Health Claim Q&A for Health Professionals
Q. Do people with normal cholesterol benefit from eating 25 grams of soy protein?
A. Yes, studies show that consuming soy protein helps lower cholesterol even in those with normal levels, but the significant reductions are seen in individuals with the highest blood cholesterol levels. While not replacing pharmacological interventions, soy's affect on LDL ("bad") cholesterol could translate into significant reduction of coronary heart disease at the population level.
Q. How can I find out how much soy protein is in a product?
A. The health claim for soy protein requires the manufacturer to state the amount of soy protein per serving as part of the claim. Only products that contain at least 6.25 grams of soy protein per serving may bear the soy protein health claim.
Q. With so many people allergic to soy, won't increased soy protein consumption cause major reactions?
A. No. The FDA reported that allergies to soy usually appear in infants and young children, and that they usually outgrow soy allergies. Other countries that have intakes of soy protein in line with the health claim do not report excessively high levels of soy allergies. The best source of further information is the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network at www.foodallergy.org.
Q. Are there any specific health conditions which might suggest people not eat the 25 grams of soy protein?
A. Those who have concerns about eating too much protein in general should read the nutrition label for protein content. Some physicians suggest that women with breast cancer avoid excessive amounts of soy isoflavones in dietary supplements. The levels recommended in this soy health claim are similar to levels consumed in Asian countries where the breast cancer rate is lower than in the United States.