Hormone-related cancers, a shorter lifespan, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease all have a common risk factor. Can you guess what it is?  A number of diseases in adulthood (including the above mentioned) are linked to an earlier onset of puberty.  Animal protein consumption has been the most consistent link between diet and premature puberty. Each gram of daily animal protein consumption—that’s the weight of a paperclip—is linked with a 17% increase in the risk of girls starting their periods earlier than age 12.  Only a century ago, girls were beginning their periods at around age 16, which may help explain why breast cancer is now such an epidemic. Scientists explain the conclusions of the scientific literature:  “Children with higher intakes of vegetable proteins start puberty 7 months later than average, and children eating more animal protein start puberty 7 months earlier than average.  Soy is protective. “Girls with the highest levels of dietary isoflavone intake—the phytonutrients in soy foods–may experience their onset of breast development approximately 7–8 months later than girls with the lowest levels of intake.  I would recommend organic (non-GMO) soy products,  and especially fermented soy foods.  What effect would delaying puberty have on the risk of diseases in adulthood?  “Delays in the timing of puberty in response to beneficial dietary habits (higher intakes of vegetable protein and soy, and lower intakes of animal protein) may be of substantial public health relevance:”  Reduced risk of breast cancer and lower total mortality is associated with a later menarche (onset of puberty).



Primary Sources:

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