Soy product consumption in 10 European countries: The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study

L. Keinan-Boker, P. H.M. Peeters, A. A. Mulligan, C. Navarro, N. Slimani, I. Mattisson, E. Lundin, A. McTaggart, N. E. Allen, K. Overvad, A. Tjønneland, F. Clavel-Chapelon, J. Linseisen, M. Haftenberger, P. Lagiou, V. Kalapothaki, A. Evangelista, G. Frasca, H. B. Bueno-de-Mesquita, Y. T. Van der SchouwD. Engeset, G. Skeie, M. J. Tormo, E. Ardanaz, U. R. Charrondière, E. Riboli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The aim of this study was to describe the variation of soy product intake in 10 European countries by using a standardized reference dietary method. A subsidiary aim was to characterize the pattern of soy consumption among a sub-group of participants with a habitual health-conscious lifestyle (HHL), i.e. non-meat eaters who are fish eaters, vegetarians and vegans. Design: A 24-hour dietary recall interview (24-HDR) was conducted among a sample (5-12%) of all cohorts (n = 36900) in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). Study participants totalled 35 955 after exclusion of subjects younger than 35 or older than 74 years of age. Soy products were subdivided into seven sub-groups by similarity. Distribution of consumption and crude and adjusted means of intake were computed per soy product group across countries. Intake of soy products was also investigated among participants with an HHL. Results: In total, 195 men and 486 women reported consuming soy products in the 24-HDR interview. Although soy product intake was generally low across all countries, the highest intake level was observed in the UK, due to over-sampling of a large number of participants with an HHL. The most frequently consumed soy foods were dairy substitutes in the UK and France and beans and sprouts among mid-European countries. For both genders, the sub-group of soy dairy substitutes was consumed in the highest quantities (1.2g day-1 for men; 1.9g day-1 for women). Participants with an HHL differed substantially from others with regard to demographic, anthropometric and nutritional factors. They consumed higher quantities of almost all soy product groups. Conclusions: Consumption of soy products is low in centres in Western Europe. Soy dairy substitutes are most frequently consumed. Participants with an HHL form a distinct sub-group with higher consumptions of fruit, vegetables, legumes, cereals and soy products compared with the other participants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1217-1226
Number of pages10
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number6 B
StatePublished - Dec 2002
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work described in this paper was carried out with financial support of the ‘Europe Against Cancer’ Programme of the European Commission (SANCO); Ligue contre le Cancer (France); Société 3 M (France); Mutuelle Générale de l’Education Nationale; Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM); Institute Gustave Roussy; German Cancer Aid; German Cancer Research Centre; German Federal Ministry of Education and Research; Danish Cancer Society; Health Research Fund (FIS) of the Spanish Ministry of Health; the Spanish Regional Governments of Andalucia, Asturias, Basque Country, Murcia and Navarra; Cancer Research UK; Medical Research Council, UK; Stroke Association, UK; British Heart Foundation; Department of Health, UK; Food Standards Agency, UK; Wellcome Trust, UK; Greek Ministry of Health; Greek Ministry of Education; Italian Association for Research on Cancer; Italian National Research Council; Dutch Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sports; Dutch Prevention Funds; LK Research Funds; Dutch ZON (Zorg Onderzoek Nederland); World Cancer Research Fund; Swedish Cancer Society; Swedish Scientific Council; Regional Government of Skane, Sweden; Norwegian Cancer Society; Norwegian Research Council. Partial support for the publication of this supplement was provided by the Centre de Recherche et d’Information Nutritionnelles (CERIN).


  • 24-Hour dietary recall
  • EPIC study
  • Europe
  • Health-conscious lifestyle
  • Non-meat eaters
  • Soy intake
  • Soy products

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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