Soy protein is made from soybeans. It contains lots of essential nutrients and can be part of a balanced, healthy diet. However, it’s important to mind your doses and to only opt for high-quality brands.
Soya wanna add more protein to your diet? Well, one of the easiest and cheapest ways to boost your intake is by using soy protein powder.
Soy protein powder is made from — drum roll — soybeans. These little powerhouse legumes are high in fiber and essential nutrients like:
- omega-3 fatty acids.
But wait, there’s more! Soy protein isolate is a complete protein, which means it contains all essential amino acids your body needs to function on fleek.
So, if you’re looking to up your protein game without chugging a gallon of milk or eating an entire chicken every day, soy protein powder is a solid option. Here’s what to know about the many soy protein benefits.
Soy protein isolate is a processed protein that comes from soybeans. The beans are dried, flaked, and defatted during the manufacturing process. The beany mix is then washed in either alcohol or water to remove the sugars and fiber. It’s then dehydrated, powdered, and ready to hit the grocery store shelves.
Soy protein isolate has a variety of uses. It’s commonly used as a dietary supplement to help peeps boost their protein intake. It’s also a protein source in food products, such as sports drinks, energy bars, and meal replacement shakes.
BTW, soy protein powder contains around 90 percent protein and is almost carb- and fat-free.
Besides being an excellent source of protein, soy has lots of other things going for it. Here are some of the benefits of soy protein powder.
It’s good for your heart
Soy is rich in compounds that support heart health. In one review, soy was found to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol. Because blood fats like LDL and triglycerides can raise your risk of heart disease and stroke, this is a big deal.
Soy is also packed with antioxidants, which scavenge harmful toxins that can damage your blood vessels and lead to heart disease.
It may have anti-cancer effects
Eating a diet rich in soy products might help lower your risk of certain types of cancer, including breast cancer and prostate cancer.
This is because some cancers rely on hormones to develop and grow. And soy isoflavones — a type of phytonutrient in soybeans — can mimic the hormone estrogen. These isoflavones have both estrogenic and antiestrogenic effects. In other words, they can act like the hormone estrogen in some cases, and in other cases, they can block its effects.
These estrogen-like effects may help protect against certain cancers, but more research is needed to understand the full effects.
It builds muscles
There’s a reason why bodybuilders and athletes love soy protein powder. It’s an effective way to build muscle and improve exercise performance.
Whey protein is often regarded as the gold standard for muscle-building as it’s high in leucine, an amino acid that just loves to trigger muscle protein synthesis. But, studies show that soy protein leads to similar gains as whey and other animal proteins.
And you don’t have to be doing hard-core exercise to benefit. Another study of four groups of older adults with low muscle mass proved this point. When the study began, the participants’ protein intake was sufficient according to recommended daily allowances.
One group continued with their standard diet, while the other three also consumed 16 grams (g) of soy protein, whey protein, or a blend of whey and soy each day. And yes, you’ve guessed it. When the study concluded 6 months later, all three protein-supplemented groups had gained muscle mass and strength, but there were no significant differences among them.
There’s no magic number when it comes to soy protein intake. The amount you should take depends on your age, fitness goals, and daily protein needs.
According to the experts at the International Society of Sports Nutrition, you should get 0.25 g of high-quality protein per kilogram of body weight — with a max dose of 20–40 g per serving.
For maximum benefit, take soy protein powder within an hour of working out. That’s when your muscles cry out for protein to help with repair and growth.
One of the great things about soy protein powder is that it’s very versatile. You can add it to all sorts of recipes, both sweet and savory.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Some folks are concerned about soy protein powder because it contains substances called antinutrients and phytoestrogens.
Certain plant compounds are considered antinutrients, including:
These substances may interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients like calcium, iron, and zinc. But the jury is still out on just how harmful excessive soy intake really is.
Soybeans contain phytates. But these antinutrients aren’t something you need to worry about unless your diet is seriously lacking in other nutrients, and soy protein is your primary source of iron and zinc. Plus, processing helps reduce the levels of phytates in soy protein powder.
Because soybeans contain isoflavones that mimic estrogen, some folks worry they could disrupt hormone balance, affect fertility, or even promote cancer growth. But, overall, these concerns appear unfounded.
When it comes to protein powders, you’ve got options. Besides soy protein powder, whey protein powder is a popular choice for peeps not following a plant-based diet.
Whey protein powder is a byproduct of cheese making. It’s a complete protein, providing all the essential amino acids your body needs, and is also relatively low in calories and fat. Plus, it digests quickly, making it ideal for post-workout recovery.
So, which is better? There isn’t really enough research to say that one is definitively better than the other. Take, for example, this small study of 10 soccer players. Researchers compared the effects of whey vs. soy protein supplementation and looked at the players’ performance, muscle damage, and recovery after speed-endurance training. They concluded that increasing daily protein intake to 1.5 g per kilogram with either type of protein helped the players maintain performance. There were minimal differences between whey and soy protein.
In the end, it comes down to personal preference. So why not experiment with both types of protein powder and see which you like best?
Soy protein powder is a convenient way to increase your daily protein intake. It’s low in carbs and fat and high in nutritional value. Plus, it’s vegan-friendly and can be used in all sorts of recipes, both sweet and savory.
Besides boosting protein intake and helping bulk up those muscles, there are also benefits for heart health and potential anti-cancer effects.
So, if you’re looking for a protein powder that does it all, soy protein powder is most definitely worth a try.