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| Heart Health and Cholesterol
Soy lowers cholesterol levels in more people than previously believed
Updated: 2012-02-28 16:49:41 CST Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol
Just about everyone may be able to improve their cholesterol test scores by getting more soy into their diet, according to a new study that contradicts prior knowledge about the effects of soy on cholesterol levels.
Previous studies have shown that only certain people are able to lower their cholesterol levels by eating soy. These people's bodies naturally convert soy into a chemical known as equol, which is similar in its makeup to estrogen. It was thought that this molecule was responsible for the cholesterol benefits observed in some individuals.
However, the new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that this is not necessarily the case. Researchers from the University of Toronto administered cholesterol tests to groups of equol producers and non-producers prior to starting participants on a one-month diet that was rich in soy.
The results showed that both groups of participants experienced about the same reduction in levels of dangerous LDL cholesterol. However, the study did demonstrate that equol producers maintained higher levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol when on a soy-rich diet.
Regardless, the findings suggest that anyone may be able to improve their cholesterol test scores by adding more soy to their diet.
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