The epithet “soy boy” may have some basis in reality

I’ve often heard metrosexual males referred to disparagingly as “soy boys“.  I’ve heard the same epithet applied to those who regularly consume “gourmet” coffees from places like Starbucks and the like.  Now we learn that soy may, in fact, have some relevance to that.

The use of soybean oil has increased dramatically over the last few decades, to the extent that is has become the most widely consumed edible oil in the US and other Western nations. However, its rise has coincided with an alarming escalation in metabolic conditions like diabetes, insulin resistance, and obesity, and a new study indicates that this may be down to the way that soybean oil causes genetic changes in the brain.

. . .

Writing in the journal Endocrinology, the study authors explain that soybean oil was found to modify the expression of around 100 different genes in the hypothalamus, affecting processes such as metabolism, neurological disease, and inflammation.

Among the altered genes were some that are associated with schizophrenia, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease, although by far the most affected was a gene that codes for the production of a hormone called oxytocin.

. . .

Future research will now need to focus on determining which ingredient is responsible for these genetic changes, although study author Poonamjot Deol of the University of California, Riverside says that while many questions remain unanswered, some very concrete statements can be made off the back of this study.

“If there’s one message I want people to take away, it’s this: reduce consumption of soybean oil,” she said in a statement.

There’s more at the link.

There are a few foods – and vendors – in particular that one might want to reconsider after reading that article.

  • If you enjoy coffee made with so-called soy milk, remember that it’s not milk – it’s “a stable emulsion of oil, water, and protein”.  The more of it you drink, the more soybean oil you ingest.
  • If you eat food made with so-called “textured vegetable protein” or TVP, the same consideration applies, because most TVP is made from soy beans.  I’m told Taco Bell serves a lot of food containing TVP – something to consider.  (It’s also served a lot in school lunches, apparently, so you might want to check whether your children are eating more of it than may be healthy for them.)
  • Many cooking oils labeled simply as “vegetable oils” have a high proportion of soybean oil in them.  It might be safer to buy “pure” vegetable oils such as olive, avocado, etc.

It’s soytanly food for thought!



  1. This, like any other research, needs to be replicated. Far too much of our recent 'scientific research' is unable to be verified. I guess we should all take our soy with a grain of salt?

  2. Interesting and needs more research. There are a host of things which can be blamed for rising obesity based on correlation such as high fructose corn syrup, low fat diets, lower overall activity levels. How much each is a cause of health issues is unclear.

  3. Soy is a pytho-estrogen. Every wonder why all these soy boys act effeminate? Could be something to that. Too much tufo, if you ask me.

  4. This is something that has been floating around in non-academic areas for some time. I'm not surprised to see the scientific community is finally figuring our that while the plural of anecdote isn't data, it is something that merits investigation.

    Reduced the soy in my diet a long time ago. Can't say if it's had any effect.

  5. The good news is that the claim that Burger King's Impossible Burger has estrogen is wrong. The bad news is that the Impossible Burger contains soy, and has high levels of phytoestrogens.

    I'm going to follow's advice. Examine is a no-ads, no-bs site that reviews medical studies on supplements. They write:

    Moderate consumption of soy foods is unlikely to have adverse effects in adults; it may even benefit cardiovascular health and reduce cancer risk. Eating large amounts of soy foods for 6 months or more, however, may cause problems. Also, the use of soy infant formulas should probably be minimized.

  6. If a sector of society whose members hate me and wish me harm, shows self-destructive behavior, why would I complain?
    Except, of course, that they want me to pay for their medical care.

  7. While I don't know if the article regarding soy oils is correct or not, I do know for a fact that (as of 2017, anyway) Taco bell uses not TVP in their meat. The fillers are oats and some starches and mostly sugars and colorings and spices.


    Make no mistake, it isn't the highest quality beef, nor is is a great food. It is NOT, however, TVP.

  8. Interesting note is that a lot of tuna fish in "water" is actually a soy broth that some now have on their label as a vegetable broth. I would suggest looking for tuna in Extra Virgin Olive Oil or the like. Those don't seem to be in soy broth.

  9. If there is any effect, it will most likely be epigenetic: work on dormant genes.

    Our knowledge of epigenetic activation is increasing, but a lot of the work I;ve seen suggests that the effects skip generations, so the likely effect of soy would be seen later.

    There's a lot of scare talk around this topic, like there was with DDT, but I'm sure it will all come out in the wash.

  10. Many years ago in the UK there was a story about the introduction of TVP meat substitute in meals made for old folks homes. The resulting stomach gripes and excessive flatulence curtailed it’s use.

  11. Why is it that the same people who throw tantrums about herbicides, pesticides, fertilizer, genetically modified organisms, and vaccines, are the same people who think tofu, soy milk, and "impossible burgers" are things the rest of us should be forced to embrace?

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