Here are some basic guidelines to help you consider your soy options:
Choose whole soy
Soy products appear all over the store in various forms. You'll find soy burgers and sausages in the frozen-food aisle, soy cheese and soymilk in the dairy aisle, as well as whole soybeans (edamame) in the produce aisle. How do you know which to choose? As a general rule, try not to stray too far from the whole soybean. As with fruit and vegetables, much of the nutritional power of soy appears to lie in the phytochemicals that whole soy foods contain, especially isoflavones. Researchers believe that the complex mix of phytochemicals found in soy are most nutritious when they are consumed in their natural state, combined with the plant-based proteins in whole soy foods.
Also, whole soy foods are best because processed soy may have altered levels of the potentially beneficial phytochemicals that naturally occur in soybeans. And just as the refined grains found in white bread are less nutritious than whole-grain bread, so, too, is processed soy usually depleted of fiber and other nutrients. Several manufacturers now produce soy-protein products that contain concentrated soy or added soy isolates. You'll find these marketed as pills, powders, and supplements.
When shopping for soy-based foods, look beyond the marketing claims on the packaging, and check the ingredients list. Always opt for foods made from whole soybeans rather than added soy protein or soy isolates. Keep an eye on total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sugar, and sodium levels, too. Just as with any other packaged foods, some soy products may be loaded with these aging ingredients.
As scientists continue to explore the benefits of soy, your best bet is to stick with traditional Asian soy foods over packaged soy protein shakes, frozen desserts, and energy bars. Much of the original research exploring the benefits of soy was based on the dietary habits of Asian populations. Foods such as edamame, tempeh, miso, and tofu are all common staples of certain Asian diets.Here are some basic guidelines to help you consider your soy options: Choose whole soy Soy products appear all over the store in various forms. You'll find soy burgers and sausages in the frozen-food aisle, soy cheese and soymilk in the dairy... More