The Instigator
RyuuKyuzo
Pro (for)
Winning
18 Points
The Contender
larztheloser
Con (against)
Losing
15 Points

Soy is Detrimental to the Development of Young Men

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 9 votes the winner is...
RyuuKyuzo
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/5/2013 Category: Health
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,055 times Debate No: 30921
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (41)
Votes (9)

 

RyuuKyuzo

Pro

Resolution

--Soy is detrimental to the development of young men.--

As PRO, I will be affirming this resolution.

Burden of Proof

I accept full burden of proof. I am therefore tasked with establishing that soy has been shown to have significant negative impacts on the health of men, specifically for young men.

Definitions

All terms requiring clarification once the debate has started will be defined using the merriam-webster online dictionary definition that best fits the context of this debate [1]. If there is a dispute on which definition best fits the context of this debate, the final arbitration is reserved for myself.

-Soy: This stuff [2] -- and the stuff it gets put in.

-Young Men: The specific ages aren't critical to this debate, but in general I'll be discussing men/boys under the age of 25

-Detrimental: an undesirable or harmful person or thing [3]

Rules

1. All Standard DDO rules apply

2. First round is for acceptance

3. Users with Elo under 2800 need not apply

4. Any questions on this debate should be asked in the comments section prior to acceptance

5. Forfeits are concessions

This debate is impossible to accept at this time. If you're interested, apply in the comments section. This will not be a first-come first-serve method of acceptance. The higher your ELO ranking, the more likely you are to be accepted as the contender.

1. http://www.merriam-webster.com...

2. http://en.wikipedia.org...

3. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
larztheloser

Con

I thank my opponent for opening their case. It's good to have the opportunity to do an in-depth scientific debate.

I know that it says the debate is impossible to accept. Please know that I did, in fact, accept this debate fairly after going through the proper procedures and am not cheating in any way by accepting.

My opponent's rules, definitions, and allocation of the burden of proof are all perfectly reasonable. I suspect there may well in future be a great number of debates over what exactly a "standard DDO rule" is, but my opponent and I have been around here long enough that I don't think either of us intends to cheat.

I wish my opponent very good luck, accept this debate, and look forward to the next round.
Debate Round No. 1
RyuuKyuzo

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting. Being that he is a young man himself, it is my hope that my argument will persuade him to avoid soy products in the future.

Sexual Development

1. Estrogen)
Soy contains phytoestrogens [1], specifically genistein and diadzein [3] which function as the primary female sex hormone (estrogen) that can be consumed by plants. When you consume phytoestrogens, they bind to high-affinity receptors in a cells nucleus, altering the protein transcription of that cells DNA. In short, it has the same effects as normal estrogen. These effects (in men) include smaller testes, lower sperm count, lower sex drive, erectile dysfunction, breast growth, fat gain, smaller muscles, weaker bones, depression, "hot flashes", etc. [2]. Long story short, estrogen "feminizes" men.

2. Studies) A study done on mice who were fed a diet of 2.5 mg/kg of bodyweight of genistein for nine days found that genistein, when given to males, "induced typical estrogenic effects in doses comparable to those present in soy-based diets." [4]

Another study focused on the effects of administering genistein to neonatal animals to the amount of 4mg/kg/day from days 2-18 of life. This significantly retarded nearly all measures of pubertal spermatogenesis. By day 25, these changes remained, and by adulthood the control group (who were not fed soy) had significantly larger testes, while some of the animals who were fed soy actually ended up infertile. The author of the article concludes, "the presence or absence of soy or genistein in the diet has significant short-term (pubertal spermatogenesis) and long-term (body weight, testis size, FSH levels, and possibly mating) effects on males." [5]

In pigs, who are much more closely related to humans, it was shown that soy intake induces the body to break down muscle protein in order for it to get its required amino acids. [6] In other words, the estrogen-like effects of soy caused these pig's bodies to literally eat their own muscles for nutrients at a rate comparable to the rate found in women, which shouldn't happen in men.

There are several more studies I can bring up, but the point has been made. The link between soy and male feminization is difinitive.

3. Asia) In Asia, soy is big. The Chinese and Japanese have been consuming soy for between 1000 and 1500 years, and your typical Japanese man will consume 1-3 servings of soy per day [7]. It is also the case that Asian men have testes less than half the size of their European and African counterparts (9g vs. 21g) [8]. This in no way implies that the discrepancy in testicle size between the races comes down solely to soy-intake, however we have a group of humans who 1. eat the most soy 2. have been eating soy the longest and 3. have the smallest testes. The implications are clear, especially when we consider that soy has been shown time and time again to mimic the effects of estrogen.

4. Shrinking Testes) In recent years, scientists have noted that the testes of young men seem to be shrinking at an alarming rate [9], along with the average testosterone levels of men in general [10]. T-levels have dropped an average of 1.2% per year from 1987-2004 (17% total drop). This change is unrelated to the normal aging process, as we can see T-levels in 65 year old men in 2004 are significantly lower than that of 65 year old men in the 80's.



Since this change is not due to age, the most likely candidate is our diet. While fast-food and high-fructose corn syrup undeniably play a role in this, it is also the case that soy production in North America has also sky-rocketed in recent decades, with the latest boost being in the 90's.


Since soy has been shown repeatedly to result in smaller testes and impede testosterone levels, it can be safely assumed that this recent jump in soy consumption is North America has contributed to this feminization of our men.

