Soy and cholesterolCholesterol is a soft fatty substance. Cholesterol does not dissolve well in water. This weak ability of cholesterol to dissolve in water is a major factor in the development of atherosclerosis. The body gets cholesterol from the food but it is also produced by our body. Cholesterol is mainly produced in the liver, but also in the adrenal glands and reproductive organs. Cholesterol is a necessary component of your body cells and is a building material for hormones such as estrogen and testosterone.
Soy can reduce cholesterolSoy products help to control the cholesterol level because:
- soy is cholesterol-free
- the soy proteins reduce the cholesterol level
- most of the fats in soy products are poly-unsaturated
- soy isoflavones prevent atherosclerosis
- soy contains soluble fibers which reduces the amount of cholesterol circulating in the blood.
Meta-analyses of the effects of soy protein intake on serum lipidsJW Anderson examined the relation between soy protein consumption and serum lipid concentrations in human in his meta-analysis of 38 controlled clinical trials, involving more than 730 volunteers . In most of these studies, animal protein was replaced with soy protein (average 47g per day). The intake of energy, fat and cholesterol was similar when the subjects ingested control and soy-containing diets.These were the findings:
- Replacing animal protein with soy protein reduced cholesterol with 9.3%.
- Volunteers on the soy diet had their LDL cholesterol levels dropped on average by 12.3%.
- The HDL cholesterol increased by 2.4% in volunteers on soy-containing diets.
FDA soy health claimThe FDA cholesterol claim allows food manufactures to claim that products containing more than 25 gr soya protein per serving will reduce the risk for heart diseases.
References Meta-analysis of the effects of soy protein intake on serum lipids. N Engl J Med. 1995 Aug 3;333(5):276-82. Anderson JW et al.
 A Meta-Analysis of 46 Studies Identified by the FDA Demonstrates that Soy Protein Decreases Circulating LDL and Total Cholesterol Concentrations The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 149, Issue 6, June 2019. Sonia Blanco et al.