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The Power of Soy
Soy is better for You
There are 20 common amino acids – or building blocks – that make up protein found in our bodies and in food. 8 to 10 of these are considered essential, meaning our bodies can’t make them and can only source them from food. For years, conventional wisdom has been that only animal foods, such as beef, chicken, and eggs contain all essential amino acids. In truth, plants can contain all of the essential amino acids too. In particular, soybeans contain the full complement of amino acids, making it unique among plant protein sources! Simply put, soy makes an excellent replacement for meat, when people either don’t want to eat meat or are looking for ways to reduce their meat intake as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Soy is better for the Planet
In addition to benefiting your diet, growing, harvesting, and processing soybeans has less of an impact on the environment than raising cattle or other animals for protein. In comparison to livestock production, soybeans have been proven to be a more favorable and environmentally sustainable source of protein because of their ability to meet global protein requirements and have key advantages that include:
- High Protein Quality and Strong Nutritional Value
- More Efficient Land Use – soybeans generate greater than 10x the protein per acre than chicken, beef or protein
- More Efficient Water Use - soybeans are one of the most water efficient protein sources based on production
- More Energy Efficient - soy-based foods deliver the highest protein density for human consumption per amount of fossil energy inputs
Growing soybeans can be an essential part of keeping soil healthy, a key environmental benefit. As a useful member of the legume group, soybeans are an important crop rotation on many farms, providing nitrogen for future crops.
- Michelfelder AJ. Soy: a complete source of protein. Am Fam Physician. 2009;79:43-7.
- Soyfoods Association of North America, April 2012