Mayo Clinic Specialist Calls for Greater Use Of Soy
Foods -- 'Enjoyable and Improve Health'
ROCHESTER, Minn., Jan. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The Mayo Clinic says people need to broaden their tastes and include more soy-based foods in their diets in order to improve health. Dr. Donald D. Hensrud, a nutrition specialist at Mayo, said:
"The challenge is for the public to try to include foods such as tofu, tempeh, miso, textured vegetable protein, soy milk and soy cheese in their diet regularly. If people try these products, using creative ways to prepare them, they may discover palatable and enjoyable new foods and improve their health in the process."
Dr. Hensrud commented on the recent statement by the American Heart Association that eating 25 to 50 grams of soy protein daily can help reduce blood levels of LDL or "bad" cholesterol by four to eight percent.
The association's Nutrition Committee reviewed clinical studies in making its soy recommendation, and also said that the positive health effects of soy are even greater for people who have high cholesterol levels.
The Mayo Clinic, in a statement, described high cholesterol as "a known risk factor for coronary heart disease."
Soy protein is obtained from raw whole soybeans and can be found in tofu, soymilk, soy yogurt, and miso, a paste made from soybeans, Mayo noted.
"Researchers have long noted that people in Asia, where soybean products are dietary staples, have lower rates of cardiovascular disease than Americans," the Mayo statement said. "Up to 55 grams of soy protein per day are consumed by the Japanese ... whereas Americans eat less than five grams per day."
Among the important soy components are isoflavones, which are plant estrogens. Soy products without isoflavones are considered less effective in lowering cholesterol.
The Mayo statement noted that the American Heart Association advisory acknowledges that Americans are not familiar with the various sources of soy protein. A spokesman for the association, Dr. John Erdman, Jr., said, however, that "in the past l0 years, the variety of soy foods available in U.S. stores has increased."
Food manufacturers, Dr. Erdman said, "still need to provide more acceptable soy-based foods for the consumer."