If you’re looking for the best soy protein powders to buy this year, then you’ve come to the right place.
You can also get more info by jumping to our Soy Protein Powders Guide.
Top 10 Soy Protein Powders
|#1||Universal Nutrition Advanced Soy Protein||Lowest Price|
|#2||Bulksupplements Pure Soy Protein Isolate Powder||Lowest Price|
|#3||NOW Foods Soy Protein||Lowest Price|
|#4||Naturade 100% Soy Protein Booster||Lowest Price|
|#5||Nature’s Plus Spiru-Tein||Lowest Price|
|#6||Jarrow Formulas Iso-Rich Soy||Lowest Price|
|#7||Six Star Pro Nutrition Elite Series Soy Protein Powder||Lowest Price|
|#8||EAS Soy Protein Powder||Lowest Price|
|#9||Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Soy Protein Powder||Lowest Price|
|#10||MHP Probolic-SR||Lowest Price|
Soy protein powders are a common way for athletes, bodybuilders and other people to incorporate a higher amount of vegetable-based protein in their diets. Powders are commonly mixed with drinks to provide a quick and easy protein boost. While they should not be the sole or even the primary source of protein, they allow for more protein to be consumed than can easily be gained from food.
What is Soy Protein Powder?
Soy protein powder is obtained by processing soy beans and concentrating their protein content to various degrees. The soy protein may then be mixed with other ingredients to improve its consistency, taste and nutritional content. The resulting powder is usually white and of a very fine consistency much like sifted flour.
Processing the soybeans requires several steps. The soybeans are first cleaned and their hulls or outer casings are removed. They are then rolled into flakes. Soybean oil is then removed from the flakes and may be reserved as a separate product. The flakes are then dried. This is commonly referred to as the de-fatting process. The soybeans are now almost entirely composed of carbohydrates and protein. The de-fatted flakes are the basis of all soy protein products.
The protein from soy is may be isolated to varying degrees to make various products. Of the three possible types of soy protein products, only one of them is usually used to make protein powder: soy protein isolate. This is the purest form of soy protein, which has had basically all the carbohydrates, fats and water removed. Since the soybean flavor originates primarily from the carbohydrates in soybeans, the protein isolate has very little distinguishable flavor.
Benefits of Soy Protein Powder
Soy protein is classically in competition with other popular protein powders, especially whey, casein and brown rice. While soy protein has a checkered history, it has several important benefits that distinguish it from the other popular protein sources.
The most obvious benefit is that soy protein is plant-based. This means it will fit with the dietary requirements of vegans and may also be preferred by vegetarians over its milk-based whey counterpart. The only other common protein powder to meet this requirement is rice protein, but soy beats rice protein as well. Rice protein, like many vegetable-based proteins, is incomplete.
It does not have all the essential amino acids humans needs to consume from food. An incomplete protein source must be mixed with either a complete protein source or a complimentary incomplete protein in order to provide full nutritional benefits. Soy does not have this problem because it is already a complete protein source.
Protein supplementation from any source, including soy has a variety of proven health benefits. A high protein diet that is also low in carbs and unhealthy fats has been shown to contribute to weightloss. Protein is an extremely important aspect of nutrition.
The amino acids gained from a protein are the body’s building blocks. They are responsible for creating and maintaining all the body’s cells and tissues. A protein deficiency, including a deficiency in any of the essential amino acids, can have varying health consequences including chronic fatigue, muscle degeneration, hair loss and many other conditions, which can be serious.
Diet vs Supplementation
The majority of people will get all of the protein they need for health from regular food sources, and it is important to get the majority of daily protein intake from normal food. However, certain people can benefit from supplementing with soy protein powder. Those who need higher than average amounts of protein should supplement. This includes athletes and bodybuilders or anyone who works out frequently or is trying to gain muscle mass.
No matter how active a person is or how much they work out, they will not increase muscle mass without an appropriately high intake of protein. The inverse may actually be true. A person who works our vigorously but neglects nutrition may force the body to metabolize muscle for energy.
Some studies have shown that soy protein specifically may help lower bad or LDL cholesterol levels to a mild extent. The study was conducted in 2011. The change was only by 3 percent, so soy probably isn’t the best way to combat high cholesterol, but it doesn’t hurt to add it in addition to other dietary changes.
In women, soy protein may help with symptoms associated with menopause. This is due primarily to soy’s phytoestrogens, or the plant-based version of the human estrogen hormone. Phytoestrogens mimic human estrogen when consumed. While this has also been considered soy’s biggest drawback, it may have some benefit to menopausal women.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Soy protein has a history of being related to several negative health impacts. Almost all of these impacts are due to the presence of phytoestrogens in soy. It was thought that these chemicals may cause hormone imbalances in both men and women, leading to certain negative health outcomes for both genders. There was also the prevailing idea that consuming estrogen may have a feminizing effect on the male body, making it harder to produce testosterone and resulting in various negative side effects like abnormal growth of the breasts. Even certain cancers were attributed to soy’s phytoestrogens.
Many of the problems and concerns related to soy protein are either overstated or complete myths. Recent studies have debunked most of the health concerns related to soy, including that it causes breast or prostate cancer or decreases testosterone. It is important to note, however, that strong proponents of soy protein suggest consuming unprocessed “whole” soy or minimally processed soy products like tofu or miso. Consumers must understand that soy protein powders are usually the most heavily processed soy products because soy protein isolate is the most heavily refined of all soy-based foods. While the phytoestrogen negative side effects are likely to be minimal or non-existent regardless of the soy product, soy protein powder may be more prone to issues compared to less processed soy foods.
How to Take Soy Protein Powder
Soy protein powder is usually meant to be consumed in liquid form after being mixed with a drink. It may be mixed with water, any type of milk, or juice. In general, soy protein isolate is very fine and will dissolve well even in cold liquids. Soy protein powder is less commonly mixed with other foods, but it may be incorporated into baked goods, non-bake cookies or homemade protein bars.
How a person chooses to consume the powder may depend on their taste or preference as well as the mix involved. If the powder is pure soy protein isolate, then it will have very little flavor and may be added to just about anything without noticing a strong degree of flavor change. Powders meant to be used as drink mixes may have sugars and flavorings added to them to improve taste. In this case, the powder may be best used to make a smoothie or milkshake. The protein benefits can be enhanced by adding fruit or vegetables to the smoothie for a nutrient dense health shake.
What to Look for in a Good Soy Protein Powder
A good soy protein powder depends on how the consumer plans to use the powder. If the powder is going to be combined in a smoothie with other ingredients, in a food item or with a strong-flavored juice, then a pure powder is best. If the consumer is looking to make a quick post-workout shake, then a powder with added flavorings will probably be much more palatable.
Regardless of the intended use, there are a few guidelines to apply when buying any soy protein powder. First, the powder should have a very simple ingredient list and be free of most additives. Soy does not generally need any additives like xanthan gum or maltodextrin to make a good drink mix. At most, the powder may have some sugar or sweetener and flavoring added.
The powder should also be a non-GMO source. It does not have to be organic, although all organic products by definition will be non-GMO. Many soy products are GMO. Although GMO soy is generally fed to animals, it is worth an extra check to be sure.
Soy protein powder can be an excellent addition to anyone’s health supplement regimen. It is easy to take and is a great way to provide a clean, vegan complete protein boost to supplement a person’s already healthy diet. Although the arguments between various protein products are hardly settled, soy has reserved its place as a quality protein supplement source widely available, affordable and beneficial.