New Brazilian Study Demonstrates the Efficacy of an Exclusive Plant-based Protein Diet to Support Gains in Muscle and Strength

SAO PAULO – Nov. 03, 2021 – In recent years, isolated soy protein has shown to induce an increase in muscle protein synthesis rates.  A new investigation conducted by the Applied Physiology and Nutrition Research Group, University of São Paulo (USP), Brazil demonstrates that regardless of dietary preferences, both plant-based and meat-eaters will gain muscle mass and strength from isolated soy protein.

Funded by the Research Support Foundation of the State of São Paulo (FAPESP), the study placed 38 men (19 omnivores and 19 vegans), with a mean age of 25 years, in a supervised weight training program. For three months, the participants had two weekly training sessions. All subjects had their diets adjusted to include 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. The omnivores had supplemental whey added to their habitual diets, while the vegans had isolated soy protein.  At the beginning and the end of the experiment, data was collected for leg lean mass, whole muscle, and muscle fiber cross-sectional areas, as well as leg-press 1RM. The data showed that both groups achieved equal gains in muscle mass and strength. The methodology and results are documented in this article.

"The great findings from the USP study helps us to better understand in the field of muscle research. Until recently, whey protein was believed to be the optimal choice of protein. This new research from the university proves that soy protein supports the muscle just as well when supplemented with a plant-based diet. With a vegan group showing the same muscle gains as whey protein, it does give us a little different message about this specific population,” says Barbara Peters, nutrition scientist, IFF.

The research uses SUPRO® isolated soy protein, a high-quality plant protein source. SUPRO® has 90 percent protein content and all the amino acids needed for muscle health, as well as excellent digestibility.

“We are talking about a high-performance soy protein with a quality comparable to dairy protein such as whey. Our muscles require amino acids to serve as the building blocks to build and repair after exercise,” explains Eduardo Wongtschowski, regional product manager for proteins, LATAM, IFF.

“SUPRO® is suitable for use in sports nutrition supplement applications, either in a powdered or ready-to-drink beverage format. With the promising results from this new study, it may encourage greater use in other categories such as dietary supplements and performance nutrition products with better-for-you options,” adds Peters.

“In addition to its functional and nutritional benefits, isolated soy protein delivers excellent flavor performance and is a good economic alternative to dairy proteins,” says Wongtschowski.

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