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Is Soy a Complete Protein?

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We began this archive as a means of assisting our visitors in answering many of their health and diet questions, and in encouraging them to take a pro-active part in their own health.  We believe the articles and information contained herein are true, but are not presenting them as advice.  We, personally, have found that a whole food vegan diet has helped our own health, and simply wish to share with others the things we have found.   Each of us must make our own decisions, for it's our own body.  If you have a health problem, see your own physician.


Is Soy a Complete Protein?

The January, 2009 issue of the peer-reviewed journal American Family Physician (Jan 1;79(1): 43-7) adds real science to that debate regarding the availability of essential amino acids in soy products.

Dr. A.J. Michelfelder (Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine) once and for all emphatically answers that debate. His abstract (as published on Medline):

"Soybeans contain all of the essential amino acids necessary for human nutrition and have been grown and harvested for thousands of years.

Populations with diets high in soy protein and low in animal protein have lower risks of prostate and breast cancers than other populations.

Increasing dietary whole soy protein lowers levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins, and triglycerides; may improve menopausal hot flashes; and may help maintain bone density and decrease fractures in postmenopausal women.

There are not enough data to make recommendations concerning soy intake in women with a history of breast cancer.

The refined soy isoflavone components, when given as supplements, have not yielded the same results as increasing dietary whole soy protein. Overall, soy is well tolerated, and because it is a complete source of protein shown to lower cholesterol, it is recommended as a dietary substitution for higher-fat animal products."

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Many consumers do not enjoy the neutral taste of tofu or the congestion and lack of digestibility of commercially prepared soymilk (blame it on a thickening agent added to soy, carrageenan).

If you are one of those people who "hate" the taste of the most often-used soy products, I recommend that you try the actual green soybean, edamame. These beans can be found fresh in many markets and in the frozen vegetable section of most American supermarkets.

Robert Cohen
http://www.notmilk.com

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