Almost everyone is well aware of the heart-healthy benefits of soy for the heart. Researchers from the University of Toronto with the help of a number of clinical trials from the last two decades supports that soy has the potential to show the consistent lowering effect of cholesterol.
The study asks the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to consider again the health claim made for soy and its beneficial impact on heart disease.
David Jenkins, lecturer of nutritional sciences and of medicine at the University of Toronto says in an interview that since the claim for soy as a reducer of cholesterol has been raised in 1999, it is still in question. And no data has been changed.
The findings of the research paper “Cumulative Meta‐Analysis of the Soy Effect Over Time” appear in the journal American Heart Association.
The two main contributors of the heart diseases
Low-density lipoprotein and cholesterol are the main two contributing factors for heart disease. Researchers previously showed how soy helps in protecting the heart by reducing both to a great extent. Same results were observed in all the 46 trails in 2017 except the recent one which shows slight variations.
John Sievenpiper, coauthor of the study, lecturer of nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto and a clinical researcher explains how small cohort studies together produce more precise results and larger effect. Researchers observed it in the fish oil but nothing has changed regarding this.
Researchers performed a cumulative meta-analysis in which they compared all the trials altogether. They also compared the trials individually with the data of the new trials. It is expected that FDA will soon (in summer) take a decision over this health claim of soy. They will either abjure the health claim or will continue it.
Jenkin is a scientist in the Joannah & Brian Lawson Centre for Child Nutrition at the University of Toronto and a clinician-scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital. He says that the analysis of the data strongly supports the FDA heart health claim of soy.
He also explains that it is important to note the percentage reduction in cholesterol which was five percent. And gets much stronger when combined with other plant-based foods in a portfolio.
Jenkin with his team members in the 1980s made a glycemic index showing the content of sugar in various foods. Recently he with his team came up with a dietary portfolio which can decrease the risk for heart diseases by approximately 30%. This dietary portfolio includes nuts, plant sterols, plant-based protein, and viscous fiber.
What does FDA have to say about this?
This dietary portfolio has been accepted by Heart UK and the European Atherosclerosis Society. While FDA is focusing on health claims made for other plant foods mentioned in the portfolio.
Jenkins says it is sad to see that the FDA has only focused on soy leaving behind other foods in the portfolio. He says that if one thing is disturbed in the portfolio, then other plant-based foods are there to support it especially when it is concerning health and environment.
Currently, government, several non-profit and funding institutions are supporting the cause of Professor Jenkins and Sievenpiper. These institutions also include the ones who promote soy and plant-based foods in the diet.
Read also- Is Soy Sauce Bad for Your Health?
Jenkins further asks for support from the public. He says that people are moving to an age of plants based diet and it would be disturbing to see this shift. Plant-based food producers, industries and retailers should get the necessary help they deserve to sell their items.