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Soy protein lowers heart disease risk

DALLAS, TEXAS. Epidemiological studies have shown that populations which consume relatively large quantities of soy protein experience significantly lower mortalities from heart disease than do populations consuming little or no soy products. The American Heart Association has now come out in favour of increasing soy consumption as a means of decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. A recent statement made by the AHA Nutrition Committee points out that numerous clinical trials have found that substituting soy protein for animal protein significantly lowers total cholesterol, low-density (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides without affecting the level of beneficial high-density (HDL) cholesterol. Soy protein contains all of the essential amino acids in sufficient quantities to support human life – in other words, it is a complete protein. Soy protein also contains trypsin inhibitors, phytic acid, fiber, isoflavones, and several other components known to reduce cholesterol levels. It is found in many fermented and non-fermented soy foods including tofu, tempeh, miso, soybeans, soy nuts, soymilk, soy yogurt, and soy cheese.

The AHA Committee points out that soy products are safe and do not lower cholesterol levels in people with low or normal levels. They recommend the inclusion of 25 grams or more of soy protein, with its associated phytochemicals intact, in the daily diet as a means of lowering cholesterol levels and promoting heart health. This recommendation follows the FDA's (Food and Drug Administration) recent ruling allowing soy protein products to carry the health claim "25 grams/day of soy protein, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease."
Erdman, John W., Jr. Soy protein and cardiovascular disease: a statement for healthcare professionals from the Nutrition Committee of the AHA. Circulation, Vol. 102, November 14, 2000, pp. 2555-59

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