New Studies Support Safety of Soy Foods for Breast Cancer Patients

Although the recommendations for soy in the diet of breast cancer patients have long been the source of considerable debate, current research and guidelines from the American Cancer Society[1] suggest that soy foods can be part of a healthy diet for breast cancer patients and survivors.

The confusion over the health effects of soy stems from concern over the theory that soy isoflavones, plant-based compounds found naturally in soyfoods, could potentially promote estrogen-dependent breast cancer growth. Human clinical trials have not supported this theory; rather they have found that soy isoflavones do not promote the growth of breast cells or increase breast tissue density, both of which are markers of breast cancer risk.[2]

Despite this, many women with breast cancer are told to avoid soy “just in case” there could be negative effects. The results of three major studies suggest that avoiding soy is unnecessary, and that soy may in fact have important health benefits.

The most recent study, presented this week at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting, showed that eating soy foods such as soymilk and tofu did not increase the risk of cancer recurrence in over 18,000 breast cancer survivors.[3] Lead researcher Xiao Shu, MD, PhD noted “our results indicate it may be beneficial for women to include soy food as part of a healthy diet, even if they have had breast cancer.”

These findings are consistent with other recent research, including a large study of over 5,000 breast cancer patients that found that soy food intake was associated with improved prognosis.4 In fact, patients with the highest intake of soy foods (about two servings of soy foods/day) had a reduced risk of tumor recurrence.[4] A third study of 2,000 breast cancer patients showed similar positive effects of soy.[5]

The latest data indicate whole soy foods (such as edamame, soymilk or tofu) can play a role in healthy diets for breast cancer patients and survivors. Recommendations in a recent editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association concurred, stating “Clinicians can advise their patients with breast cancer that soy foods are safe to eat and that these foods may offer some protective benefit for long-term health. Patients with breast cancer can be assured that enjoying a soy latte or indulging in pad thai with tofu causes no harm, and when consumed in plentiful amounts, may reduce the risk of disease recurrence.”[6]

For more information, please visit our site, which contains links to these studies, a fact sheet summarizing the latest evidence around soy and breast cancer and an interactive Q&A with our panel of soy experts.

[1] Doyle C et al. Nutrition and physical activity during and after cancer treatment: an American Cancer Society guide for informed choices. CA Cancer J Clin. 2006 Nov-Dec; 56: 323-53.
[2] Messina MJ, Wood CE. Soy isoflavones, estrogen therapy, and breast cancer risk: analysis and commentary. Nutr J 2008; 3; 7; 17.
[3] Xiao S et al.  Presented at the 102nd Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, Orlando, FL, April 2-6, 2011.
[4] Shu XO et al. Soyfood intake and breast cancer survival. JAMA 2009; 302(22): 2437-2443.
[5] Guha N et al. Soy isoflavones and risk of cancer recurrence in a cohort of breast cancer survivors: the life after cancer epidemiology study. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2009; 118: 395-405.
[6] Ballard-Barbash R, Neuhouser ML. Challenges in design and interpretation of observational research on health behaviors and cancer survival. JAMA 2009; 302(22): 2483-4.


Welcome back

Congrats to our friends over at Alfalfa’s on their Grand Opening today. Great to have you back in the Boulder community.

If you’re in the neighborhood, you should stop by the store today. Live music, samples… it’s definitely gonna be the best place to celebrate Earth Day in Boulder.

A couple of WhiteWaver’s just made their way down, check out some of their shots from the store…

Nice Crowd!


Adam and Stephanie with Alfalfa's Co-Founder Mark Retzloff

We're definitely fans of this dairy aisle...

...also fans of everything going on over here



No sun of mine

Courtesy of TreeHugger, a tantalizing look at large-scale indoor farming… no sunlight required.

From the article:

CBS news reports that Dutch bioengineers, including Gertjan Meeuws of PlatLab, are taking the idea of greenhouses to the next level. Their idea of growhouses would exclude all natural input and be entirely controlled from the inside, including artificial lighting, a perfectly regulated climate for that crop, and precise watering.”

