Vegetarian Means Vegan, Right?

Actually vegetarians tend to differ from what Vegans consider themselves to be. The exact reasons for why, evade me at the moment.

I eat plenty of vegetables but also enjoy eggs so I think this means I may be a vegetarian but I am not a vegan because eggs are not on their menu. I need to watch my calories and weight.

Veganism, if I may, seems to be more like a religion than just a healthy eating regime. I think the term is applied to not only eggs but even to wearing things that may have once been alive, like leather.

I have no feelings on this one way or another and think our life choices are just that, our life choices.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Pros and Cons of Soy Protein

By Phil Ruth

Supplement producers have done a great job of confusing people. For the last five years the health community has devoured up whey protein.

Then studies showed that due to its fast gastric emptying properties most of the protein taken in via whey protein is metabolized and burned up in the liver. The casein manufacturers first responded by increasing the number of grams per serving. Why not? More protein would have to be consumed, thus more protein is sold.

Soy found its popularity primarily among vegetarians. The Soy industry watched as whey protein sales skyrocketed, thus, in order to grab their own position, they capitalized within a "health" marketplace, primarily targeting women. Some of the referenced studies are valid, but are not representative of "the whole picture."

One study looked at two groups of healthy middle aged men that were given isocaloric meals with one group eating soy protein, while the other consumed animal protein. They wanted to find out if there is a decreased propensity of gallstones when animal products are replaced by soy proteins. Very often gallstone accumulation is tied to cholesterol crystallization, so they later examined the participants cholesterol levels.

Findings from that study demonstrated that cholesterol crystallization was decreased in the soy group. This finding led to the idea that soy can aid in preventing gallstones. The study failed to show some important things. There was no control over vegetable and fruit consumption. Soy is part of the group of vegetables that are high in isoflavones.

Isoflavones are very closely tied to many health benefits including a lowering of cholesterol levels. On the other hand, we've known for some time that the consumption of meat is linked with an elevation of the cholesterol level. This does not mean that people who eat soy will have better cholesterol than people who eat chicken, turkey, egg, fish, and other vegetables. This clearly shows that conclusions drawn from studies are very often taken out of their proper context and overemphasized.

While a great number of scientific studies can be held up to show the cancer resistive benefits of a diet rich in vegetable foods (soy included), we can not extrapolate from those studies that someone consuming soy instead of milk proteins, egg proteins, and lean animal proteins will exhibit better health, and if an exercise component is included, the conclusions in non-exercising individuals are almost invalidated.

Most of the research promoted about soy is publicized by companies with a financial stake in Soy Protein sales. The Soybean Board is a good example. Very often the elements of a sound study are taken out of context to boost sales of soy.

Metabolically, recent data suggest that you should consume a mixture of casein and whey protein for optimal results. Unless you are a vegetarian, you'll see the best results from consuming a wide variety of foods as part of your nutrition program.

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