Essential Protein

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Why Soy Protein
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Click here to read "Soy Protein Packs A Punch",
an excellent article about the benefits of dietary soy protein

ESSENTIAL Protein™ and ESSENTIAL IsoFlavones™ are tasteless, odorless, and easily disperse in any beverage or can be added to any baked product. Just two tablespoons of our Essential products provide the protein benefit of 5 eggs without the detrimental effects that come with animal products.

Why Protein ?

Protein is crucial to human health. Outside of water, the majority of the human body is comprised of protein. The bones, muscles, skin, hair, nails, and internal organs are protein as are the enzymes which influence every function of the body. The immune system demands a constant supply of dietary protein to build new cells in order to fight infection. Inadequate quantity and quality of protein results in the classic signs of protein deficiency: water retention, a suppressed immune system, poor muscle development, hair loss and the effects of accumulated protein deficiency over the years.

Every age group and every physical condition has a unique demand for protein. The most common groups with protein deficiency are the overweight, the underweight, those low in energy and the sickly with poor immune systems. In addition, the young need protein for the physical development of all bodily systems; athletes need extra protein to repair damaged muscles; the sickly need protein for the production of white blood cells; the pregnant mother needs protein for the growth of her baby; and the geriatric need protein to maintain their strength, energy and the health of their bones.

Protein deficiency is a big problem while excess protein is not. There are three things you can seemingly never get enough of: water, fiber and protein.

Most people do not come close to meeting their protein requirements. The body requires between 0.5 and 0.9 grams of protein per pound of lean muscle mass depending upon the degree of activity. It is not just a matter of eating enough protein, quality of protein is equally important since many forms of dietary protein are difficult to digest and become unusable to the body. Once the body's daily needs for protein are satisfied, all excess protein is used for energy, excreted in the urine or stored as body fat. It is wiser to have excess protein than to impede growth by depriving the body of its protein needs.

Why Soy Protein?
Concentrated soy is a superior source of protein. Soy is the only plant protein that contains all eight essential amino acids and is therefore a complete protein. Unlike animal sources of protein, soy is cholesterol free, lactose free, low in fat and high in fiber. Soy is easier to digest than animal protein with a near perfect 99 PDCAAS (Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score). Regarding taste, there is none. Concentrated soy protein disperses easily in liquids and can be added to virtually any food without changing the food's taste or texture. Turn a very ordinary glass of juice into a high fiber, high calcium, protein packed, super nutritional drink by simply mixing one scoop of ESSENTIAL Protein ™ or ESSENTIAL IsoFlavones ™ powder with the drink. One scoop of ESSENTIAL Protein ™ or ESSENTIAL IsoFlavones ™ is the protein equivalent of 5 eggs with none of the cholesterol.

The unique characteristics of soy have profound health ramifications. Over 300 studies in recent years have documented soy's unique ability to fight cancer. Numerous medical studies in the last years have documented the amazing ability of soy to lower LDL cholesterol by 20% in one month while raising the good HDL cholesterol. Soy is unique in the plant kingdom in many ways. It strengthens the bones of osteoporotics, normalizes blood sugar in the diabetic and reduces the symptoms for the menopausal woman. Soy protein is valuable for people of all ages and seemingly has a positive effect on all conditions of health.

Countless studies representing massive populations over the last one hundred years have consistently concluded that longevity and absence of disease almost universally parallels quantity of soy consumption. The Japanese, for example, on an average consume 50 to 80 grams of soy protein daily in contrast to just 5 grams by the typical American.

Japanese have the longest life span in the world, with lowest rate of death from heart disease. Their rates of colon and lung cancer are much lower than Americans; Americans being four times more likely to die from breast cancer and five times more likely to die from prostate cancer.

The more soy you eat, the healthier you will be. No side effects have been related to the over consumption of soy, while to the contrary, low consumption of soy based products is strongly associated with impaired immune systems, high rates of cancer, high rates of heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, menopausal symptoms and many other maladies.

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Consider the Benefits of This Muscle-Building Bean
By Luke R. Bucci, Ph.D.

Forget what you may have heard about soy protein, and prepare yourself for some muscle-bulging eye-popping facts. Soy isn't just for vegetarians and people with milk allergies anymore. It's here to stay, courtesy of its amino-acid composition and the fact that science is finally catching up with and overtaking public perception.

Soy provides complete protein for humans and has unique, muscle-specific benefits not found in animal proteins. In addition to its other hidden benefits, it doesn't produce bowel- tolerance problems and may actually normalize estrogen levels.

We already know that milk and egg proteins (casein and whey) are excellent for promoting growth and maintaining muscle, and the facts on soy protein show that it ranks high up there too. Use the following information to make a knowledgeable decision about whether to include soy in your diet. Give Elsie the cow a break - get on the bean thing!


