Study finds soy and cow milk formulas equally safe

August 21, 2001 in Nutrition Topics in the News

Study finds soy and cow milk formulas equally safe

Infants fed soy-based formula have long-term health outcomes similar to those who are fed cow milk-based formula, according to the results of a study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia.

Critics suggest that soy formula, because it contains isoflavones, natural compounds similar to the female hormone, estrogen, might disrupt normal hormone levels and impair development.

In the study, the team of researchers conducted telephone interviews with 248 men and women aged 20 to 34 years who were fed soy-based formula as infants. Each of the participants answered questions that attempted to assess "health in young adulthood, with an emphasis on reproductive health." The group that consumed soy formula was then compared with 563 similarly aged men and women who consumed cow milk-based formula during infancy and answered the same questions.

The only difference between the groups was that women who had been fed soy-based formula reported menstrual bleeding that lasted an average of one third of a day per month longer compared with women in the cow milk-based formula group.

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