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Medifast and Take Shape for Life is committed to maximizing health and wellness through it’s provision of soy-based meal replacement weight control programs. In light of recent controversy, including books, slanting soy, Medifast feels it is their duty to provide the latest evidence-based recommendations regarding the use of dietary soy for healthcare providers.
The following document provides a comprehensive summary of the latest scientific information regarding soy and its relationship with all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, cancer, menopause, bone health, and kidney function, as well as addresses any safety concerns regarding soy.
Medifast’s soy-based meal replacements provide a healthy way of achieving the optimal amount of dietary protein crucial for weight loss while still preserving lean muscle mass. In addition to preserving calorie-burning lean muscle tissue, dietary protein stimulates thermogenesis more than carbohydrates or fats and is the most satiating macronutrient. Soy protein is a healthy alternative to animal-based proteins that tend to be high in fat and saturated fat.
Both human and animal studies have demonstrated a favorable effect of soy protein on body weight and fat distribution. In a 12-week study comparing soy protein meal replacements to milk-based protein meal replacements as part of a low energy diet, soy MRs were associated with greater weight loss (Anderson & Hoie, 2005).
Importantly, soy protein has been shown to yield numerous health-related benefits for conditions that overweight individuals
are more likely to suffer from. Soy may protect against a range of conditions including cardiovascular disease to cancer and to reductions in overall mortality.
IMPORTANCE OF (SOY) PROTEIN DURING DIETING
Medifast’s soy-based meal replacements are made from isolated soy protein (Solae Brand™), with its naturally-occuring isoflavones
(genistein, daidzein, and glycitein) working together to yield health benefits. An innovative water-based technique is used to separate carbohydrate and fat from the soy protein while maintaining healthy isoflavones. Other processing methods, like alcohol-extraction methods, remove a substantial amount of isoflavones and its anti-atherogenic properties (Clair & Anthony, 2005).
Soy is a complete protein whose quality is similar to that of meat, milk, and eggs. Using the FDA-recommended method of qualifying
a protein, Protein Efficiency Digestibility-Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS), Medifast’s soy protein (Solae Brand™), has the highest obtainable score (1.0). In addition to high digestibility,
it contains all essential amino acids, including methionine and arginine.
NOT ALL SOY PROTEIN IS CREATED EQUAL
Japan has the highest life expectancy in the world (Health and Welfare Statistics Association, 1999). Soy is a staple in the Japanese
diet. The Takayama Study prospectively examined the relationship
between soy intake and mortality among over 13,000 Japanese men and 15, 000 Japanese women residents over a 7 year period. They determined that the average total intake of soy per day for men was 102.3g (44.6mg isoflavones) and for women 93.3g (41.4mg isoflavones). (Negata, Takatsuka, Shimizu, 2002).
•A significant inverse association between soy intake (and isoflavone
intake) with all-cause mortality for men and women after controlling for age and total energy intake.
•After adjusting for nondietary factors, a decreased risk of death was observed among men (0.83, 95%CI 0.68 to 1.01) and women (0.83, 95%CI 0.68 to 1.02) with the highest compared with the lowest quintile of total soy product intake.
Soy’s isoflavones, genistein and diadzein, protect the heart by boosting the activity of LDL receptors that remove ‘bad’ cholesterol
from the bloodstream. Additional ways soy may protect the heart are through its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and potentially
anti-thrombogenic properties (Clair & Anthony, 2005). Randomized controlled trials have also shown that soy decreases homocysteine levels in both men and women (generally post-menopausal)
- Medifast meal replacements are made from the highest quality soy protein with the highest levels of naturally-occuring isoflavones.
- Soy is inversely associated with all-cause mortality.
- Soy protein protects against coronary risk factors and 33 of Medifast’s meal replacements carry the Heart Healthy Claim.
- Soy may improve the metabolic abnormalities of metabolic syndrome.
- Men who consume soy may have lower rates of prostate cancer.
- Soy appears to have a protective effect against premenopausal breast cancer. The verdict is still out among postmenopausal females, or females with a past personal history
or family history of breast cancer. The verdict is also still out regarding the use of soy and Tamoxifen. Medifast recommends that patients follow the NCI guidelines and the advice of their physician or breast cancer specialist.
- Soy appears to protect against cancers of the GI tract and may help eradicate H. Pylori infections.
- Soy helps with vasomotor symptoms of menopause
and positively affects other menopause-related health conditions.
- Soy has no adverse effects in euthyroid individuals.
Individuals with hypothyroidism on synthetic thyroid hormones
do not need to avoid soy in their diets. General guidelines
are to consume soy meals three hours before or after taking thyroid hormones; closely monitor labs; and ensure adequate iodine is consumed.
- There is evidence to suggest that soy confers a protective effect on bone. The benefits of soy on bone health may be garnered most during peri-menopause or early post-menopause.
- Soy does not alter sexual function, behavior, or affect sterility.
The amount of oxalate in 5 Medifast meal replacements,
as part of the 5 & 1 diet plan, is well beneath the ADA’s daily cut-off value for calcium oxalate stone-formers.
For most people, the benefits of incorporating soy protein as part of a healthy diet plan far outweigh the potential (or hypothetical)
risks. This is particularly true for overweight or obese individuals, who are more likely to suffer from a comorbidity that would be responsive to soy. Medifast is a pioneer in recognizing the dual benefit that can be potentially gained by offering the highest quality soy protein, rich in isoflavones, as part of their clinically-tested weight control program.