Is Soy Dangerous for Kids?
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To complicate matters, soy is no longer being questioned in isolation. Instead, a larger group--called endocrine disrupters (or EDs)--has captivated the attention of consumers. EDs include phytoestrogens, estrogen-containing cosmetics, pesticides, and industrial chemicals (such as phthalates that are in plastic containers). As a group, EDs have been implicated in causing early onset of puberty. So while soy in-and-of itself has not been clearly scientifically linked with hormonal effects (and the hormonal concerns over soy are largely overplayed), the larger group of EDs has.

In addition, soy is one of the most commonly genetically modified foods in our diet. The risks of genetic engineering of foods--from the immediate (like allergic reaction) to the long-term (like possible effects on our own genome)--have not hit the mainstream quite yet.

Here's the bottom line: Organic soy produce has never been proven to have estrogen-like effects. There are entire countries whose populations subsist on soy as their mainstay of protein, and the men are not running around with breasts. However, it is very prudent to consider the issues related to EDs and genetic modification of soybeans when sipping on a soy latte or snacking on edamame.

Does this mean you should stop giving your kid soybeans? No, but I believe in everything in moderation. If you do notice a change in your child's body, stop the soy and see your pediatrician. However, most kids are not that sensitive to it. And it's always better to go organic when you can, because that cuts down the risk that the soybeans are genetically modified.

Want more? Watch Dr. Cara sum up "Soy: Dangerous or Safe?" below.

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Dr. Cara Natterson, author of Your Toddler: Head To Toe, is a pediatrician and mother of 2. To buy a copy, click here. She is currently working on the forthcoming book entitled Dangerous or Safe?