Soybean and its by-products are one of the active sources of nutrition and protein. Soya bean is a superfood. Soy-based food is generally recognized for high-quality plant-based protein(1). It is one of the best protein sources for vegetarians and vegans. Unfortunately, despite its many advantages and nutritional value. it has been enduring accusations like man boobs (gynecomastia). So, the concern is, does really soy products cause man boobs?
However, isoflavone is found in soy and its products. And isoflavone are structurally and functionally similar to human estrogen. (2)
Estrogen is a female hormone. It is responsible for the development of female sexual characteristics throughout puberty as well as the maintenance of fertility.
Although, isoflavone is functionally and structurally similar to human estrogen. But it is less potent than human estrogen.
A large population ignores the benefit of soya products. And it is just because of the isoflavone myth. Isoflavones should not be associated with estrogen. and soy foods should not be associated with isoflavones.
Nutrition Content of Soy Products
|Nutrients||Whole Soybeans (100gm)||Tofu (100gm)||Fortified Soy Milk (1 cup)|
Apart from these nutritions. Soy also has some other nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin E, Vitamin K, etc.
What Are Man boobs or Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is the enlargement of male breast tissue. It is also known as man boobs and male breasts. It is very common in Male infants, pubertal youths, and older men. (3)
However, Gynecomastia isn’t a life-threatening illness. But Men and boys with gynecomastia may experience discomfort in their chest and feel self-conscious.
The Truth Behind Soy Product And Man Boobs or Gynecomastia
In a study, a 60-year-old man feels tightness around the nipple. But in that case, he consumed 360 mg/day isoflavones through soy product. And it is about 9 times more than the normal range. (4)
Although, according to some studies, the consumption of 150 mg/day of isoflavone is not shows any effect. And also, not increases the level of estrogen.
However, If you consuming extreme amounts of any food, then it can potentially lead to abnormalities.
That means, the consumption of normal amount of soy product does not caused man boobs or any harmful effect.
You may take soy or its product in your daily diet without any fear. It is completely safe and beneficial if you consume it under a normal range.
Does Only Soy Product Causes Man Boobs or Gynecomastia
Although, Soy is not the only reason for man boobs. There are several reasons which can cause gynecomastia.
However, many studies prove that soy and its product do not cause gynecomastia if you consume it in a limited manner (5). But the highly excessive amount of soy may induce man boobs.
In several physiological conditions and medications might also be promote proliferation of male breast tissue. (6)
Physiological reasons which can cause gynecomastia (man boobs) such as:
- Excess of estrogen due to testicular failure or androgen resistance
- absolute high levels of estrogen due to testicular tumours
- bronchogenic carcinoma, adrenal disease, thyrotoxicosis, or liver disease.
Many drugs can cause gynecomastia. Drugs that decrease testosterone syntheses such as ketoconazole, metronidazole, or cytotoxic agents can cause gynecomastia. And also drugs that decrease testosterone action such as marijuana, cimetidine, flutamide, and spironolactone also cause gynecomastia.
Furthermore, some drugs such as isoniazid, penicillamine, calcium channel blockers, and central nervous system agents (including diazepam, tricyclic antidepressants, reserpine, phenytoin, and amphetamines) might also cause gynecomastia.
Is Soy Protein Safe?
According to the Dietary Reference Intake report for macronutrients. A sedentary adult should consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound.
And soybeans contain 37–40% protein (7). Isolated soy protein, can contain up to 10-20 g of protein per serving.
Most soy foods (except whole soybeans) have a high digestion rate of more than 90%.
Soy protein products generally have a PDCAAS (Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score) of greater than 0.9. And it is similar to that of meat or milk protein.
Due to rich and safe source of protein. U.S. department of agriculture give it approval. And marked it as a substitute of animal-based protein.
Soy Effect On Fertility and Reproduction?
There have been a number of concerns with soy foods that have sparked intense debates on it.
However, according to study, several animal species had face breeding complications due to the consumption of isoflavone.
After some research, It assumed that the breeding problem in animals is might be caused by higher consumption of isoflavone. Or it is caused by differences in isoflavone metabolism between humans and animals. Even, none of the studies and research directly blamed the soy product for fertility and reproduction-related issue.
Benefit of soy products
soybean is not only remarkable for its overall protein content. However, the quality of soy protein is superior to that of other plant proteins. And comparable to that of animal protein.
Apart from protein fulfilment. Soy-based food also helps to reduce the risk of chronic disease.
Reduce lipid Level
Higher low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol is one of the most common cause of coronary heart disease (CHD).
So, the reduction of the low-density lipoprotein might be the promising way to prevent coronary heart disease CHD.
According to a study soy protein reduce the level of LDL from 4-6%.
Along with decreasing LDL cholesterol. Soy protein also reduces blood triglyceride levels by 5%. And increases the levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol (1%–3%).
Lowering The Blood Pressure
Higher-protein diets seem to reduce blood pressure more or less in general. And clinical evidence suggests that soy protein have hypotensive effects. (8)
A study shows, soy protein reduces systolic and diastolic blood pressure. It decreases about 2.5 mmHg of systolic pressure and 1.5 mmHg of diastolic pressure. (9)
Reduce Risk of Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is the second most prevalent cancer among males throughout the world. It’s also the fourth most often diagnosed cancer in the general population. (10)
Many studies claimed that. Soy protein reduces the risk of prostate cancer. But many other studies conflict with the role of soy protein in prostate cancer. According to them. There is no direct role of soy protein or isoflavone to reduce the risk of prostate cancer. But nevertheless, in some animal studies. It is found that isoflavone is able to inhibit metastasis.
However, in comparison to Western nations. The rates of prostate cancer in Asian countries are low. Where soy foods are commonly consumed.
We frequently heard about kidney abnormalities due to consumption of high-quality protein like whey.
On the other hand. There is research that indicates that soy protein places less stress on the kidneys in compression to whey protein.