Study suggests soy can help cholesterol levels

Soy protein is another good health resourceA recent study suggests that soy consumption can help reduce blood cholesterol levels.

Solae, a soy protein company, unveiled the report earlier this month at the American Heart Association conference in New Orleans. The company examined about 150 previous studies exploring the link between soy and lower cholesterol, and reported that total blood cholesterol had been reduced by about 4 percent on average.

“According to the American Heart Association, at a population level for every 1 percent reduction in blood cholesterol there is a 2-3 percent reduction in the rate of coronary heart disease,” said Solae researcher Priscilla Samuel.

The FDA has allowed claims that daily consumption of 25 grams of soy protein lowers blood cholesterol since 1999.

However, this view is not universally held. For example, Mayo Clinic cardiologist Gerald Gau writes on the organization’s website that there is “probably not” a link between soy and lower cholesterol, citing a study that appeared in a 2006 issue of the medical journal Circulation.

Still, he noted that many nutritionists support soy consumption because it contains “less saturated fat than meat does and also provides vitamins and minerals.”