Soy Milk and Cholesterol Studies – High Potential of Soy Protein!
When most people think of soy, they think of little more than an alternative source of protein for the health conscious or, dare we say, hippy crowd. However, there are many benefits to the plant based product in terms of boosting health. Recently, the relationship between soy milk and cholesterol has been examined, for instance. And, although current studies are preliminary at best, they show some promise that soy milk may just be a healthy part of a low fat low cholesterol diet with the potential to positively affect LDL numbers.
Soy milk is a beverage that is tremendously associated with Asian culture. It is produced from soybeans, where they are soaked and then ground with water. For people who are lactose intolerant, soy milk serves as a good alternative that does not produce the gastrointestinal upset that cow’s milk does. Soy milk differs from cow’s milk in other ways too; not just in terms of flavor, but also nutritional value. Boasting less fat and carbs than cow’s milk, soy milk also provides nearly the same amount of protein, making it a good dairy substitute in terms of nutrient intake. The cholesterol in milk from dairy sources when compared to that found in soy milk is another area where the two differ, with the latter containing none; a stark contrast to beverages from animal products. But, the relationship between soy milk and cholesterol may go deeper than simply the drink’s superiority to dairy in terms of a lack of lipids, and although studies are conflicting, there may be some solid evidence that soy milk is a good inclusion to a low cholesterol diet plan because it may actually lower bad cholesterol numbers.
Harvard Medical School explains that while perhaps a nominal figure to some people, consuming soy products like milk and tofu may essentially lower LDL cholesterol by around five percent. This may not seem like a staggering number, however if soy is used as a dairy substitute on some occasions – replacing whole milk, for instance – then it is possible that the effects could be even greater. The consumption amount that Harvard Medical School recommends in order to take advantage of soy’s LDL cholesterol lowering effects is 25 grams daily, which equivocates to two and a half cups of soy milk.
Unfortunately, even though there is some evidence that soy milk and cholesterol reduction go hand in hand, the scientific community is not quite sure how or why that is yet, according to WebMD. Researchers have some suggestions based on study data, however. One theory is that isoflavones found within soybeans positively affect LDL and triglyceride levels without having a negative impact on HDL (good cholesterol) levels. This effect has been observed in countless studies over the past several decades. Web MD discusses one in particular, where participants enjoyed a soy protein cholesterol diet that was coupled with other foods that are known to lower cholesterol. This duel dietary study yielded remarkable results and showed reductions in cholesterol levels that rivaled the results of lipid lowering medications.
Soy’s association with food replacements may seem like a negative; however, it may provide some insight as to how the like between soy milk and cholesterol has been established. While on one hand, studies have shown that LDL and triglyceride reduction are possible with regular consumption of soy, what is not being eaten instead may provide an even bigger benefit. Because soy often serves as a stand in for animal products which can elevate bad cholesterol, avoiding these types of edibles may be another way in which the faux milk can help promote heart health. This association is taken further when you consider all of the low cholesterol recipes that soy milk might have a place in. Using soy milk instead of coffee creamer, in a smoothie or in place of dairy for baking can really cut out some calories, instill good nutrition, and potentially lower cholesterol too.
It is important to understand that even Web MD points out that studies have not conclusively proven that there is a substantial enough relationship between soy milk and cholesterol reduction. And, for every study that establishes a connection, another seems to come along that refutes it. But, what is absolutely certain is that soy milk provides a good alternative to animal based dairy while still packing a potent nutrient punch. The evidence may be conflicting, but the connection between soy milk and cholesterol is nonetheless promising.