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Soy Protein? Why is it important? What does it do?

Soy Protein? Why is it important? What does it do?

a bowl filled with chickpeas sitting on top of a table

Soy Protein

What is it? Soy protein is a high-quality protein that is derived from soybeans. Most of the fat and carbohydrate naturally present in the soybean has been removed, leaving a protein-rich ingredient that can be incorporated into a variety of foods to boost protein content.

What does it do? Protein is vital to life – the diet must provide adequate protein in order for the body to manufacture important body proteins such as muscle tissue, skin, hair, hormones and enzymes. Soy protein is the only plant source of protein that is considered a complete protein, which means that it provides the full range of essential amino acids that the body needs to manufacture these important body proteins.

Why is it important? As a complete protein, the quality of soy protein is as good as animal sources of protein such as meat, eggs and milk. Soy protein isolate can provide high-quality protein without the fat, saturated fat, or cholesterol that are naturally present in animal protein sources. Protein is also important in keeping hunger at bay, and when used as part of a calorie-restricted diet, soy protein can support weight loss while helping to preserve lean body mass.

Where is it found? Soy protein can be purchased as a plain or flavoured powder that can be mixed with milk or other liquids to create a protein-rich meal, or it can be stirred into a variety of foods such as soups, sauces or hot cereals to boost protein content. The powder may also be blended with protein powders from other sources (such as whey, hemp, rice, pea, or quinoa protein).

How much do I need? Overall protein needs for individuals vary depending on body size and there is no specific recommendation regarding the amount of soy protein an individual needs per day. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, consumption of 25 grams of soy protein per day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. General guidelines frequently suggest (for non-vegetarians) a balance of animal and protein sources in order to obtain the health benefits from a wide variety of protein foods.

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