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Soy offers answers to diabetes patients

The number of people with diabetes is increasing alarmingly. Worldwide there are now over 245 million people with diabetes and over 20 years there will be an estimated 380 million. In order to counter this trend soymilk can be an answer. Women, who take daily a serving soymilk, lower their risk of diabetes by 40%. This is demonstrated by a major Chinese research, published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The survey followed 64,000 women between 40 and 70 years for 4.5 years. During that period, 1,608 participants had type 2 diabetes. When comparing the dietary habits between participants who do not get diabetes, the researchers made interesting discoveries. The more soybeans and pulses women consumed, the lower the risk of diabetes. Also, the intake of 1 serving (200 ml) soymilk was associated with a 39% lower risk of diabetes.
In Belgium, 8% of the adult population suffers from a form of diabetes. This will further increase to 10% or 1 in 10 adult Belgians in 2025. Half of them, as demonstrated by studies, is not aware of the disease. A further 6% of the adult population are in the "grey zone". That group is at a significant risk to develop diabetes in relatively short-term. After putting all the figures together, it appears that in 2007 1 million Belgians had high blood sugar and therefore qualifies for the prevention and treatment of diabetes and related complications.

Obesity is one of the reasons for the sharp increase. Other risk factors for type 2 diabetes are heredity, lack of physical activity, tobacco and an unbalanced diet. Especially a high intake of saturated fat and low intake of unsaturated (healthy) fat and fibre increase the risk of diabetes. These risks are exactly typical characteristics of contemporary society.

The researchers are convinced that isoflavones, natural phytochemicals in soy, are responsible for the beneficial effect for diabetes. From other studies, there is evidence that isoflavones have a positive effect on the functioning of insulin in the body.

A portion soymilk can be easily incorporated into the daily diet, such as with cereals or snacks.

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