What is Soy Protein Isolate?

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  • Written By: Troy Holmes
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 24 March 2020
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Soy protein supplements are a good form of vegetable-based protein. Soy proteins come in the form of concentrate, isolate, and textured protein. Soy protein isolate is a special form of protein with additional fats and carbohydrates removed. This form of soy contains the highest available protein and is typically used by performance athletes.

The soy isolate protein is typically preferred over the concentrate and textured protein versions. This protein is available in powders, shakes and snack bars. Soy protein is a non-animal protein and is often used by vegetarians as a protein supplement.

Soy protein isolate has the highest content of protein available within the soy family. It is made from soy meal, yielding about 90 percent pure protein. Isolate is the best protein for bodybuilders looking for a slow-digesting protein made from plants.

Currently there are four forms of protein available on the market. These include soy, whey, egg, and casein. Soy protein isolate has a moderate digestion time, which makes it a good choice for an afternoon snack. This protein takes a few hours to digest in humans, which helps suppress the appetite throughout the day.


Most bodybuilders plan protein consumption based on their digesting rates. Each protein is absorbed into the body at a different rate. Whey protein is the fastest, with soy protein coming in a close second. Casein protein is the slowest and should be taken as a late evening protein supplement. Typically bodybuilders use whey protein immediately following a workout with soy protein as a lunch or afternoon supplement.

Soy protein isolate includes many antioxidant benefits. Because soy protein is produced from plants, additional antioxidants are available within this product. These minerals help the body fight free radicals that have been known to produce cancer. Soy protein isolate contains a mixture of antioxidants that helps the body produce lean muscle while fighting unwanted cell damage.

Soy protein should be taken in moderation and not considered a full substitute for all protein within the human body. This form of protein has several long term side effects specifically involving problems with mineral ingestion. When using soy protein supplements, additional mineral supplements may be required to ensure proper dietary nutrition.

Some reported side effects of soy protein include a reduction in calcium, magnesium, and iron uptake. This is because soy products have a blocking effect on the ingestion of these minerals. A soy strict diet should also include supplementing the nutrients vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B12, iron, iodine and zinc. This will counteract the blocking effect of the soy-based diet.


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