Small Changes Give Low Cholesterol Diet Added Punch
While describing this study as "a modest attempt at introducing soy
foods into the diet," Jenkins says that even higher dietary levels of soy,
water-soluble fiber -- and other new options like cholesterol-lowering
margarines -- could bring the 15-20% reductions possible with medications.
Providing objective commentary, William Wong, PhD, research scientist at
Children's Nutrition Research Center in Houston, tells WebMD, "The findings
are very interesting. ... But at this time, you cannot tell if it was the soy
protein or the soluble fiber [that created their results]. Especially since the
amount of soy protein they were given was 14 grams a day, which was pretty
small. To my knowledge, the lowest amount [of soy protein] to be shown
effective is about 20 grams. I wish they had put one group on soluble fiber,
one group on soy protein, then combined the two. That would be a very, very
Erica Frank, MD, lipid researcher at Emory University School of Medicine in
Atlanta, tells WebMD, "They did a really good job. ... It's pretty fair to
say that the results were attributable to soy. Putting this in the context of
other studies, it's pretty clear this is another vote for plant-based diets and
soy. ... People need suggestions for good-tasting soy products ... soy milk,
soy nuts, smoked tofu is fabulous. It's easy to marinate tofu, sprinkle soy
sauce on it and marinate it for an hour and it actually tastes pretty
- According to a recent study, just 13 to 14 grams of soy or vegetable
protein foods, the amount found in a veggie burger, can raise levels of 'good'
cholesterol and lower total cholesterol.
- One researcher argues that dietary changes can improve cholesterol levels
just as well as medications.
- One critic of the study says that it is unclear whether the soy or soluble
fiber was responsible for the change in cholesterol, as the study subjects were