Post-Workout Protein: Soy Revisited

By Alexandra Williams, MA & Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

In 1973, the movie “Soylent Green” was set in the far future of 2022! A detective, played by Charlton Heston, is marked for death when “he gets too close to a bizarre state secret involving the origins of a revolutionary and needed new foodstuff.” There’s no way we’ll tell you the secret of Soylent Green, but we will tell you that the “foodstuff” is full of protein.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVpN312hYgU[/youtube] Speaking of forced segues, another “soy” word that is protein-packed, yet has nothing to do with the detective/ science-fiction movie genre, is soy. It’s green, it’s soy and we’ll happily lend you some. Get it? Soy – Lend – Green? hahahahaha. Oh, quit slapping your forehead unless you want a V-8!

Edamame with Salt (we say "Eat a Mommy")

We are asked a LOT by our students and readers if soy is a good pre- or post-workout food. It’s a protein, and if you click to read the link you’ll discover a picture of donuts and coffee that carbs and protein are your best choice after a workout. Soy has been controversial (The only food that isn’t controversial is dark chocolate – right?), so we try to stay up on the latest so we can give you our informed answer of “it depends.”

Alexandra: My son was allergic to soy when he was young, yet I can eat a gi-mantic bowl of edamame and feel nothing but full. So when we were offered the chance to write about some new research that just came out about the benefits of soy protein in combination with whey and casein, I was right in front, shoving my colleagues out of the way raising my hand. Because I’m a vegetarian, I’m always interested in finding ways to get a good balance of omega-3 and omega-6 in my diet, especially as I’m not fond of fish oil (who is, I want to know? And who’s keeping anchovies on the pizza menus? Gag).

Kymberly: I am fond of fish oil that comes in fish. I like fish.

Without going in-depth about the research (we’d enjoy it, but you might start to glaze over and drool a bit), the bottom line is that soy (in combo with whey & casein) has been found to prolong muscle building and recovery after exercise. The study was done with college-aged subjects, yet the implications for helping older adults deal with sarcopenia (muscle wasting) are really exciting to me (not because we’re old; because we plan to BECOME old)!

Natto: It tastes even worse than it looks

Before you say in all caps, ‘FOLLOW THE MONEY,” we’ll tell you right out that the research was funded by Solae LLC (they develop soy-based ingredients). We didn’t have to follow that hard; it’s listed on the abstract! But, we kept following and found out that Solae has also been recognized for 3 years in a row as a world leader in ethics.

Alexandra: So I’m going to do what I have been doing all along – eat a balanced diet that has all kinds of organic choices, in moderation, which includes soy and soy-based foods. Heck, the Japanese have been eating tofu, bean paste and edamame for centuries and they’re healthier than we who eat a western diet! However, I will NOT be eating natto. That stuff looks, smells and tastes like a science project gone mutant. I tried it at the National Products Expo so you wouldn’t have to! It’s tied with Marmite for nastiest food in the universe as far as I’m concerned.

What about you? Are you more interested in post-exercise muscle building and recovery, or the possibilities for preventing sarcopenia in older age? Me, I’m off to figure out why our dachshund likes to eat empty edamame pods.

Are you on Twitter? There is a Twitter chat about soy protein on Wednesday, May 23, 9 PM EST/ 6 PM PST, hashtag #SoyProtein. Join the chat. Bring your questions. Do your workout first!

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this campaign. All opinions are my own.

Photo credits: Natto: Gleam, Edamame: MagicRobot

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