Conclusion

I've provided studies that clearly show soy has a detrimental effect of the sexual development of male rats, mice and pigs. Furthermore, circumstantial evidence strongly suggests that soy played a large part in the shrinking of Asian testes, which provides a large-scale example of soy directly and profoundly affecting human men. Furthermore, we are now seeing both a shrinkage of testes and a gradual lowering of T-levels in North American men, which just so happens to be occurring at the same time soy (a product known to impede male sexual development) has begun to grow in popularity in the United States. As such, I have successfully shown that soy is detrimental to the development of young men. My burden of proof is fulfilled and the resolution is affirmed.

I look forward to my opponent's response.

Sources

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...

2. http://www.livestrong.com...

3. http://www.t-nation.com...

4. Strauss, et al. "Genistein exerts estrogen-like effects in male mouse reproductive tract," Mol Cell Endocrinol 1998 Sep 25;144(1-2);83-93

5. Atanassova N (2000). Comparative Effects of Neonatal Exposure of Male Rats to Potent and Weak (Environmental) Estrogens on Spermatogenesis at Puberty and the Relationship to Adult Testis Size and Fertility: Evidence for Stimulatory Effects of Low Estrogen Levels. Endocrinology Vol. 141, No. 10 3898-3907

6. Lohrke B (2001). Activation of skeletal muscle protein breakdown following consumption of soybean protein in pigs. Br J Nutr 2001 Apr; 85 (4): 447-57

7. http://www.theveganrd.com...

8. http://www.neoteny.org...

9. http://en.wikipedia.org...

10. http://www.ourstolenfuture.org...

larztheloser

Con

I thank my opponent for opening his case.

Let us, for a moment, put aside all claims that amount to nothing more than correlation as opposed to causation, including the apparent "infertility" of Asian men (the place with the greatest number of people in the world has apparently been having trouble having kids for thousands of years), and generally reduced testosterone levels that even my opponent agrees (to a more limited extent than is actually true) are inherently affected by millions of confounding variables. What we're left with is one claim: that soy turns boys into girly boys. And it's wrong.

Phytoestrogen

If you ate 100g of raw uncooked soybeans, that's 200mg of isoflavone, which is the key form of phytoestrogen we're talking about here (2). That's a lot. HOWEVER, nobody eats raw uncooked soybeans. Processing and fermentation reduces this MUCH further - soy milk has 9.65mg per 100g (8), while soy sauce contains none at all (1). As the experts say, "It would be difficult to consume too much isoflavone from natural soy products" (2). The fact is that many soy products contain none of the stuff, and despite having a lot more than other foods, those that do still only have very little. Of course the exact amounts will vary for different products - Iowa State University did a huge study in 1999 which gives some very interesting means (8).

Moreover, not everybody can actually metabolize all isoflavones. The best study we have on this was a large sample of western people, and it found that only about a third of people can metabloize a given isoflavone, so the vast majority of them are simply excreted (6).

Moreover, not all of those isoflavones will act like estrogen. Isoflavones are not estrogen, but what scientists call "selective estrogen receptor modulators" (SERMs), which can both inhibit and stimulate estrogen activity depending on what kind of tissue they bond to (3). It's worth remembering that estrogen is in fact a required compound in a healthy body, to the point where the fitness experts will often recommend SERMs in place of estrogen because of their weaker estrogenic effect because they can cancel themselves out as well (4), and the simple fact that the estrogen produced naturally in a male body has an effect around 1000 times stronger (5). Scientists are currently trying to figure out whether they can produce a soy SERM isoflavone that inhibits estrogen in the reproductive system and stimulates it everywhere else. That would help prevent pretty much every type of cancer men can get. Sadly, it's not quite reality yet.

Point is, eating 100g of Tofu at dinner is like crushing an estrogen pill, taking a very small granule, and then playing a game of roulette to determine whether you have to add that tiny granule to your dinner. To be honest, even if you eat that tiny granule outright without your dinner, it's not very likely anything horrible will happen to you or your future sexual health.

Now of course, if you repeat that every single day for long enough, then there might be some very small side effects (not that there's anything WRONG with that - I have a good friend who's transgendered and takes huge amounts of estrogen pills each day, but that does NOT mean there's anything wrong with them). This is, however, the same with any food. Eating McDonalds every evening will likely get you slightly fatter, eating oranges will likely cause your teeth to disintegrate a little more, and so on. Like all foods, if you eat soy, soy should be eaten in moderation.

What about the science?

According to a very good quality-controlled and peer-reviewed study from Scotland, an additional 40mg of isoflavones has no effect on semen quality, testicular size, or anything else of relevance here in any of the people in their sample (7). Yes, that's right, this study used real people. 40mg is around 2-3 bowls of cereal with soymilk compared with regular milk, so this is a really large intake. And it's not harmful.

As much as that study was about as definitive as you can get, a later 2008 study re-examined every single human study that had ever been published in a peer-reviewed journal on the effects of soybeans on testosterone concentrations. They found that in every single one of those studies (all 15, plus 36 groups that were examined for similar stuff) - EVERY ONE - no single human was found to have reduced testosterone concentrations (9).

And then an even later peer-reviewed study, from 2010, proves that "isoflavones do not exert feminizing effects on men at intake levels equal to and even considerably higher than are typical for Asian males." The study even specifically debunks one of the papers my opponent cited and carefully explains why they're not scientific (10).

