
“…These data suggest that higher intake of soy foods and soy isoflavones is associated with lower sperm concentration…The clinical significance of these findings remains to be determined…”  Note that the concern is higher for obese men than normal weight.
  • Prostate Cancer: Studies provide results varying between showing phytoestrogens as not helpful  to helpful against prostate cancer [5,6]
Most of the time, what is attacked  about soy milk is the processing of the soy, and claims are levied that such processing bring in pesticides, fungi, etc. That attack more often smacks of philosophical bent against the Big Food rather than provable facts.
From all these studies, it seems that the benefits of soy for women in particular  should outweigh concerns, but talk to your health provider
About the cocoa part of study [1]: Few weeks pass without a study touting the benefits of cocoa’s flavonols 

 

These cocoa beans needs some work: Don't bite yet!

We have posted about it, and the benefits extend to neuroprotection, carbohydrate blocking, Fibromyalgia  help. But Cardiovascular protection for diabetic women is a big plus.

Talk to your health provider, 

To be continued

Sources:

  1. stoneheathnewsletters ; “Candy company-funded study says cacao-flavonoids and soy isoflavones can significantly improve biomarkers of CVD risk in postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes” ; may 2012
  2. Journal of The National Cancer Institute ; “Phytoestrogen intake and endometrial cancer risk.” ’2003
  3. American journal of Clinical Nutrition ; “Dietary phytoestrogens and breast cancer risk.” ; 2004
  4. Human Reproduction ; “Soy food and isoflavone intake in relation to semen quality parameters among men from an infertility clinic” ; 2008
  5. Epidemiology ; Urinary phytoestrogen excretion and prostate cancer risk: a nested case–control study in the Multiethnic Cohort” ; 2009
  6. Preventive Medicine ; “Phytoestrogens and prostate cancer risk.” ; 2005
  7. medinewsdigest; “Cocoa: The story gets better all the time!” ; 2011
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