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

July 24, 2009

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 idea that's been floated for Montana prisons, and even schools, as the state has searched for ways to save money.

The Weston A. Price Foundation got involved in the lawsuit and the organization's president, Sally Fallon, says research shows soy products contain toxins that interfere with digestion. Soy also contains plant-based estrogens that are dangerous in large amounts - and both facts help explain the prisoner health issues, she says.

"Pain and vomiting, thyroid problems, low metabolism, weight gain - several of them have had part of their colon removed in an attempt to ease the pain."

Unless soy-based diets can be stopped in the prison system, says Fallon, people can expect more soy-heavy foods to be served up for other institutional meals, such as in Montana 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 Food and Drug Administration allowed a soy-prevents-heart-disease health claim in 1999 for soy consumed in small amounts, although Fallon says the agency is considering revoking the claim because of further research that shows no heart health benefits.

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

Deb Courson, Public News Service - MT