Evidence continues to show that people with diabetes who adopt a plant-based eating plan such as flexitarian, vegetarian, and vegan may see improvements in blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure management and a reduction in overall mortality.1 Any healthy diabetes eating plan requires balancing carbohydrate, protein, and fat. For those with diabetes who choose to eat plant-based, soyfoods can be an important part of the diet because they provide high-quality protein and some are low in saturated fat. Some are also good sources of fiber.2
Here are 5 ways you can include soy in a meal plan for people with diabetes:
- Tofu, whether it is silken or firm, is low in carbohydrate and a good source of protein. A 3oz serving contains 8g protein, 2g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, and 4.5g fat.3 Silken tofu can be used in soups, sauces, and desserts, and firmer tofu works well in stir fry, or on the grill.
- Tempeh is a good source of protein and fiber. Six slices (85g) contain 11g protein, 14g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, and 3.5g fat.4 Tempeh has a chewy texture like ground beef and can be used in curries, chilis, and stir fry.
- Edamame provides protein and fiber and can be a side dish, snack, or an ingredient in an entrée recipe. A ½ cup portion contains 9g protein, 7g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, and 6g fat. 5
- Soynuts have the right combination of protein, carbohydrate, and fiber to serve as a snack or crunchy topping. One ounce contains 10g protein, 10g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, and 7g fat.6
- Soymilk to top your morning oatmeal or cereal is an easy way to add plant protein to the diet. Soymilk can also be a great addition to a meal or used as a snack. A 1 cup serving contains 6-8g protein, 12g carbohydrate, and 3.5g fat.7
Whether you are already following or planning to follow a plant- based eating plan such as flexitarian, vegetarian, and vegan, soy products offer a great option to add protein to your meals. With so many great tasting soyfood options, you can add soy to any meal or snack with a positive effect on your diabetes management.
- Viguiliouk E; Kendall CW; Kahleová H; Rahelić D; Salas-Salvadó J; Choo VL; Mejia SB; Stewart SE; Leiter LA; Jenkins DJ; Sievenpiper JL; “Effect of Vegetarian Dietary Patterns on Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” Clinical Nutrition (Edinburgh, Scotland), U.S. National Library of Medicine, 13 June 2018, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29960809/.
- Dahl, Wendy J, and Maria L Stewart. “Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Health Implications of Dietary Fiber.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 1 Nov. 2015, jandonline.org/article/S2212-2672(15)01386-6/fulltext.
- FoodData Central, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1 Apr. 2019, https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1511694/nutrients.
- FoodData Central, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1 Apr. 2019, fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/390236/nutrients.
- FoodData Central, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 8 Apr. 2020, fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1100450/nutrients.
- FoodData Central, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 14 July 2017, fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/423673/nutrients.
- FoodData Central, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 30 Oct. 2020, fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1097542/nutrients.