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Does soy protein decrease cholesterol?

A recent study examined the effects of soy protein on low density lipoprotein (LDL) and total cholesterol.

Recently, the FDA has decided to re-visit data surrounding soy protein and its ability to decrease cholesterol. In 2006, a scientific advisory Committee of the AHA determined that the claim that soy protein decreases cholesterol was not sufficiently supported by current data.

A study conducted by researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto decided to carry out a meta-analysis, in which they reviewed the data from 46 trials, as outlined by the FDA, that examined the effects of soy protein on cholesterol.

From the 46 trials examined, 43 gave enough evaluable data for the meta-analysis. Forty-one trials specifically investigated the effects of soy protein on low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which is considered to be the ‘bad fat’ within the body as it leads to cholesterol build up in the arteries.

Soy protein decreases LDL cholesterol

The researchers concluded that soy protein decreased LDL cholesterol a small but significant amount. Results showed a 3-4% decrease in LDL cholesterol.

The lead researcher, Dr. Jenkins, suggests that the reduction of cholesterol could actually be even greater than the 3-4%, due to the fact that people might typically replace meats that contain high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol, with more heart-healthy plant proteins. “The existing data and our analysis of it suggest soy protein contributes to heart health“, says Dr. Jenkins.

The results of this study are good news for those who are trying to include more plant-based protein in their diets – as suggested by the new Canadian Food Guide.

Written by Jade Marie Evans, MPharm, Medical Writer

References:

Blanco Mejia, S. et al2019. Pubmed. [Online]. [5 June 2019]. Available from:

Eurekalert . 2019. Soy protein lowers cholesterol, study suggests. [Online]. [5 June 2019]. Available from: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-05/smh-spl050619.php

Jade Evans MPharm
Jade Evans MPharm
Jade obtained her Master of Pharmacy degree from Cardiff University, UK in 2015 and then went on to work as a Pharmacist within the NHS, across both the hospital and community sectors. In 2017, she began her work for the medical news bulletin and moved to Perth, Australia. She is now working at Perth Children’s Hospital working in the Anaesthetic and Pain Management Research Group.
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