Soy-based protein can support ‘significant’ weight loss

By Katy Askew

- Last updated on GMT

Study finds diet high in soy protein supports weight loss ©iStock/adrian825
Study finds diet high in soy protein supports weight loss ©iStock/adrian825
New research has revealed incorporating soy protein into a high-protein energy restrictive diet can support significant loss of body fat.

Building on previous research, which has established the benefits of a high-protein diet for weight loss, researchers at the University of Colorado Anschultz Medical Campus compared the effectiveness of incorporating soy-protein based foods into a higher protein energy restricted diet with other sources of protein. Their results suggest that soy-based protein is equally effective as other sources of protein to support weight loss.

“A major take home message from this study is that people following a plant-inclusive or plant-based high protein diet can be successful in reducing body weight,”​ said James Hill, a leader in weight loss research and the study’s senior author. “This study was more about long-term wellness associated with weight reduction. A major struggle for dieters is maintaining their new weight and all the health benefits that accompany weight loss over time.”


The study, supported by DuPont Health and Nutrition and published in scientific journal Obesity Science & Practice, focused on adults who were overweight or obese. It examined the effectiveness of a four-month energy restricted weight loss intervention, followed by an additional eight-month weight maintenance period.

Seventy‐one overweight or obese adults, 58 of whom were female, were randomly assigned to consume three servings of soy or non‐soy protein foods per day for 12 months.

The foods included in the trial, developed by food scientists at DuPont Nutrition & Health, contained 20 g of lean, high quality soy protein per serving, and were delivered in the form of a dry-blended beverage, a lean, meat-free, sausage-like soy patty and a nutrition bar. These options were available to subjects during the weight loss and maintenance phases of the study.

The results showed that both groups who were prescribed a soy or non-soy high protein, energy-restricted diet lost “similar and significant”​ amounts of body weight. Further, the majority of the weight lost was fat mass, with an average fat-loss of 3-4% during the initial four-month period.

Some participants regained weight during the self-directed, eight-month follow-up period, but there were no significant differences between the dietary treatment groups for any of the outcome measures throughout the 12-month trial.

“Protein is an important part of a weight loss diet,”​ said Ratna Mukherjea, technical fellow with DuPont Nutrition & Health. “Lean sources of high quality protein, such as soy, support improvements in body composition with greater loss of fat tissue versus lean tissue.”

Source: Obesity Science & Practice

Published online ahead of print:

‘Effects of consuming a high‐protein diet with or without soy protein during weight loss and maintenance: a non‐inferiority, randomized clinical efficacy trial’

Authors: K. J. Speaker, R. D. Sayer, J. C. Peters, H. N. Foley, Z. Pan, H. R. Wyatt, M. R. Flock, R. Mukherjea, J. O. Hill

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