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Soy reduces risk of type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a serious medical problem with dramatically rising worldwide prevalence. In type 2 diabetes the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells do not respond to insulin. It is a metabolic disorder that is characterized by high blood glucose. Mainly adults suffer from this disease, hence its name adult-onset diabetes, but it is increasingly diagnosed in children in parallel to rising obesity rates. Lifestyle factors such as exercise and diet play an important role in the development of the disease.

Mueller and co-workers at the University of Minnesota investigated the relationship between soy products and incident of type 2 diabetes in a population with high rates of diabetes. They used data from the Singapore Chinese Health Study that followed more than 40 thousand men and women. They gathered data about the intake of soyfoods and its components isoflavones and soy protein with a food-frequency questionnaire.
The researchers found that intake of unsweetened soyfoods was inversely associated with diabetes risk. For example, persons consuming more that 5 portions of soyfoods per week showed a 28% lower risk of diabetes, compared to those who consumed no soyfoods. However, the intake of sweetened soymilk was positively associated with diabetes risk, probably because of high sugar content. When the researchers looked at the intake of isoflavones and soy protein they found an inverse association between isoflavone intake and diabetes.

They concluded that based on the obtained figures unsweetened soy foods and isoflavones have a protective effect on the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Source: Soy intake and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus in Chinese Singaporeans : Soy intake and risk of type 2 diabetes. Eur J Nutr. 2011 Nov 18.

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