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Dietitians Explain 5 Surprising Effects of Eating Soy

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By Shashini ThennakoonPublished 2 years ago 3 min read
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The first things that may come to mind when you hear the phrase "soybeans" may be all the health benefits you may recall from years ago. Not long ago, there was speculation about soy generating "man-boobs." What about the potential connections to dementia, thyroid problems, and breast cancer? However, specialists at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health believe that those assertions have not been supported by clinical evidence.

The Age-Defying Dietitian's founder and registered dietitian Kathryn Piper, RD, LD, claims that soy is the most contentious nutritional issue at the moment. The various ways that soy is investigated are probably responsible for the research's varied findings.

According to the nutritionists we spoke with, soy can be eaten several times a week without harm, especially when it replaces red and processed meats.

According to Piper, numerous research back up the safety of 25 grams of soy protein each day. Soy is nutrient-dense, including protein, fiber, calcium, and B vitamins. It also appears to benefit people with diabetes, heart disease, and menopausal women.

1 Soy may support weight loss

Protein, which is essential for repairing and growing muscle, is abundant in soy. Muscle is metabolically active, as we have frequently mentioned. You burn more calories and are less likely to carry body fat if you have more muscle mass.

Additionally, protein satiates, prolonging feelings of fullness and reducing the desire for sweets. According to medical review board member Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist and founder of Nutrition Now Counseling, "Soy may play a positive influence on insulin resistance, fatty acid metabolism, and other hormonal, cellular, or molecular alterations related with weight gain."

According to a study published in the International Journal of Medical Sciences, eating soy frequently reduced body weight, fat mass, and cholesterol levels in obese adults.

2 Soy may protect your heart

There are other benefits to having a diet high in soy protein that have nothing to do with weight loss or reducing the stress on your heart. Toby Amidor, MS, RD, member of the Eatthis.com medical review board and author of the Diabetes Create Your Plate Meal Prep Cookbook, claims that soy can help lower cholesterol and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. She claims a 2019 meta-analysis finding that soy protein decreased low-density lipoprotein, or "bad" cholesterol, in adults by 3 to 4%. This study was published in the Journal of Nutrition.

3 Soy may help lower risk of these silent killers.

High blood pressure and inflammation, two additional illnesses that have a significant role in heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes, may be reduced by consuming more soy, claims Amidor.

When a person has chronic low-grade inflammation, their immune system is constantly overactive because of unhealthy eating habits, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and other lifestyle choices. This stealthy attack may harm tissues, such as the linings of arteries, which can lead to high blood pressure, another silent killer.

Blood clots that start heart attacks and strokes can be started by plaques that grow in arteries as a result of both inflammation and high blood pressure. Soy protein supplementation may lower blood pressure and chronic inflammation, according to two recent studies.

4 Soy may strengthen your bones.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, over 54 million Americans (including males) are at risk of fracturing a bone because of insufficient bone density. Increasing your soy intake may help prevent fractures.

No matter your weight, Manaker says, "the isoflavones in soy meals are associated to enhanced bone mineral density and reducing osteoporosis-related bone loss." Isoflavones, a class of phytoestrogens generated from plants, are more prevalent in soy and soy products than any other food.

5 Soy may protect against breast cancer

Breast cancer has been linked to high estrogen levels. For this reason, soy products were originally discouraged from being consumed by hormone therapy-treated breast cancer patients. The Mayo Clinic claims that moderate soy consumption—up to two servings of tofu, soy milk, or edamame per day—does not increase the risk of breast cancer. A significant study published in the journal Cancer discovered that isoflavone, the primary phytoestrogen in soy, was linked to decreased death from all causes, including breast cancer, suggesting that consuming soy products may really have a preventive impact.

Soy may shield young girls from acquiring breast cancer in the future, according to other research that was published in 2022 by the American Association for Cancer Research, adds Amidor. An inverse relationship between soy consumption and absolute fibroglandular volume, a marker of a lower risk of breast cancer, was discovered in the study, which examined the diets of 329 females from adolescence until two years following their first period.

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