I have heard controversy about eating soy products — Are they good for you?
A new report from the American Heart Association says that soy products, such as tofu, can lower cholesterol and provide protection from heart disease (Circulation 2000 Nov 14;102(20):2555-9). Examining 38 studies led to the conclusion that substituting soy for meat and other animal protein was beneficial by lowering LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, and raising levels of the good HDL-cholesterol. Soy products also appear to protect against cancer and osteoporosis.
Critics of soy in the diet usually harp on the use of texturized vegetable protein (TVP), and I agree that this highly processed product is not a good source of nutrition. But the literature is clear that soy from tofu is a benefit for both cancer and heart disease. Other soyfoods, such as tempeh and soymilk contain the same beneficial isoflavones, genistein and daidzein. The recommendation is 25 to 50 grams of soy protein per day.