The Joy of Soy

The Joy of Soy

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The Joy of Soy


In Chinese, the word for soybean is ta-tou, which translates, "greater bean" (Simmons 1991). Many Americans who are trying to make changes in their health are beginning to agree with this definition. Soybeans are becoming a legume of the future.



SOY - CAN IT SURVIVE THE HYPE?

Scientific research has discovered that adding soy foods to your diet can dramatically improve your health (http://www.ncw.net/alpha/pam5.html). People that incorporate soybeans and soy products into their diet have been shown to live healthier lives. The substitution of soy proteins for animal proteins in the diet can have dramatic affects on a person's health, though many Americans have not yet discovered the use of soy in the diet. The most common form of soy protein is derived from "white flakes," that are made by dehulling, flaking, and defatting soybeans by hexane extraction. These flakes contain 50-54% protein, and these flakes can be extracted to produce soy concentrates containing 65-70% protein (Lusas, l995).

Soybeans, which were originally brought to the United States by Chinese immigrants, were discovered by Dr. John Henry Kellogg, who first used the soybean to develop a substitute for the traditional bacon and egg breakfast. He was also the first to develop meat substitutes and soymilk made from soybeans (http://www.vrp.com/soy.htm). The soybean is naturally rich in phosphatidycholine, which is an important component of the cell membranes and also an efficient delivery system of nutrients (http://www.eastcoast.com/freelife/product.htm). Recently, the soybean has undergone a transformation from food to medicine (http://www.vrp.com/soy.htm).


THE PRODUCT

Dr. Earl Mindell's company, FreeLife, has produced a line of soy-based health supplements that combine the soybean and the Japanese Grape Seed. These products are composed of Dr. Mindell's homemade Ultra Soy Complexes as well as a variety of other vitamins and minerals. These soy-based supplements are advertised and marketed on the internet; designed to catch the eye of the health-conscious reader. Dr. Mindell has hundreds of advertisements, and even his own home page. The first thought that comes to mind when reading these advertisements is, "Why should I believe this and switch my diet to a soy-based diet?" While the effects of Dr. Mindell's products may be slightly exaggerated, there may actually be more to a soy diet than many Americans would like to admit. Dr. Mindell's soy products must each be examined separately in order to discern the true effects of the product on a person's diet.

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Soygenol 100

Dr. Mindell markets dietary supplements that are designed to incorporate soy into the diet. Soygenol 100, one of Dr. Mindell's dietary supplements, contains extracts from Chinese Green Tea, and helps to maximize nutrient availability (http://www.new.net/alpha/pam4.htmi). it is made of the most beneficial part of the grape seed extract, proanthocyandins (http://www.new.net.alpha/pam4.htmi). Each tablet of Soygenol 100 contains strands of unique fiber from the soybean called polysaccharides. Upon ingesting the tablet, the fiber strands supposedly act like a sponge, absorbing water into the tablet to speed disintegration, helping to maximize nutrient availability (http://www.eastcoast.com/freelife/product.htm). Soygenol 100 also works to enhance the activity of vitamins C and E.



The Truth

While soy proteins themselves have the properties of water and fat absorption, emulsification, aeration, and imparting of texture (Lusas 1995), there is no conclusive evidence that soy products actually aid maximizing nutrient availability. Most soy proteins are globulins, whose solubility and dissociation is greatly affected by the pH and salt content of the solution. These proteins can play a role in their performance where salts and acids are present (Lusas 1995). Scientific research suggests that this "sponge action" of the polysaccharides may occur only as fast as other metabolic processes.



The Miracle Body Program - Shakes, Toners, and Snacks


FreeLife also produces a variety of dietary health supplements that contain Dr. Mindell's Ultra Soy complexes. These soy products are part of a complete fat loss, body toning, and energy enhancement program, called the Soy Miracle Ultimate Body Program (http://www.new.net/alpha/pam2.html). Soy Delicious!, Dr. Mindell's high-carbohydrate, super energy bar, contains Ultra Soy Complex 4. This complex is made of genisten and other soy isoflavones and supposedly delivers the nutrient equivalent of a well-balanced, low-fat meal (http://www.new.net/alpha/pam5.html). Soy Delicious! contains its patented complex carbohydrate Dahlulin, which delivers a lasting source of energy and maintains stable blood sugar so that the customer is satisfied and energized until his next meal.

The Soy Miracle Ultimate Body Toner contains the ingredients Panax Ginseng, lipotropics, energy factors, herbal activators, and Dr. Mindell's Ultra Soy Complex 2 (http://www.eastcoast.com/freelife/product.htm). The tablet is taken two times a day with meals or before exercising, to enhance fat-burning. This compound is supposedly a safe way to avoid the harsh chemicals found in other body toning processes.



The cornerstone of Dr. Mindell's Soy Miracle Ultimate Body Program is the fat-free Ultimate Shake. This complex includes eight of the most powerful soy foods combined to create a nutritional shake. These soy foods include soy protein isolate, soy fiber, soy lecithin, tofu powder, soy flour, tamari powder, miso powder, and mixed soy phytosterols. Other ingredients include Siberian Ginsengs and Spanish Bee Pollen, for better absorption. This shake can be used as a meal replacement or a healthy snack (http://www.eastcoast.com/freelife/product.htm).



