Soy Protein Powder Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Soy Protein Powder

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

If you have concerns about getting enough protein in your diet, protein powders may be a convenient solution. But with so many options—whey protein, pea protein, hemp protein, and soy protein—you may wonder what type makes the best choice for you.

Soy protein powder contains all of the essential amino acids, making it a good high-quality complete protein (meaning it has a similar protein profile to meat) for those looking for a vegetarian option. Soy protein is also a source of other health-supporting nutrients.

However, you may have concerns that soy may increase your risk of cancer. Here, you can learn more about soy protein powder nutrition, the health benefits of the protein powder, and information about the health concerns surrounding soy. 

Soy Protein Nutrition Facts

The nutrition information for a 1-ounce (28.35 grams) serving of soy protein isolate comes from the USDA. Soy protein isolate is extracted from the whole soybean and is a rich source of protein. 

  • Calories: 95
  • Fat: 0.961g
  • Sodium: 284mg
  • Carbohydrates: 0
  • Fiber: 0
  • Sugars: 0
  • Protein: 25g
  • Calcium: 50.5mg
  • Iron: 4.11mg
  • Zinc: 1.14mg
  • Magnesium: 11.1mg
  • Potassium: 23mg

Carbs

Soy isolate protein powder has no carbs, fiber, or sugar. However, not all soy protein powders are the same. For example, soy protein powder mixes contain other ingredients that may increase carb content. One scoop of a soy-based nutrition powder (30 grams) has 9 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, and 7 grams of sugar.

Fats

Soy protein isolate powder has negligible amounts of fat. Any fat in soy protein powder comes from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. These are the “good fats” and may help lower cholesterol when used in place of saturated fat.

Protein

A 1-ounce serving of soy protein isolate powder has 25 grams of high-quality protein, which means it contains all of the essential amino acids. Healthy adults should get 10% to 35% of their calories from protein foods. If you eat 2,000 calories a day, you need 50 to 175 grams of protein. Soy protein powder may provide 10% or more of your daily protein needs. 

Vitamins and Minerals 

Protein is an essential nutrient. But a healthy source of protein should contain other nutrients vital to life such as zinc, iron, and magnesium. Soy protein powder contains about 4 milligrams of iron, meeting more than 20% of the daily value (DV). This non-meat protein powder is also a good source of zinc (10% of the DV) and a fair source of magnesium (3% of the DV).

Soy protein powder also provides more than 10% of the daily value for sodium. Though not from added salt, it’s important to take note of the amount of sodium you get from foods and supplements because too much sodium in your diet may put you at risk of high blood pressure. A low-sodium food has less than 5% of the daily value.

Calories

A serving of protein powder provides 95 calories. Most, if not all, of those calories come from protein. A soy protein powder nutrition drink has 116 calories per serving, with 68% of those calories coming from protein and the rest from a mix of carbs and fat.

Health benefits

Soy foods like tofu, edamame, and tempeh are chock full of nutrients that benefit your health. But what about soy protein by itself? Research indicates that soy protein alone may benefit your heart, protect you from breast cancer, and help with weight management.

Soy protein also works as a good supplement for muscle-building. Here is what you need to know about the potential health benefits of soy protein powder.

May Lower Risk of Heart Disease

In 1999, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said there was enough evidence to support the health benefits of soy protein for reducing risk of heart disease and that manufacturers could make health claims on their food labels. However, there was debate whether the heart-health benefits were due to the soy protein or the other components in soy.

A 2019 meta-analysis published in The Journal of Nutrition found substantial evidence that soy protein lowers risk of heart disease by significantly reducing bad cholesterol—low-density lipoprotein (LDL)—and total cholesterol in adults.

Researchers and health experts disagree on whether it is the soy protein, soy isoflavones, or the whole soy food package that benefits the heart. Soy isoflavones are the hormone-like compounds found in soy foods.

