What is SOY PROTEIN?:
The benefits of soy protein
The benefits of soy protein
By Myprotein Writer Heather Geary
The soybean is a legume native to East Asia. Soy is used in tofu, as a plant-based milk alternative and other dairy/meat substitutes made up of 30% carbohydrates, 38% protein, 18% oil and 14% moisture. The bean contains a good level of potassium, zinc, iron and vitamin E.
Since the 1970’s the consumption of soy has risen significantly and the development of other soya foods has increased, adapting to the dietary needs of vegans/vegetarians, lactose-intolerant individuals or those wanting to reduce fat in their diet.
Soy is good to introduce to your diet if you have dairy or meat allergies as it is an excellent source of plant protein with vitamins and minerals and has a high fibre content which could help people with constipation and other digestive problems.
Types of Soy Protein
Soy proteins can be divided into three categories:
1) Soy protein isolate:
The most refined form of soy protein isolated from the soy bean. It is incredibly high in protein and has minimal carbohydrates and fats.
– Dairy products e.g. drinking powders and baby milks
– Protein bars / Protein shakes / Protein supplement products
– Some meat substitutes
– Bread products
2) Soy protein concentrate:
Soy concentrate is a form of protein that is derived from the soy bean but without the water-soluble carbohydrates.
In production, most of the fibre is retained from the soy bean whilst remaining high in protein and
low in fat.
Easy to digest and pregnancy-friendly, soy protein concentrate products include:
– Baked foods
– Infant milks
– Few alternative meat products
3) Textured soy protein (TSP) or Textured vegetable protein (TVP) is made from soy protein concentrate. It can be found in pieces or chunks in health shops and stores alike as an ingredient to throw into food combinations as an extra source of protein.
TSP products include:
– Alternatives to meat products such as beef, chicken and steak pieces.
Textured soy protein can replace some of the home-made favourites – from stews, curries and bolognaise to soups, burgers and fajitas!
Benefits of Soy protein
Soy protein can be very beneficial to people with specific dietary/health goals. The soy bean has:
– Low fat: helpful to those wanting to lose weight or reduce the amount of fat in their diet.
– Zero cholesterol: this can contribute to lowering the chances of heart disease.
Some studies have shown that replacing animal protein with plant based protein could also protect against osteoporosis.
In terms of price, it is particularly beneficial to the consumer, especially those on a budget with soy being a much cheaper alternative for animal-based protein products.
In regards to replacing animal proteins to repair the body after exercise, the isoflavones found in soy have an anti-oxidant affect so can therefore aid in recovery and reduce inflammation and muscle soreness; this is particularly helpful to those with fitness goals and more importantly, those wanting to build muscle without consuming meat, fish and dairy products.
Whey protein or Soy protein?
Protein choices are so varied today that it is a task in itself to find the right one to supplement your lifestyle. As soy protein increases on the market, as does the intrigue into which protein is best for you: whey protein products or soy protein products?
The truth is they both aid in the development of muscle mass but soy has a few small differences in comparison to the typical whey product.
Soy protein is a plant based protein that comes from naturally grown sources, so it is a great alternative for people with dairy allergies.
As mentioned, soy protein can replace more expensive meat proteins without really changing the taste or quality of the food you enjoy – soy can be purchased as plant-versions of mince pieces, burgers, chicken, milk, yoghurt, snack bars etc.
Often people ask why soy foods are made to replicate something they don’t wish to eat (in the cases of vegetarian and vegan diets) but the point is to replicate the “appearance” of everyday meat products as an easy way of introducing it into people’s diet.
Soy protein powders
Soy protein powders just are as convenient, nutritious and packed with essential acids just like whey protein powders. They are often available in a selection of different flavours – and usually contain the same 25-27g of protein per scoop – without the dairy!
Soy digests slower than whey but faster than casein which makes it a nice in-between keeping a steady flow of amino acids to your muscles for growth and repair. It has also been proven that soy can boost growth hormone levels, due to its high level of arginine and lysine.
Myths about Soy protein
Researching soy protein online sometimes results in many naysayers telling you not to consume soy because it will increase your estrogen levels (if you’re a guy).
Men have small amounts of estrogen but having this level increased could cause unwanted effects on men.
In a study it found that men who consumed the most soy had the lowest sperm count. However, the studies are inconsistent and there is yet to be a solid foundation for this argument.
Additionally, people may comment that soy should not be eaten on a daily basis or at all – but like any food products, it should be consumed in moderation and as part of a healthy balanced diet.
Take home message
Soy products are good alternatives of animal products whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan or someone simply wanting to reduce dairy and fat in your diet.
When consumed in moderation with other nutritional food products such as complex carbohydrates and healthy fats, soy protein is more than capable of supporting your fitness goals.
Whether you’re a bodybuilder or simply want to grow and maintain lean muscle, enjoy the convenience of soy-based protein shakes or replacing a typical chicken or steak protein source for soy protein.