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Painless Ways to Add Soy to Your Diet

Tasty new soy products (and recipes) to try
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Expert Column

Terrified of tofu? Sour on soymilk? No worries. If you look closely at products in your supermarket, you'll be surprised at the new places soy has surfaced ... from soup to nuts, literally.

More and more people are motivated to supplement their diets with soy as evidence about the health benefits of soy protein continues to mount. Just in the past few months, studies have suggested benefits ranging from protecting the lumbar spines of women ages 49-65, to reducing colon cancer and heart disease.

A Tufts University study showed that soy protein may lower "bad" (LDL) cholesterol levels and increase LDL particle size -- both of which are linked to lowering the risk of heart disease. Another study found that when middle-aged men at high risk of heart disease ate at least 20 grams of soy protein and 80 mg of isoflavones (the major phytochemical in soy) daily for five weeks, they ended up with lower blood pressure and lower total cholesterol, among other benefits.

In the interest of finding new ways to add soy to your diet, I tried some of these new soy products so I could report which ones are worth buying. I should let you know that although I do tend to like tofu, I am not what you would call super-enthusiastic about soy! Keeping that in mind, here are my honest opinions.

I.M. Healthy Soy Nut Butter

  • Where to find it: In the peanut butter aisle of your supermarket.
  • What's in it? Mostly roasted soybeans, with some soybean oil and soy protein isolate. It contains 7 grams of soy protein per 2 tablespoons.
  • Nutrition analysis: 2 tablespoons serving = 170 calories, 7 g protein, 10 g carbohydrate (3 g sugars), 11 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 140 mg sodium. Also: 6% Daily Value for calcium.
  • How does it taste? Better than I thought it would. If you are expecting peanut butter, you'll be disappointed. But it has its own flavor. I tried it on whole-wheat toast, wheat crackers, and celery sticks, and they all tasted good!

Gardenburger BBQ Chik'n

  • Where to find it: The frozen food section.
  • What's in it? Soy protein concentrate is the chief ingredient in these chicken-free soy patties. They have 14 grams of soy protein per serving.
  • Nutritional analysis: One patty with sauce = 250 calories, 14 g protein, 30 g carbohydrate (20 g sugar), 8 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 5 g fiber, 990 mg sodium. Also: 10% Daily Value for vitamin A, 15% for calcium, and 6% for iron.
  • How does it taste? Quite good and chicken-like. The BBQ sauce really helps to carry it off, but I found the texture and taste of the patty to be definitely passable.

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