Soy Protein: Health Benefits, Types, Dosage & Side Effects

Soy Protein: Health Benefits, Types, Dosage & Side Effects

Are you looking for a healthy and sustainable protein source that doesn’t come from animals? Look no further than soy protein! 

Whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan, or just looking to incorporate more plant-based proteins into your diet, soy protein is a versatile and delicious option that’s good for you and the planet.

In this blog, you will learn about the benefits of soy protein and its types, dosage, and side effects. 

What is Soy Protein?

What is Soy Protein
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Soy protein extracted from soybeans is known for its multiple health benefits. For thousands of years, people have been cultivating soybeans, an East Asian native legume. The protein is extracted from soybeans by separating the protein from the carbohydrates and fats in the soybean.

Soybeans are a rich source of protein and contain all essential amino acids required by the body. Soy protein is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own and must be obtained from food. This makes it an ideal protein source for vegetarians, vegans, and those who want to reduce their animal-based protein intake.

Because of its high nutritional value, soy foods like soy milk, tofu, soy chunks, soy flour, and soy protein powder as dietary supplements are widely consumed in smoothies and other recipes. 

Types of Soy Protein

Types of Soy Protein
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There are three different kinds of soy protein that one may choose from.

1. Soy protein concentrate

The protein powder is produced by extracting the carbs from dehulled soybeans, and it is abundant in protein with added dietary fiber that promotes digestive well-being.

2. Soy protein isolate 

Soy protein isolate is the purest form of soy protein and contains at least 90% protein content. It is produced by removing fat and carbohydrates from soybeans, leaving a concentrated protein powder behind. Soy protein isolate is often used in protein powders, bars, and supplements.

3. Textured soy protein (TSP)

Textured soy protein is made from defatted soy flour that has been processed into various shapes and forms, such as chunks, flakes, or granules. Soy protein concentrate is commonly utilized to prepare well-liked soy-based dishes such as soy chunks, soups, curries, and similar meals.

Benefits of Soy Protein 

Benefits of Soy Protein
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Let us discuss some incredible health benefits of soy protein.

Support muscle health

The role of each amino acid in muscle protein synthesis is essential, but the most significant ones for muscle building are the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). Soy protein powder helps build muscle and increase strength due to its high-quality amino acid profile.

Assist in weight loss.

Research has demonstrated that incorporating soy protein into one’s diet can be a favorable choice for achieving a leaner physique, as it can aid in reducing body fat while preserving muscle mass and supporting a healthy weight.

Additionally, soy protein has been shown to increase fat loss and reduce body fat percentage when combined with regular exercise.

Reduces Cholesterol Levels

Soy protein has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels in the body, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease. The cholesterol-lowering effect of soy protein is attributed to the presence of isoflavones and phytoestrogens that can lower LDL (harmful) cholesterol levels and raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

Healthy blood sugar levels

Incorporating soy protein into the diet can benefit individuals with diabetes because of soy isoflavones. These isoflavones can aid in preventing insulin resistance and enhancing insulin sensitivity.

Ease menopausal symptoms

Soy proteins contain plant-based nutrients, such as soy isoflavones, that can aid in regulating calcium levels, promoting stronger bones, and alleviating the symptoms of menopause.

Improves Cardiovascular Health

Soy protein has been shown to improve cardiovascular health by reducing blood pressure and improving arterial function. This is attributed to the presence of isoflavones, which can improve endothelial function and reduce inflammation in the body.

Nutritional Profile of Soy Protein

Nutritional Profile of Soy Protein
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Soy protein is a complete protein, which means it contains all nine essential amino acids that the body needs for growth and repair. It is also low in fat and carbohydrates, making it a great option for those looking to maintain a healthy weight.