The difference between my opponent and myself is not our ability to find science. Believe me, I, like him, have another dozen or so studies right in front of me for why I'm right. The difference is that my research is actually relevant to the topic. Every single relevant study is on my side in this debate. While he can prove soybeans are harmful to mice and pigs, I can prove soybeans are not harmful to actual people. And since it's actual people whom this debate is about, my opponent has not demonstrated any valid science at all. After all, we're not pigs or rats.

Correlations

Aside from the aforementioned obvious issue with Asian fertility, Asian men consume far fewer soybeans than Americans (11), and yet they have exactly the same average fertility rate as North America (12). What's more, asia has experienced exactly the same decline in fertility rate as the rest of the world over approximately the same period of time (13), ruling out my opponent's "evil baby-killing food from the east" theory. A much more likely suggestion that is actually based on peer-reviewed research is that women are choosing to have children at different times (the so called "tempo effect") when it is harder to measure (14), or for example that more urban communities have fewer children (16), or improvements in contraception. It has nothing to do with soy, and while diet might play some small role, it is HIGHLY unlikely to be the most significant factor. Moreover, outside of the one state my opponent wanted to talk about, all the rest of the USA actually has a very stable birth rate, and this is projected to continue (15).

Conclusion

All the actual science is on my side, it makes sense from a theoretical point of view, and there's no real-world data to refute it.

The resolution is negated.

Sources

1 - http://www.soyfoods.com...

2 - http://extension.agron.iastate.edu...

3 - http://en.wikipedia.org...

4 - http://voices.yahoo.com...

5 - http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com...

6 - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

7 - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

8 - http://www.nal.usda.gov...

9 - http://www.fertstert.org...

10- http://www.fertstert.org...

11- http://www.spectrumcommodities.com...

12- http://en.wikipedia.org...

13- http://blendedpurple.blogspot.co.nz...

14- http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com...

15- http://www.ifs.du.edu...

16- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
Debate Round No. 2
RyuuKyuzo

Pro

Phytoestrogen

Con claims that processing and fermentation of soybeans reduces the amount of phytoestrogens in them. He is being incredibly misleading here. Firstly, his own source shows that raw soybeans contain 59.63mg-145mg of isoflavones/100g [1]. The amount of isoflavones already varies wildly depending on where your soy beans come from. Furthermore, some soy products actually contain more isoflavones, such as soy flour which clocks in at 198.95mg/100g [2].

Soy milk contains less isoflavones, but only because it contains less soy. 1 C of soy milk contains only 8g of soy, less than 1/10 the amount of soy you'd be eating if you ate 100 straight grams of soybean [3]. If you drank the equivalent in soymilk, you would be consuming 120.625mg of isoflavone, which is clearly on the high-end of the range Con's source gave. There doesn't seem to be any real loss of isoflavone, the difference comes down to soy concentration and which kind of soybean you use.

Basically, my opponent's argument amounts to "eat less soy and you'll see less negative effects from soy". True, but irrelevant.

The question now is, how much soy must one ingest to see its effects? The answer is, not much. According to The Independent:

"The scientists, led by Dr Jorge Chavarro, from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, questioned 99 men seeking help for fertility problems about their consumption of 15 soya-based foods."

"Scientists found that even modest consumption of soya products, such as meat and dairy substitutes and bean curd, can have a significant impact on sperm count." [4]

The article states that the average sperm count is between 80 and 120 million sperm per millilitre of semen, while the average for men who typically consume 1/2 a servings worth of soy (which is equal to about 1/2 cup of soy milk) a day had, on average, a 41 million/ml lower sperm count. This study only questioned them back as far as 3 months, so it's likely those with the highest soy intake had been consuming soy much longer.

Con points out how not all adults can metabolize all isoflavones. This will be dealt with later.

Con points out that natural estrogen is more potent than plant isoflavones. The implication here is that it might actually be beneficial to eat soy, as it would take the place of your bodies own estrogen. This argument only makes sense assuming you already have high estrogen levels (which is atypical of young men). Otherwise, you're needlessly stacking your cells with phytoestrogen.

I don't think Con quite understands why people typically use SERM. SERM is used when a bodybuilder is on steroids (synthetic Testosterone) in order to mitigated the effects of the additional estrogen the body produces in response to this jolting increase in T-levels [5]. If you're not on steroids and you don't have a genetic chemical hormonal imbalance, you should not be taking SERM, as it's known to increase your chances of getting blood clots and certain kinds of cancer [6]. This is because, as my opponent pointed out, Estrogen is natural and necessary in the male body to a certain degree. Blocking these receptors needlessly is foolish and unnecessary. Since most SERMs are even weaker than soy isoflavones, why would needlessly docking soy isoflavones in your cells be any less foolish?

The Science

Con makes his biggest folly here.

He points to a study done where 40mg of isoflavones a day for 2 months had no effect on the subjects' T-levels or sperm count. Con tries to exaggerate the amount of isoflavones used by comparing it to 2-3 "bowls of cereal" worth of soy milk. Firstly, according to con's own source, even the soybeans with the lowest levels of isoflavone (from Taiwan) still had 59.75mg. 40mg is not a negligible amount, but let's not pretend it's more than it is. Secondly, my opponent failed to consider that this study (and the other studies he mentioned) were done on adults. This one specifically was done on 14 men (much less than the 99 I cited) who’s ages were between 18-35 [7]. These are people either at the very end of their sexual development, or well past it. The reason why I specifically made this debate on male development and used studies done on neonatal animals and not the studies Con took it upon himself to "debunk", is because children are more susceptible to the effects of isoflavone binding than adults [8].

