Can diabetics eat soya chunks?

Soya chunks and diabetes have been known to challenge each other since longtime back in history. This is because protein is considered to be one of the most important macronutrient for a diabetic. Also, the plant proteins are considered superior to animal proteins because it has less amount of unwanted fats. Whenever we talk about plant proteins, soya chunks come first to our minds because of their high protein and other nutritional value and nil fats.

 

Table showing nutritional facts of 100g of soya chunks
Calories 350  
GI 14  
Saturated fats 0g  
Carbs 32g (11g sugars & 3g dietary fibers) 9% (44% & 11%)
Proteins 51g  

 

Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load

The soya chunks being prepared from the soyabeans have glycemic index of around 14. This glycemic index lies within the lower range (or the good range with respect to diabetics) of glycemic index. Not just that, it lies near the lower limit of the lower range, thus making it extremely low GI food.

For 100g of soya chunks, the glycemic load at the GI of 14 will be: 14*32/100 = 4.5 GOOD

The glycemic load again lies within the lower range at 4.5, for 100g of soya chunks. Now that we know, foods with Glycemic Load of 10 (max.) can be consumed by diabetics without affecting their blood glucose levels. Therefore, we can double the recommended amount of soya chunks to 200g. But before doing this we need to look at the other nutritional contents (including proteins, fats and micronutrients), its potential benefits and side effects. So, let’ jump in…

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Proteins and fats

Soya chunks are derived from soybeans. They are considered to be one of the very good alternatives to meat proteins. This is due to the fact that the soy proteins are complete in the sense they are contained with all the nine essential amino acids. The NPU for soya chunks is placed at 61, thus retaining only 61% proteins of what is ingested. Thus, 100g of soya chunks will provide with 51g of proteins but will help retaining only 31g of it. However, it still is beneficial as it accounts for 62% of the recommended daily allowance, if consumed 100g of it. The only deficiency in soya chunks can be of sulphur aminoacids – methionine and cysteine. This is usually taken care of when soya chunks are processed from the defatted soy flour. Even if not, the soya chunks protein content can be supplement by methionine and cysteine sources such as mentioned by livestrong (check references).

The saturated fat content of soya chunks is placed at zero. Therefore it has a big advantage over meat which is notorious for the disadvantages of animal fat (because these are high in saturated fats). So, don’t think much, soya chunks and diabetes are the ‘enemies made for each other… 😛

Micronutrients

A 100g serving of soya chunks gives you 21mg (more than 100% RDA) of iron. Recommended iron intake for adults is around 19mg a day. Toxicity of iron appears at intake dose of 1200mg elemental iron. Thus, 100g of soya chunks is a safe amount in terms of its iron content.

The calcium content in 100g of soya chunks stands at 530mg (equivalent to 50% RDA). The RDA may increase with age, especially in older age group, due to increase demand by bony changes. Thus, one serving of soya chunks can help you reduce or avoid calcium supplementation if adjusted with other calcium containing foods. However, there are a few studies which mention increased risk of ischemic heart disease with regular intake of calcium supplements.

Benefits (Soya chunks and diabetes)

  1. In OBESITY: Soy protein when consumed in appropriate amounts is known to favor satiety and reduce the excessive amount of body fat in obese individuals.
  2. In OBESITY RELATED MECHANISMS: Soy protein is known improve the insulin sensitivity which is the hallmark mechanism in obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus.
  3. Soya Chunks and DIABETES: Soy protein in diet helps reducing the risk of atherosclerosis and lipotoxicity. Atherosclerosis literally means hardening of blood vessels – principal mechanism in Heart diseases, Kidney diseases and other organ disorders. Lipotoxicity is the toxic effects of excess fat accumulation around the various organs such as liver and pancreas. Excessive fat accumulation in liver causes hepatic insulin resistance, leading to increased synthesis of glucose in the liver cells. Similar accumulation around pancreas after one point causes reduction in insulin secretion.

Demerits

Soya chunks should be avoided in individuals who have reported to have allergy towards soy proteins.

Other sources of Soy protein

  1. Soy milk
  2. Soy flour
  3. Soy biscuits
  4. Soy paneer (Tofu)
  5. Soy bread

What foods to eat to lower blood sugar fast?

Warning:

  • Almost every individual, diabetic or non-diabetic, has its own bodily mechanism and metabolism. It is always cautioned that food recommendations should be correlated with personal health history and the advice of the doctor.
  • These calculations are based on the daily calorie intake of 2000. Therefore, if your calorie intake exceeds 2000 a day, you can increase the ideal serving size and vice versa. However, the recommended blood glucose level still remains the same.

Also, it is a good practice to have a rough calculation of the nutritional facts of the food items before eating them. This applies to the people belonging to all the spectra of health and fitness and not just diabetics.

Do you want me to analyse any other food item? Comment your request below.

References:

  • Sesia G, Pasquale G, Pigato M. [Scrotal injuries]. Arch Ital Urol Nefrol Androl. 1991;63(4):419-22. | Available from: Link
  • Herif M. Hassan (February 20th 2013). Soybean, Nutrition and Health, Soybean Hany El-Shemy, IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/54545. | Available from: Link
  • Food Sources of Methionine and Cysteine | LivingStrong | Available from: Link
  • Nutritional Value of Soya Chunks | SFgate | Available from : Link
  • Calories in Nutrela Boiled Soya Chunks | MyFitnessPal | Available from : Link
  • Blair RM, Henley EC, Tabor A. Soy foods have low glycemic and insulin response indices in normal weight subjects. Nutr J. 2006;5:35. | Available from : Link
  • The Shocking Truth About How Much Sugar You’re Eating | Rodale’s OrganicLife | Available from : Link
  • Amino Acids in Soy Protein | LiveStrong | Available from: Link
  • Amino acids | MedlinePlus | Available from : Link

Hey there, I'm a final year undergrad medical student at Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Medical College (SSRMC), Mauritius.

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