Introduction
Protein complementation
Nu3 line
Soy
Protein of whey
Main functions of the Vitamins contained in the Nu3 products
Main functions of the Minerals contained in the Nu3 products
Why choosing Nu3 products?
 
Soy
 


Nutritional value

Soy is a leguminous plant characterized by its high content of proteins and by its nutritional quality. Due to its chemical composition, it is placed between the legumes and the oleaginous because it has more proteins (40%) than the other legumes but less fat (21%) than the other oleaginous seeds.

Soy is a good resource to complement our meals since it has a high nutritional value that contributes to achieve a varied, complete and nutritive diet.

There is a growing interest in the food uses of soy due to the high biological value of its proteins, the great proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids of its lipids, and the versatility of its food use.
Soy and the products derived from it are placed among the main sources of proteins since as they have fat of vegetable origin, they constitute a protective food product. Among other benefits the proteins of soy have proved to reduce (in various studies) the blood cholesterol level, opposite effect to the one produced by the protein products from animals.
The lipids of soy are composed of fatty acids among which we identify oleic, linoleic, and linolenic acid. Besides soy has phospholipids such as lecithin, an important emulsionant that helps in the fat absorption.

Soy is also a good source of the B Vitamins Complex (Thiamine, Niacin, Piridoxine, and folic acid). As any vegetable food, soy is obviously free from cholesterol, while all other sources of animal protein contain it.

50% of its carbohydrates are oligosaccharids (unassimilable sugars of low glucoforming power) and the other 50% correspond to dietary fiber, important for weight-reducing diets. Since it doesn’t contain starch or lactose (main milk glucid) soy is recommended for people intolerant to this last substance.

A lot of research done at nutritional levels in the last years has revealed not only the high nutritional value of soy (due to its composition of macronutrients) but also the great amount of health benefits produced by certain substances contained in it.


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Protein Quality

Proteins are one of the essential nutrients in our meals since they provide the essential amino acids to our organism. The quality of a protein is established according to its content of essential amino acids and to their availability after being digested.

What is important regarding the protein of soy is that it contains the nine essential amino acids and a great part of the no-essential amino acids, thus resembling and in some cases surpassing the protein of animal food products


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Soy and essential amino acids

At the beginning of the 90s, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), as well as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), established the PDCAAS method (Protein Digestibility-Corrected Amino Acid Score) to evaluate the quality of proteins. This method determines the quality of the protein under study according to its profile of amino acids compared to the requirement in human beings. The proteins that after being evaluated by this method provide an equal or higher quantity of amino acids with regard to the requirement already mentioned have a PDCAAS equal to 1. This value means that when it is consumed as the only source of proteins it can fulfil the recommended protein requirement for children older than 2 years old and adults. This is the case of the protein of soy that has a score of 1.

Before, when the biological method PER (Protein Efficiency Ratio) was used to evaluate the quality of proteins, the protein of soy was considered to be of lower quality than the protein of animal origin. This was due to the fact that laboratory animals require a greater amount of methionine than human beings. The WHO established that the protein of soy contains all the essential amino acids in adequate amount to suit the protein requirements when it is consumed in quantities according to age and biological needs.

If we take the FAO Protein as our pattern, the chemical index values of soy (adequately inactivated) are of 100, just like eggs or meat, as you can see in the following chart:


Essential Amino Acid (mg per g of protein) Soy (*) FAO Pattern
Histidine
28
19
Isoleucine
50
28
Leucine
85
66
Lysine
70
58
Methionine + Cysteine
28
25
Phenylalanine + Tyrosine
88
63
Threonine
42
34
Tryptophan
14
11
Valine
53
15
Total Essential Amino Acids (without Histidine)
430
320
% of protein
40
 
Chemical index % (FAO Pattern 85)
100
 

*Soybeans inactivated by heat
Experimental results obtained in the CEMPAM CEIGRA
Source: “Introduction to the Biochemistry and Technology of Foods” Volume II. J.C.Cheftel and H. Cheftel. Publishing Company: Acribia. 1976.

