Soy has "consistently lowered both total
cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol " in randomized tests, a health
publication of Harvard Medical School reports.
"In most cases, it has also increased HDL (good) cholesterol," the Harvard
Heart Letter says in its October issue. The Heart Letter is published by
Harvard "to interpret medical information for the general reader in a timely
and accurate fashion."
Reporting on the effects of a decision made one year ago by the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration to permit health claims that soy protein can help
reduce the risk of heart disease, the Harvard letter also reported on other
"Soy has also been shown to improve the elasticity of blood vessels and to
lower systolic blood pressure," the Heart Letter said. "The studies show that
you need to eat at least 25 grams of soy protein daily to realize a
significant cholesterol-lowering effect," it reported.
"The FDA, in recognizing this research, has stipulated that to qualify for
heart-health claims, a food must contain at least 6.25 grams of soy protein
per serving (25 percent of the beneficial daily amount.)
"Because soy protein can be added to a variety of foods, it's possible to
consume some soy as part of all meals and snacks."
The Harvard Heart Letter listed as soy products that can supply soy
protein soy milk, tofu, soy flour, soy protein isolate, soy protein
concentrate, textured soy protein or tempeh, soy-based meat substitute, fresh
green soybeans and soy nuts.