Many of us are always trying new things that will help us to lose weight and stay healthy. There are hundreds of diets that claim to ‘sculpt’ your body and help you to shed those unwanted pounds quickly and easily – but how do we know they really work without having to waste our time, energy, and money on it? Choose a diet that has been researched thoroughly and accurately by professionals who know what to look for in a healthy diet.
Researchers at the University of Illinois are performing studies of the effect that soy has on people and how it could help to effectively lose weight. Elvira de Mejia – the U of I assistant professor of food science and human nutrition said, “We wanted to compare the effects of soy protein hydrolysates and soy peptides with those of leptin because we hypothesized that soy might behave in the body in a similar way. Leptin is a hormone produced in the adipose tissue that interacts with receptors in the brain and signals us that we’re full so we stop eating.”
In this study they were hoping to find some answers to see if the soy protein hydrolysates would have any effect on regulatory hormones and their receptors. “And we found that soy did have an effect on these mechanisms and hormones that are induced in the body to help us degrade lipids and reduce body weight, but it did so by boosting metabolism and not by reducing food intake,” Mejia said.
In order to compare the leptin with the soy peptides graduate student Nerissa Vaughn and associate professor Lee Beverly worked together to implant cannulas into the brains of the lab rats. After these implants they then injected the rats with leptin to be a positive control. This testing showed positive results –which gave them the push they needed to take their research even farther. They began to inject the rats with two formulations of soy peptides and the hydrolyzed soy protein. This test would allow them to keep track of the effects that weight loss and food intake would have on them.
They gave the lab rats the injection three times a week for a period of two weeks. It was during this time that the animals were given unlimited amounts of food and water. They measured the food intake to be 3,6,12,24, and 48 hours after the injection took place and they weighed the rats 24 and 48 hours after the injection. Each rat was given the same amount of exercise and it was recorded that each rat lost weight.
However, it was not until the third injection that both Vaughn and Mejia began to notice a significant amount of weight loss in the rats that had been given only one of the soy hydrolysates. They lost the weight without ever changing the way they eat. This proved that the soy helped to induce weight loss by speeding up the metabolism instead of reducing the amount of food that they ate.
This study helped to prove that eating less is not always the right answer. “Weight loss is a complex physiological event. It’s not always as simple as “Eat less or exercise more. Losing weight is a cascade of many steps, beginning with the production of certain hormones and continuing with their action in the brain. Some people are resistant to these hormones, just as other people are insulin-resistant. These people never receive the message from the brain that tells them they’re full,” said Mejia.
With this new research Mejia is hoping to purify and fractionate the soy hydrolysates – which will help her to find the peptides and to understand their bioactivity.