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Healthy Heart Reports

High Soy Modest Cholesterol-lowering Benefit

A study from Tufts University shows that eating lots of extra soybeans does not lower cholesterol. Substituting soybeans for meat did not lower blood cholesterol levels in people who have normal blood cholesterol, but it did lower the bad LDL cholesterol a little bit in people with moderately elevated cholesterol and a significant amount in people with high cholesterol.

Adding extra soy protein to the diet of people without reducing their intake of meat did not affect blood cholesterol levels. Substituting soybeans for meat lowers cholesterol only in people with high blood levels of the bad LDL cholesterol. It does not lower cholesterol unless you reduce your intake of meat. Therefore you do not lower cholesterol by adding any food. You lower high blood cholesterol levels by substituting polyunsaturated fats for saturated fats, and less-dense sources of protein and calories such as beans for the more-dense sources such as meat.

Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, and colleagues at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts. Lipoprotein response to diets high in soy or animal protein with and without isoflavones in moderately hypercholesterolemic subjects. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. 2002; 22: 1852-1858.


Copyright 2003
Dr. Mirkin's opinions and the references cited are for information only, and are not intended to diagnose or prescribe. For your specific diagnosis and treatment, consult your doctor or health care provider.

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