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Soy Protein: A Healthy Plant Alternative

Soy Protein has hit the market hard and is quickly becoming the ‘next’ big health food. But it not just a fad, Soy is a great way to get the protein your body needs. The problem with Soy becoming so popular is that everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon and they are willing to do whatever it takes to get a piece of the pie; including creating products that have an inferior quality soy protein.

If you aren’t too concerned about quality then it’s much easier to make things cheaper and get them to the market quicker. Why spend money on a quality product that really does what it claims when it is much more cost effective to spend your money on glitzy advertising and celebrity endorsements.

Just like everything else you buy, there is a tradeoff between quality and quantity. But when it comes to your health is it worth saving a few cents every day.

Soy has become one of the most confusing and controversial subjects lately. The following checklist points out what is required to make sure you are getting a good Soy Protein that will benefit you health and wellness.

Soy Quality Control Checklist

There are Seven Essential quality controls that should be followed and met by the manufacturer of your soy products in order for them to produce quality products. Failure to follow these seven guidelines could result in soy products that produce less than optimum health results.

1. The beans must be organically grown

2. The beans must NOT be genetically engineered

3. Each batch must be checked to confirm that it contains the 9 essential amino acids

4. When producing the soy isolate, the crushed soy flakes must be water washed (not alcohol washed)

5. The anti-thyroid/anti-growth substance MUST be removed

6. The process must be without heat

7. The soy isolate must have calcium added (when the oil is removed it becomes an acidic food .. when calcium is added it makes it neutral again)

The following information explains each of the 7 Essential Soy Protein quality controls

The Importance of Organically Grown Soy – Studies conducted on chemically fertilized crops show decreased levels of food nutrients and increased levels of nitrates compared to crops that are organically grown. Studies have also shown a direct connection between the ingestion of nitrates & CANCER. So to produce the best product for optimal health it is important to know that things like pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides weren’t used on the growing soy beans. Soy beans are a very hardy plant so non-organic crops quite often have very powerful and deadly sprays used on them. For your health and safety it is critical that your soy products are organically grown.

Genetically Engineered Soy Beans – are much cheaper to purchase, and most companies producing soy products look for ways to save money. However, the old saying quite often holds true, “You get what you pay for!”.

It must contain ALL of the nine essential amino acids – One of the most valuable features of the soybean is that it is a complete protein and provides ALL nine of the essential amino acids. The body requires these daily to produce hormones, digestive juices, antibodies, and enzymes. HOWEVER, not all soybeans are created equal. The quality and amino acid content of soy beans can vary depending on soil conditions, and variable growing and harvest conditions. If one essential amino acid is missing, the immune system can be depressed 30%, and many important body functions are delayed or stopped. Therefore, it is essential that each batch of soybeans be checked for amino acid content. Without this assurance you cannot be guaranteed that you body is receiving everything it needs to maintain optimal health.

Water Washing – If the soy flakes are washed in alcohol the isoflavone content is destroyed by as much as 88%. The isoflavones are the part of the soy bean that reduce the risk of breast, prostate, lung and bowel cancer! They are also beneficial in hormone balancing and increasing bone mass.

Removal of Anti-thyroid /Anti-growth substance – RAW soy contains an “anti-growth”, “anti-tyrosine” substance. Tyrosine deficiency will cause low blood pressure, low body temperature, and restless leg syndrome. Therefore, it is important to deactivate the “anti-tyrosine/anti-growth” substance. The Shaklee Corporation has designed an extracting process that removes this substance, yet keeps the soy in a raw form in order to maintain the HIGHEST LEVEL OF AMINO ACIDS and ISOFLAVONES which are very sensitive to heat.

Was your soybean food heated? Amino acids are very sensitive to heat. In some studies, cooking protein has been shown to destroy up to 50% of some ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS. If an individual consistently consumes a diet that is lacking in all of the essential amino acids, inadequate brain development and hormones, or other body tissue development can be the result.

Has CALCIUM been added to your soy powder? One of the possible negatives about soy is that soy powders are VERY ACIDIC and cause bone loss because it causes calcium to be drawn from the bones!!!! The truth is, the raw soy bean is a NEUTRAL food (neither acidic nor alkaline), but when the soybean oil is removed it makes the powder very acidic. (The oil must be removed so the soy powder will not go rancid.) Therefore, adequate calcium (which is very alkaline and balances the soy powder) must be added so the powder will be neutral. Many protein powder manufacturers do not add any or enough calcium.

Some soy FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)

Do soy beans cause cancer?

