Research on the bone effects of natural phyto-oestrogens after menopause is at a relatively early stage. Published studies are few, difficult to compare and often inconclusive, due in part to design weaknesses. Currently, many questions remain to be answered including to what extent a safe daily intake may prevent postmenopausal bone loss. These questions can only be addressed by conducting well-planned, randomised clinical trials that take into consideration present knowledge in the oestrogen, phyto-oestrogen and bone fields. This review is intended to provide hints for critical decision-making about the selection of subjects, type of intervention, suitable outcome measures and variables that need to be controlled.