Doctor Elvira de Mejia
If you’re serious about losing weight, check out recent studies done in Elvira de Mejia’s University of Illinois laboratory. Her research provides insight into the way a certain type of soy protein inhibits fat accumulation and reduces inflammation.
“We found that soybeans rich in beta-conglycinins limit lipid accumulation in fat cells by inhibiting an enzyme called fatty acid synthase,” said de Mejia, a U of I associate professor of food science and human nutrition.
“What’s more, we have identified the specific peptides (digested proteins) that do this, and we are now beginning to understand the mechanism behind it. This is exciting research because it could lead to the development of nutraceuticals to fight obesity,” she added.
The study was also the first to establish the anti-inflammatory properties of soy high in this type of protein. “The peptides fight inflammation by blocking key enzymes in the body’s immune response,” said the scientist…
“Using the latest molecular marker-assisted breeding techniques, soybeans with the right composition can be tagged and later identified using a simple leaf tissue sample. This would make it possible to create high-yielding cultivars that contained the ‘slimming’ trait for soybean farmers to grow in their fields,” she said.
de Mejia and her colleagues are now taking their research a step further by performing human trials with soy milk that is high in beta-conglycinins.
“For years we’ve known that soy protein is a good source of essential amino acids. Soy helps us maintain muscle mass, and its peptides make people feel full so they don’t eat as much,” she said.
“Now it appears that products made from soybeans selected for this particular protein profile may also help limit fat accumulation. Food manufacturers will be able to create soy products targeted at consumers who are trying to maintain their ideal weight,” she said.
One more example of what Asian cultures discovered over time – that holds a promising alternative to negative aspects of a Western diet.