Soy protein is considered to be the closest vegetable protein that resembles meat protein. Soy protein powder is a terrific substitute for animal protein because of its complete amino acid profile. It contains all of the amino acids that are essential to human nutrition. It boasts of a 1.0 PDCAAS (a measure or protein quality) score—the highest attainable mark.
Aside from its complete amino acid profile, it also has been proven to reduce cholesterol in many clinical studies. It also helps reduce the risk of certain cardiovascular diseases. The United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concluded in 1999 that consuming 25 grams of soy protein daily as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Soy-based products carry a wide array of nutrients that also include vitamins and minerals. Tempeh, a form of soy protein, carries fibre protein, polyunsaturated fats and lecithin, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and B vitamins. As a healthy form of protein, it can also help relieve menopausal symptoms in women.
Additionally, soy protein may also help prevent osteoporosis because it is generally high in calcium. Although Japanese women consume less calcium than their Western counterparts, they have a lower prevalence of bone fractures because of soy in their diet.
Epidemiological studies also suggest this supplement may reduce the risk of certain cancers—including those associated with breast and prostate. Its anti-cancer effect may be attributed to phytochemicals which include isoflavones (plant-based chemical compounds) that have strong antioxidant properties.
Certain soy protein isolate products are considered complete by protein quality rating standards. Some scientific studies using this kind of soy protein powder supplement with male and female athletes resulted in improved muscle mass, decreased body fat and improved performance, metabolism and overall health.
The decreased body fat is linked to this supplement’s ability to raise thyroid hormone output. This is because the thyroid gland is responsible for producing hormones that control the body’s metabolic rate. Soy protein appears to have a unique advantage in this regard compared to other supplements.
In general, soy protein is highly recommended for people who cannot consume other types of protein due to certain reasons such as vegan practices, allergies or lactose intolerance.
In terms of possible side effects, it is usually safe for most people to consume. However, it can cause some mild reactions such as constipation, bloating and nausea. Certain individuals who are allergic to it are reported to have gone through bouts of rashes and itching. As a precautionary measure, people with kidney disease or a history of kidney stones should avoid taking large amounts of soy products.
As a final word, consult your physician if you are taking an unfamiliar supplement for the first time.