Big possibilities – no need for pesticides; less water use; potential urban and vertical farming operations; wind and solar energy reliant.. and according to proponents of the concept, a little more than 1,000 square feet could provide enough food for 140,000 people.

But, big questions as well – will the food be as nutritious as the sun grown stuff?

An even larger question that comes to mind – could this be a solution to the growing concern over GMO seed contamination across non-GMO crops?

Coexistence” has been a much debated concept throughout the current argument around GMOs. There’s talk of “buffer zones” and other preventative measures that are or will be put in place to keep GMO/Non-GMO seeds from mingling, but let’s be honest… the wind is the ultimate decider in that argument. Could these massive indoor farms be the force field we’ve been looking for?


Silk 10-Day Challenge Stops By…

The Silk 10-Day Tour made a stop at our Broomfield office today with samples, coupons and some serious Silk energy. Look for the Sampling Tour in Denver, New York, San Diego, Chicago and Boston in the next few weeks.

Stay tuned to Facebook for details.

UPDATE: Horizon Organic DHA…

UPDATE ON HORIZON ORGANIC DHA PRODUCTS: The Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Organic Program (NOP) recently confirmed via letter that the DHA Omega-3 used in a few Horizon Organic products is in fact legal, and approved under NOP guidelines. You can read the USDA’s full response here.

Portion Control

Most know the initials P.C. as an abbreviation for the term “Politically Correct.” At WhiteWave, we reference those letters a lot, but they hold different meaning. Here, PC is short for “Portion Control,” specifically referring to the coffee creamers you see on tables at diners and convenience stores. Our International Delight and Land O’ Lakes brands kick out a bunch of these little cups a year. We’re the largest producer of PCs in North America, and it’s a significant part of our business. But until recently the PCs weren’t very, well, politically correct. But I’m getting ahead of myself here, let me first explain a little more about the cups and how they’re made.

Picture a long, thin sheet of plastic being fed into a giant machine that punches out, while simultaneously filling, little cups; not unlike cutting cookies out of a sheet of dough. It’s an impressive ordeal, but there’s a lot of left over material. And unlike cookie dough, you can’t just roll up the excess and make more cookies. There was no issue with the cups otherwise, they didn’t leak, they traveled well and kept the product from spoiling. But we were wasting tons of material (literally), and when your mission is to become the Earth’s favorite food company, being responsible for that material ending up in landfills is an issue that needs to be addressed.

So two years ago a cross-functional team started looking for ways to fix the problem. Yeah, two years ago. It wasn’t a quick fix item, because a simple solution didn’t exist. It was a custom job so to speak, and it was hard. That thin sheet of plastic was actually made up of seven layers, and it was one of those layers that was keeping the package from being reusable. Simple solution right? Just remove the layer. That’s where it got really tricky… that layer was also one of the major factors that allowed us to keep the product inside fresh for a long period of time. So the team actually had to solve two problems at once. Remove the non-reusable layer, without compromising the packaging’s ability to keep the product from going sour too soon.

The Research and Development (R&D) team was first able to find an alternative material to use, but determining how much of that alternative material to use presented another hurdle. It required a lot of real-time trial to figure out which new design would allow them to maintain line efficiencies on the existing equipment. Going back to the cookie analogy, this meant they had to experiment with a bunch of different recipes until the cookie came out just right, so to speak. The end result was a much lighter material, with a much better carbon footprint.

Here’s what the new Portion Control package helps us do:

  • Eliminate more than one million pounds of material from ending up in landfills every year
  • Because the new material is lighter, it means we can ship more rolls of material per pallet = more rolls per truck = less truckloads per shipment = fewer food miles for WhiteWave
  • Later this year we’ll start reclaiming and reusing the left over scrap produced during the cookie cutting process – lightening the PCs footprint even more.