Sunday, August 31, 2008

Study Review Shows Soy Protein Promotes Healthy Cholesterol Levels

According to a review, published online in the journal Atherosclerosis, soy protein has a beneficial effect for improving lipid profiles in people with mildly elevated cholesterol levels.

Authors of the study randomly searched Medline databases to find trials that matched pre-determined criteria for their research, choosing studies that evaluated the effect of 25 grams of soya protein on blood lipid levels, with the range between 15 and 40 grams. Thirty studies met the criteria, and the average soya intake was 26.9 g.

They found that the “inclusion of modest amounts soya protein (ca. 25 g) into the diet of adults with normal or mild hypercholesterolaemia resulted in small, highly significant reductions in total and LDL cholesterol, equivalent to ca. 6% LDL reduction. The authors concluded, “This practically achievable intake, particularly when combined with other dietary measures, can make a useful contribution to blood cholesterol management.”

Diabetes Care. 2008; 31:648-654.

Soy Studies

Past studies have shown that soy protein benefits patients with type 2 diabetes as well. The April 2008 issue of Diabetes Care published a study led by Leila Azadbakht, PhD, from the Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in Isfahan, Iran, and colleagues, showing that soy protein consumption…”significantly affected cardiovascular risk factors and kidney-related biomarkers among type 2 diabetic patients with nephropathy (kidney disease." (1)

Soy has also been found to reduce blood pressure in post-menopausal women, suggesting that “a handful of dry-roasted, unsalted soy nuts is an especially convenient and satiating option for patients”. The study, from Medscape “Best Evidence Review”, enlisted 60 women, 12 of whom had high blood pressure. The results found that half cup of unsalted, dry-roasted soy nuts containing 25 g of soy protein and 101 mg of aglycone isoflavones (genistein, daidzein, and glycitein) daily significantly lowered blood pressure and reduced LDL and apolipoprotein B levels by 11 and 8 percent respectively.(2)

Try substituting soy protein for meat whenever possible. There are many satisfying products available, even for hard core meat lovers. Check out 25 Ways to Enjoy Soy Foods, from the Soy Foods Association of North America. You’re sure to find something appealing and above all, healthy. It’s important to remember that better health can come from simple dietary changes.

(2) Hypertension and Soy: A Best Evidence Review

Source:Atherosclerosis: September 2008 (Vol. 200, Issue 1, Pages 13-27) ◦