Supplements of soy protein, but not milk protein, may improve blood levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, and enhance the overall cholesterol balance, according to a new study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Forty grams per day of soy protein was associated with significant decreases in total cholesterol levels, compared to carbohydrate supplements, and improvements in HDL levels, compared with milk protein. “Our study is the first randomized controlled trial to compare the effects of soy protein, milk protein and complex carbohydrate on serum lipids,” report researchers from the University of Mississippi, Tulane University and Kaiser Permanente Southern California.
“There is increasing evidence that consumption of soy protein in place of animal protein lowers blood cholesterol levels and may provide other cardiovascular benefits. Our study provides additional evidence that consumption of soy protein in place of carbohydrate might improve the lipid profile,” they added.
Led by Dr. Jiang He from Tulane University, the researchers recruited 352 healthy adults with an average age of 47.7 to participate in their randomized, controlled trial.
Participants were assigned to receive 40 grams per day supplementation of soy protein, milk protein or complex carbohydrate for eight weeks in a random order.
Results showed that, compared with carbohydrates, the soy protein was associated with a 3.97 mg/dl reduction in total cholesterol levels and a 0.12 mg/dl reduction in the ratio of total HDL cholesterol.
In addition, compared to milk protein, the soy protein was associated with a 1.54 mg/dl increase in HDL cholesterol levels and a 0.14 mg/dl decrease in the ratio of total HDL cholesterol.
On the other hand, milk protein supplementation was significantly associated with a 1.13 mg/dl decrease in HDL levels, compared to carb supplements, added the researchers.
“Our study suggests that soy protein supplement reduces total cholesterol and total/HDL cholesterol ratio compared with carbohydrate, and increases HDL and reduces total/HDL cholesterol ratio compared with milk protein,” and “The effect of milk protein did not confer a significant favorable effect on any lipid measures compared with carbohydrate.”
I have many patients that I recommend UltraMeal protein shakes (medical food) to that can contain either whey protein, soy protein or rice protein. It all depends on the individual.