The efficacy of soya and soya derivatives in lowering total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol was recently supported by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approving a health claim about the role of soya protein in reducing the risk of CHD. In 1999 the FDA finalised a rule that authorises the use on food labels and in food packages under FDA jurisdiction of the health claims concerning the association between soya protein and reduced risk of CHD: '25g of soya protein a day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease' (37). Serum total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol concentrations can be lowered by about 13%, plasma TG by 10% and HDL-cholesterol goes up by about 2% (38), and these beneficial effects are also seen in people with Type 2 diabetes (39). It is unclear if the benefits come from the main phyto-oestrogens found in soya, diadzein and genistein or from the soy protein itself. Epidemiological evidence suggests high intakes of flavonols such as onions, broccoli, apples and tea may reduce the risk of CHD or certain cancers - however, as yet, prospective data in disease prevention is lacking.
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