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Soy consumption is not protective against diabetes in Hawaii: the Multiethnic Cohort


Based on the hypothesis that soy consumption may improve glucose tolerance, we examined the association of soy intake with diabetes risk in the Hawaii component of the Multiethnic Cohort. Among 29 719 Caucasian, 35 141 Japanese American and 10 484 Native Hawaiian men and women, 8564 incident diabetes cases were identified during 14 years of follow-up. Cox regression was used to calculate hazard ratios while adjusting for known confounders with stratifications by sex, ethnicity and weight status. We observed no protective effect of soy food consumption on diabetes risk in this population, which has a wide range of soy intakes though lower than in Asian populations. Indeed, higher soy food intake was associated with a weakly elevated diabetes risk across ethnic groups; the higher risk was limited to overweight and obese individuals. The current findings do not support a protective effect of modest levels of soy food consumption against diabetes.

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The MEC has been supported by National Cancer Institute Grant R37CA54281; the recruitment of Native Hawaiians was funded by Grant DAMD 17-94-T-4184. The diabetes project is funded by R21 DK073816.

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Correspondence to Y Morimoto.

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Morimoto, Y., Steinbrecher, A., Kolonel, L. et al. Soy consumption is not protective against diabetes in Hawaii: the Multiethnic Cohort. Eur J Clin Nutr 65, 279–282 (2011).

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  • diabetes mellitus type 2
  • ethnicity
  • soy foods
  • obesity
  • prospective study

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