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A study from Tufts University shows that eating lots of extra soybeans does not lower cholesterol. Substituting soybeans for meat did not lower blood cholesterol levels in people who have normal blood cholesterol, but it did lower the bad LDL cholesterol a little bit in people with moderately elevated cholesterol and a significant amount in people with high cholesterol.

Adding extra soy protein to the diet of people without reducing their intake of meat did not affect blood cholesterol levels. Substituting soybeans for meat lowers cholesterol only in people with high blood levels of the bad LDL cholesterol. It does not lower cholesterol unless you reduce your intake of meat. Therefore you do not lower cholesterol by adding any food. You lower high blood cholesterol levels by substituting polyunsaturated fats for saturated fats, and less-dense sources of protein and calories such as beans for the more-dense sources such as meat.

Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, and colleagues at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts. Lipoprotein response to diets high in soy or animal protein with and without isoflavones in moderately hypercholesterolemic subjects. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. 2002; 22: 1852-1858.

Checked 8/31/05

May 19th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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