Soybeans are seeds of the legume Soya plant, and like other seeds, they contain an abundance of nutrition. Yet the protein in soybeans is unique, as are the Phytochemicals (like Isoflavones and saponins). Soy is easy to grow in good yield making it the most efficient protein source from an ecological standpoint. More than $15 billion worth of soybeans per year are grown in the United States alone, a huge source of foodstuffs for animals and people. Most common is soybean oil, which is usually hydrogenated into shortening and margarine. Other familiar soy products are lecithin, tofu, miso, termpeh, textured vegetable protein (TVP) and many real food look-alikes.

Whole soybeans are about 42% protein, 33% carbohydrate, 20% fat and 5% fiber by weight. Soy flour is 50% protein, but has some indigestible fibers that may cause gastrointestinal back talk. Soy concentrate , or TVP, is 70% protein; soy protein isolate is 90% - 92% protein. The remainder of soy protein isolate consists of Phytochemicals

Soy protein has been around for a long time, but public perception of soy has been generally negative, thanks to failed attempts to promote healthy soy-based imitation foods on the public. The marketing push that tried to make us think soy burgers were better than good ol' hamburgers has tainted our perception of soy proteins. The time has come to change this image -- soy is now more American than apple pie.


In a quest for the most efficient protein, bodybuilders have enshrined milk and egg proteins as the ultimate in protein nutrition. Low-fat tissue proteins (such as chicken or tuna) run a close second. Anything else isn't going to help muscles grow their best, and soy has been lumped in this category. Well, think again.

Overlooked in the protein fray is the huge but quiet industry that has successfully fed human infants soy protein-based formulas instead of milk for several generations. Since infants have a much higher amino-acid requirement per pound of body weight than adults, soy protein has already passed the most stringent test of all -- growing a healthy baby. The infant-formula industry has had to jump through so many regulatory hoops that the enormity of soy protein benefits has been lost in paperwork and bureaucracy.

But what about the protein-rating scales that show soy protein is inferior ? True, the PROTEIN EFFICIENCY RATIO (PER) has been used for so many years as the benchmark for rating protein quality. Soy protein PER doesn't look good compared to milk and egg protein. But look at the facts: The PER is determined by how well newly weaned baby rats grow, not by how well a human being grows.

If you think you're equivalent to a rat, then by all means believe the PER. Rats , however, require extra sulfur amino-acids (methionine) to make sulfur-rich hair proteins (keratins). Think about it-- rats have a whole-body coat of hair, so they need much more methionine than humans. Thus the PER makes soy protein look low in methionine compared to milk or egg proteins. The PER is at best a crude estimate of protein quality, and doesn't relate to protein needs of humans.

Other protein-quality scales have been proposed, but the latest and greatest is the PROTEIN DIGESTIBILITY- CORRECTED AMINO ACID SCORE. Established in 1990 and directly applicable to humans , the PDCAAS is patterned after the amino-acid needs of 2-5 year olds, since this group matches or exceeds amino-acid requirements for older children and adults (who require less than infants). Corrections for digestibility of protein are applied to give a protein-quality rating that's much closer to reality. A PDCAAS can't be higher than 1.0 , so any protein with a rating of 1.0 is complete for humans. Soy protein isolate has a PDCAAS rating of 1.0.


Astoundingly, scientists had to prove that adults could survive on soy protein as a sole dietary-protein source , even though infants (with higher requirements) have been thriving on soy protein alone for decades. A series of studies, some performed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, found that soy protein as the only dietary protein for adults was equivalent to milk and egg proteins, and could maintain body weight for at least 84 days when the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of 0.8 grams per 2.2 pounds of body weight was consumed per day. Nitrogen balances were slightly positive with soy protein, and no tolerance problems were seen.


Another important point on the completeness of soy protein is that fortification with the limiting amino-acid (methionine) didn't change nitrogen balance in adults or growth in infants, as long as protein consumption was near or above the RDA. Thus, fortifying soy protein with metgionine is neither advantageous nor required. Soy protein is good enough on its own, doing just as well as chicken meat in a low-calorie, weight-reducing diet given to obese subjects.


All this shows that soy is a good protein, but still doesn't prove if soy protein is good for athletes and body- builders. After all, protein demands during resistance training are known to exceed requirements for healthy adults. Mounting evidence indicates that soy indeed works well for athletes when used as a protein supplement.

Studies with Romanian athletes who supplemented with soy protein at 1.5 grams per 2.2 pounds of body weight a day for up to 12 weeks found increased lean body mass (more muscle), less body fat , more hemoglobin in the blood (the better to carry oxygen with, my dear) and less fatigue after exercise. Decreased excretion of mucoproteins in the urine was also seen, which is a marker of less kidney stress. These results were repeated half a world away with Chinese national teams, including weightlifting teams. Again, strength was improved, along with resistance to fatigue.

Further evidence that soy protein aids athletes comes from a study with seven top women gymnasts (14 years old) who were given a supplement of soy protein (1 gram per 2.2 pounds of body weight per day) for four months during heavy training. Lean body mass was slightly improved, and thyroxine (a thyroid hormone associated with protein synthesis) increased. A control group saw a decline in thyroxine and an increase in urine mucoproteins.


