Perspectives on Soy Protein
as a Nonpharmacological Approach
for Lowering Cholesterol

This section is compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
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FROM:   J Nutr 1995 (Mar);   125 (3 Suppl):   675S678S

Goldberg AC

Department of Medicine,
Washington University School of Medicine,
St. Louis, MO 63110

Dietary therapy is the first step in the treatment of hyperlipidemia. However, some patients are unable to lower their cholesterol concentrations to a desirable range with diet alone. For primary prevention of coronary artery disease, physicians and patients often wish to avoid pharmacologic therapy of elevated cholesterol concentrations. The use of adjuncts to diet such as soluble fibers, garlic and soy protein may allow target lipid concentrations to be reached without the use of drugs.

Soy protein incorporated into a low-fat diet can reduce cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol concentrations. The main obstacles to greater use of soy protein in the therapy of hyperlipidemia include lack of knowledge by physicians and patients of its effects and lack of availability of easily used products. Although soy products such as tofu and soymilk are available in many stores, consumers may be unaware of their presence and uses.

Without the publication of articles in mainstream medical journals on the cholesterol-lowering effects of soy protein, few physicians are likely to know of possible uses. Readily available packaged products, recipes and cookbooks also will be necessary to make incorporation of soy protein into the American diet a reality.

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