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STUDY: For plant-based proteins, soy is a smart choice

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In comparison to other plant-based proteins, soy protein provides the most complete nutrients in terms of amino acids, compared to animal sources.

ELAINA HANCOCK: Soy, the versatile protein source that comes from the species of legumes known as soybeans, is becoming a popular alternative to meat and dairy products, and for good reason. Whether you are trying to eat healthier, eat more sustainably, or both, College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources Department of Nutritional Sciences researcher Yangchao Luo and his research group recently published an article in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Research exploring qualities that make soy a versatile and nutritious choice…

In comparison to other plant-based proteins, soy protein provides the most complete nutrients in terms of amino acids, compared to animal sources. Soy contains almost every amino acid, with only one minor exception, methionine, which is an essential amino acid, and what we call a limiting amino acid. Other plant-based proteins may miss two, three, or even four different essential amino acids. You can easily get all essential amino acids in a meal by mixing plant-based proteins or by pairing soy-based proteins with grains.

Upon extrusion process, soy-based proteins undergo a series of physicochemical changes to form fibrous anisotropic structure, the texture of which becomes very similar to meat products… A lot of food companies nowadays are trying to develop meat alternatives, and soy-based protein is just the top choice for the food industries…

One method of processing for soy products is fermentation, to make things like soy sauce and teriyaki sauce. Fermentation processes enhance flavor and shelf life, and usually the fermentation process adds a lot of probiotics, in this case, processing can enhance the nutritional value. Heating or autoclaving are also used to process some soy products, but heat destroys some of the proteins, amino acids, and other nutrients.

Soymilk is another popular soy product. The beans are crushed and filtered to make the milk. Calcium in soy proteins and soy-based products is in very high amounts. In terms of micronutrients, one of the phytochemicals which is a very strong antioxidant is isoflavone and when combined calcium they help each other for absorption, digestion, and metabolism. In this aspect, you can have higher health benefits than with animal products that do not contain these phytochemicals. SOURCE…

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