Thursday, April 22, 2010

Soy Protein Isolate, and the Danger of Added Sugar

Happy Thursday everyone!! Only one more day until Friday, aka move-in day for Nick and I! Because we have lived in this tiny apartment for the last 3 years, we barely have any furniture. We plan to live without much furniture for at least a few months. It will be...interesting.

Some of you still have questions about bananas in the fridge. I'd like to clarify something. If your drawer is set at a high humidity, your bananas will get soft faster. You need to make sure it's set at low humidity (some fridges will say, others won't, but I'm not really sure how you find this out, sorry!). In general, just keep them on the counter if you don't know about the humidity, but always separate them if you want them to last longer.

A couple of you have asked me about soy protein isolate. What is it? Should it be avoided? Soy protein isolate is exactly as the name implies; isolated soy protein. It is made by removing the beneficial fat (omega-3) from the soybean, as well as the dietary fiber. What is left is the soy protein (isolated). It's used in many protein supplements, bars, and powders.


You'll find it in many other foods too, just start looking at the ingredient lists. In my opinion this is not something that should necessarily be avoided (I know I've heard about some bad chemicals in soy protein isolate, but I don't know enough about this to give you an honest opinion). Do keep in mind, however, that you don't want to eat too much because soy protein isolate has many isoflavones (phytonutrients that may help prevent breast cancer, but which may have a link to breast cancer if you consume too much). If you stay away from processed food (or at least consume them in moderation), you won't be consuming too much soy protein isolate, as it's really only found in processed foods! I try to get 25-30 grams of soy protein each day, but the best sources of soy protein are foods such as edamame, tofu, and tempeh, NOT processed foods with soy protein isolate.

Added Sugars
Remember back in 1990 when the "low fat craze" hit America? Ok, maybe you don't remember, but I do! That's about the time that America started to blimp and gain a bunch of weight. Ironic, right? Basically, as I've said in previous posts, once companies started removing the fat, they replaced it with sugar and salt. In reality, that just made most products even more unhealthy!

A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association was published recently, which associated added sugar (found in so many foods these days) with decreased HDL (good) cholesterol and increased triglycerides. These are two important risk factors for heart disease. Check out the research here.

Just as a reminder, let's look at all of the sources of sugar in the bar below:

- Evaporated cane juice syrup
- Brown rice syrup
- Evaporated cane juice
- Pear juice concentrate
- Honey
- Barley malt syrup

Just to be fare, here's a Fiber One bar:

- Sugar (x4)
- Malt
- High maltose corn syrup
- High fructose corn syrup
** Both Kashi and Fiber One are companies I respect, quite a lot. Most of their products are fantastic. Their bars? Well, that's another story. I'm not a fan. But in reality, as I said before, I am not a fan of most bars. **

Coming Up
Saturday I will post some things about me that you may have never known. Curious?? You should be! Have a great day everyone, and thanks for reading :)


  1. Oh dear. I do kind of like their bars. I bought a few when they were on sale.

    I remember back in the days, when I would eat soy chips as a meal. I thought I was being soooo healthy. lol. NOT!!!

    Oh, about the tofu: I thought tofu isn't so natural after all? I noticed that tofu is different where you get it, too. In Asia, the tofu is as pure and natural as can be...but the ones I get here in the American supermarkets has a different feel. Wondering what you know about that.

    Does miso count as soy?

  2. Hope you have a great and easy move, girl! Don't worry, we bought our house about a year ago, and we still barely have any furniture. We have nothing in our guest rooms or living room. The only things we bought were a couch and a table to eat at! :)

  3. I am going grocery shopping today. I will SO be on the lookout for these things! I actually love bars, just because they are easy and quick. I have never had a Kashi one before, so no issues there. I am still on the lookout for the best choice of bars.

  4. your brain must be on overdrive with all these great posts! thanks for all the information...YAY for tofu and boo for the bars (but I won't stop eating them completely lol)

    good luck with the move!

  5. I agree with you on the bars! I'm not a big fan because of all the added ingredients.

    Best of luck with move-in day tomorrow :)

  6. I don't like to eat soy anymore, I used to eat it a lot when I first became a vegetarian. I've noticed soy protein isolate sneak into my dark chocolate candy bars. Luckily I was able to find a brand that doesn't use any soy in their dark chocolate. I definitely remember the low fat craze. And then we had the awful low carb craze ... oh crazy diet fads!

  7. do not know if my last comment went through....congrats on the house and moving! thank you for clarifying soy protein. i always wondered about it :)
    Happy earth day!

  8. Good luck with your move!

    Thanks for the info on the soy protein isolate. Always wondered about it.

    I read an article outlining the stuff you you put here about sugar the other day. Just one more reason I try not to eat much with any added sugar.

  9. I've been seeing soy protein in everything lately as a way to add protein. I agree that some is probably okay, but I find this to be a bit of an unnatural way to add protein, and certainly shouldn't be the only protein in your diet.

    As for bars, I rarely buy them in the store because of all the added sugar and crap.

  10. i use soy protein isolate ocassionally and i like the flavor of it.. i dont find it harsh liek some of the rice proteins or pea protein. loved the info. thanks girl!

    happy earth day <3

  11. Gina! This post reminds me of an article I read about veggie burgers recently, and I'd love to know your opinion. Have you read this about non-organic (and even some organic!) veggie burgers?

