Soy protein isolate

Soy protein isolate, as the name implies, is the soy protein with the highest concentration of protein; the minimum content of protein is 90%. It is highly refined and purified. Soy protein isolate is made from defatted soy flour that has had most of the non-protein components—fats and carbohydrates—removed. It has a very neutral flavor as opposed to other soy protein products. Also, since most of the carbohydrates are removed, soy protein isolate rarely causes flatulence. Learn about the uses, benefits, and potential risks of soy protein isolate.

Uses of Soy Protein Isolate

Soy protein is hardly ever found in supermarkets or other stores, but is more commonly used in the food industry. However, when it is found in the pharmacy section of the supermarket or a health food store, it is often combined with other ingredients, such as in protein powder, which has a combination of soy protein isolate with flavors, minerals, and vitamins.

Industrial Uses of Soy Protein Isolate
There are three main reasons that soy protein isolate is used for in the food industry: nutritional, for increasing protein content; sensorial, for a better feel in the mouth and for a bland flavor; and for other functional reasons, such as when something requires emulsification, water and fat absorption, and adhesive properties. The following products and items often contain soy protein isolate: snacks, meal replacements, other weight and muscle gain products, breakfast cereals, energy bars, protein bars, weight loss ready-to-drink beverages, bottled fruit drinks, soups, sauces, prepared foods, baked goods, ice cream, yogurt, other dairy and dairy-free products, meat alternatives, and processed protein products such as meat, fish, and poultry.

Other Uses of Soy Protein Isolate
As mentioned above, it is possible to buy soy protein isolate, but most commonly it is found with other ingredients. The beverage powder can be added to juice, shakes, smoothies, milk, or sprinkled on cereal; in any of these it will enhance the protein content. Soy yogurt can be made thicker (as can other things) by adding soy protein isolate. For breakfast, add it to oatmeal for additional protein, and add a few dried raisins or apricots on there. In the commercial industry it is often added to soups, so why not do the same at home? Try adding it to a soup, gravy, or casserole for thickening and to be able to consume more protein; it can even be added to macaroni and cheese!


Soy is one vegetable plant that has a very high amount of protein, and this is a benefit in and of itself. More than that, it is a complete vegetable protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids needed for growth (many vegetables are no complete proteins); it is the same quality protein as meat, eggs, and milk. However, unlike animal products, soy protein has very little fat content. There is speculation that soy may be useful in some conditions: reducing the risk of heart disease, preventing osteoporosis, preventing certain cancers, and relieving menopausal symptoms. Isoflavones, a compound present in soy, are very potent compounds that provide relief of menopausal symptoms.

There is currently speculation that the intake of soy by certain women may cause breast cancer; usually women who have a high risk anyway. These assumptions stem from the chemical make-up of soy, which is almost identical to the female hormone estrogen. Essentially, the amount of estrogen that they have in their bodies, combined with the amount of estrogen in soy, could make for a bad combination. If you are truly concerned about this, it can’t hurt to discuss it with your doctor or a dietitian.

Last updated on Feb 14th, 2011 and filed under Nutritional Information. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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