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Milk Protein vs. Soy Protein

Casein and soy protein appear to have different effects on one’s waistline.

September 13, 2007 |
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So ideally, every day greens, beans, berries, tea and nuts. Don't nuts make you fat though? No! Here's the latest study. Two handfuls of nuts added to their daily diet and no weight gain. Every single one of the 20 studies on nuts and weight gain, 20 out of 20 say the same thing, no weight gain. We're not sure if they boost our metabolism or heck, violate the second law of thermodynamics. Regardless, nuts will not make us fat. That's what the science shows. Though meat, eggs and dairy might. The biggest study on vegans in human history found that not only are vegans leaner than everyone else, leaner than vegetarians who are leaner than omnivores, but vegans get less of that age related weight gain. We don't know exactly why, but it may partly be due to the soy. Compared to milk protein, the protein in soy prevents the increase in abdominal fat observed with the milk protein casein.  Feed people dairy protein and you can see their tummy fat increases 20-40 square cm. Whereas the same diet, the exact same diet, same calories, same everything except soy protein instead of milk protein and abdominal fat shrinks 10-15. There's lots of buzz about the new over-the-counter fat-blocking diet drug alli. It has some side effects of course. Side effects with names like anal leakage. This is the drug company's website promoting the drug and they're so concerned about the resulting uncontrollable diarrhea that they advise, "It's probably a smart idea to wear dark pants, and to bring a change of clothes with you to work." They are forced to advertise the fact that their drug may cause you to crap your pants at work! So i guess you can choose a good diet or a good diaper!

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

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Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out these videos on cow's milk, and these videos about soymilk. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos--please feel free to explore them as well!

For some context, please check out my associated blog posts: Vitamin B12: how much, how often?Poultry Paunch: Meat & Weight Gain, and Diet and Cellulite 

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out these videos on cow’s milk, and these videos about soymilk. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

  • justava

    What do you think about almond milk? I have read that it is better than soy milk.

  • Jana Nielson

    Wow! I do everything I can NOT to crap my pants at work, and I’m not a big fan of anal leakage either. I think I’ll stick with Soy!

    • Elly77

      that would be very embarrassing

  • wickedchicken

    LOL no diapers for me please! I don’t think people are stupid, just purely desperate to lose weight by any means in this overpalatable world. Will to try anything, except… oh…changing their diet and lifestyle.

    Just wondering what was their definition of a “handful” of nuts? 25grams?? 8 nuts? Big difference in opinion from one person to the next as to what is a “handful”. Many thanks.

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      “Handful” of nuts typically refers to an ounce. So that’s like 23 almonds, 14 walnut halves, or 21 filberts. The USDA nutrient database is the go-to place for weight (and nutrient) measurements:

  • iBurger

    I really can not digest soy milk. I like the taste but it gives too much side problems.

    Would Almond milk also benefit me in a similar way as soy milk does?

  • Shelby12wellburn

    I’d like to know about almond milk, too. Does it have similar benefits to soy protein?

    • NickyC

      Almonds are an excellent food to consume. As this video shows, they are extremely high in antioxidants: . This other video shows that almonds are great at reducing inflammation in the body: . One thing to consider when you consume almond milk. Unless you are making your own milk at home, store bought almond milk is a processed food and has little nutritional benefit (at least when compared to soy milk); though it is still significantly healthier than dairy.

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Also be sure to check out my associated blog post Vitamin B12: how much, how often?!

  • dm conner

    Don’t you mean 1st law of thermodynamics? :)

    Thanks so much for yourwork. I’m trying to avoid a total knee replacement and lower my inflammation. I thought I ate well until I looked at your evidence.

    Re The China Study, isn’t casien problem, not so much whey?

  • Carol Swindler

    Ok Dr. Greger, this video made me LOL! Keep up the good work in keeping us healthy and informed. :)

  • Cheryl

    I have an auto-immune disease, Churg-Strauss Syndrome, so I changed my diet to vegan, whole-foods, plant strong. Had a rise in EOS in March, so changed to all organic, am now juicing, and am drinking two green drinks a day to try and take in more nutrients. I am doing everything I can think of to continue decreasing the Prednisone and get off the medicine. After listening to the autoimmune videos, I wondered if anything I am doing is continuing to overstimulate the immune system. Anything else you can think of that can calm things down with food, naturally?

  • Elly77

    I eat lots of nuts and seeds and I don’t gain weight eating them :) and I was diagnosed with hypothyroid I tried the medications for thyroid like synthroid levothyroid thyroxine etc.. and im allergic to the thyroid medications so Im not on medication anymore what can I do for my thyroid since meds aren’t an option?

  • catherine

    Hello, I wonder where can I get enough calcium in my diet if I stop drinking milk and eating cheese? I have heard that calcium supplement is dangerous for the heart, so I have become a milk drinker. I have also read that people who had enough calcium in their diet lost much more weight. Like so many other women I struggle with overweight and have tried to become a vegetarian but after some month I can`t resist the craving for cheese and meat. 48 year old woman.

    • Toxins

      To get enough calcium, try to consume plenty of green leafy vegetables such as collards, kale and arugula. If you do this, reduce your sodium intake, and in addition, eliminate animal product consumption, you can reach calcium balance levels of about 450 mg.

      • VegAtHeart

        Figure 18 – “The effect of varying protein or sodium intake on theoretical calcium requirement” drives home your point that 450mg is all one needs!

    • Thea

      catherine: Toxins gave a great reply. I just thought I would throw in my 2 cents worth.

      1) Most people want enough calcium in their diet in order to help their bones. For healthy bones, I would refer you to the book, “Building Bone Vitality” by Amy Lanou and Michael Castleman. There is a lot more to healthy bones than calcium and they give you the balanced info you need. Basically, the book supports what Toxins said, but if you read the book, you can feel very confident in what you are doing and get the big picture.

      2) If you want to loose weight, there are way better and safer ways to do it than focusing on calcium. Dr. Forrester, part of the NF Team, has pointed several people to several resources for weight loss. I have one of them at my fingertips and maybe you could search to find his comment to others to get the other resource.

      The following link is to a youtube video of a called How To Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind by Doug Lisle, Ph.D.. GREAT video. Extremely helpful.

      I *think* the other resource was a DVD from Jeff Novick with the words “Fast Food” in the title

      3) “I can’t resist the craving…” I highly recommend you take a look at another book called:
      “Breaking the Food Seduction: The Hidden Reasons Behind Food Cravings—And 7 Steps to End Them Naturally” by Dr. Bernard

      Also, keep trying to resist meat, dairy and eggs. You may not succeed right away, but your health is worth the effort.

      Hope you find that helpful. Best of luck to you.

  • chris

    Can you comment specifically on whey protein?