    Hopefully this comment won't go into spam. I'd love to know what you think.

  12. Soy protein isolate is in so many foods, it's ridiculous. Random things that you wouldn't expect to find it in- actually, soy on the whole seems to be in everything these days. Thank you for clearing it up a little- I never actually knew what it was!

    Also thank you for addressing the bananas... I like mine so ripe they are brown so I store them by my radiator so they ripen faster!!! Haha.

    Good luck with the move!

  13. Thank you for clarifying the soy protein isolate! Once I read that the omega 3's and fiber are removed to create the isolated protein, I immediatley thought "well, why would you want to take those things out? " :-) Thank you for always explaining such things so clearly!

    I remember the fat-free craze too! :-) So fascinating how obesity increased around that time... Let's bring back real, whole foods! *cheer!* :-)

    Good luck with the move!! I'm so excited for you, and I can't wait to hear all about the move and about the post about you! :-)

  14. Love!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Yay for moving in soon!! Im so happy for you and Nick!!!! So exciting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!!!

    Oh I know those kashi and fiber one bars are tricky little bars, they do have alot of added sugar in them : p They are ok here and there, I like Kashis Cereals, the golean pretty much and heart to heart!

    Love ya girl!!!!!!!!

  15. I was wondering about soy protein isolate, so thanks for the post! And yeah the added sugars in those Kashi bars are ridiculous!!

  16. I was wondering about soy protein isolate, so thanks for the post! And yeah the added sugars in those Kashi bars are ridiculous!!

  17. Thanks for all the new info! I never really think about soy isolate protein, but good to have the knowledge.

    Yes, I'm curious!!!

  18. Good luck with the move! I figure, if you've been happy for 3 years without furniture than there's no rush to feel like you need to fill space!

  19. Hope you love your new house! Ha ha, I just bought a box of fiber one bars. Thanks for all the new info. Btw, I really appreciate the integrity of your posts. You always have the sources to back you up and if you're unsure about something you tell us.

    I'm going to start running and just see how it goes. Thanks for responding!

  20. I find any form of protein isolated, wether whey, soy, brown rice, egg, etc.) is just a lot harder to digest than the whole form.

  21. Thanks for clarifying what soy protein isolate is. I feel like I am getting my dietetics education from you :)

    Good luck with the move! How exciting. We are set to sign the purchase and sale on our home next week and then close at the end of June. Phew! We will be living with minimal furniture too. Gotta buy all the baby stuff before we go out buying furniture. :)

  22. ohh soy chips..such a tease!
    good thing I do NOT like those fiber one bars! they taste like cardboard to me!

    I love your info, I really do learn so much for your posts gina!

    YAYAYA on the move!

  23. Good luck on moving day. I hope all goes smoothly. I bet you guys are so excited. Great info on sugar. It is a great reminder to everyone that sugar is sugar regardless of how it is put in the food.

  24. Happy Almost Moving Day!!!!
    Don't worry about having no furniture it's taken us over a year to have even one piece of furniture in every room and even now it's by no means finished. You have plenty of time to get more stuff :)

    Can't wait to learn more about you on Saturday haha

  25. I stay away from soy with the exception of edamame. Great advice!!!

  26. As always, great information. Good luck with the move!

  27. Good luck with your move!! Thanks for the soy protein isolate info. One of the vegan speakers at my school spoke about how it should be avoided so I did some research and saw that it was very processed. I will admit that I still drink a protein shake every morning with breakfast to keep me full!

  28. I love your blog. Thanks for all the great info!

  29. Um, yes, I am very curious! Good luck with your move! Maybe you should do a little house your once you get settled in :)

  30. Soy protein isolate seems to be sneaking into a lot of food products lately. I'm also not a huge fan of bars, but sometimes I have to use them when I'm in rotation and nothing else is really practical. Do you have any brands you do trust? I really like Larabar because I think the ingredients are all straightforward and simple.

    Did you hear anything about soy protein isolate and reduced thyroid function when you were researching? I've been getting some questions about that, too.

    Hope the move goes well!

  31. Great post, as always! Limiting processed foods really helps cut down on all the not so good ingredients. And I think if you don't eat many processed foods, you don't have to worry as much (most of the time) about the "latest discovery" of things that are bad for you.

    Have a great weekend!

  32. Good luck on the house! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you- lots and lots of patience helps a LOT!

    Thanks as always for the updates. I used to be on the fat free craze and I was pretty much on a sugar high for years. Oops!

  33. Interesting about the soy protein isolate, Gina! I'll echo Sophia here and say I wonder about tofu in the US vs. tofu in Asia - although I guess I can check it out more when I'm in China this summer :D :D

    I always thought that the low fat (aka high sugar and salt) movement was insane, because it shows how easily we can be fooled into thinking something is healthy. I have to agree with you on the Kashi bars. Most of them are super high in sugar.

    I hope the move went well yesterday!!

  34. Great post as usual! Would you be interested in doing a guest post on my blog about the lowfat/fat free myths? Holla at me girl!

    Good luck with the move!

  35. I do my best to eat 'whole' foods but when I do choose processed items, I try to pick things without any soy and very little added sugar, at least 90% of the time. The toasted marshmallow milkshake I had yesterday definitely fell under the 10%, but it was SO worth it!

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