Soy protein is a complete high-quality plant protein containing all the essential amino acids in concentrations sufficient to meet the requirements for growth in children, rebuilding muscles in adults and fulfilling a healthy lifestyle.
Based on the recommendations of the Joint Expert Consultation of the Food and Agricultural Organization ("FAO") and World Health Organization ("WHO") in 1989, the FDA and the FAO/WHO adopted in 1993 the PDCAAS as the preferred method for measuring the quality of a protein based on the amino acid requirements of humans. The quality of a protein is based on the amino acid requirements of a 2 to 5 year old child, which is considered to be the most nutritionally demanding age group, other than infants. After adjusting for digestibility, the protein quality rankings of a specific protein evaluated under the PDCAAS method are compared to a standard amino acid profile with the highest possible score being a 1.0. A PDCAAS score of 1.0 means that, after digestion of the protein, it provides 100% or more of all the essential amino acids required. Proteins with a PDCAAS of 1.0 include egg and cow’s milk. Burcon’s CLARISOY™ soy protein isolate achieves a PDCAAS score of 1.0, providing for a complete source of amino acids.
In addition to its complete source of essential amino acids, soy protein has been found to have health benefits for the heart. In October 1999, the FDA approved a health claim for soy protein and its role in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. Food manufacturers may label foods containing soy protein by stating that "Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 25 grams of soy protein daily may reduce the risk of heart disease. One serving of (name of food) provides __ grams of soy protein."
To qualify for the claim, the food must contain per serving:
- 6.25 grams of soy protein;
- low fat (less than 3 grams);
- low in saturated fat (less than 1 gram);
- low in cholesterol (less than 20 milligrams); and
- sodium value of less than 480 milligrams for individual foods, less than 720 milligrams if considered a main dish, and less than 960 milligrams if considered a meal.
The nutritional supplements industry has seen rapid growth in the use of protein ingredients over the past ten years. Protein bars, once consumed only by endurance athletes, are now widely available and protein-rich meal-replacement products and dietary supplements have become supermarket staples. Protein supplements are also increasingly and successfully being promoted to the expanding market of geriatric consumers.
The quest for a healthier lifestyle has led consumers to search for healthier alternatives to animal protein. The FDA’s approval of a health claim for soy protein has fuelled soy protein’s increasing popularity and general acceptance among consumers.
- Soy Protein
In addition to its complete source of essential amino acids, soy protein has been found to have a role in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.