One serving of soy protein (28 grams) contains:

  • Calories: 95
  • Protein: 22 grams
  • Fat: 0.5 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 1 gram
  • Fiber: 0.5 grams
  • Calcium: 8% of the daily value
  • Iron: 15% of the daily value
  • Sodium: 210 mg

The Best Way to Include Soy Protein in Your Diet

Best Way to Include Soy Protein in Your Diet
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If you are interested, there are numerous alternatives for introducing soy protein into your diet. Here are some suggestions:

Soy Milk

Soy milk is a dairy-free substitute for cow’s milk manufactured from soybeans. It is a good soy protein source and an easy method to get more of it in your diet. Soy milk can be used like cow’s milk, such as cereal, coffee, or smoothies.

Tofu

Tofu is a popular vegetarian and vegan food and an excellent soy protein source. Tofu is a versatile component manufactured from soybeans that may be used in a variety of cuisines. It can be grilled, baked, sautéed, or stir-fried. Tofu has a mild flavor, so it absorbs the flavors of the items with which it is cooked.

Soy Yogurt

Soy yogurt, prepared from soy milk, is a dairy-free alternative to regular yogurt. It’s a terrific method to get more soy protein into your diet. Soy yogurt can be used in the same ways as regular yogurts, such as in smoothies, parfaits, or granola toppings.

Soy-Based Snacks

Soy protein bars and other soy-based snacks are a convenient way to add protein to your diet on the go. They are often low in sugar and high in protein, making them a healthier snack option.

Soy Nuts

Soy nuts are roasted soybeans that make a tasty and crispy snack. They are a terrific method to add soy protein into your diet and are an excellent source of soy protein. Soy nuts can be eaten as a snack or sprinkled over salads or soups for extra protein.

Edamame

Edamame is a snack made from immature soybeans still in their pods. Edamame is strong in protein and fiber and is an excellent snack for anyone trying to increase their soy protein intake. Edamame may be frozen in most grocery stores and can be cooked in the microwave or on the stove.

Soy Protein Powder

Soy protein powder is a terrific alternative if you want to add soy protein to your diet quickly and easily. Soy protein powder can boost the protein content of smoothies, muesli, and other recipes. Soy protein powder is also an excellent choice for athletes or anyone trying to bulk up.

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is a common ingredient in many Asian dishes and an excellent soy protein source. Soy sauce is derived from soybeans and is an excellent flavoring agent for stir-fries, marinades, and dipping sauces. Soy sauce is also low in calories and high in potassium.

Tempeh

Tempeh, like tofu, is a fermented soybean product. It tastes nutty and has a firmer texture than tofu. Tempeh is a high-protein soy product that may be used in a number of meals, such as stir-fries, salads, and sandwiches.

Side Effects of Soy Protein

Side Effects of Soy Protein
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The consumption of soy is a topic of debate, with some individuals advocating for its potential health advantages while others view it unfavorably.

Although soy protein contains phytates, which are antinutrients that can hinder zinc and iron absorption, it should not be a significant concern if you have a balanced diet that includes other sources of these essential minerals.

Isoflavones found in soy are believed to have goitrogenic properties and potentially disrupt thyroid function and hormone production. However, some research indicates that the impact may not be significant enough to cause concern.

It has been suggested that soy protein may not be recommended for men due to the presence of phytoestrogens that may imitate the activity of estrogen hormone in the body and decrease testosterone levels. Nevertheless, the majority of studies conducted thus far have not supported this assertion.

Which one is better – Whey Protein vs. Soy Protein

Whey Protein vs. Soy Protein
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Whey and soy protein are two highly nutritious protein sources, boasting a rich amino acid profile and an excellent PDCAAS value of 1. However, they do differ in some notable ways.

Whey protein is derived from dairy and is quickly absorbed by the body. On the other hand, soy protein is plant-based, making it a suitable protein source for individuals who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet and are lactose intolerant. While soy protein is still an excellent source of protein with a complete amino acid profile, it is absorbed by the body at a slightly slower rate than whey protein.

Soy protein is naturally cholesterol-free, making it an excellent option for individuals conscious about their cholesterol levels. In contrast, whey protein is also highly beneficial for health, providing essential amino acids that the body needs to build and repair muscle tissue. 

