Experts reach consensus on beneficial effects of Soy

November 23, 2015

Soy and Nutrient Adequacy An analysis of the data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 2003-2004), a nationally representative survey designed to assess the health and nutrition status of adults and children in the United States, found that soyfoods are nutrient rich and adding one serving a day to the diet can provide important nutrients.

"Whole soy provides a number of important nutrients, including potassium, magnesium, fiber, antioxidants and calcium in certain calcium-fortified soyfoods and calcium-set tofu, which tend to be shortfall nutrients among the U.S. population," said Katherine Tucker, PhD, co-author of the paper, "Simulation with Soy Replacement Showed That Increased Soy Intake Could Contribute to Improved Nutrient Intake Profiles in the U.S. Population." The data concludes that greater inclusion of soy in the U.S. diet would likely be beneficial to health at the individual and population levels.

Soybeans have more protein than any other bean and are the only plant-based protein source that contain all nine essential amino acids, making them a source of high-quality, complete protein. Consuming soyfoods supports the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 Technical Report, which recommends a more plant-based diet.

RecommendationsFor those unfamiliar with soyfoods and interested in improving their overall diet quality and for those moving towards a more plant-based diet, a reasonable goal should be to consume two servings of whole soy foods a day (a total of 15-20 g soy protein), representing 20-25 percent of total dietary protein intake and remaining consistent with dietetic principles of diversity and moderation. All soy comes from soybeans, which are naturally grown beans similar in size to a pea. Whole soy foods are minimally processed to keep soy's naturally occurring nutrients intact. Suggested ways to incorporate one serving of whole soy into a healthy diet include: 1/2 cup edamame, 1/2 cup canned soybeans, 2 SOYJOY bars, 1/2 cup tofu, and 1/4 cup dry roasted soybeans.