Soy Protein Isolate
Soy protein isolate is the soy protein with the highest content of protein. It is made from defatted soy meal by removing most of the fats and carbohydrates, yielding a product with 90 percent protein. Therefore, soy protein isolate has a very neutral flavour compared to other soy products. Because most of the carbohydrates are removed, the intake of soy protein isolate does not cause flatulence. Pure soy protein isolate is difficult to find in stores and is mainly used by the food industry and less by consumers. Maybe you can find it in health stores or in the pharmacy section of the supermarket. It is mainly found combined with other food ingredients; for example, soy protein shake powder is a mixture of soy protein isolate with flavours, minerals and vitamins.
Industrial use of soy protein isolate
Soy protein isolate is used in the food industry for nutritional (increasing protein content), sensorial (better mouthfeel, bland flavour) and functional reasons (for applications requiring emulsification, water and fat absorption and adhesive properties).
Soy protein isolate is used in following food products:
- meal replacements
- breakfast cereals
- energy and protein bars
- weight loss ready-to-drink beverages
- soups, sauces and prepared foods
- baked foods
- ice cream, yogurt and other dairy or dairy-free products
- meat alternatives
- processed meat, poultry and fish products
Use of soy protein isolate by consumers
You can use soy protein isolate in different ways. It can be added to your favourite juice, it can be added to milk shakes or smoothies, or it can be sprinkled on cereal to boost the protein content. Homemade soy yogurt, which is often too watery, can be made thicker by adding some soy protein isolate. The thickness of yogurt is the result of the coagulation of proteins in an acid environment.
Nutritional and health benefits of soy protein isolate
Soy protein isolate is a complete vegetable protein. It contains all essential amino acids for growth and it is equal in quality to the protein in meat, milk and eggs. On the other hand, it has a very low fat content. Soy protein isolate may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. There are also indications that soy protein can help in the prevention of osteoporosis, some cancers and menopausal symptoms. However, soy protein isolate may have less health benefits than whole soybeans or soy protein concentrates. During the production of soy protein isolate the protein is washed with alcohol, removing most of the isoflavones. The isoflavones have many health benefits such as improving arterial vasodilatation, lowering cholesterol and inhibiting atherosclerosis.