What is soy protein?
Soy protein is an edible component derived from the soybean and is gaining considerable attention since it is likely to have a TC and LDL-cholesterol lowering effect2, 3, 4.
Soy protein occurs in whole soybean products such as tofu, miso, tempeh (fermented soybean products from Asian cuisine), soy nuts, and fermented soybean pasta. Other sources are non-dairy-type products (e.g. soy drink, soy cheese and soy yoghurt) and meat alternatives (e.g. veggie soy burgers).
Soy protein is also present in highly refined soybean products such as soy protein concentrates and isolates that can be used for instance in meat products to increase the protein content, as well as to improve the texture and to prolong the shelf life.
Soy-derived ingredients can also be found in breakfast cereals, sauces and soups. For instance, in bakery products, adding soy flour enhances the nutritional value by increasing the dietary fiber and protein content.
Soybeans and soybean-based foods are not traditional European foods. Nevertheless, soy and soy-derived products are receiving a growing interest in the context of a healthy diet, as this legume is a good source of:
- high-quality protein,
- PUFA (both omega-3 and omega-6),
- dietary fibres,
- a variety of vitamins (e.g. folate and other B vitamins) and minerals, especially potassium, iron, phosphorus,
whereas it is low in SFA and does not contain cholesterol1.