So, let's examine what this study really says: a study done on 14 men found that 40mg of isoflavone a day for 2 months had no real effect on their T and sperm levels. In other words, a study done on a statistically insignificant amount of men found that a small amount of isoflavone for a short period of time doesn't screw with your sex organs -- assuming you're already fully developed. That's like saying "taking a puff from a cigarette once a day for a few weeks won't stunt your growth if you've already grown to your full height.

This is why Con's studies are irrelevant -- they involve people who are no longer developing, so obviously soy isn't going to disrupt their development.

By the way, the "debunking" this study does to my neonatal rat study is to point out that they used more isoflavone than the typical person consumes. This is a valid criticism of the study in general, but this is not a valid criticism for this debate because this is basically saying "eating less soy has less of an effect than eating more soy". The focus of this debate isn't over the degree of negative effects, but that this link exists period. Obviously eating less soy will result in less feminization, and less stab wounds to the belly will result in less internal bleeding too.

Correlations

Con points out that Asian men eat less soy than American men. This is true, but it supports my position, not his. When it comes to seeing the effects of soy-intake, duration of consumption trumps whomever is consuming the most right now. The Chinese have been eating soy for 1500 years, while American's have only been producing soy in notable quantities for a few decades. Given this, you would expect to see 2 things. 1, Asian men having smaller testes and lower sperm count. 2, American men (who now consume more soy than Asians) catching up to Asians via an abrupt run-away drop in T-levels and sperm count in the last few decades. As I pointed out in R2, this is exactly what's happening in America right now.

Con states that the fertility rate in Asia is the same as in North America. This is, once again, incredibly misleading. Fertility rate =/= fertility. The fertility rate is meant to measure how many kids the average woman is expected to have, it does not measure difficulty in conception. So long as you aren't infertile, you can keep having sex until you conceive. Because of this reason, we have to actually look at testicle size, T-levels and sperm production to see if anything is going on. As it turns out, we have statistics on this and (unsurprisingly) they show smaller testes and lower sperm count in Asian men [9]. This is all that is relevant, which is why I never mentioned birth-rates in my argument. My opponent has set up a straw-man.

Conclusion

The “actual” science is not on Con's side. He takes far too many unwarranted liberties and twists the focus of the debate at every turn to make his case seem stronger than it is. He cherry-picked statistics to underestimate the amount of soy in soy-products in argument 1, cited studies which had nothing to do with development (and are therefore irrelevant to this debate's resolution) in argument 2, and completely straw-man-ed me in argument 3.

Con's presentation is clever, but when you get down to the center of it, his arguments are as impotent as a vegan rat. Con has failed to debunk my argument. As such, the resoution remains affirmed.

1. http://tinyurl.com... (pg 13)
2. ibid (pg 10)
3. http://tinyurl.com...
4. http://tinyurl.com...
5. http://tinyurl.com...
6. http://tinyurl.com...
7. http://tinyurl.com... (pg 615)
8. http://tinyurl.com...
9. http://tinyurl.com...

larztheloser

Con

I thank pro for continuing his case.

Phytoestrogen
I made a number of claims here. First I agreed soy has a lot of isoflavone in it. Pro said that according to my own source it doesn't have quite so much as I originally said. OK then – so soy is even less dangerous than I thought.

Second I said that this is reduced further by processing. Pro puts this down simply to a reduced concentration. This is false - check his source. It does say that there's only 8g of "soy protein", but the protein is only 40% of the total soybean [1]. While this might seem to mean the isoflavone content should be 1/5th of that of soybeans, this is not the case - instead, it is around 1/15th of beans from Korea, and 1/10th those from Japan [2]. Therefore it cannot be "just concentration". What has more than halved the concentration of phytoestrogen is the extra processing.

Third I said it's mostly not even metabolised. Pro said he'd come back to this - he never did.

Fourth I said that SERMs do not necessarily have estrogenic effects - it all depends on what kind of tissue receptor they bond to. Pro does not contest this.

Pro does say that SERMs can be dangerous, because they can block estrogen receptors (meaning: your body doesn't feel the need to produce so much estrogen). I guess this is a concession that soy actually REDUCES the amount of estrogen in the system, a COMPLETE reversal of his argument from the previous round. The science is, though, that soy actually has no significant net effect on it.

In passing, pro mentions blood clots and cancer. In fact, the American Cancer Society agrees that soy can actually REDUCE the risk of cancer [3], and all the research indicates that soy actually stops blood from clotting [4]. The reason why is because different SERMs affect different types of cells, so while some SERMs are dangerous, soy is not.

Pro does also not address that WANTING to have more estrogen in your system or be more feminised isn't necessarily a bad thing either, but I'm glad he doesn't and essentially concedes it, because soy products do not significantly increase (or decrease!) estrogen levels when consumed in normal quantities.

