American Heart Association recommends more soy

old message American Heart Association recommends more soy Darrell Miller 12/19/05

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Date: December 19, 2005 06:33 PM
Subject: American Heart Association recommends more soy

American Heart Association recommends more soy

The American Heart Association, which has for years preached the gospel of healthy diet and exercise, says the scientific studies have shown that eating soy can lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. The recommendation adds soy to the growing list of foods, such as orange juice, bananas, leafy green vegetables and oatmeal, that most people should try to eat every day. Heart disease is the single biggest killer in the United States and many industrialized countries.

John Erdman, a professor of food science and human nutrition at the University of Illinois in Urbana, said people who eat soy cut at least some unhealthy meat from their diets -- but also add some goodies. He noted many studies have shown that Asians, who have a high intake of soy and a low intake of meat and dairy, have about half the rates of cardiovascular disease as do Europeans and Americans.

Studies have also suggested that substituting soy for animal protein can reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the so-called bad cholesterol, lower triglycerides, another measure of blood fat, and raise the good "HDL" that carries fat out of the bloodstream. A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that eating 20 grams of soy a day can reduce levels of cholesterol in as little as 9 weeks.

The greatest effects are seen in people with high blood cholesterol, and Erdman said there is little risk that people with lower cholesterol can push it too low by eating soy. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now allows makers of food products that are low in fat and that contain at least 6.25 grams of soy to put a health claim on the label.

"We encourage people to use soy that is natural," Erdman said -- as opposed to taking capsules that claim to contain soy protein. He said complete soy seems to have a variety of ingredients that act together to lower cholesterol.

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