An Argument for the Viability of Soy as a primary protein source
by Corey Springer aka “Narkissos”
Ok… I’m about to rant. I may or may not reference my claims at the end.
Bear with me… I just saw this pic on bodybuilding.com and it sent me into a frenzy!
Review the image above…especially the statement to which the arrow is pointing.
To those who cannot view the image, it reads: “The only downfall, is the exclusion of egg protein, and the fact that soy can give males the female looking pec syndrome”.
How many times have you heard this yourself?
“Soy protein should be avoided by males…simply because it is oestrogenic… i.e. it’ll make you grow tits”.
Amazing then, that there’re vegetarian bodybuilders out there, shredded to the bone…who use soy as their sole protein source.
Amazing, in that soy, being so oestrogenic, must surely encourage female-pattern fat deposition and a myriad of other conditions.
Don’t buy the scaremongering.
There are numerous phytochemicals in Soy.
Some are oestrogenic…some aren’t.
With specific reference to the oestrogenic compounds:
You are honestly more at risk of oestrogen-related physiological change from environmental estrogens like those used in the production of plastics.
As mentioned above, some of these compounds aren’t oestrogenic.
There are some of these phytochemicals which normalise the hormonal environment: adaptogenic compounds.
Soy protein itself is very versatile.
Let me reiterate: Soy is very versatile.
This isn’t with specific reference to how it can be consumed. For the purpose of this argument, I am referring to its role in the bodybuilding lifestyle.
This is increasingly apparent while dieting..as its relatively high BCAA content, especially the leucine content, have a distinct protein-sparing effect.
Soy isoflavones, specifically the nonestrogenic ligands which bind the estrogen-related receptors, contribute to the lipolytic effect.(1)
Some argue that it increases thyroid output, but the jury is out on that claim.(2)
Anyway, as I was saying: The protein-sparing and lypolitic influences are especially important when metabolism stagnates during a caloric restriction phase.
Add soy’s ability to decrease oxidative stress(3) to the mix, and you have one all-round great supplemental addition.
The correlation drawn between the potential estrogenicity of soy stems from the use of soy’s phytoestrogen as a form of oestro-HRT for females.
The fact of the matter is the ‘phytoestrogens’ marketed for females are misnomered.
‘Adaptogens’ would be a better term for the spectrum… as the activity is akin to such.
Sure, some of the phytonutrients are estrogenic in nature… but just like the anti-estrogenic compounds in cruciferous vegetables, the amount of the byproduct one’d have to consume to be affected negates the possibility of being so affected.
Think about it.
How many hundreds of pounds of soy do you think goes into each bottle of HRT-’phytoestrogens’?
You are more at risk with regard to environmental estrogens.. as these are more pervasive, more destructive…and unavoidable.
Personally i consume a lot of soy..and when it’s in my diet i get harder by the day.
I can attest to its benefits.
Soy-containing protein blends have been my mainstay for years.
In fact, at this very moment I’m consuming oats cooked with soy protein.
I’ve found that soy gets me very very hard… muscularly.
No water retention etc.
Which is VERY interesting.. as pundits would suggest that the oestrogenic factions would promote female pattern fat deposition etc…exacerbated by my body’s naturally high estrogen levels (due to high aromatase activity).
However… no water.. ever (as long as soy is administered…)
Adaptogens… remember the term from above?
These phytochemicals in soy normalize the hormonal environment.
Consider my hormonal matrix ‘normalized’.
Owner of: Apollo Fitness Barbados
& “The Narkside”: The Caribbean’s Premier Fitness Forum
1. Ricketts ML, Moore DD, Banz WJ, Mezei O, Shay NF.Molecular mechanisms of action of the soy isoflavones includes activation of promiscuous nuclear receptors.J Nutr Biochem. 2005 Jun;16(6):321-30.
2. Messina M, Redmond G. “Effects of soy protein and soybean isoflavones on thyroid function in healthy adults and hypothyroid patients: a review of the relevant literature.” 2006 Mar;16(3):249-58.
3. Azadbakht L, Kimiagar M, Mehrabi Y, Esmaillzadeh A, Hu FB, Willett WC. Dietary soya intake alters plasma antioxidant status and lipid peroxidation in postmenopausal women with the metabolic syndrome. Br J Nutr. 2007 Oct;98(4):807-13. Epub 2007 May 17
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Lots of research has been done on soy protein. A long time ago, soy isolate (high quality protein extracts) are only used in industrial applications. They are added to foods and other supplements to boost the nutritional value of the products. It wasn’t until the late 1990s that this wonderful plant protein is introduced to the general public…
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