The food industry has witnessed a quantum leap in the demand for soy protein, as modern consumers are more than ready to pay premium prices for healthy food experiences. As consumers learn more about benefits of soy protein, food products with claims of high soy protein concentration are witnessing repeated sales. Rising demand for healthier and sustainable ways of incorporating proteins into regular diets is evoking consumer interest in soy protein.
Unlike other types of plant proteins, soy protein stands out as a ‘complete’ protein variety with rich concentration of essential amino acids for sustaining and enhancing human metabolism. Soy proteins are also known for facilitating weight loss, even without limiting the intake of nutrients or calories. Multiple studies shed light on the fact that soy protein can induce weight loss as effectively as any other animal protein. Though the evidence for soy protein benefits on weight loss doesn’t turn to be as influential as that of animal proteins, the growing demand for soy protein as an effective weight management solution will remain unabated.
Adding soy protein to diets has been in practice since long, on account of its benefits on heart health. Consumption of soy protein helps in lowering levels of the harmful LDL cholesterol and raising levels of essential HDL cholesterol, which makes it a viable nutrient for nourishing heart health. Experts are of the opinion that replacement of animal protein with soy protein helps in lowering of cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of heart-related disorders. In addition, soy protein aids in controlling the symptoms of hyperglycemia, which, in turn, helps in effective weight management in a natural way.
Soy protein aids in healthy digestion- one of the key reasons why they are increasingly used in infant formula. Moreover, soy protein infant formulas are prescribed by pediatricians for infants suffering from galactosemia, primary lactase deficiency, and temporary lactase deficiency. Soy proteins are also prescribed for consumption during pregnancies as they, when mixed with other proteins, stimulate the synthesis of elastin and collagen for effective cell growth. Soy comprises of phytoestrogens (plant oestrogens), which are relied upon as synthetic estrogen to retain the right balance of calcium during menopause. Having the highest concentration of phytoestrogens as compared to any other known dietary source, consumers are showing high confidence in soy-based food products, including soy proteins, for relieving the menopausal symptoms.
One of the key benefits of soy protein is its profile rich in vitamins and minerals. Soy protein offers the requisite dosages of vitamin E, B-complex vitamins, zinc, phosphorus, iron, and potassium, all of which are of utmost importance for human body and its healthy functioning. These nutrients offered by soy proteins not only help in strengthening and boosting immunity levels, but also play a vital role in enhancement of testosterone levels.
The health benefits of soy protein continue to be debatable among prominent researchers. The proponents of soy protein vouch for the multimodal health benefits such as enhancing immunity, improving heart health, and positive effects on weight management. On the contrary, the opponents continue to warn the consumers about potential adversities associated with soy protein consumption, including hormonal imbalance, allergenic disorders, and others.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to protein consumption and demand, there is no existence of a “one size fits all” variety. While soy protein consumption turns out to be extremely beneficial for one half of the consumers, the other half bear the brunt of its adverse impacts on health. It would be interesting to see how the health benefits of soy protein would further propel its adoption as a viable choice in the food industry.