A “dose” of soy foods daily may help to naturally fight diabetes

Posted 04/02/2014 | By HealthCorps

Obesity rates and associated diabetes rates are still quite high in the U.S., despite recent news suggesting that in the very young children group, there may be the beginnings of a downward trend.  The pillars of preventing diabetes type 2 include losing excess weight, eating a diet rich in a variety of lean and vegetarian-based proteins, reducing consumption of unhealthy fats, limiting added and processed sugars, and engaging in regular physical activity.  One specific protein choice may be especially helpful in reducing the complications that diabetes can cause.

A new ten year study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology found that the number one risk factor for death, in patients who have diabetes, is kidney disease.  In fact, the mortality rate for people with diabetes, who also had kidney complications, is about 31%.  The study seemed to indicate that daily consumption of soy foods reduced that specific risk.  In the study of 41 patients, half ate a daily diet containing 70% animal-based protein and 30% plant-based protein, while the other group ate a diet comprised of 35% animal-sourced protein, 35% textured soy protein, and 30% vegetable protein.

After 4 years, the second group with the soy-rich diet had lower levels of blood sugar, total cholesterol, triglyceride levels and lower levels of several biomarkers for kidney disease.   The theory is that substituting soy for animal protein may reduce stress on the kidney.  Soy may also improve blood flow in the kidneys, and improve the filtration action of the kidneys.

How much soy did the test subjects consume?  The diabetes patients consumed 16 grams of soy protein daily.  One cup of soy milk contains 6 grams of soy protein; ½ cup of shelled edamame has 11 grams, while ¼ cup of soy nuts has about 11 grams of protein.  Four ounces of tofu has 13 grams of soy protein.

(Source: Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 2013; DOI: 10.1681/ASN.2013040392.)

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