"Less soy is better"
Apparently pro is making this into a major point now. Like I said last round, all food is bad when not eaten in moderation. If you eat nothing but lettuce for a year, you'd probably be dead from a lack of protein, but that doesn't mean lettuce is bad for your health. Soy is no different - like all foods, it should be eaten in moderation.

This debate is about whether eating a typical meal including soy every so often is any more dangerous than eating that same typical meal with a soy substitute. Unless pro can actually demonstrate a substantive harm that comes from eating typical quantities of soy, beyond the remote possibility of there being a tiny granule of an estrogen pill in there, he has no case. Remember: "It would be difficult to consume too much isoflavone from natural soy products", just like it would be difficult to die from eating lettuce.

Science
I find it deeply ironic that pro has attacked my studies for using adults, when ALL of the human studies he cites (all ONE of them) only asked adults too. That "study", by the way, was a survey, and they ONLY surveyed those who had fertility problems, so there wasn't even a control. This from a researcher who then went on to use his own "research" to promote his very own "fertility diet" [5]. And in their report they state quite plainly "Soy food and isoflavone intakes were unrelated to total sperm count, ejaculate volume, sperm motility or sperm morphology in these analyses" [6]. In other words - just as many sperm are there, and just as many sperm still get ejaculated, with and without soy, and that sperm is just as good. And incidentally, this finding means the size of the testicular glands was larger too, as sperm must have been more "spread out" to have had the same quantity. Even so, as one respected scientist noted "This study is confounded by many issues, thus I feel the results should be viewed with a great deal of caution" [8].

ALL the actual experiments ("feed people soy and see if their sperm die") have come back negative. I've provided two meta-analysis studies to prove that. Pro does nothing to contest their findings.

Pro does contest the study from Scotland I cited. He begins by claiming 40mg is not a lot by comparing it to eating 100g of soybeans. This is like saying meat is detrimental to health because if you eat 100g of raw uncooked meat, you will probably get food poisoning. Nobody eats soybeans raw. They are processed, mixed, and cooked.

His next contention is that the study is irrelevant because the people in the study are not that young. Maybe that’s because the relevant cells aren't actually that different in youth and adults. This has been supported by all the studies that have studied this - indeed, infants fed soy formula have CONSISTENTLY been PROVEN to have completely normal sexual maturation - see these three peer-reviewed studies proving the point [9] [10] [11]. You see, contrary to pro’s assertion, there IS actually scientific data for young boys, and it's all on my side yet again.

Furthermore, it is not true that "children are more susceptible to the effects of isoflavone binding than adults", as pro claims. The source he cites for this is merely a study proving soy isoflavones can find their way into breast milk. That's different from establishing susceptibility to their effects. In fact, plenty of very strong research shows healthy children are far LESS susceptible to the effects of soy compared to healthy adults as they excrete more of the SERMs [7].

Correlations
Pro agrees that soy consumption is not correlated with the fertility rate. Instead he's now claiming that it is linked to individual fertility and that people are simply having sex more. Asia completely disproves this hypothesis, because Asians have the least sex out of everybody [12], so "having sex more" can't be how they keep their fertility up.

Despite media reports about researchers using methods from the 30s, modern science proves that despite the increased prevalence of soy, if anything, total sperm numbers have actually INCREASED since the mid-70s [14]. Semen quality has also not changed at all [15]. Oh, and that study "showing" Asians have lower quality sperm? That's exactly the same as the study that pro provided that Guardian article on earlier, which I debunked above.

But I guess the whole point is - if it doesn't affect your ability to have kids - AT ALL - then how exactly is it detrimental? It obviously has no net impact at all in all the meaningful correlations pro points out.

Increasing estrogen does not mean T-levels necessary reduce, so that's not actually a correlation either.

Conclusion
Pro has conceded most of my points about phytoestrogen, and completely flip-flopped on what phytoestrogen does. I still am monopolising the actual science in this debate, and pro is yet to even find a meaningful correlation. I think the evidence on soy is pretty clear here. Good luck to pro for the final round.

Sources
1 - http://goo.gl...

2 - http://sn.im...

3 - http://sn.im...

4 - http://www.livestrong.com...

5 - http://www.health.harvard.edu...

6 - http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org...

7 - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

8 - http://www.soyfoods.org...

9 - http://intl.jacn.org...

10- http://jama.jamanetwork.com...

11- http://www.degruyter.com...

12- http://marriage.about.com...

13- http://www.sciencedirect.com...

14- http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org...

15- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
Debate Round No. 3
RyuuKyuzo

Pro

I'm very strapped for time so I'm condensing this debate into its most vital point: Do soy isoflavones given to males before and during sexual development detrimentally effect their sexual development and result in feminization once development is complete. All other points in this debate are secondary as they are predicated on the answer to this question.

If the evidence suggests that soy intake negatively effects male development, then the resolution is affirmed and I win the debate. If the evidence suggests no relationship, then the resolution is negated and Con wins the debate.

I'm not conceding the other points, it's just the case that what Con is arguing against is largely different from what I'm arguing for, with the exception of this point. I will work in responses to as many of Con's arguments as possible here.

Con brings 3 studies to the table on this point (sources 9, 10, and 11 in his list). Let's examine these studies.

Study 9

  1. This study measured length, weight, and head circumference. NOT T-levels, testes size, estrogen levels, etc. [1]

  2. This was NOT a long-term study. This study concluded after 110 days, meaning none of the subjects were even close to starting puberty, let alone finishing it. We have no idea what the effects will be on their sexual development, and since this study wasn't meant to measure such a thing, we never will.

