Soy has been considered a healthy food for quite some time. Not only could soy be used as an ingredient for vegan products, but it is widely thought to lower cholesterol levels. As a result, consuming soy protein was thought to help lower the risk of heart disease. Many people enjoy soy-based alternatives, such as soy milk and soy meats because soy was supposed to be a healthy alternative.
Is soy healthy? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are weighing this particular claim. Researchers from the University of Toronto recently performed a study to determine if the FDA had grounds to do so.
Is Soy Healthy?
The data concerning whether soy protein helps to lower cholesterol hasn’t changed since 1999. Researcher David Jenkins stated the original claim that soy helped reduce serum cholesterol was never disputed by newer data. When the FDA proposed to revoke the health claim that soy reduces cholesterol in 2017, it used 46 trials as its basis. The University of Toronto research team analyzed those 46 trials.
In many cases, the analyses of small studies that produce big effects will differ when sample sizes increase and the results become more precise. The results of University of Toronto trials showing soy helped lower both cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels (which is the type of cholesterol that can damage the heart), remained the same over time.
The research team also performed a meta-analysis in order to analyze the effect of soy in all of the trials combined at various points of time.
According to Jenkins, the data supports the original claim that while soy only lowers cholesterol levels by less than five percent, it still lowered those cholesterol levels. By adding soy to a healthy diet that includes other plant-based food, it would have an even better effect.