Eating soy protein appears to have long-term positive effects on the heart, blood vessels and kidneys of people with type 2 diabetes and kidney disease, according to a new study in the journal Diabetes Care.
In this study, 41 people with type 2 diabetes and kidney disease were followed for four years. Half of the participants ate a diet that was 35 percent animal protein (e.g. meat), 35 percent textured soy protein and 30 percent vegetable protein (e.g. beans). The other half ate a diet that included animal protein and vegetable protein - but no soy protein.
Compared with those who ate no soy protein, Type 2 diabetics with kidney disease who ate soy protein had significantly lower levels of fasting blood sugar, total cholesterol, "bad" LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides(blood fat). C-reactive protein, an important indicator of inflammation in the body, was also reduced in the group that included soy protein in their diets.
Previous short-term studies have shown the benefits of soy protein in Type 2 diabetics with kidney disease. This is first study to show sustained benefits from eating soy protein.
Complications of diabetes - like kidney disease - are caused by persistently high levels of blood sugar, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It's unclear why soy protein might help people with Type 2 diabetes and kidney disease, but estrogen-like phytochemicals (plant compounds) called isoflavones may play a role.
According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the number of Canadians with Type 2 diabetes and kidney disease has more than doubled between 1995 to 2004.
Blending a smoothie with a quarter-cup (50 ml) of silken tofu, a half-cup (125 ml) of berries and half a banana is a great way to add some soy protein to your diet. Click here for more healthy ways to enjoy soy.
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