How interesting it is to see the recent flurry of soy stories hit the press.
Products such as tempeh, tofu, and soy burgers vie daily for headlines with reports of seemingly miraculous benefits all credited to the simple and versatile soybean. This latest wave of interest reached an unprecedented fervor after Dr. James Anderson and his group at the University of Kentucky published in August of 2005 a comprehensive summary of 37 individual human studies. Their conclusion: soy protein can, indeed, reduce blood cholesterol, especially the so-called “bad” kind (LDL).
As some of you who have been following my work over the years may know, I’ve been a long-time proponent of this soy-protein effect, so I was heartened to see these results finally brought into the public spotlight. Nevertheless, I would like to ask three pertinent questions. First, why is this finding just now being reported? It really is a very old story. Second, why are the news accounts focused exclusively on soy protein when there is good evidence that many other plant proteins, if not virtually all, have much the same cholesterol effect? And third, why is the emphasis being placed on the “cholesterol-lowering” effects of soy protein rather than the more devastating “cholesterol-raising” effects of animal protein?
Why Has it Taken so Long to Tell the Soy Story?
Since the beginning of this century, numerous studies with experimental animals have shown conclusively that soy protein, when compared with the milk proteins casein and lactalbumin, can dramatically reduce blood lipids such as total cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and triglycerides. Particularly impressive findings were published between the years 1941 and 1965, with many more studies (especially among humans) following thereafter. It’s my opinion that the scientists who [...]