Soy Worth a Hill of Beans?

Soy Worth a Hill of Beans?
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Are soybeans better than other types of beans for heart disease prevention—or does the soy industry just have more money and clout to tout?

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For over a decade, soy foods have enjoyed the rare privilege of an FDA-approved food label health claim about soy’s ability to protect against heart disease. Now a billion-dollar industry, they have a lot of money to fund research touting the benefits of their bean. And although there is also a U.S. Dry Bean Council, representing all the other beans, I think you can get a sense, just by comparing their websites, who may have more money to spread around.

So though you may not soon see ads on TV with anyone exclaiming they are “gonzo for garbanzos,” there was a study out of Tulane recently that looked at the cholesterol-lowering power of non-soy legumes. There are all sorts of beans out there. Which did better to lower the #1 risk factor (LDL cholesterol) of our #1 killer (heart disease): soybeans or non-soybeans?

Soy consumption drops bad cholesterol, on average, about four points. Other beans—lentil, lima, navy, pinto, etc.—dropped bad cholesterol eight. Though it’s illegal for, say, a baked bean manufacturer to make health claims on their label, soy isn’t special in that regard. All  beans are beautiful—and in this case, beat out soy, two to one!

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is transcript contributed by Bruce A. Hamilton.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

For over a decade, soy foods have enjoyed the rare privilege of an FDA-approved food label health claim about soy’s ability to protect against heart disease. Now a billion-dollar industry, they have a lot of money to fund research touting the benefits of their bean. And although there is also a U.S. Dry Bean Council, representing all the other beans, I think you can get a sense, just by comparing their websites, who may have more money to spread around.

So though you may not soon see ads on TV with anyone exclaiming they are “gonzo for garbanzos,” there was a study out of Tulane recently that looked at the cholesterol-lowering power of non-soy legumes. There are all sorts of beans out there. Which did better to lower the #1 risk factor (LDL cholesterol) of our #1 killer (heart disease): soybeans or non-soybeans?

Soy consumption drops bad cholesterol, on average, about four points. Other beans—lentil, lima, navy, pinto, etc.—dropped bad cholesterol eight. Though it’s illegal for, say, a baked bean manufacturer to make health claims on their label, soy isn’t special in that regard. All  beans are beautiful—and in this case, beat out soy, two to one!

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is transcript contributed by Bruce A. Hamilton.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Doctor's Note

For more on the wonders of beans, see my videos Plant Protein PreferableFill in the Blank; and Beans, Beans, Good for Your Heart. And for choosing among the best varieties, The Healthiest Lentil and The Best Bean (though truly the best bean is the one you’ll eat the most of!). For other foods that help lower cholesterol, see Dried Apples Versus Cholesterol, and New Cholesterol Fighters. And for why one would want to lower cholesterol, see Heart Attacks and Cholesterol: Purely a Question of DietEliminating the #1 Cause of DeathCholesterol Gallstones; and How to Prevent Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms. Can cholesterol be too low? Find out in Can Cholesterol Be Too Low? 

And make sure to check out my blog post Beans and Gas: Clearing the Air! For more context, check out my associated blog posts: Stool Size and Breast Cancer Risk, and Why We Should Eat More Beans.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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