A prospective cohort study published in Circulation points to the benefits of soy isoflavones. The researchers say that higher intakes of soy isoflavones and tofu moderately lower the risk of heart disease. The researchers suggest including soy isoflavone-rich foods like tofu in a plant based diet as a source of protein may prevent heart disease.

May Protect Against Breast Cancer

There is a lot of conflicting information about soy and its link to breast cancer. Early animal studies showed that high intakes of soy isoflavones increased risk of breast cancer in animals. However, animal studies are not a good indicator of what happens in humans.

Additionally, rates of breast cancer are significantly lower in countries that consume a lot of soy foods. The American Cancer Society says the health benefits of soy foods outweigh any potential health risks.

However, they suggest getting your soy protein from food and not supplements. Soy protein powders contain higher concentrations of soy isoflavones and more research is needed to better understand how these nutrients affect health.

May Help With Weight Management 

Soy protein may assist with weight management. Experts suggest that the bioactive peptides in soy protein may have anti-obesity properties. However, soy protein is not a magical tool that can melt away those unwanted pounds.

But, it can serve as a high-quality, plant-based protein if you’re following a high-protein diet to help with weight management. A 2018 clinical trial published in Obesity Science and Practice found that when part of a high-protein, reduced-calorie diet, soy protein powder helped a group of adults lose weight and keep it off.

The researchers noted that the soy protein powder didn’t work any better than any other protein powder. But they noted that it is a good option for those interested in following a higher-protein diet without the need to eat more animal protein.

May Be Good for Building Muscle

When it comes to protein powders for muscle building, most turn to whey protein. Though there is a lot of evidence to support the benefits of whey protein for muscle growth, soy protein powder works too.

A 2020 clinical trial published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found no difference in muscle strength or growth in a group of adults taking a soy protein versus those taking a whey protein powder after following a 12-week resistance training workout.

Offers a Vegetarian Source of Protein

Despite what many believe, you can get an adequate supply of protein without eating animal meat. What sets soy protein apart from other plant-based proteins like beans and peas is that soy contains all the essential amino acids.

This means that soy is a high-quality source of complete protein like eggs, poultry, fish, and red meat. Consequently, soy protein powder can help you get the extra protein you need if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. 

Allergies

Soy is a common food allergy. If you are allergic to soy, you need to avoid all foods that contain soy, including soy protein powder. Consuming foods that contain your allergen leads to an allergic reaction that may range from mild to life-threatening.

If you suspect that you are allergic to soy, talk to a healthcare provider about your symptoms. They can refer you to an allergist for testing and evaluation.

Adverse Effects

Short-term use of soy protein supplements is safe for most people, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). Constipation and diarrhea are the most common side effects.

However, it is best to talk to a healthcare provider about soy protein supplements before adding them to your diet. They can let you know the risks and benefits based on your medical history.

It is also important to note that soy may affect thyroid function if you have low iodine levels. Additionally, high intakes of soy from supplements is not safe during pregnancy.

Varieties

You can find many varieties of soy protein powder at your local health food store or online retailer. Soy protein isolate is the purest form of protein powder, containing only the soy protein and soy isoflavones.

Some soy protein powders may contain other ingredients to improve flavor or nutritional profile like added sugar. Read the food label to see what’s in your protein powder to make sure it fits your nutrition goals. You want a soy protein powder that uses high-quality ingredients, contains the right mix of nutrients, and suits your taste. 

Storage and Safety

Read the packaging on your soy protein powder for storage guidelines. Most protein powders do best when stored in a cool dry place. Keep the lid tightly closed after opening to maintain freshness.

Your protein powder may have “best if used by date” on the packaging. You should consume your soy protein powder before this date for best flavor and quality.

How to Prepare

Read through your soy protein powder food label to look for preparation ideas. Most soy protein powders mix well with beverages like milk and juice. They also can be used in smoothies. You can even add soy protein powder to hot cereal, yogurt, soup, and pancake batter. 

Soy protein powder is also good for baking. Add it to your muffin or quick bread mix to boost protein content. Or, use your soy protein powder to make your own high-protein snack bars or breakfast shake.

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Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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