Once a favorite of Chinese emperors, tofu is now big time. From supermarkets to health food boutiques, diet-conscious Americans are buying soybeans, not just as tofu but in infant formula, soy milk, and soy burgers. Soy even has the Food and Drug Administration's seal of approval.

Last October the FDA responded to a petition by Protein Technologies International, a St. Louis-based DuPont company specializing in soy products, by authorizing claims that soy protein is good for the heart. According to the FDA, 25 g a day is enough to reduce the risk of heart disease when used with a low-fat diet. Not surprisingly, grain processing giant Archer Daniels Midland, which markets a supplement called Novasoy, hailed the decision, probably with an eye on the approximately 52 million adult Americans with elevated cholesterol.

Why the fuss over soy? It's not only low in saturated fat and cholesterol, it also contains compounds...

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