Soy protein, found in products like tofu and soy yogurt, could significantly reduce fat accumulation and triglycerides in the livers of obese patients, according to new research presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. University of Illinois researchers found that soy protein works in the liver by partially restoring the function of a key signaling pathway in the organ. Almost a third of Americans are estimated to have fatty liver disease, but many are not symptomatic and may not realize that they have the condition. Obesity increases the risk of developing fatty liver disease, as in obese people, the transport of fat to adipose tissue can slow down to the point at which the liver becomes essentially, a “dumping ground” for excess fat. When fat accumulates in an organ that’s not supposed to store fat, such as the liver, that organ’s vital function can be dangerously compromised.
The study used animal models to track fat accumulation in the livers of rats from a diet containing casein, a milk based protein, versus soy protein. The rats were put on the diets for 17 weeks. The key finding was that in lean rodents, the type of protein in the diet did not have an effect on fat accumulation in the liver, but in obese rodents, those on the soy diet experienced a 20 percent reduction in triglycerides, as well as a reduction in fat accumulation in the liver. By partially restoring the function of a key signaling pathway, (which is called Wnt/B-catenin), soy protein could help reduce liver fat accumulation in obese people, concluded the researchers.
At LifeShape Advanced Bariatric Center of Florida, our team prioritizes staying on the leading edge of obesity and obesity-related research, in order to provide the best, most comprehensive care for our patients. You can learn more about the weight loss options offered at LifeShape on our website or by registering to attend a free educational seminar, held at several locations throughout Florida.