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Latest Research - Soy and Obesity
Some Soy a Day Keeps the Fat Away

Although soy products are growing in popularity, their consumption is still yet to hit a peak with consumers. Whether it be soy milk, tofu or soy protein powders, they are still generally a staple for vegetarians and vegans and are often overlooked as a protein choice. However, lifelong soy consumption may just be another way to help tackle the development of obesity.

A recent study from Germany examined whether lifelong or short term soy consumption (more specifically isoflavone consumption) made any differences to the weight gain patterns and the development of obesity. Two groups of rats were exposed to a typical high calorie Western style diet, whilst also either consuming soy or being on a soy free diet. The study also took another group of rats and put them on a soy containing diet after they were ovariectomized (which mimics menopause). The results of the study were as follows:

  • Long term exposure to soy was able to result in reduced body weight, visceral fat mass (fat around the organs) and smaller adipocytes.
  • Short term exposure however, was not able to offer any significant benefits to the above measures.
  • Both short and long term exposure to soy can help reduce the loss of skeletal muscle mass.

Practical Applications

There are more and more studies coming out regarding the benefits of including soy as part of your everyday diet in supporting a healthier body composition and lower risk of becoming overweight or obese. However, it appears that you can’t just consume the odd soy protein shake or tofu in your Pad Thai to obtain the benefits; you might need to have almost a serve a day (25g) for best effects. If you’re worried about soy decreasing testosterone though, don’t. Studies have consistently shown that unless you’re consuming multiple serves each day or suffering from particular medical conditions, there is no risk of decreased testosterone levels, increased estrogen levels or reduced fertility.

1. Kurrat A, Blei T, Kluxen FM, Mueller DR, Piechotta M, Soukup ST, Kulling SE, Diel P. ‘Lifelong exposure to dietary isoflavones reduces risk of obesity in ovariectomized Wistar rats.’ Mol Nutr Food Res. 2015 Sep 8. [Epub ahead of print]

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