Soybean Benefits – A large population specially vegetarians believe that Soybean is a great and complete source of protein. As per males’ perception, soybean is responsible for increasing estrogen hormone in their body systems. They also assume that increase in estrogen may lead to Gynecomastia in them which means increase in size of male breast tissue.
Let me define complete protein for you first. You can also refer to my blog, “Importance of protein and amino acids” for detailed information. Previously, I mentioned in my article that Amino acids are the smallest units of protein. They are the building blocks of muscle or other organs. We mostly focus on 20 amino acids of which 9 are essential, 9 are non-essential and 2 are conditional.
Introduction To Amino Acids :
Essential amino acids are extremely important for muscle protein synthesis, building human body structure, synthesis of non-essential amino acids etc. Complete protein food refers to those items which contain all 9 Essential Amino Acids (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine).
There are 9 non-essential amino acids (alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glycine, proline, and serine, tyrosine). Our body can produce them so we need not have to add them in our diet. Finally, we have conditional amino acids (glutamine and arginine) which our body can make. But we need to add them in our diet under certain situations.
Bursting Soybean Myths :
In this blog, I will emphasize on 9 essential amino acids as they are very much required for muscle building. And the purpose of consuming protein in fitness industry is to build muscle. Nowadays vegetarian people eat soybean in order to fulfil the protein demand of their body. And males consume soybean in moderation due to said possible occurrence of gynecomastia.
So, this blog will revolve around 2 statements. First, is soybean a complete protein product? Second, can it cause Gynecomastia in males?
I will repeat the statement that a particular food is said to have a complete protein profile if it contains all 9 essential amino acids. As these are not made by our body and we need to consume them in our diet.
Nepotism Behind Soybean Benefits :
Majority of people in fitness industry promote soybean as a complete protein food. But it does not contain a complete protein profile as it lacks one essential amino acid called Methionine. Moreover, the potency of essential amino acids is quite low in it which cannot support the muscle protein synthesis.
Why do people then consider soybean a “hero”? That is because of “Nepotism”! Here nepotism as a matter of fact means that soybean is forcibly declared a complete protein. I will explain it with an example. If a Celebrity wants to introduce his child or loved ones in Bollywood, he will use his power, money and contacts unethically to launch his dear ones.
Soybean – “A Cash Crop” :
Similarly, soybean is a cash crop and it is a multibillion-dollar product in the world. You will soon realize that there is only one soybean benefit & i.e. money minting. USA is the major producer of soybean because of which it is introduced as a healthy product. Funded researches were carried on, to mark it as a complete protein food. That research was PDCAA’S protein digestibility corrective amino acid score. It is a method of evaluating the quality of a protein based on both the amino acid requirements of humans and their ability to digest it.
If you will read the research, you will find that all complete protein food items such as chicken, egg, milk etc. scored 1. And soybean, being a plant-based product, also achieved number 1 place. It means that soybean, a plant-based product is equivalent to animal-based food products which is is not possible. Do read my blog, “Importance of protein and amino acids” to get an idea of different classes of protein.
Plant based food products fall under second class protein as they do not provide all 9 essential amino acids required for building tissues. Animal based food products fall under first class protein as they provide all 9 essential amino acids required for building tissues. Is it justifiable to say that soybean is equivalent to an egg when their classes are completely different? I would request you to do some research on your part and then form a conclusion.
On the other hand, its biological value is very less in comparison to animal-based products. So, soybean is not potent enough to compete with complete protein food sources such as egg, chicken, paneer etc. You will find it in market claiming to be a complete protein food source specially soya isolate protein powder. But let me tell you this, in order to give it a complete protein profile, Methionine is added artificially to it. You are smart enough to understand that an artificial food source cannot stand in front of a natural product.
Soybean & Gynecomastia :
Now comes Gynecomastia! The compound phytoestrogen is responsible to cause Gynecomastia. But in soybean this compound is not potent enough to cause such an issue.
As a matter of fact, soybean contains antinutrients. Antinutrients are natural or synthetic compounds that block the absorption of nutrients. They act as toxins, exerting a negative effect on our body hampering many body functions. One more interesting fact is that plants make antinutrients for their own protection. Goitrogens, Oxaloacetate, Saponins etc. are some of the examples accountable for malabsorption of protein, calcium, iron, zinc etc. They lead to improper functioning of thyroid gland as well.
Did you notice that people ingest soybean to gain protein out of it but on the contrary, soybean consists of antinutrients which block the synthesis of protein! Little knowledge is always dangerous. How true the statement is.
You can now draw a conclusion that soybean is not a complete protein. In fact, it possesses harmful antinutrients. You can eat soybean once in a while just to satisfy your taste buds. But we cannot avoid that the term, “soybean benefits” does not exist!