Soy protein benefits Type 2 diabetics with kidney disease

April 23, 2008 in Diabetes & Diabetes Prevention, Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News

Soy protein benefits Type 2 diabetics with kidney disease

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.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.