Soy protein in your diet
What is the difference between whey and soy protein and how does it affect your fitness/workout performance?
First, I would like to mention that there is a lot of “talk” and research being done in relation to soy and possible links to cancer. After speaking to Betsy Oriolo, our dietician at Sensible Fitness, she does not feel that it is substantial enough to tell people to stay away from soy, as there are also many benefits from it.
In regard to muscle growth, whey protein looks to be superior. It is digested well and quickly gets to muscles after workout. Whey has branched chain amino acids, in particular leucine, which is beneficial for muscle repair. Weight training causes your muscles to actually be damaged, which is the soreness you may feel a day or two later, and they repair themselves stronger and with more tone. Leucine has been shown to aid in this process.
Whey and many soy products are protein supplements, which means they are used to give your body protein over and above what your diet is giving you. It is important to make sure that this is right for you based on what your fitness goals are. Because carbs are easily found and very enjoyable to the palate, you do not usually need to supplement them into your diet unless you are performing endurance activities. Protein on the other hand is not so enjoyable. Do you ever crave chicken breasts or egg whites? Usually not, which is where a protein supplement can be advantageous if you are not getting enough protein from food.
I personally believe in balance and moderation. Because my fitness goals require a higher protein intake, I enjoy both soy milk and tofu in a breakfast smoothie, while having a whey protein drink for a snack. I feel it is best to get your nutrients from food whenever possible and then supplement only as needed and with a balance of various sources.