Archive for the tag - soy

Does Whey Protein Make You Lose Weight?

picking-protein-scoopAfter you’ve finished a grueling workout, your body needs protein – and it needs it fast. When it comes to speed, nothing beats whey protein. Because it’s absorbed so quickly into your system, it has become a popular post-workout snack.

Other types of protein like soy or casein can also be effective, but they’re absorbed slowly over time. As such, they’re better choices for general protein supplementation or take before going to bed.

But a study by the USDA takes things a step further. For the study, overweight and obese individuals were divided into various groups. One of the groups was given 56 grams of whey protein per day while another group was given 56 grams of soy protein. The proteins were ingested through smoothies given twice daily.

Beyond the protein supplementation, the participants were given no nutrition advice and were allowed to eat whatever else they wanted.

Approximately six months later, researchers found that the whey protein group had lost both weight and body fat relative to other groups – and that their waist was nearly an inch smaller compared to the soy protein group. Participants in the whey group also showed lower levels of the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin.

Because participants had lower levels of ghrelin, researchers speculate that whey protein may lead to increased satiety. In other words, including whey protein as part of your diet – in addition to fueling your muscles – may help curb your appetite.

While more research is needed to further understand the connection between whey, hunger and weight loss, it seems that whey protein could play an important role in weight management.

Is Almond Milk Healthier than Soy Milk?

If dairy milk isn’t your thing, then soy and almond milk are popular, lactose-free alternatives. But when it comes to nutrition, is soy or almond milk healthier?

In short, the differences are slight.

Almond milk tends to have fewer calories than soy milk (generally 40% less) and neither soy nor almond milk have trans or saturated fats. Though soy milk has more calories, it also has increased protein content. In fact, almond milk tends to only have a gram or two of protein compared to the 6 or 7 grams per serving in soy milk.

Some people have a strong objection to soy products because they contain phytoestrogens – which have some properties similar to estrogen. Though the preponderance of evidence shows that soy neither lowers testosterone nor raises estrogen levels, there has been some research to suggest that excessive soy consumption can possibly increase the risk for certain types of cancer including breast cancer. Of course, other studies have linked soy consumption to decreased prostate cancer risk and lower blood cholesterol levels. It’s all still very inconclusive and I’d encourage you to not get too caught up in the debate.

I’m a big fan of common sense and moderation. With that in mind, I stock my refrigerator with both soy and almond milk. If I’m interested in increasing my daily protein consumption, then I’ll opt for soy. If I’m just looking to enjoy the milk for taste or flavor, I’ll usually reach for almond milk.

The bottom line: Both soy and almond milk are healthy alternatives to dairy milk and both can be a part of a balanced diet. The big benefit of soy milk is its protein content and the big benefit of almond milk is that it is significantly lower in calories.

Is Soy Making You Gay(er)?

I cringed at the headline, “Soy is Making Kids Gay“. We’ve blamed homosexuality on just about everything, so I guess it was only a matter of time before plants took some of the heat.

Jim Rutz, the author of said article, isn’t a dietician, nutritionist or even a personal trainer. He’s a minister, and yet doesn’t hesitate to pen articles about a subject on which he’s uniquely unqualified to speak. Rutz writes:

There’s a slow poison out there that’s severely damaging our children and threatening to tear apart our culture… When you eat or drink a lot of soy stuff, you’re also getting substantial quantities of estrogens… Soy is feminizing, and commonly leads to a decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality.

Before you start slipping soy to unsuspecting attractive straight guys, know that Rutz is a bit misguided. And by a bit misguided, I mean totally wrong.

First things first, soy doesn’t contain estrogen, the female sex hormone. This isn’t a theory or a speculation, but an actual fact. Soy does contain phytoestrogens, and though some properties are similar to estrogen, it’s a very different cup of tea. In actual human testing involving actual scientifically validated studies, the preponderance of evidence (including a meta-analysis or recent research in Fertility and Sterility) shows that soy neither lowers testosterone nor raises estrogen levels. Nine separate studies confirmed this.

Since the claim that soy foods result in feminized characteristics are based on the the mistaken belief that these foods contain estrogen (or even something similar), the misconception quickly falls apart in the light of real science.

