Today I want to talk to you guys a little bit about soy protein and some myths and facts that revolve around it. I’m always on the quest to vary my protein intake, especially now that I’m pregnant, so when I had the opportunity to learn more about soy, I was excited.
There is a lot of controversy around soy and I don’t think there is enough research out there for it to be conclusive enough yet. You should use your own judgment and speak to your doctor about your intake. Generally I’ll eat soy about once a week or once every other week. It’s a good way for me to get a complete plant based protein, without eating meat at another meal.
A little background on soy. Soy protein is a high quality, complete plant protein that is naturally low in fat and saturated fat. It also contains all of the needed amino acids for daily children AND adult protein requirements.
So you know how you need to eat protein every single day AND you need to consume protein after a workout to help rebuild and replenish your muscles?
Well, a new study that just came out researched the combination of proteins from whey, soy and casein. (Study done by Dr. Blake Rasmussen, professor and interim chair of the Department of Nutrition & Metabolism at the University of Texas Medical Branch.) If you go to a store looking for protein powders, you’ll see most commonly whey, casein and soy protein powders. Each one of them has different digestion rates and amino acid ratios. Taking in a combination of proteins with different digestion rates (the whey, casein and soy) may enhance lean body mass gains by promoting longer periods of muscle growth after exercise.
All this soy talk is all good not only for adults, but for children too, which is great because who wants to be making more than one meal? We know that breakfast is the best way to start the day and is obviously true for children too. The better and more satiated they are, means less likely snacking and choosing less healthy choices. Generally we should aim for about 20 grams of protein for breakfast and having something like a tofu scramble can help you get there! Children who have food allergies, can also enjoy soy foods to help them get in the nutrients they need without sacrificing taste. Studies have also shown that children who incorporate soy foods into their diets at an early age have lower body mass indices than those who do not.
Now lastly, let’s talk about some myths surrounding soy.
Some people think that soy, because it contains estrogen, may make them experience feminization, also known as “man boobs” (yes I just wrote that…). That is NOT true. Soy doesn’t contain estrogen, but it does contain isoflavones that fall into the plant estrogen category. Evidence shows that soy foods soy foods do not feminize men, lower their testosterone levels or lower their fertilization.
Studies HAVE been shown that soy may lower risk factors such as LDL cholesterol associate with heart disease and it may even be protective against prostate cancer. A health claim was approved here in the U.S. that states “25 grams of soy protein a day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease”
Next myth to tackle is that soy isn’t a complete protein because it comes from a plant. Well good news, IT IS. Soy protein contains all of the essential amino acids in sufficient amounts to meet biological requirements and is therefore considered a complete protein.
So now that you have all of this information what do you do? Well I always say, EXPLORE and try new foods! Try out a new tofu dish or throw some edamame in your pasta for extra protein. There are so many recipes out there, experiment and see what you love! You may also consider making your own mix of whey, casein and soy protein powders and see how your body does with that!
If you have a thyroid condition you may want to stay away from soy, but as always with everything please consult your doctor!
FitFluential LLC compensated me for this blog campaign. All opinions are my own.
Happy Friday! Have a wonderful start to the weekend!