Do you worry that eating soy might negatively affect your health? The truth is, eating soy is much more likely to improve your health than hurt it! New research from Pennsylvania State University examines how soy proteins can help treat a disease that impacts millions. This exciting new study indicates that a welcome shift in attitudes about soy is underway.
Tracing Myths About Soy Back to Their Source
The majority of the fear-mongering news coverage surrounding soy consumption comes from a single source: the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF). The WAPF promotes the interests of animal farming operations, with a special focus on those that produce raw milk and grass-fed beef. Unsurprisingly, the WAPF works very hard to discredit the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. A key element of their work to undermine plant-based eating is to edge soy out of the dietary protein market.
Between 1992 and 2011, soy sales rose from 500 million to 5.2 billion … so it’s no wonder the WAPF is concerned! They hope to deter consumers from purchasing soy products by publicizing what they say are the detrimental effects of eating soy. Many articles put out by the WAPF even cite legitimate clinical studies, but selectively present the findings that support their case, and ignore ones that contradict their agenda.
Can Eating Soy Improve Your Health?
Recent research, including the Pennsylvania State University study, is helping to rewrite false ideas about soy. The Penn State team found that adding soy protein to your diet can help to treat inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), which affect approximately 3.1 million adults living in the United States. The chronic inflammation that accompanies IBD, a group of conditions
that includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, not only results in the loss of gut barrier function and increased gut permeability, but is also a major risk factor for colon cancer. This makes finding ways to treat IBD a high priority.
The Penn State study evaluated how soy protein concentrate impacted inflammation and gut barrier function in mice with induced IBD. To do so, they replaced 12% of the protein in the diets of the mice with soy protein concentrate. “We didn’t want to get carried away with using doses that were really high and would crowd out all the other protein that was there,” says researcher Zachary Bitzer. Instead, the researchers wanted to create a scenario that would translate to a reasonable dietary intake for humans.
The team found that soy protein alleviated the symptoms of IBD. “Soy protein concentrate mitigates markers of colonic inflammation and loss of gut barrier function,” explains researcher Amy Wopperer. Wopperer and the rest of the team are now seeking collaborators to determine whether their findings can be replicated in humans.
More Reasons to Add Soy to Your Diet
Along with the relief soy may be able to bring to IBD sufferers, it offers a plethora of benefits for everyone else, too. Soy can reduce your levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, thereby improving the health of your heart. It’s a stellar source of protein, high in fiber, and remarkably nutrient-rich. Soy contains a multitude of nutrients, such as…
- Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6
- Vitamin C
- Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids
All in all, it’s becoming increasingly clear that there are far more reasons to include soy in your diet than there are to exclude it.