In a new study, researchers found that soy food high in protein, such as soy milk and tofu, could provide a consistent cholesterol-lowering health benefit.
The finding calls into question the U.S. FDA current proposal to revoke the health claim for soy protein and heart disease.
The research was done by a team from the University of Toronto.
In the study, the team analyzed data from dozens of clinical studies that span the last two decades.
They found that soy protein linked to decreases in both total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which can damage the heart.
In addition, soy as a reducer of blood cholesterol levels was found in 1999 and the finding has been consistent since then.
The soy health effect is steady across all 46 trials that the FDA cited in 2017 when it first proposed to revoke the health claim for soy protein on recent trials that showed variable results.
The team says that while the reduction in cholesterol was less than 5%, if people put that together with other plant-based foods in a portfolio they can get a much stronger effect.
These data strongly support the rationale behind the original FDA heart health claim for soy, and the team hopes their finding could be helpful for FDA, who may make a new decision on the health claim for soy this summer.
The team previously had helped develop a diet that includes nuts, plant-based protein, viscous fiber and plant sterols.
The foods together can lower risk factors for heart disease by up to 30%.
One author of the study is David Jenkins, professor of nutritional sciences and of medicine at U of T.
The study is published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
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