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New Evaluation of Isoflavone Exposure in the French Population


New Evaluation of Isoflavone Exposure in the French Population

Alexandre Lee et al. Nutrients.


The study relates the present evaluation of exposure to estrogenic isoflavones of French consumers through two approaches: (1) identification of the isoflavone sources in the French food offering, (2) a consumption-survey on premenopausal women. For the foodstuff approach 150 food-items were analysed for genistein and daidzein. Additionally, 12,707 labels of processed-foods from French supermarket websites and a restaurant-supplier website were screened, and 1616 foodstuffs of interest were retained. The sources of phytoestrogens considered were soy, pea, broad bean and lupine. A price analysis was performed. A total of 270 premenopausal women from the French metropolitan territory were interviewed for their global diet habits and soy consumption and perception. In supermarkets, there were significantly less selected foodstuffs containing soy than in restaurant (11.76% vs. 25.71%, p < 0.01). There was significantly more soy in low price-foodstuff in supermarket (p < 0.01). Isoflavone levels ranged from 81 to 123,871 µg per portion of the analyzed soy containing foodstuff. Among the women inquired 46.3% claimed to have soy regularly. Isoflavone intake >45 mg/day is associated to vegan-diet (p < 0.01). In total, 11.9% of soy-consumers had a calculated isoflavone intake >50 mg/day. This dose can lengthen the menstrual cycles. The actual exposure to phytoestrogen is likely to have an effect in a part of the French population.

Keywords: endocrine disruptors; exposure; foodstuff labelling; health; isoflavones; legumes; phytoestrogens; premenopausal women.

Conflict of interest statement

There are no conflict of interest to declare.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Diagrammatic representation of the food-item sorting considered in the different studies. (1A) Sorting applied to the global study of supermarkets and of the restaurant-supplier offerings. (1B) Sorting applied to the comparison between the two distribution circuits.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Percentage of food-items containing legumes in the different food-categories proposed by the restaurant-supplier. Figures indicate the number of food-items and, between brackets, are the numbers of total food-products found within the restaurant-supplier offering.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Main results of the survey performed on 270 premenopausal French women on their soy consumption. (A) Percentage of premenopausal women consuming soy-based products or not. (B) Duration of soy-based product consumption over women claiming regular soy intake. (C) Frequency of soy intake from all the inquired population (N = 270). (D) Estimated isoflavone intake based on the isoflavone foodstuff estimation (Table S10a). Data are percentages and error bars are confidence intervals calculated with a risk error of 5%.

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