The Truth about the products

Dr. Mindell's products, while designed to inform the public about soy products and supplements, contain many exaggerations about fat-burning. And I am sure that many of his customers must question the inclusion of ingredients such as the unknown "herbal activators" and the "complexes" that he has invented. What other ingredients are in these complexes? In a society such as the one we live in, many people are convinced that finding different shakes or food additives may produce better results in their weight loss plans. While soy products can change a person's health, there is also no conclusive evidence that soy supplements can produce a complete fat loss and body toning program. Like any supplement, soy can not be truly effective without incorporating other aspects of a healthy lifestyle, such as exercise and fat reduction. One meal or shake that includes soy is worthless without the exercise that is required to increase metabolism (Goldberg 1995).


THE REAL EFFECTS OF SOY

There are many true benefits to a diet or health regimen that includes soy. Soy foods have been shown to slow the growth of cancers and lower cholesterol. These are the real reasons why a person should incorporate soy products into their diets. The prevention of cancer or cardiovascular diseases is much more of a long-term concern than simple fat-burning to lose weight and look good, which is what Dr. Mindell advertises. While it is true that soy products can absorb three to four times their weight in water (which may seem like a source of weight loss), there is actually no proof that soy can cause fat loss or a change in total body mass (Lusas 1995).

Cancer

It has been shown that diets rich in legumes and fiber decrease cancer risk relative to those diets which emphasize animal products (Saio 1990). Asians, who consume 20-50 times more soy per capita than Americans, have lower incidence and death rates from breast and prostate cancer (Severson, 1989). In an experiment undertaken by the School of Health Services and Research Center of Comprehensive Medicine in Okinawa, Japan, the effects of soy on cancer were studied by scientists by an experiment done on rats (Limtrakul 1993). In this study the effect of soybean milk protein on mouse skin was studied. Mice were given a diet supplemented with either the soybean milk protein (or SMP) or the soybean protein isolate (SPI) and after four weeks the mice were shaved and a tumor was applied. After twenty weeks on the treatment, the percentage of tumor-bearing mice and the volume of tumor was lower in the mice that had been on the SMP diet as opposed to the mice on the SPI diet (Limtrakui 1993).



Recently German researchers have also isolated a compound in soybeans called genistein that blocks angiogenesis, the growth of blood vessels that feed tumors(Peterson 1995). Genistein also inhibits tyrosine protein kinase, an enzyme produced by mutant genes that causes normal cells to become cancerous. Soybeans are also a rich source of phytates, which enhance the immune system, including natural killer cell activity, which is the body's first line of defense against cancer (http://devel.newhope.com/hez/eat/joy.html). Genistein also inhibits the production of reactive oxygen species which may lead to tissue damage and DNA modification (Peterson 1995).



Cholesterol

There is also much proof that soy protein aids in lowering blood cholesterol. Replacing animal protein by soy protein has been shown to produce significant reductions in total blood cholesterol. Vegetable proteins, mostly soy proteins, reduce plasma cholesterol, particularly when cholesterol is elevated in a diet, either by high cholesterol intake, or by synthetic diets (Sirtori 1995) . In other words, the higher a person' s cholesterol level is, the more effective soy additives and soy products can be in lowering blood cholesterol levels. The soybean diet is currently the most potent dietary tool for treating hypercholesterolemia (Sirtori 598). Studies have been undertaken in which patients with elevated cholesterolemia, or cholesterol above 78mmol/L show a favorable response to the substitution of animal proteins with vegetable protein from soybeans. The initial study showed a 20-22% reduction in total cholesterol with this substitution (Sirtori 1995).



The addition of soy supplements to a diet may also be the first step in the treatment of hyperlipidemia (Goldberg 1995). The use of soy protein may allow target lipid concentrations to be reached without the use of drugs. Soy incorporated into a low-fat diet is also shown to reduce cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol concentrations (Goldberg 1995). Soybeans are rich in other essential nutrients including calcium, zinc, iron, and many of the B vitamins (http://devel.newhope.com.hez/eat/joy.html).



CONCLUSION

Soy products may not be the answer to many health-conscious Americans' problems with weight loss, body toning, or suppressing appetite, but numerous legitimate studies have proved that the incorporation of soy products into the diet and the substitution of soy proteins for animal proteins will in fact lead to a healthier life. Throughout all of the research that has been done about soy, it is very uncommon to find negative feedback about the supplement. Soy has been proven to be a healthy substitute, and it is not at all harmful.



Works Cited

Goldberg, Anne Carol. "Potential Public Health Impact of Soy Protein." Journal of

Nutrition 125.1 (1995): 675-678.



Limtrakul, P. et al. "Suppressive Effect of Soybean Milk Protein on Experimentally

Induced Skin Tumor in Mice." Life Sciences 53.21 (1993): 1591-1596.



Lusas, Edmund, and Riaz, Mian N. "Soy Protein Products: Processing and Use."

Journal of Nutrition 125.1 (1995): 577-579.



Peterson, Greg. "Anticancer Effects of Genistein: Evaluation of the Biochemical Targets

of Genistein in Tumor Cells" Journal of Nutrition 125.1 (1995): 784789.



Saio, K. "Dietary Pattern and Soybean Processing in Japan." Trop. Agric. Res. Serv.

17 (1990): 153-161.



Severson, K.D. et al. "A Prospective Study of Demographics, Diet, and Prostate Cancer

Among men of Japanese ancestry in Hawaii." Cancer Res. 49 (1989): 1857.



Simmons, F.J. Food in China. A Cultural and Historical Inqui!Y . Boca Raton: CRC

Press, Inc., 1991: 150.



Sirtori, Cesare R. et al. "Soy and Cholesterol Reduction - Clinical Experience."

Journal of Nutrition 125.1 (1995): 598-599.
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