Soy Protein and Weight Loss: Does it Actually Work?
Soy protein shakes and snacks have become popular health food options.
Besides offering a handy milk alternative for those who have to avoid dairy, many soy products also claim to help you lose weight. And in today’s busy world, who isn’t looking for easy ways to lose weight?
But what’s the real story on soy protein and weight loss? Does it actually work?
Let’s find out…
Soy Protein and Weight Loss
Soy protein is protein isolated from soybean (or soya bean), a type of legume native to East Asia. Soy protein is made from defatted soymeal, meaning that fatty acids are removed during processing.
Claims have been around for quite some time about the health benefits of soy protein. In the late 90’s, the FDA stated that consuming 25 grams of soy protein a day could help lower cholesterol and maintain a healthy heart.
Although there’s some controversy surrounding these claims, soy is naturally low in calories and low in fat.
The benefits of soy protein don’t stop there. More recent studies have shown that soy protein has important weight loss properties independent of its low-calorie content. Scientists at Iowa State University have found that soy protein is high in isoflavines, organic compounds which help to reduce the deposit of fat and support lean protein growth.
In addition to less fat storage, soy protein helps stabilize your insulin levels because it’s a low-glycemic food. This means fewer sugar cravings and junk food binges. It also increases your metabolism during digestion, meaning you’ll burn more calories by consuming this protein source. These effects are similar to consuming other lean proteins, like fish and chicken.
Because soy contains estrogen-promoting compounds, it has been suggested that men should avoid a soy-rich diet. Most recent studies have not supported these claims, finding that testosterone levels remain stable in men who increase their soy intake. It is definitely a controversial topic though and I have read that more extensive studies are currently being conducted to see how it effects estrogen levels for both men and women.