Soybean – Best protein source for vegetarians?

soybean best protein source for vegetarians


Soybean is one of the highest protein content vegetarian food available. Many people prefer to eat soybean to fulfill their protein requirement for muscle building. But there are so many rumors and concerns regarding soybean and its protein, let’s understand soybean and its pros and cons.

Weak BCAA Profile

When protein breaks down in body, it gets converted into amino acids which finally reach muscles through blood for further muscle development.

Soybean is weak in  BCAA(branch chain amino acids) as compared to whey which is important for enhancing muscle building but surprisingly higher in Arginine and Glutamine than whey, so we can’t consider soy protein as the first protein choice when we want to stop muscle breakdown and move body into an anabolic state as BCAA plays dominant role in pushing body into an anabolic state.

Increase Estrogen

Estrogen is a female dominant hormone. It’s not good for male body as it should be present in very low level. Soybean contains isoflavones which further leads to increased estrogen levels in human body. But again the point is how much soy protein contributes your total daily protein intake will matter.

Raw Soybean

Some people prefer raw soybean over processed soy protein such as soy protein isolate supplement. But as my personal experience with soybean was like this :-

a) Difficult to digest
b) Contains some carbs. and fats (but mainly good fat).

So the only way to use it to mix them with wheat flour in a limited quantity for making chapatis.

Soy Protein Isolate

It is the most purified form of soy protein by eliminating carbohydrates and fat from it and delivers 90% protein, the raw form taste very nasty and flavoured protein are just drinkable but those protein which contains soy protein as a part of whole combination taste good.

Protein Quality Ratings

Protein quality is measured on the basis of :-

a) PDCAAS (Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score)
b) B.V.(Biological Value)
c) P.E.R.(Protein Efficiency Ratio)
d) N.P.U.(Net Protein Utilization)

Soybean is a little behind in this race as compared to egg and whey protein in all above measures and not able to make an impact as one of the best protein sources. It is very important that how much protein body can absorb and utilize for actual muscle building.

Soy is definitely behind  egg and whey protein in above measures but in PDCAAS value, soy competes with equal score of 1 with both type of protein which means if you are consuming soy protein isolate then the digestibility of that protein is very good.

Other soybean products

Product like nutrela (soyabean chunks), soybean oil are completely different than raw soybean and do not contain above issues with them, you can enjoy them. I personally like soybean chunks, they taste great and have enough amount of protein also.

Final words for Soybean

Finally what I will say is that you can give it a try, I personally never used whole soy proteins ever but tried protein which contain soy as a part of it and they were good, soy protein is not perfect but the fact is they still have the muscle building amino acids and will build your muscles.


Soybean is not a nature’s wow Like egg but still have so many good things in it. They are a part of our life and will be always. No need to be afraid of them, make them a part of your food list but don’t over do them like whey and egg.