Conclusion: For the purposes of this debate, this study proves nothing

Study 10

This is the only long-term study done on humans. This is not a good thing, because

  1. Results were self-reported via a phone survey, not from actual testing on hormone levels

  2. During the study “The actual photoestrogen content of the infant formulas was not measured.”

  3. The study caught up with them at age 8, but not again until around age 30, meaning the subjects had their entire teenage (developing) years to not consume soy, and all sorts of other things that could skew the results that we will never know of.

  4. The study itself admits that it found “a tendency for sedentary activities (P=.77 for men...)” [2] -- which is a strong indicator of low-T [3][4] [5]. A .77 correlation is HUGE by the way. The correlation between arm size and isometric arm strength is only 0.23 [6].

No real numbers immediately dash this study's credibility. A reliance on self-reporting over the phone allows for ego-based lying and poor memory to skew the results, and this study actually gives strong reason to believe that the soy-fed group did go on to have lower T levels. In fact, with a correlation of .77 for sedentary lifestyles, it is virtually certain that real numbers would show this.

Conclusion: For Con, this study is at best inconclusive and a worst in support of my position, not Con's.

Study 11

This study is only available after purchase ($42), so this study can't say much in this debate.

  1. We don't know how much isoflavone was given

  2. This study went for about 6 months, not long enough for us to see the effects on development (since puberty would still over a decade off from starting)

  3. The only measures of high-estrogen in males used where breast-tissue growth and bone age.

This study showed that after roughly six months, baby boys didn't grow breast tissue and their “bone age” was within the norm [7]. That's good, but it misses that mark this debate is meant to hit.

Conclusion: Not enough information on this study for a real analysis, but assuming the abstract is an accurate representation, this study also doesn't prove either side here one way or the other.

I'm not the only one who has brought up these issues. Many other scientists have noted that there's very few studies on the effects of soy on humans, especially long-term (there's only 1 that's actually long-term enough to be relevant here), however “Given the limited evidence for the health effects of soy isoflavones in infants, pediatric and health organizations in several countries suggest caution in feeding soy to infants and young children.” [8]. This is because the evidence we do have in infant soy feedings suggests negative effects.

Infant Marmoset Study

This study (done on monkeys) showed that subjects fed milk formula as infants had “mean testosterone levels of 2.8-3.1 ng/ml, typical of the 'neonatal testosterone rise” [9]. The soy-fed marmosets clocked in at 1.2-2.6., upwards of a 70% reduction in free testosterone [10].

It's worth mentioning that it is, in fact, the case that infants are more susceptible to phytoestrogens than adults:

“Exposure to estrogenic compounds may pose a developmental hazard to infants... Since the available evidence suggests that infants can digest and absorb dietary phytoestrogens in active forms and since neonates are generally more susceptible than adults to perturbations of the sex steroid milieu...” [11]

It's also worth mentioning that it is necessary to keep tabs on your subjects during and post puberty, as Sally Fallon (nutrition journalist and food historian) noted in “The Ploy of Soy”: “You don't see the results or the effects until he reaches puberty.” [12]. This article in particular is a wealth of information on the dangers of soy, including:

“The use of soy formula has caused zinc deficiency in infants”

“a recent study of infants fed soy formula found that these infants had concentrations of estrogen compounds in their blood 13,000 to 22,000 times higher than babies on milk-based formula or breast milk.”

“soy foods block calcium and cause vitamin D deficiencies”

etc.

She's not a face-less e-doctor, either. She's an outspoken critic of soy [13]. I would also like to direct your attention to a recent video [14] made outlining the more recent findings in the soy controversy, including statics like how, according to Dr. Mercola in his 2011 article: “infants fed soy formula take in an estimated three to five birth control pills’ worth of estrogen every day...” [15]. Funny enough, it looks like processed soy is actually more potent, in contradiction to what Con's been insinuating.

I'd like to point out that soy consumption (specifically via tofu) has recently shown that “in men, high levels of tofu were associated with low cognition scores.” [16]

EliteFTS

Finally, elitefts.com (home to several world-record holders in feats of strength [17]) did an extensive annotated bibliography on a dozen studies comparing the effects of soy protein and whey protein. The bibliography concludes,

“My research has definitely shown me to never recommend soy protein supplementation to a male athlete who wants to increase muscle mass. Even if soy were superior for hypertrophy, it would not be worth significantly lowering serum testosterone levels. Soy did not even exhibit the anti-oxidant properties of whey on trained animals. The choice seems simple.” [18]

Bringing it all Together

In every animal study ever done, we've seen that soy is detrimental to the development of males. The studies Con brought up are famously considered inadequete for the reasons I've listed. You'll notive that nearly all the sources given in this debate, every scientist is urging for more human studies with more percise controls and better follow-up procedure. This is because the latest and most accurate data we have strongly suggests that soy is detrimental, while none of the studies suggesting the opposite have had a satifying enough methodology for scientists to comfortably say soy is safe.

Therefore, at this point it is clear that soy is detrimental to the development of young men. The resolution is affirmed.

VOTE PRO

Sources

  1. http://tinyurl.com...

  2. http://tinyurl.com...

  3. http://tinyurl.com...

  4. http://tinyurl.com...

