Benefits of Soy Mealmaker

People who do not eat meat are no strangers to soy protein, and vegans and vegetarians are among the many who enjoy meals made with soya powder, soya chunks, tofu, tempeh and more. Fortunately, the soya chunks nutrition facts and health benefits are in alignment with many people's health goals.

People who do not eat meat are no strangers to soy protein, and vegans and vegetarians are among the many who enjoy meals made with soya chunks. Credit: vikif/iStock/GettyImages

There is some controversy about whether soy is good or bad for you. When eaten in moderate amounts, soy protein has several health benefits and is a great source of vegan protein.

Soy protein is also extremely versatile. Soya powder can be blended into plant-based protein shakes, soya chunks can be added to stews, and tofu can be cooked to imitate meat. If you want to eat less meat, consider trying soy mealmaker.

What Is Soy Mealmaker?

Soy mealmaker is another name for soya chunks. When soybean oil is made, soy flour is left behind. This by-product is then used to make soy mealmaker (defatted soya powder), which can be used in place of different types of meat.

There are different brands of soy mealmaker products. Nutrela is a well-known maker of soy mealmaker. Their product — Nutrela Soya Chunks — is all-vegetarian and 99 percent fat-free. It is mainly found in Indian markets or online.

This version of soy is different from other versions, such as tofu, because it is essentially dehydrated. This type of soy is similar to textured vegetable protein (TVP) or soy curls. However, soy mealmaker and soya chunks are more common in Indian cuisine.

Since soya chunks are made from soy flour, they have little to no flavor. This is one advantage to cooking with soy mealmaker products because you have full control over the taste. You can use various spices to make the type of dish you want.

Read more: Is Soy Milk Bad for Women?

Soya Chunks Nutrition Facts

The soy mealmaker or soya chunks nutrition facts may vary per brand. According to the Nutrela Soya Chunks nutrition facts website, one 100-gram serving contains:

  • 345 calories
  • 52 grams of protein
  • 0.5 grams of fat
  • 33 grams of carbohydrates
  • 13 grams of fiber
  • 350 milligrams of calcium

The soya chunks nutrition facts do not include any other ingredients, spices or toppings, so a recipe may alter the nutrient content. The preparation method, such as frying in oil, may also increase the calories and fat.

If the calories in soya chunks concern you, consider having a smaller portion size or dividing the serving throughout the day. Depending on your caloric intake, soya chunks may be a significant source of calories.

Soya chunks also contain some vitamins and minerals. The iron, vitamin A and vitamin C content is not significant, but soya chunks make for a great source of calcium. According to the USDA, adult men and women need 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day. One serving of soya chunks provides 35 percent Daily Value (DV) of calcium.

Read more: Soy Protein vs. Meat Protein

Soya Chunks Benefits

One of the major soya chunks benefits is the high protein content. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, soy flour — the main ingredient in soy mealmaker — is among the soy products highest in protein. Soy protein can also lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease and prevent some hormone-related cancers.

Soy is also a great source of isoflavones, which are compounds known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. According to a June 2016 study published in Nutrients, isoflavones found in soybeans and soy products help reduce markers of inflammation. Researchers also found anti-cancer properties, though more research is needed.

Other soya chunks benefits include their effects on estrogen levels in women with hormonal imbalances. Postmenopausal women and women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are among the groups where this benefit is most helpful.

According to a small September 2016 study with 70 women published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, the isoflavones found in soy alleviate some of the symptoms of PCOS, such as hormonal imbalances, insulin resistance, inflammation and oxidative stress.

Read more: The Benefits of Soy Milk — and Some Drawbacks

Side Effects of Soy

There has been controversy surrounding the health benefits of soy protein and whether or not those health benefits outweigh the risks and side effects. The area of concern surrounding soy is due to the presence of phytoestrogens, which are compounds that are naturally occurring in plants yet are analogous to the estrogen hormone found in mammals.

One side effect of soy is that it may increase estrogen levels in women. While this is a benefit for women with low levels of estrogen, it is an unwanted side effect for other people. Fortunately, these side effects are rare.

According to a December 2014 study published in German Medical Science, the effects of dietary phytoestrogens, especially those in soy products, are found only in large populations. Essentially, the effects are very subtle.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, consuming soy is considered safe despite the possible side effects. There have been many scientific studies that confirm the safety of soy, even for women who have had breast cancer or are at risk of breast cancer.

Incorporate Soy Mealmaker

Soy does not have the best reputation. It is often blamed for hormonal health problems and even serious health conditions like cancer. While some researchers suggest that more research is needed, many experts support the existing research that confirms soy is a safe food product and dietary source of many nutrients, especially plant-based protein.

While soy has some possible side effects, it is also beneficial. Nutritionally, it is a great source of calcium and isoflavones. It can also help reduce the risk of diseases like heart disease and certain cancers.

To incorporate soy mealmaker into your diet, add soya chunks to dishes you already love. Instead of meatballs with your spaghetti, use soya chunks seasoned with basil and oregano. Soya chunks also pair well with Indian dishes, such as korma and curry. Add soya chunks to any savory meal for extra protein and texture.

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