New benefits of soy revealed

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 8, 2005) - The labels in the snack food aisle promise low-fat, no-fat, low-cal and low-carb tasty treats. But what really makes a food healthy? And should we believe the commercial hype about soy products and our health? Renowned nutrition and weight-loss expert, and University of Kentucky physician and researcher, Dr. James Anderson addresses these and other questions in two articles in the June issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

What is so good about soy?

A quick trip through the health-food section of any grocery will reveal several labels touting soy content, but most Americans do not know much about soy beyond a vague idea that it is a healthy food. In his JACN article, Anderson reports on his investigation into the effectiveness of soy in adult weight loss.

Meal replacements, including powders, drinks and energy bars, are popular weight loss tools. Anderson tested two commercially available meal replacements one soy-based, and one milk based in a group of obese adults for twelve weeks. Both groups lost weight. The soy-based group lost slightly more weight in any given week, and displayed lower serum cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels. Soy intake also produced small but significant reductions in serum glucose values. This evidence suggests that soy may be a valuable tool in maintaining overall health, lowering cholesterol, and even slowing the development of diabetes.

"The bottom line is soy is healthy, and while incorporating it into weight loss may not have a more dramatic effect on your waistline than other nutrition plans, its benefits go beyond weight loss toward increasing overall health," Anderson said.

What is a healthy snack?

In another JACN article, "Snack Foods: Comparing Nutrition Values of Excellent Choices and 'Junk Foods'," Anderson raises the possibility that poor snack choices may play an active role in increasing rates of childhood obesity. Noting

Contact: Allison L. Elliott
University of Kentucky

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