  5. http://tinyurl.com...

  6. http://tinyurl.com...

  7. http://tinyurl.com...

  8. http://tinyurl.com...

  9. http://tinyurl.com...

  10. http://tinyurl.com...

  11. http://tinyurl.com...

  12. http://tinyurl.com...

  13. [video]

  14. [video]

  15. http://tinyurl.com...

  16. http://tinyurl.com...

  17. http://tinyurl.com...

  18. http://tinyurl.com...

larztheloser

Con

In this debate, my opponent has not shown any correlations. He has not understood what phytoestrogen even does, contradicting himself three times in three rounds. He is no longer making a big case out of the notion that if a lot of a food is bad for you, then eating that food in moderation must be bad for you. Apparently he's "not conceding the other points", which is problematic since he refuses to engage with them. Instead, he wants this to be all about the science, even if he cannot provide a coherent mechanism to explain it, and if he cannot show any other data to correlate it with.

I find it amazing that my opponent can bring up 18 all-new pieces of evidence and about a dozen entirely new arguments in the final round, but I'll roll with it. Please don't penalize me if I bring up new evidence in response to totally new evidence.

Scotland study

This is where I proved that soy milk presents zero harm to adult men. When my opponent agreed with this, I extended that by saying the receptors in children are no different from adults. My opponent has failed to show why kids would react differently from adults.

I also provided an excellent study showing that if anything, kids react BETTER to soy because they cannot metabolize phytoestrogen so well. This has been where my opponent has directed his attention. To "counter" this study, he cites a different study conducted around a decade earlier, saying that they are "more susceptible" to the sex hormones. First, that relies on them actually metabolising them, which they cannot do so well. And second, we now have empirical evidence that they are not "more susceptible", because just like adults, kids who drink soy don't turn out any different than kids who drink milk [1]. The differing results come about because pro's study looks at concentration, mine total absorption. Moreover, there is convincing evidence collected at the same time as my opponent's study that the isoflavones have the opposite effect in children's estrogen levels [2].

The authors of that study concluded:
"In the absence of practical examples to support adverse effects of soy-based infant formulas, despite their use for > 30 y, it could be argued that long-term benefits may ensue from infant exposure to soy-based formulas containing isoflavones because this could confer protection later in life against hormone-dependent diseases. In this regard, we speculate that the low incidence of hormone-dependent diseases in China and Japan, where soy is a staple, may in part be a consequence of a lifetime exposure to phytoestrogens from the traditional diet." [2]

Oh, and Fallon's article? She doesn't have any credentials at all (anyone can legally call themselves a "nutritionist"), other than that she wrote a book which presents more or less the same evidence as pro has in this debate. She's never done any primary research herself.

Ultimately the question is whether studies on human adults or lab rats are better suited to determine the effects of soy on youth. Remember that I've also shown a number of meta-analyses that show where the preponderance of evidence really lies.

Ohio Study

aka #9. Pro says it doesn't measure hormone stats. True, but that's not the only aspect of sexual development. The Ohio study basically proves that they did not have stunted growth or any other outward signs of retarded development.

If "during puberty" is the only time my opponent thinks it's bad to eat soy, then that's a huge limitation on when it's apparently "detrimental" in some way that we haven't seen before. However, this also disproves my opponent's animal studies being relevant to humans, such as the one about muscle protein in pigs pro cited two rounds ago, since humans did NOT have the same effects.

Italy study

aka #10. My opponent is right that it didn't measure hormone levels. What it measured was SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT independent of hormone levels, and it found that it's the same with and without soy.

While it did not relate to soy consumption in adolescence, it proves that childhood consumption has no effect on adolescence. That's probably because adult hormone levels don't set in until after adolescence. If anything, hormones usually get stuffed up in adolescence, so hormone regulators like soy can help keep them under control.

While a survey, it also checked their medical records [4] so the participants couldn't exactly lie.

.77 correlation is not huge, it's tiny. Lower is better for p-values, and anything above 0.05 is not normally considered significant [3]. Although this conclusion my opponent draws about T-levels is wrong, my opponent has yet to show ANY harm of a low T-value outside of sexual development (which soy does NOT affect), nor can he explain why soy would even affect T-values, since it only regulates estrogen.

Italy study #2

aka #11. I do have access to this study, and it's pretty good. However, my opponent concedes what it proves: young boys are not feminized. If he thinks the SERMs will stick around until puberty and then magically activate, he better provide some evidence. So far he has provided none.

He claims "the evidence we do have in infant soy feedings suggests negative effects." Not even his source claims that - in fact, his source ends by suggesting soy isn't even bioactive. This study directly contradicts that.

Infant Marmoset Study

After I proved that infants develop normally and my opponent tried to restrict the debate to just adolescents, he cites a study about the infant development of chimps. If human babies fed soy develop normally at least until adolescence and monkey babies do not, then that proves what I've been saying all along - different species interact differently with SERMs.

Dr Mercola

Dr Mercola is the very same guy who relies on "slick promotion, clever use of information, and scare tactics" to make "unsubstantiated claims and clash with those of leading medical and public health organizations" [6]. My opponent speaks of this guy like he's ever done any research into soy at all. He has not - even Dr Phil is more qualified to speak about soy. He published this article right before promoting his own artificial breastmilk alternative.

