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Soy Interest in America | Legends of Soy | Health Benefits of Soy

Soy - The Food For Thoughs

The increasing interest in healthy living in Western societies, particularly in America, is very much in favor of the "you are what you eat "approach. Not only does this emphasize eating nutritious food affects your well being, but it also focuses on the long-term effects of eating properly, and that some foods can actually protect you much later in life against contracting cancer and other diseases.

Attracting much attention is the humble soy, a food that originated in China at least 5,000 years ago. The soy remains a staple of traditional Asian cuisines, especially Chinese and Japanese, but ironically many of us in Hong Kong probably know a lot less about the true benefits of this "miracle "food than people in the United States and Europe, even though we eat tofu and drink soymilk out of habit every day.
 
Soy Interest in America

Although it is reckoned that Asians consume 30 to 50 times more soy protein than Americans, soyfood sales in America rose 30 percent in 1996. In a survey published by the Soybean Association of America, over three-quarters of soyfood eaters interviewed said they chose it because it was low in fat, one-third cited its lack of cholesterol, and just over a half said low salt and sugar content was also a factor. Americans are eating more soy products, according to the 1999-2000 National Report released by the United Soy Board (USB). About 66 million Ameicans, representing some 24% of the US population, are using soy products at least once a week compared to only 15% in 1998. The Report also found that the number of American consumers who perceived soy and soy products as very healthy had increased significantly to 71%, up from 67% in 1998. Perhaps it is time that Asians reconsidered this common lentil. If we take it too much for granted, we may overlook it.

It may appear to be something of an overstatement to refer to soy` as a "miracle food ", but consider for a moment its usual benefits. Soy is packed with fiber, B-vitamins, calcium and zinc, is low in fat and contains no cholesterol. In addition, it contains compounds that appear to lower bad cholesterol, prevent osteoporosis, reduce menopausal symptoms, and protect against certain cancers and heart disease.

The US Food and Drug Administratin (FDA) authorized in October 1999 a health claim that is allowed to appear on product packaging stating that soy protein may reduce the risk of heart disease when 25 gm is consumed daily as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol. In March 2000, the US Department of Agriculture approved a regulation allowing US school tuckshops to include soy as a source of protein in breakfasts and lunches.