- Soy intake is linked to reduced risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) in 3 large prospective cohort studies, with tofu specifically showing benefit in some populations of women.
- Authors say that soy-based products can be part of a heart-healthy lifestyle to prevent CHD.
Why this matters
- The association of soy intake with CHD risk has been a matter of controversy because of inconsistent evidence from earlier studies.
- The trials collectively had 4,826,122 person-years of follow-up.
- Intake of isoflavones, a key compound in soy, was linked to reduced CHD risk in analyses adjusted for several variables:
- Pooled HR, highest vs lowest quintile: 0.87 (95% CI, 0.81-0.94).
- CHD risk (pooled HRs; 95% CIs) for 1 or more servings a week vs fewer than 1 serving a month:
- Tofu: 0.82 (0.70-0.95).
- Soy milk: 0.87 (0.69-1.10).
- Tofu intake was specifically associated with risk reduction in some groups of women:
- Premenopausal women: 0.45 (0.16-1.23; Ptrend=.02).
- Postmenopausal women not on hormone therapy: 0.51 (0.26-0.99; Ptrend=.03).
- No associations seen for race, sex, BMI, alcohol consumption, or other factors.
- Cohorts total 168,474 women and 42,226 men participating in US prospective cohort studies.
- Dietary information collected at baseline and by survey every 2-4 years.
- Funding: NIH.
- Measurement errors of soy intake were possible.
- Not all types of soy-based foods were included in surveys.