Students at the Hasidic yeshiva of Gur have been banned from eating any food products based on soya out of a fear that it may lead to an increase in “gay sexual activity”.

According to reports by ynetnews and the Huffington Post, officials at the yeshiva and the boys school banned students from soya products, claiming that eating such food just once a week can lead to “unwanted arousal.”

The rabbi of the Gur hasidic sect made the new rule, based on a fear that the hormones in soya would make boys more feminine.

According to the report, he told students to”stay away from any food containing soy because even eating a soy based product just once a week can cause unwanted arousal.”

The ban reportedly comes from a belief that soya-based products contain hormones which damage the spirituality of students by accelerating how quickly they mature sexually.

Doctors have debunked the claim, however, saying there is no evidence that puberty, or sexual activity is increased by eating soya.

London-based liberal Rabbi Mark Solomon told PinkNews that he understood that the worry was mainly among ultra orthodox mothers in Israel, working at children’s day centres where soya based foods were served.