Soy Protein: Facts You Need To Know
As you move forward with your healthy eating plan, getting sufficient protein into your day becomes one of the top concerns you need to tend to if you hope to maintain optimal health and obtain a lean body composition. Protein powder is often a go-to option for those who need protein quick and easily as it’s basically ready to go whenever you need it. This said, if you are intolerant to lactose or you are someone who lives a vegetarian lifestyle, whey protein is not going to be an option.
For those times, you need to consider an alternative. Soy protein may be that alternative. It’s lactose free and vegetarian friendly. Seems like the perfect choice, right? Before you rush out to purchase your own container of soy protein however, there are a few things to know.
Let’s look at the top facts about this protein powder so that you can make a more informed decision about whether it’s right for you.
The Quality Of The Protein
The first consideration is the quality of protein you’ll take in when going with soy. The good news is that soy protein does contain a complete source of protein, so you will get the full spectrum of amino acids you need from it. This said, the bad news is that you’re also going to get a lot more.
Soy protein, by nature, will typically contain more carbs and grams of fats compared to regular whey protein powder, which is almost 100% protein content. If you are on a strict fat loss diet for instance and need to get that clean source of protein, this then can become quite problematic. In order to get the same grams of protein total when using soy, you’ll need to consume more calories in the process, making weight control more challenging.
The Nutrition Of Soy
When considering the nutritional side of things, soy isn’t a complete loss however. It is rich in potassium, zinc, iron, as well as vitamin E, all important nutrients for maintaining a healthy body. As you won’t take in much iron at all from whey, for those who don’t eat red meat and may be suffering from a lack of iron, soy can be a perfect solution. Soy is also going to provide you with important B vitamins, which are needed to maintain an optimal metabolic rate and keep your body feeling energised.
As far as nutrients go, soy doesn’t fall short. It’s just as nutritionally dense as whey is, if not more so.
The Impacts On Hormonal Levels
Now we come to a major downside – the impact of soy on hormonal levels. For males, soy is not a wise move. The problem with soy is that it can increase the female hormone estrogen in the body, which is going to counteract that of testosterone. Since testosterone is what makes a man a man, it’s not a hormone any man wants to have decreasing. Men who suffer from low testosterone will experience a loss of muscle mass and strength and may also notice they don’t feel like their normal self any longer. If they consume higher amounts of soy, they may also experience issues with their fertility levels, so that’s another serious drawback that does need to be considered.
You might think that this means soy is fine for women however since it’s increasing the female hormone estrogen. But, this isn’t so. Too much estrogen in women can also lead to problems and could potentially increase the risk factor for breast cancer. There is still much debate about the full impacts of soy on the female body and while it’s not nearly as harmful to women as it is to men, women should still be using soy in moderation if they are going to use it.
It should be noted that while soy can have negative impacts on breast cancer risk, many women who are suffering from serious symptoms related to menopause may find relief from these, to some degree, by adding soy to their diet plan. If you are going to consider trying soy however, just be sure to speak to your doctor about it before you do.
The Impacts On Your Thyroid
The final big issue with soy that needs to be noted is that it could also interfere with optimal thyroid function as well. Soy contains isoflavones, which may impact how the thyroid gland works, and since this is such an important gland in your body that controls your energy levels as well as how much energy your body expends on a daily basis (your metabolic rate), it’s not a gland you want to have altered.
Those who are consuming soy as part of their diet may experience many symptoms notable of hypothyroidism, including feeling fatigued greatly throughout the day, experiencing constipation, feeling sleepy, and suffering from an enlarged thyroid gland, according to a study published in the Nihon Naibunpi Gakkai Zasshi journal. These symptoms may not come on if you have one soy protein shake on occasion. However, if you are taking in soy multiple times per day, it is something to be aware of.
All in all, while soy definitely does offer some nutritional benefit and will provide your body with some protein that it needs to function optimally, also keep in mind the drawbacks that do come with soy. Especially for males, soy is not something they should be including as a regular part of their diet plan. And even women will want to tread lightly.
If you are a vegetarian or for whatever reason simply cannot consume whey protein powder, do note that there are other alternatives that you can use such as egg white protein powder or hemp protein powder, both of which are lactose free and (depending on the vegetarian type you are), vegetarian-friendly.