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Soy protein: safe or not?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I am a vegetarian (have been for years) and have often supplemented my diet with protein shakes...generally I make something like this: 2 cups soy milk, 1 scoop (1 1/2-2 tbs) of soy protein powder (25 g of protein), and a fruit or two of choice. I read, recently, that protein powders are unsafe during pregnancy...is this the case with soy protein? Can anyone give me some solid evidence that this either safe or unsafe???
post #2 of 10
I'd love to know where you read that protein powder is unsafe since I've been advised to drink a glass everyday...
post #3 of 10
One thing is, if soy is not organic then it is grown with a boatload of pesticides. So only organic and (IMO) non-GMO soy should be consumed. You probably already know that.

One of the concerns with soy I remember reading is that it mimics estrogenic qualities, and large amounts of it are feared to have negative effects on the proper development of male children, both in utero and during childhood (if they consume soy formula and/or lots of soy milk). Whether there is any scientific proof or it's just supposition, I have no idea.

I remember reading that although we have this idea that people in Asia eat lots of soy - and look how healthy they are - that's not accurate. I think the average daily consumption across Asia was like one ounce or less.

If you want to read opinions against the safety of soy, you'll find a lot of articles at: http://www.mercola.com/article/soy/index.htm#

Do you consume dairy products? One approach you might consider would be to rotate through various protein sources so you aren't overloading on soy. Suggestions would be organic goat and cow milk, yogurt, &/or milk powder; almond, walnut, or hazelnut meal; nut butters; ground flax seeds; etc. You can also boost up baked goods with these items to increase your protein.

One last thing, long-time vegetarians actually seem to process protein better than meat eaters and therefore many people believe they don't need as many grams of protein per day during pregnancy. I can't find the info offhand, but I seem to recall Ina May Gaskin writing that 60-75 grams was appropriate for a long-time vegetarian (whereas I think the range is around 75-100 for non-vegetarians).

Carol
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
I read this info. in What to Expect when You're Expecting ...a book I'm finding I don't care for all that much.

Ellasmama, thank you for the info. I'm sure I'm actually getting enough protein...I do eat dairy. And I do make sure that my proteins are complete. I eat a lot of flax seed and other nuts and grains. I think being pregnant for the first time makes me a bit hyper-sensitive about my diet.

It just struck me as odd that it would be written that protein powders should not be consumed. When I eat on the go, I often help myself along with protein shakes. Plus, I really like them!
post #5 of 10
I would think the shakes would be healthy, just don't overdo the protein. While adequate protein promotes brain and nervous tissue development, remember your baby's immature kidneys have to deal with any excess in your diet too.
HTH
post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by russianthistle
I read this info. in What to Expect when You're Expecting ...a book I'm finding I don't care for all that much.

Ellasmama, thank you for the info. I'm sure I'm actually getting enough protein...I do eat dairy. And I do make sure that my proteins are complete. I eat a lot of flax seed and other nuts and grains. I think being pregnant for the first time makes me a bit hyper-sensitive about my diet.

It just struck me as odd that it would be written that protein powders should not be consumed. When I eat on the go, I often help myself along with protein shakes. Plus, I really like them!
Ugh...Some of my friends refer to that book as "what to WORRY ABOUT when you are expecting" :LOL Thanks for the info though
post #7 of 10
In order to properly digest a protein, it should be eaten with the fat it comes with (whole milk, whole nuts, etc). When powders are made, these fats tend to go rancid due to exposure to high heat, and then because they have so much surface area.
post #8 of 10
hi,
there is a ton of info (and controversy!) over soy. personally, i think in moderation it's fine, part of the problem i think though is that it is mostly used in very processed foods (soy protein isolate would be quite processed, not at all close to it's natural form).
our family is vegan, and when i was pregnant with my son i was told by my nutritionist to eat as much soy as possible because it's a complete protein and she was worried i wasn't getting enough. i was told to drink a litre of soymilk a day as well as try to include lots of tofu, veggie dogs, etc into my diet. she recommended this because she was always worried i was too low in protein (and i always continued to be throughout the pregnancy). noah came out at 9 lbs 4 oz and was and still is a very healthy little boy.
HOWever, after reading alot more on the subject of soy and protein in general (i really don't believe we need close to as much as they say we do) with this pregnancy i'm not eating close to as much soy products as i did then. also, i am much more careful about eating only organic soy, as it's high on the list of pesticides and GMO.
everything in moderation. personally, i wouldn't feel too comfy drinking soy protein powders, mainly because it's so concentrated/processed plus i just don't believe we need that much protein (even vegetarians). especially if you eat other animal products (eggs, cheese). and if you're eating a well balanced diet that includes lots of beans and nuts. but what's most important is that you do what you feel is right for you.


good luck
rowan
post #9 of 10
Well I'm going to my midwife tomorrow and we're going to have a long talk about dietary protein, so I'll get the scoop! I am not vegetarian (by choice) but lately I can't eat any meat at all except for some fish and shell fish. So what does that leave me with? Milk, eggs, soy, nuts and beans.

I was thinking I would get some soy protein powder to make shakes with to help boost my protein intake. So I'm gonna talk to the midwife and see what she says. I'm not enjoying the vegetarian pregnancy, I'm losing weight and my tummy never feels satisfied when I eat. Don't get me wrong, I was a veggie for 6 years earlier in my life, but I just wasn't prepared for this at this point.
post #10 of 10
My midwife said it's okay!
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