Soy Consumption and Obesity


Obesity is now present worldwide, including China, India and developing countries. It now seems no longer acceptable to argue that obesity can simply be explained in terms of caloric consumption only using simple concept of energy in and energy out. There may be specific causes of altered metabolism that produce nutritional imbalances. Individual variation in response to food intake may also be considered. Specific substances in the food chain can influence meta-bolism towards an increase in fat deposits. Xenoestrogens have been suggested to have such an influence. Soy contains phytoestrogens plus phytates, protease inhibitors and other anti-nutrients which block or compromise the body’s uptake of essential vitamins and minerals. This may contribute to nutritional anomalies. We analyzed data from WHO and FAO for 167 countries. These contained percentage of obese individuals (BMI > 30 kg/m2), GDP, caloric consump-tion per capita, and sugar and soy consumption per capita. Regressions and partial correlations were used. Soy con-sumption correlates significantly with levels of obesity, irrespective of GDP and caloric intake. For instance, poor Latin America with soy consumption of 28.9 kg/person/year has more obesity (18.4%) than better off European Union (14.1%) consuming 16.1 kg/person/year of soy. Soy consumption seems to contribute approximately 10% - 21% to the worldwide variation in obesity, depending on the method of statistical analysis. The ubiquitous presence of unfermented soy products in mass produced foods seems to be an important contributor to the obesity epidemic.

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D. Roccisano and M. Henneberg, "Soy Consumption and Obesity," Food and Nutrition Sciences, Vol. 3 No. 2, 2012, pp. 260-266. doi: 10.4236/fns.2012.32038.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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