EliteFTS

This meta-analysis found that soy is no worse than whey at building muscle. While it did make some conclusions about T-levels, since soy doesn't hurt an athlete's ability to build muscle, this isn't detrimental either.

Pro also does not show why not being a top athlete is "detrimental." Taking vitamins won't build muscle, but that doesn't mean they're detrimental.

Summary

This debate is not all about the research, although it's the only thing pro has anything on at the end of the debate. But let me explain why I think the research supports me.

I gave you six independent, peer-reviewed studies, including two meta-analyses of over 30 other studies, proving that soy is safe in people. Pro has given no reason why this should not be true for children.

Pro gave you many studies that soy is harmful to animals. I showed in depth WHY these studies cannot be applied to humans.

The question we should be asking is - what animal is a human child most close to? A human of course! Which is why despite the fact that we've had soy for 50+ years, soy-fed kids are developing normally. And it's why all the studies on human children support my position.

And teens? That's a crazy hypothesis my opponent had. He presented no research to back it up, and not even a reason why it might be true.

The actual science is still very much on my side.

If that's what matters, then I think it's clear where the evidence is. If not, then pro has essentially conceded.

Vote con.

Sources

1 - http://pediatrics.aappublications.org...
2 - http://ajcn.nutrition.org...
3 - http://en.wikipedia.org...
4 - http://jama.jamanetwork.com...
5 - http://en.wikipedia.org...
6 - http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 4
41 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by RyuuKyuzo 3 years ago
RyuuKyuzo
Well, he had a fair chance. I'll request a counter.
Posted by larztheloser 3 years ago
larztheloser
Not holding out much hope for FritzStammberger to present his RFD unfortunately.
Posted by larztheloser 3 years ago
larztheloser
"I'll get this sorted out though"

Thank you!!!
Posted by larztheloser 3 years ago
larztheloser
"I'll get this sorted out though"

Thank you!!!
Posted by RyuuKyuzo 3 years ago
RyuuKyuzo
Hey Fritz, just a reminder to please update your RFD in this debate. If you'll remember, you didn't add it due to freezing problems. If you're still having issues with voting, you can add your RFD in this comments section.
Posted by FritzStammberger 3 years ago
FritzStammberger
what do you know? your just a robot.
Posted by Jarhyn 3 years ago
Jarhyn
Fritz, do you even know what an assertion fallacy is? You've just ASSERTED that low testosterone is deleterious. If assertion made something true, then the world would stop working. You have the same problem as PRO in this debate, you merely assert value judgments with no regard for the naturalistic fallacy.
Posted by RyuuKyuzo 3 years ago
RyuuKyuzo
I have to wait for them to add me as friends to PM them... I'll get this sorted out though.
Posted by RyuuKyuzo 3 years ago
RyuuKyuzo
Okay, I'm going to start sending out PM's to these voters =__=
Posted by FritzStammberger 3 years ago
FritzStammberger
actually Jarhyn and larz, the feminization of men is a MAJOR problem in our society. So is the masculinization of woman. The evil satanic control forces would just love a population of androgenous, cybernetic workers. Men who shave their legs and woman who work like a man. It's de-humanizing.
9 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 3 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
RyuuKyuzolarztheloserTied
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Reasons for voting decision: !
Vote Placed by FritzStammberger 3 years ago
FritzStammberger
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Reasons for voting decision: theargument that really won me over was the facts about estrogen coming from the soy.
Vote Placed by ockcatdaddy 3 years ago
ockcatdaddy
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Reasons for voting decision: it was quite a fun debate to read up on although this was a very even debate i actually cannot take either side pro refuted very well what con has pointed out flaws
Vote Placed by Smithereens 3 years ago
Smithereens
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Reasons for voting decision: this was a fun read, but I couldn't decide on a winner. Sorry.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 3 years ago
bladerunner060
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Reasons for voting decision: This was quite a fantastic debate, about a subject I've been quite curious about. Both debaters did a fine job with conduct and S&G. Pro's use of questionable "nutritionists" and "alternative" salesmen made me award sources to Con. And as to arguments, Pro accepted full BoP, and failed to definitively show detriment to the development of young men; while Con, perhaps, didn't absolutely prove there wasn't, he was not obliged to. Con did a fine job parrying Pro's arguments, which seemed to result in Pro having to shift them to accommodate the responses he was getting.
Vote Placed by Lizard 3 years ago
Lizard
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Reasons for voting decision: Wow! Pro showed me to be weary of soy products. Con gave me some hope that maybe it's safe for humans, but pro made a good point about these tests having a methodology that makes their findings inconclusive. Sources and arguments are pretty much a package deal here since almost every sentence was sourced.
Vote Placed by Jarhyn 3 years ago
Jarhyn
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Reasons for voting decision: PRO made true claims,but at the same time failed to fulfill his burden of proof that the effects in the study are objectively detrimental. "my opponent has yet to show ANY harm of a low T-value" called out the value judgement on a low T-Value by PRO. Even so, he SHOULD have made it the center of his case. Even so, I can't justify giving a full 3 points to CON because of how he understated that important element of his case, and PRO used more sources anyway.
Vote Placed by 1Devilsadvocate 3 years ago
1Devilsadvocate
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Reasons for voting decision: Counter sophisticatedhonesty.
Vote Placed by sophisticatedhonesty 3 years ago
sophisticatedhonesty
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Reasons for voting decision: i do it