Athletes and bodybuilders swear by it, but researchers are concerned about the potential effects of animal protein on the body. As a result, many are turning toward soy protein and whey protein instead. But, what are the benefits, drawbacks, and differences between these different forms of protein? And, how much should you include in your diet in order to garner the benefits you are looking for?
Protein has been garnering extra attention as the health conscious realize the benefits of including protein in their diets. Protein is needed to help rebuild the body’s tissue, which is particularly important to athletes and bodybuilders. In fact, the body is in need of a continual supply of protein in order to repair and to build its tissue. Protein is also essential for producing antibodies, hormones, new muscle tissue, and blood hemoglobin. All protein that is lost within the body must be replaced and protein must be present in order for new tissue to be constructed.
While athletes swear by the ability of animal protein to build muscles, researchers are concerned about the potential effects of animal protein on the liver and the kidneys, as well as the link between animal protein and osteoporosis. As a result, many are turning toward soy protein and whey protein instead. But, what are the benefits, drawbacks, and differences between these different forms of protein? And, how much should you include in your diet in order to garner the benefits you are looking for?
Soybeans contain high quantities of protein (considered to be of equal quality as animal protein) and also contain substantial amounts of amino acids. In addition, soy has been observed to lower cholesterol. Even the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated 25 grams of soy protein per day can reduce the chances of developing heart disease.
Soy protein has also been found to reduce the symptoms of menopause, to reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis, and to help prevent a number of diseases related to hormonal issues. These include endometrial cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer. Soy protein has also been shown to speed up the metabolism of the thyroid, which can help with obtaining a leaner body. If you are intolerant to soy, however, its specific protein can actually have the opposite effect.
A number of soy protein products can be found at health food stores, including food bars, soy burgers, and even soy-based beverages. Those products containing soy protein isolate generally have the highest saturation. Other products containing soy protein include soy flour, whole soybeans, and tofu. Be sure to check the product label in order to determine the amount of soy protein the product contains.
Remember, however, soy isoflavones, which are sold as supplements in health food stores, are not the same substance as pure soy protein. Nonetheless, soy isoflavones possess a number of beneficial effects, such as improving kidney function and preventing bone loss.
If you are not allergic to soy, there are very few side effects to including soy in your diet. In some people, however, consuming soy on a routine basis can lead to an upset stomach and may even cause diarrhea or constipation.
Like soy protein, whey protein has been shown to provide a number of benefits. For example, clinical studies have shown whey protein can:
- Act as a natural antibacterial or anti-viral
- Assist in maintaining the proper weight
- Reduce the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Reduce liver damage
- Improve the function of the immune system
- Improve blood pressure
- Improve athletic performance
- Improve the function of the digestive system
- Reduce gastric mucosal injury
Whey protein is very high in biological value (BV), which is highly sought by athletes. In short, BV is the amount of protein your body can replace with 100 grams of consumed diet. The only other foods containing high levels of BV are whole eggs and egg whites. Unlike eggs, however, whey protein does not contain high levels of fat.
While soy protein is derived from soybeans, whey protein is derived from milk as a diluted byproduct of the cheese-making process. Fresh liquid whey protein contains only about 1% protein because it is mostly comprised of lactose and water. For this reason, it takes about 229 liters of milk to produce just one kilogram of high quality whey protein isolate.
While in its original form, whey protein affects the digestive tract in much the same way as yogurt. Therefore, it is considered to be a natural remedy for many intestinal issues. In fact, it is often used in Sweden to help prevent bowel problems, gas, and constipation. Nonetheless, it can have the opposite effect and actually lead to constipation for some individuals.
The amount of whey protein recommended in a person’s diet depends on his or her weight, gender, age, level of activity, and overall health. Including both soy and whey protein in your diet can be very beneficial to your health; but, since both can lead to constipation, be sure to follow a high fiber diet to help keep your bowel movements regular. Try one or both of these all-natural health supplements and discover the results for yourself!