Heart disease has maintained its status as the number one killer in the United States since 1918. However, the major forms of cardiovascular disease including coronary heart disease, hypertensive disease, rheumatic fever/rheumatic heart disease and strokeare largely preventable. We can control many of the primary risk factors (smoking, high blood pressure and elevated serum cholesterol) and secondary risk factors (physical inactivity, obesity, uncontrolled blood glucose levels and poor dietary choices).

To this end, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a health claim for soy protein in October 1999. The health claim states that 25 grams of soy protein per day may reduce risk of coronary heart disease.

Many soy products now carry the health claim on their packaging. To qualify, they must provide at least 6.25 grams of soy protein per serving. Additionally, foods cannot carry any health claim if they are high in saturated fat, sodium or cholesterol. Health professionals will also want to view USB's fully referenced and peer-reviewed Fact Sheet on Soy and Heart Health, as well as pertinent issues of the Soy Connection newsletter with research updates on soy and heart disease.