The Soy Myth

by Mark Lani


Tuesday July 29, 2008

When it comes to soy protein there are a lot of misconceptions. Some say it will lower your testosterone levels, others have stated it is not a good quality protein when compared to whey and meat protein sources. Let's reveal the truth about this misunderstood protein.

Misguided and Misinformed
Journalists and so-called nutrition experts perpetuate myths about soy that have been proven false with research. Early research demonstrated that rats given soy protein did not grow as well as those tested with other protein sources, such as dairy. The reason for this is that soy is lower in the amino acid methionine. This caused many nutrition experts to make the claim that soy was not an effective protein for human muscle mass. We now know that rats have a much higher methionine requirement than humans, which explains why rats don't do as well with soy. We= also know that soy is an excellent supplement for athletes and those wanting to gain muscle mass; it's just not good for rats that are trying to bulk up!

Truth Revealed
If you are avoiding soy you are missing out on a huge list of benefi ts that are simply unheard of with any other protein powder. According to recent research soy protein enhances muscle recovery and growth, increases nitric oxide production, improves heart health and protects against certain cancers, and it even enhances the fat loss process! While research has substantiated these attributes of soy, a lot of confusion still remains.

MYTH #1: Soy lowers testosterone levels. TRUTH: Guys have been afraid of soy protein because they were fed the lie that soy lowers testosterone and increases estrogen leading to man boobs and mood swings. The reason being is soy contains phytoestrogens. These powerful antioxidants provide numerous health benefits such as reduced risk of certain cancers, specifically prostate, lowered cholesterol and reduced risk of heart disease. The chemical structure of these phytoestrogens closely resemble the structure of estrogen, hence the name. Despite these chemical similarities research confirms that soy protein does not reduce testosterone or increase estrogen.

MYTH #2: Soy does not offer the mass building benefits that whey does. TRUTH: New research reveals that soy boosts nitricoxide levels. Scientists reported that the soy phytoestrogens, geistein, increased the amount of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) produced by the blood vessels. Since NOS is the enzyme that converts arginine to nitric oxide this leads to a signifi cant increase in nitric oxide levels. Since soy also happens to be plentiful in arginine, using soy protein is a sure-fi re way to boost blood fl ow to your muscles before a workout. An increase in blood fl ow during workouts delivers more nutrients, oxygen, and hormones to the muscles.

MYTH #3: Soy Protein does not aid in fat loss. TRUTH: A recent article that was published in a 2008 issue of the journal Obesity Reviews concluded that soy does indeed have fat-loss potential. Reviewing eight human studies it was found that soy protein could aid in the fat-loss process, possibly by decreasing appetite and caloric intake. Supporting the theory comes research from the University of Illinois showing that soy protein contains peptides (small proteins) that signal the brain that you are full, decreasing eating as well as putting your metabolism in overdrive, Resulting in more calories burned throughout the day. An additional study from Alabama concluded that subjects who drank 20 grams of soy protein daily for three months lost significantly more abdominal fat than those who drank the same amount of whey or (casein) milk protein Isolate.

The Perfect Combination
Mix soy Protein with whey! Unless you have a milk allergy or you are a vegan, it is not recommended that you primarily use soy protein. The best option is to mix soy with whey protein at various times throughout the day.

Upon Awakening
At this time your body is breaking down muscle tissue for fuel due to the fasting you undertook throughout the night. Because soy protein isolate is a fast digesting protein it enters your blood stream rapidly, supplying your body with amino acids that your body can use for fuel instead of utilizing your hard earned muscle mass. Because of the boost in nitric oxide, soy protein will deliver more of the aminos to the muscles to replace the protein that was broken down during the night.

Before Workouts
Because soy boosts the nitric oxide response, taking it right before a workout gets more blood flow to the muscles to enhance energy and increase your muscle pump during your training.

After Workouts
Research has shown that taking a fast digesting protein such as soy immediately following a workout boosts muscle growth and aids in the muscle recovery process.

Bottom line: Any time a day you drink a protein shake, adding soy to the mix will enhance the benefits that you can expect from your hard work.

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