Is Soy Bad for Building Muscle?
"Soy Protein is bad, it will mess up testosterone levels, stay away from it to build muscle!"
Does this sound familiar? This is a largely misconceived myth that has spread like wild-fire in the fitness industry.
Phyto-Estrogen in Soy
The reason why Soy protein gets a bad reputation is because it contains small amounts of phyto-estrogen. This compound mimics the properties of human estrogen, but studies have proven that phyto-estrogen does not have any negative effects on testosterone levels!
In fact, consuming phyto-estrogen under low doses can help improve overall testosterone levels because the compound attaches itself to human estrogen cells making the body believe that there is an excess amount of estrogen, which in turn leads the body to counteract this by lower its estrogen production!
Benefits of Soy Protein
Amino Acids and Glutamine
When it comes to choosing the best protein in terms of quantity of amino acids, whey protein is the king, but not by much! For every 50 grams of protein, whey has 10 grams of Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) and 2.5 grams of glutamine. When it comes to Soy protein in the same 50 grams of protein there are 9 grams of BCAA’s and a whopping 5.3 grams of glutamine!
Glutamine is a very important amino acid; when the body goes through a stressful exercise routine it will end up depleting its glutamine stores; if the body is lacking in glutamine it can result in muscle wasting and much longer recover times. Glutamine has also been shown to promote muscle glycogen accumulation, which is linked to an increase in muscle protein synthesis!
One study compared Soy Protein to animal protein; it was found that the group who consumed Soy Protein had lower overall cholesterol, including lower LDL cholesterol (the bad type) and lower triglycerides.
Great Substitute for Animal Protein
Soy protein contains all the amino acids gained from eating meat; but soy protein does not have the associated fat content that animal protein is known for.