Evidence of the benefits of soy on cancer risk in Western populations is inconsistent, in part because of the low intake of soy in these groups.
We assessed the validity of soy protein estimates from food-frequency questionnaires (FFQs) in a sample of Adventist Health Study-2 participants with a wide range of soy intakes.
We obtained dietary intake data from 100 men and women (43 blacks and 57 nonblacks). Soy protein estimates from FFQs were compared against repeated 24-h recalls and urinary excretion of daidzein, genistein, total isoflavonoids (TIFLs), and equol (measured by HPLC/photodiode array/mass spectrometry) as reference criteria. We calculated Pearson and Spearman correlation coefficients (with 95% CIs) for FFQ–24-h recall, 24 h-recall–urinary excretion, and FFQ–urinary excretion pairs.
Among soy users, mean (± SD) soy protein values were 12.12 ± 10.80 g/d from 24-h recalls and 9.43 ± 7.83 g/d from FFQs. The unattenuated correlation (95% CI) between soy protein estimates from 24-h recalls and FFQs was 0.57 (0.32, 0.75). Correlation coefficients between soy protein intake from 24-h recalls and urinary isoflavonoids were 0.72 (0.43, 0.96) for daidzein, 0.67 (0.43, 0.91) for genistein, and 0.72 (0.47, 0.98) for TIFLs. Between FFQs and urinary excretion, these were 0.50 (0.32, 0.65), 0.48 (0.29, 0.61), and 0.50 (0.32, 0.64) for daidzein, genistein, and TIFLs, respectively.
Soy protein estimates from questionnaire were significantly correlated with soy protein from 24-h recalls and urinary excretion of daidzein, genistein, and TIFLs. The Adventist Health Study-2 FFQ is a valid instrument for assessing soy protein in a population with a wide range of soy intakes.