As a side note, soy has no effect on sperm count, as is often rumored:

Three clinical studies have examined the effects of either soyfoods or isoflavone (the type of phytoestrogen of which soy contains high levels) supplements on sperm and semen parameters and none have found any adverse effects

If you read between the lines, it seems like Rutz is painting a picture of homosexuality as something that can be controlled. Like blood pressure and obesity. WTF?

Moreover, if soy makes you gay, it’s amazing that Japanese people (with high soy diets) have managed to reproduce for all these centuries. And somehow, despite not eating soy until age 21, I managed to become a full fledged homosexual.

The reality is that soy provides a number of benefits for men. These benefits including prostate cancer risk and blood cholesterol level reductions. Soy is also a great source of protein. Of course, it doesn’t mean you need to drink 6 cups of soy milk a day – as your mother said, everything in moderation. :-)

P.S. Though Mr. Rutz doesn’t provide us with any actual science to support his article, I’ve included 16 references to support mine:

  1. Khosla S, Melton LJ, 3rd, Atkinson EJ, O’Fallon WM, Klee GG, Riggs BL: Relationship of serum sex steroid levels and bone turnover markers with bone mineral density in men and women: a key role for bioavailable estrogen. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 83, 2266-74 (1998).
  2. Greendale GA, Edelstein S, Barrett-Connor E: Endogenous sex steroids and bone mineral density in older women and men: the Rancho Bernardo Study. J Bone Miner Res 12, 1833-43 (1997).
  3. Sayed Y, Taxel P: The use of estrogen therapy in men. Curr Opin Pharmacol 3, 650-4 (2003).
  4. Franke AA, Custer LJ, Wang W, Shi CY: HPLC analysis of isoflavonoids and other phenolic agents from foods and from human fluids. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 217, 263-73 (1998).
  5. Pinkerton JV, Goldstein SR: Endometrial safety: a key hurdle for selective estrogen receptor modulators in development. Menopause (2010).
  6. Hamilton-Reeves JM, Vazquez G, Duval SJ, Phipps WR, Kurzer MS, Messina MJ: Clinical studies show no effects of soy protein or isoflavones on reproductive hormones in men: results of a meta-analysis. Fertil Steril (2009).
  7. Messina M: Soybean isoflavone exposure does not have feminizing effects on men: A critical examination of the clinical evidence. Fertility Sterility (in press) (2010).
  8. Chavarro JE, Toth TL, Sadio SM, Hauser R: Soy food and isoflavone intake in relation to semen quality parameters among men from an infertility clinic. Hum Reprod 23, 2584-90 (2008).
  9. Mitchell JH, Cawood E, Kinniburgh D, Provan A, Collins AR, Irvine DS: Effect of a phytoestrogen food supplement on reproductive health in normal males. Clin Sci (Lond) 100, 613-8 (2001).
  10. Beaton LK, McVeigh BL, Dillingham BL, Lampe JW, Duncan AM: Soy protein isolates of varying isoflavone content do not adversely affect semen quality in healthy young men. Fertil Steril (2009).
  11. Messina M, Watanabe S, Setchell KD: Report on the 8th International Symposium on the Role of Soy in Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention and Treatment. J Nutr 139, 796S-802S (2009).
  12. Casini ML, Gerli S, Unfer V: An infertile couple suffering from oligospermia by partial sperm maturation arrest: can phytoestrogens play a therapeutic role? A case report study. Gynecol Endocrinol 22, 399-401 (2006).
  13. Yan L, Spitznagel EL: Soy consumption and prostate cancer risk in men: a revisit of a meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr 89, 1155-63 (2009).
  14. Lakshman M, Xu L, Ananthanarayanan V, Cooper J, Takimoto CH, Helenowski I, et al.: Dietary genistein inhibits metastasis of human prostate cancer in mice. Cancer Res 68, 2024-32 (2008).
  15. Xu L, Ding Y, Catalona WJ, Yang XJ, Anderson WF, Jovanovic B, et al.: MEK4 function, genistein treatment, and invasion of human prostate cancer cells. J Natl Cancer Inst 101, 1141-55 (2009).
  16. Zhan S, Ho SC: Meta-analysis of the effects of soy protein containing isoflavones on the lipid profile. Am J Clin Nutr 81, 397-408 (2005).