New evidence that dietary soy and flaxseed have positive effect on obesity and diabetes

New Orleans Obesity and diabetes mellitus are two nutritional disorders that have become major public health concerns in industrialized countries because of their epidemic proportions and association with major cardiovascular risk factors that are responsible for excess morbidity and mortality. Researchers are looking for ways to combat these diseases. Plant-based, edible compounds are one answer, an animal study finds.

Phytoestrogens: Soy and Flaxseed
Phytoestrogens are a group of biologically active plant-based compounds. Phytoestrogens are present in edible plants which can be classified as isoflavones, lignans and coumestaus. Soybean is an abundant source of isoflavones in the human diet, while flaxseed is the richest source of lignans.

The Effect of Dietary Soy-Protein and Flaxseed on Obesity and Diabetes Earlier studies in obese animals and humans have suggested that soy, as a source of dietary protein, has significant anti-obesity effects. A study conducted in genetically obese mice found that soy protein and its hydrolsate were more effective than whey protein in weight reduction. This effect may be due to an active tetrapeptide present in soy. Several studies reported increased insulin sensitivity in rats fed isolated soy proteins compared with rats fed casein. A 37-kDa protein in soy appears to modulate insulin action on fat decomposition. Studies on the role of flaxseed and its components in obesity and diabetes in humans are limited.

Accordingly, a study entitled, The Effects of Dietary Soybean and Flaxseed Meal on Metabolic Parameters in a Genetic Model of Obesity and Diabetes, has been conducted by Sam J. Bhathena, Ph.D., Phytonutrients Laboratory, US Department of Agriculture, Ali A. Ali, Food Science Department, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt, Ali A. Mohamed, Virginia State University, Petersburg, VA, Carl T. Hansen, Veterinary Resources Branch, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD and Manuel T. Velas

Contact: Donna Krupa
American Physiological Society

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