Anabolic Stimulators. Diadzein, one of the Isoflavones in soy and soy protein, was injected under the skin of rats for 16 days at a dose of 30 mg per 2,2 pounds of body weight a day. Muscle weight increased, body weight increased 15%, efficiency of converting food to muscle improved 12%, and growth hormone, endorphin and testosterone levels all increased. Estrogen levels increased in both genders, likely in relation to the rise in testosterone, suggesting that Diadzein may have a normalizing effect on estrogenic activity

Of course eating soy protein with much lower amounts of Diadzein may not have the same effects, but a recent human study suggests it could. Daily doses of 80 mg of soy Isoflavones from soy protein raised growth hormone and prolactin in 20 menopausal women while decreasing hot flashes, luteinizing hormone (LH) and serum cholesterol -- an overall potentially anabolic effect. Something to look forward to when soy Isoflavones become increasingly available in pure form.


Over fat rats who were fed a diet containing 35% protein, either as casein or soy protein, lost more body fat and body weight and less nitrogen on the soy protein diet, suggesting that soy protein functions as more of a fat burner than other proteins. This new finding echoes extensive and consistent results of soy protein lowering cholesterol in humans when switched with animal proteins. Many studies show that the composition of amino acids in soy protein, not Isoflavones, is what lowers cholesterol and fat. Apparently, the amino acids in soy protein are converted in the liver to organic acids and ketone bodies that enter energy pathways in a way that simultaneously burns fat.

Soy protein peptides bind cholesterol and bile acids in the gut, preventing their absorption. Soy protein metabolates also interact with LDL ("bad") cholesterol receptors to clear LDL ("bad") cholesterol out of the blood faster. That means soy protein offers a unique benefit unmatched by animal proteins: lower fat and cholesterol levels.


In corroboration with results seen in athletic studies, switching renal-failure patients from animal to soy protein lead to dramatic benefits such as 30% less protein in the urine and lowered blood cholesterol and fats. Simply trading half of the animal protein with soy protein in the diet of diabetics with kidney damage decreased markers of kidney damage in the blood. Finally, the effects of genistein and equol, two soy Isoflavones, were equivalent to those of furosemide (a diuretic drug) on isolated rat kidneys. A vasodilatory effect (expansion of blood vessels) accounted for the results. So it seems from these and other studies that soy protein is kidney-friendly and may have diuretic actions.


The presence of soy Isoflavones in soy protein has come under suspicion for being estrogenic, since some estrogenic activity in post menopausal women has been attributed to soy Isoflavones (this may be why they protect against osteoporosis). Obviously, enhanced estrogenic activity would be counterproductive to using soy protein supplements to support muscle mass.

Fortunately, soy protein with Isoflavones doesn't have etrogenic activity in males. Consuming enough soy protein or soy milk to deliver more than 1 gram daily of soy Isoflavones didn't change blood levels of testosterone, estrogen, 1.11 or follicle-stimulating hormone. In one study, large amounts of genistein from soy milk (more than 1 gram daily) reduced dihydrotestosterone by 13% and DHEA- sulfate by 14% after 4 weeks. This level of soy Isoflavones is extremely difficult to reach with soy protein supplements, so even consuming 200-300 grams of sot protein a day shouldn't have antianabolic effects.

The increases in muscle mass and decreases in body fat seen in soy protein supplementation studies with athletes further support the case that soy protein won't counteract anabolic processes in exercising individuals. No evidence exists that soy protein has estrogenic effect in athletes, and it may even have anabolic effects greater than milk proteins (the usual control-group supplement in these studies).

Thanks to an intensification of research efforts in the last few years, we now have an abundance of information on soy protein isolates being good for protein quality, muscle support, body fat reduction and improved exercise performance, not to mention the already significant effects on cholesterol lowering, prevention of cancer and other possible benefits. Soy protein is healthy and potentially anabolic, with no concerns about estrogenic activity. It deserves more respect as an ideal protein for all humans, including hard-lifting bodybuilders.

Luke R. Bucci, Ph.D., CCN, C(ASCP), is vice president of research for Weider Nutrition Group, based in Salt Lake City, Utah.


Henley, EC, Kuster, J.M. Protein quality evaluation by protein digestibility-corrected amino acid scoring. Food Technology, April 1994.

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Protein Requirement Chart



Protein Requirement
per Pound of
Lean Body Mass

Daily Protein
for 150 Pounds
of Lean Mass

to Fulfill
Daily Protein Need


Heavy weight training
twice a day exercise

1.0 grams  

150 grams

9 scoops


Two hours a day,
five times per week

0.9 grams

135 grams

8 scoops


One hour per day,
five times per week

0.8 grams

120 grams

7 scoops


30 minutes per day,
five times per week

0.7 grams

105 grams

6 scoops



0.6 grams

90 grams

5 scoops



0.5 grams

75 grams

4 scoops

Why Protein
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