Can eating soybeans help you slim down? University of Illinois researchers hope so. They think they’ve found a way to enhance the fat burning potential of the modest soybean.
Eating Soy for Weight Loss:
It’s All in the Proteins?
Soybeans contain a variety of proteins including two called glycinins and beta-conglycinins. Researchers at University of Illinois discovered that eating soybeans that have a high ratio of beta-conglycinins to glycinins causes greater fat loss.
They made this discovery after feeding rats soy protein that contained different ratios of these two proteins – noting that rats that ate soy products higher in beta-conglycinins lost more body fat.
The researchers have even identified how beta-conglycinins cause fat loss. The block the action of an enzyme called fatty acid synthase which plays a role in the synthesis and storage of fat. When this enzyme is inhibited fat cells synthesize and store less fat.
Other studies in mice show that inhibitors of fatty acid synthase dramatically reduce appetite and cause significant weight loss. Using soy products that are high in beta-conglycinins could be a natural way to treat obesity.
Soybean Products for Weight Loss:
What the Future Could Hold?
Researchers are hoping that soy product manufacturers will be able to produce soy products that are high in beta-conglycinin proteins to help in the fight against obesity. They’re currently doing studies using beta-conglycinin-rich soy milk on humans – to say how much body fat they lose.
Soy for Weight Loss:
Do Soy Products Have Other Weight Loss Benefits?
The best weight loss benefits may come from soy products that contain large amounts of beta-conglycinin, but eating soy foods for weight loss has other advantages. They’re high in protein which makes them feeling and satisfying, yet still low in calories.
Soy also has a low glycemic index which keeps blood sugars stable – to prevent hunger. Substituting soy for higher fat protein may be an effective strategy for losing weight.
Soybeans for Weight Control:
A Word of Caution?
Eating soy products is still controversial. Because soy contains phytoestrogens which have a weak estrogenic effect, soy foods may not be suitable for people who have breast cancer.
Soy isoflavones are also believed to affect an enzyme called thyroid peroxidase which synthesizes thyroid hormone – so it’s also not a good idea to eat soy if you have thyroid disease.
Soy for Weight Loss:
The Bottom Line?
Soy products with higher levels of beta-conglycinin could reach store shelves at some point in the future. Until then, eating soy products such as miso, tempeh, and tofu may still have benefits when it comes to weight loss.