This means that the proteins of soy have a particular profile of amino acids that resembles the pattern of amino acids recommended by the FAO /WHO for children from 2 to 5 years old and has a PDCAAS of 1.This is the highest value for a protein.

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Other nutritive elements

Soy contains a variable proportion of the B Vitamins Complex, especially Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), Niacin, Folic Acid and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and zinc.

Therefore, when the food products based on soy are consumed as part of a mixed diet they contribute to fulfil the individual’s requirement of minerals and vitamins.


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Soy isoflavones

In the last years soy and the products derived from it have received a great deal of attention from researchers and doctors. Epidemiologist studies show that Asian people have lower rates of heart disease, osteoporosis, and certain cancers such as breast, prostate and colon cancer. In the case of women, it has also been noticed a lesser incidence of menopausal symptoms.

The fact that Asian people lose this advantage when they adopt occidental ways of eating has lead researchers to consider that the cause of that advantageous situation is the Asian diet.
Phytoestrogen (vegetable estrogen) is the generic name used to define a kind of compounds that are not steroids. They can be of vegetable origin or derived from the metabolism “in vivo” of the precursors present in the plants ingested by man. Phytoestrogens help regulate the growth of plants and protect them from stress and from the harmful effects of the ultraviolet radiation.

Phytoestrogens are weaker than natural estrogens (their activity is 1/1000 to 1/100000 of natural estrogens) and differ noticeably from the environmental synthetic estrogens because they are easily metabolized, they are not stored in the body tissue and they circulate through the organism for a very short time. These compounds are capable of emulating the effects of estrogens because their structure is quite similar to that of human estrogens and thus the organism accepts them as such.

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has recently authorized (in the year 2000) to label the soy extract with the following sentence: “25 g of soy protein a day as part of a diet low in saturated fatty acids and cholesterol can reduce the risk of heart disease”.

The soy and isoflavone food products are receiving a great deal of attention these days because of their remarkable role in the prevention and treatment of certain cancers and osteoporosis. The low death rates of cancer in Asian countries and the anti-estrogenic effect of isoflavones have produced a series of statements that consider the soy food products to be nutritious substances that can reduce the risk of cancer.

The most important research carried out by Anderson (1) revealed that consuming 17 to 25 g of soy protein a day can produce a significant effect on the decrease of the cholesterol levels of the organism. This effect is produced when the animal protein is substituted in the diet for the soy protein, or when the soy protein is just added to the diet. This contributes to the cholesterol decrease, what represents a decrease in the risk of developing heart disease.


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Potential mechanism of protection from cardiovascular disease

The protein of soy and its content of isoflavones have very beneficial effects. Thorough research has shown that a daily intake of soy is associated with favorable changes in the lipid concentrations. The meta-analysis carried out by Anderson (1) and some collaborators expressed it in the following way:

he results obtained show a:
  • 9.3% decrease in the total blood cholesterol
  • 12.9% decrease in the LDL cholesterol
  • 10% decrease in the blood TG
  • 2.4% decrease in the HDL cholesterol values

(1) Meta-analysis (intensive revision of the whole research) carried out by James Anderson, MD, Professor of Medicine at the University of Kentucky. Published in 1995 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The researches done on the soy protein are very important as they can be considered a useful factor in the prevention of heart disease, not only because of the alteration produced by the concentration of blood lipoproteins, but also because of the antioxidant function and favorable effects upon the health of the vascular endothelia encouraged by isoflavones.

ALL THESE BENEFITS ARE THE REASON WHY SOY SHOULD BE ADDED TO OUR FOOD INTAKE. ACCORDING TO THE RESEARCH DONE ON THE SUBJECT, ONE SHOULD TRY TO INCORPORATE 25 TO 45 ISOFLAVONES A DAY.


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