Both soy and whey protein can help support a healthy diet and exercise regimen, but they differ in composition and suitability for different dietary needs.

Which is the best soy protein supplement?

best soy protein supplement
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One of the best soy protein supplements available in the market is Nutrabay Pure 100% Soy Protein Isolate

It contains 26 grams of high-quality soy protein per serving of 30 grams, making it an ideal option for individuals who want to enhance their daily protein intake while consuming fewer calories. It does not contain any artificial additives, flavors, or preservatives and is safe for consumption by all.

Soy Protein Dosage

Soy Protein Dosage
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The recommended soy protein dosage depends on various factors, such as age, sex, weight, and activity level.

Even though the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has not provided a recommended intake for soy protein, research indicates that consuming 25-30 grams of soy protein per day can yield health benefits. This amount is equivalent to consuming about 1-2 servings of soy foods daily, such as soy milk, tofu, or edamame.

A higher soy protein intake may benefit athletes and individuals looking to build muscle. Research suggests that consuming up to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day may help support muscle growth and recovery. Therefore, a 150-pound person (68 kg) may benefit from consuming around 80 grams of protein per day, including soy protein.

It is important to note that consuming too much protein, including soy protein, can have adverse health effects, such as kidney damage and dehydration. Therefore, it is essential to stick to the recommended daily intake, and it is advisable to carefully examine the nutritional facts label for guidance on the appropriate dosage.

Who Should Avoid Soy Protein?

Who Should Avoid Soy Protein
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While soy protein is generally safe for most people, some groups may want to avoid it:

  • Those with soy allergies: People with a soy allergy should avoid soy protein.
  • Those with thyroid problems: Those with thyroid problems should speak to their healthcare provider before consuming soy protein.
  • Infants: Infants should not consume soy protein without consulting their healthcare provider, as soy formula may have potential health risks.

Conclusion

Soy Protein: Health Benefits, Types, Dosage & Side Effects
Source: Canva

Soy protein is a popular plant-based protein source that offers numerous health benefits, including supporting muscle growth and repair, reducing cholesterol levels, aiding weight loss, supporting bone health, and improving cardiovascular health. It is available in various forms, such as protein powders, tofu, and textured soy protein. While soy protein is generally considered safe, some individuals may experience side effects such as allergic reactions, hormonal effects, digestive issues, and medication interactions. As with any dietary supplement, it is essential to consult with a healthcare provider before incorporating soy protein into your diet.

What are the side effects of soy protein?

The most common side effects of soy are digestive upsets, such as constipation and diarrhea. Soy may alter thyroid function in people who are deficient in iodine. Current evidence indicates that it’s safe for women who have had breast cancer or who are at risk for breast cancer to eat soy foods.

What are the health benefits of soy protein?

Benefits include improved diet and cardiovascular status, prevention of certain types of cancer, improved health following menopause, obesity prevention/control, and more options for food variety. The area of soy protein research has increased in popularity in recent years among multiple health disciplines.

What are the pros and cons of consuming soy as a protein?

Pros and Cons of Soy: Should You Add It to Your Diet?
Pro: Soy helps reduce cholesterol.
Pro: Soy-heavy diets reduce heart disease.
Pro: Soy increases bone mineral density.
Con: Phytoestrogens can cause concerns during pregnancy.
Con: Isoflavones can also lower thyroid function.

Can we take soy protein daily?

Daily consuming soy proteins can reduce the breakdown of lean muscles and also promote healthy muscle growth. A study suggests that soy stimulates muscle protein synthesis to boost your muscle strength and mass

Who should not eat soy?

May affect your thyroid

Soy foods don’t affect thyroid function in people with healthy thyroids, found a Loma Linda University review of 14 studies. But, if you have an underactive thyroid you might want to watch how much soy you eat.

Is too much soy harmful?

Many of soy’s health benefits have been linked to isoflavones—plant compounds that mimic estrogen. But animal studies suggest that eating large amounts of those estrogenic compounds might reduce fertility in women, trigger premature puberty and disrupt development of fetuses and children.

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