It is true that “overcooked” soy does contain “carcinogenic” compounds. When soy is extruded through high temperature, high pressure steam nozzles it forms what is called “textured vegetable protein – TVP for short”. Soy that is processed in this way can cause the soy product to be carcinogenic or cancer-causing. TVP is what is used in soy dogs and soy burgers, and should be avoided.

What about roasted soybeans?

Whole soy beans are high in plant fat. If soybeans are roasted to eat as soy nuts, the heat alters the fat and makes it a trans-fatty acid, which causes both cancer and heart disease. As roasted soy nuts sit on the shelf or in the cupboard in storage, the oils are becoming more and more rancid and carcinogenic. AVOID roasted soy beans.

Aren’t soy proteins hard on the kidneys?

Animal protein is much harder to digest than vegetable protein. Since many people have digestive difficulties, protein that is not thoroughly digested is very challenging to the kidneys. Powdered protein is in a predigested state, and is the BEST protein source to choose! Protein is not the enemy – it is essential for life. However, it is true that EXCESSIVE protein is hard on the kidneys, so if a person consumes more than 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily, AND does not consume adequate carbohydrates with it, this could cause kidney damage.

I have been told I can’t have soy because I have breast cancer…

It is true that soy is a “phyto-estrogen” food, which means it contains substances that have hormone-like components. However, their estrogen strength is 1/1000th that of the body’s own stronger estrogens. Therefore, you want to load your digestive system with quality controlled raw soy powder, because these weaker estrogens will block the estrogen receptor sites from receiving your body’s own stronger estrogens and therefore be very protective against estrogen fed cancer.

I want to thank Dr. Richard Brouse for much of the information found in this article. Dr. Brouse received his Master’s Degree in Biochemistry from Western States College of Colorado in 1970. He was appointed by the U.S. Surgeon General to conduct metabolic research at the Army Burn Research Center in San Antonio, Texas from 1970 through 1972 on the effects of burn stress upon the immune system. His work was published and coauthored with Dr. Eurenius in the September, 1973, issue of the American Journal of Clinical Pathology. Dr. Brouse, in 1977, received his Doctor of Chiropractic Degree from Western States Chiropractic College located in Portland, Oregon. He taught Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, and served as a Professor of Clinical Nutrition at Western States Chiropractic College for 14 years.
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This is an excerpt from a study that was sponsored by the Shaklee Corporation.  They recently sent me an email with this information

Meal Replacement Drink and Exercise Study

After age 35, adults may lose 3%–8% of their muscle mass per decade, and higher rates are commonly observed after age 60. Middle-aged men and women seem to be particularly prone to muscle loss, forfeiting about one-half pound to one pound of muscle every year of life. The ability to preserve or regain muscle mass and strength is an important factor with respect to aging, health, and quality of life. Research confirms that post-exercise protein intake benefits both muscle mass and strength. This study, conducted at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Mass., was designed to examine the effects of a strength-training program—with and without a protein-carbohydrate meal-replacement drink—on body composition in healthy adult men and women.

Forty-six middle-aged men and women participated in a supervised, 23-week strength and endurance training program with a frequency of two to three days per week. Twenty-four participants consumed a meal-replacement drink following their training session, and 22 subjects did not receive the supplemental meal replacement. The drink provided about 270 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 35 grams of carbohydrate, and 24 grams of protein, and was fortified with free l-leucine.

Meal Replacement Drinks

Meal Replacement Drinks

After 23 weeks, all 46 exercisers showed improvements in body composition, including a 4.7-pound gain in lean (muscle) weight and 7-pound loss in fat weight. Subjects who ingested the post-exercise drink increased their lean weight by 5.5 pounds and decreased their fat weight by 9 pounds. Those who did not receive supplemental protein increased their lean weight by 3.9 pounds and decreased their fat weight by 4.9 pounds. Published in Fitness Management, Research Update: Protein and Body Composition showed that exercise participants who consumed post-exercise protein added 1.6 pounds more lean weight and lost 4.1 pounds more fat weight than the subjects who exercised without the benefit of the post-exercise meal drink.

I use meal replacement and protein shakes especially if I am doing a lot of working out.  I know they help me recover more quickly.  After reading this study I might try to add it into my diet a little bit more.  Can’t argue with Science and research…

It is definitely something to think about.

If you want to know what shakes I drink just send me an email or leave a comment and I will get back with you ASAP.

~Mike

Since I wrote this story, I found another health focused blog that was talking about soy protein and its benefits.  Many of the better meal replacement shakes are using soy protein so you might be interested on reading it…