Soy in the diet

The soy plant has its origins in East Asia. It is considered one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world and has been valued as an excellent source of protein and nutrients for several thousand years, especially by the Chinese.
Soybeans have only gained popularity in western industrialized countries in recent years. Whether as a soy drink, soy sausage or tofu, the legume is considered a particularly healthy food. A downer for consumers, however, is the fear of genetically modified soybeans.

What is in the soybean?

  • Like  peasbeans  and lentils, soybeans belong to the legumes and have the highest protein content in this group. This is a very high-quality vegetable  protein .
  • Soy also has a favorable fatty acid composition. It contains little saturated fatty acids and a high proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Like other vegetable oils, soybean oil does not contain cholesterol. Both factors together have a positive effect on the fat metabolism.
  • Soybeans are a good source of fiber. 1/3 of the daily fiber requirement can be covered with 50 g of soybeans. Dietary fibers  are important plant-based ingredients that help regulate bowel movements and   promote healthy intestinal flora .
  • Soybeans make a good contribution to covering the needs of numerous vitamins, e.g. B. Vitamin B 1 , B 2folic acid  and vitamin E.
  • Soy is rich in  potassium  and  magnesium .

From miso to tofu

Miso:  Spicy soybean paste made by lactic acid fermentation. It is used in particular in Japanese cuisine as a basis for soups and stews (instead of vegetable or meat broth), but also for spreads, spicy sauces, dressings and dips of all kinds.

Soy drink:  Plant-based milky drink made by squeezing soaked and finely ground soybeans. The soy drink is well suited as an alternative for cow’s milk protein allergy and  milk sugar intolerance  (lactose intolerance). It should be noted, however, that the calcium content is lower than in cow’s milk. The soy drink also serves as a basis for the production of products such as soy desserts, etc.

Soybean oil:  Soybean oil is obtained primarily by extracting it from and then refining it. However, gently pressed, unrefined soybean oil is also available. Soybean oil is widely used for finished products such as margarine,  mayonnaise , dressings, etc. As a by-product of the production of soybean oil, a protein-rich press cake is produced, which is often used as a starting material for the production of TVP (textured vegetable protein).

Tofu:  The soy drink is the basis for the production of tofu. This becomes a quark-like mass through a coagulation process. After the excess liquid has been removed by squeezing out, a sliceable, quark-like mass is produced. Tofu in its original form is almost tasteless. It is suitable for spicy or sweet dishes. Tofu can be roasted, baked, grilled, fried and tastes good raw or processed with vegetables, cereals, in salads or in casseroles.

TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein):  Meat-like product made from soy protein isolates. To produce the soy meat mass, the defatted soy meal is processed together with water in a special machine under high heat and high pressure. At the end of the manufacturing process, flavorings and colorings are added to the product to give it flavor and it is cut into the desired shape (e.g. as cubes or granules). To prepare the soy pieces, you only have to soak them in water or broth and then process them further.

Genetic engineering included?

According to legislation, genetically modified food must be clearly and unambiguously labeled. If it is genetically modified food, the label must say: “genetically modified” or “made from genetically modified ….”. Investigations by the supervisory authorities of the federal states in 2006 showed that the number of violations of genetic engineering labeling is very low.

However, in the supermarket you will find countless products in the manufacture of which genetic engineering was directly or indirectly involved (including oil, lecithin, flavorings from genetically modified soy as ingredients in ready-to-eat foods), which have a proportion of genetically modified organisms (GMO) below that required for the Labeling have the relevant threshold of 0.9 percent. Many producers use non-genetically modified soybeans to make pure soy products.

Due to the uncertainty of many consumers, some producers have started to indicate this on the label without being legally obliged to do so. The consumer then finds, for example, the note “without genetic engineering”. For this, the manufacturer must prove that the use of genetic engineering is excluded at all processing stages. That’s why it’s worth taking a closer look when shopping!

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