Archive for April, 2008

Soy Health Benefits

Posted on April 22, 2008. Filed under: 1 |

Recently a friend directed me to a website claiming that soy was hazardous to your health and provided NO health benefits. This is totally false.

Soy foods are among the healthiest foods you can place on the table. Our research goes back almost 20 years and we published a report about the cholesterol lowering effects of soy protein in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1995. Subsequently the FDA approved a health claim relating soy protein to a protection from heart disease.

Soy protein lowers blood cholesterol. Intake of three servings per day (1 cup soy milk, 1/4 cup soy nuts, 1/2 cup edamame (green soybeans), 3 oz tofu, or 1/3 cup soybeans are serving sizes) can lower the bad guy LDL cholesterol by 6% and risk for heart disease by 8 to 12%. Soy protein also lowers blood triglycerides about 8% and RAISES HDL (good guy) cholesterol by about 3%.

My recent unpublished meta-analysis of soy protein effects on blood pressure indicates that three servings of soy protein reduces blood pressure by 3mm Hg systolic and 2 mm Hg diastolic. This reduction would lower risk for heart attack by about 8 to 12% and risk of stroke by 15%. Thus, soy lowers your risk for heart attack and stroke by more than any other single food you can eat.

Soy protects the kidney of persons with diabetes and actually reverses kidney disease in diabetic persons.

Soy infant formula is safe for male and female children and has NO long-term adverse effects.

Soy does not affect thyroid function and does not pose a problem for persons who require thyroid hormone replacement.

The association between soy and breast cancer is still being debated. It is my feeling, based on a critical and thorough review of the literature that soy protein intake is protective from breast cancer but more data is required. Soy appears to protect from prostate cancer and reverse the prostate cancer process.

Soy appears to protect bones from osteoporosis but more research is required.

Soy improves blood sugar control for persons with diabetes and may protect from diabetes. It also appears to have benefits in protecting from obesity.

SO, what are the side effects. Some persons are not accustomed to the taste of soy foods and may have difficulting starting to use soy foods. Soy foods may increase gas production but this is temporary and improves over time.

Soy, like peanuts, may be associated with allergy. Allergy to soy is less common than allergy to peanuts.

In summary, soy foods offer more health benefits than any other single food, in my opinion. Other than the occasional soy allergy, there are not serious side effects to enjoying soy foods.

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    Nutrition solutions for dealing with cholesterol, diabetes, or weight management.

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