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Inmates Sentenced to a Dangerous Diet... Are CA Schools Next?

July 21, 2009

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Serving up soy may be a way to save money and cut the fat, but it could also make you sick. Those are the claims from some Illinois prison inmates who have filed a lawsuit to stop the soy-based meals they say are causing serious health problems. It's a diet that may be coming to a California prison, or even school system, as the state looks for ways to save money.

The Weston A. Price Foundation, a non-profit active in nutrition education, got involved in the Illinois lawsuit, and the organization's president, Sally Fallon, says research has shown soy products contain toxins that interfere with digestion. It also has plant-based estrogens that are dangerous in large amounts – which explain prisoner health issues.

"These cause pain and vomiting, thyroid problems, low metabolism, weight gain; several of the inmates have had parts of their colons removed in an attempt to ease the pain."

Fallon says unless soy-based diets can be stopped in prison systems, people can expect more soy-heavy foods to be served up for other institutional meals, such as in California hospitals and schools.

"This means that these children will be getting this food that's extremely difficult to digest, and full of estrogen-like substances that can actually cause infertility later on."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration ten years ago allowed a soy-prevents-heart-disease health claim for soy consumed in small amounts, although Fallon says the agency is looking at revoking the claim because of further research that shows no heart health benefits.

The Illinois prisoners' case, "Harris et al. v. Brown, et al.," is pending in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois.

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA