Dear vegetarians, this one is especially for you. Cottage cheese and soya are to a vegetarian what chicken breast is to a non-vegetarian—a full-fledged source of protein!
However, ever since the high-fat content in the cottage cheese and the adulteration of the much-loved soya chaap came to light, the love for Nutrela soya chunks has only increased in a vegetarian’s life.
From adding them to rice pulao to mixing it with veggies in salads, soya chunks have found their place in our lives and how—all thanks to the claimed high protein content and its resulting power of aiding muscle-building.
What are these chunks exactly?
Basically, soya chunks are made from defatted soy flour, a by-product of extracting soybean oil and are quite dense nutritionally.
In fact, a 100 gram serving of the ‘vegetarian’s meat’ contains 52 grams of protein, 13 grams of fibre, and 35 grams of vitamins and minerals according to Jasleen Kaur, nutritionist and founder at Just Diet Clinic, Delhi.
So, are they really all that great?
“Yes, soya chunks are a good source of protein, especially for vegetarians,” says Kaur.
She adds that the protein content in them is comparable to that of meat, eggs, and milk. So needless to say, you get to enjoy all the benefits of protein such as a faster metabolism, muscle building, as well as better skin, hair, and bone health.
In fact, as per a study conducted in 2015, the wonder food is also capable of reducing bad cholesterol in the body and hence, promoting heart health.
Additionally, a study published in the journal Molecules found that soy isoflavones present in these chunks discourage fat build up around the organs, thus making it a great weight-loss aid as well.
But, conditions apply
“Consuming soya products in excess can increase the estrogen levels in the body,” warns Kaur.
In fact, this can lead to a condition known as estrogen dominance. So, if you’re a man, the excess of this hormone can give you the much-dreaded ‘man boobs’. In the case of women, it can lead to water retention, bloating, acne, and a toxic weight gain apart from weird mood swings, of course.
Additionally, overeating soya chunks can even cause constipation, nausea, and increase the frequency of urination according to Kaur.
Not to mention, the excess of protein due to an overconsumption of soya chunks can elevate the levels of uric acid in your body, which in turn can damage your kidneys and lead to deposition of uric acid crystals around your joints causing immense pain.
So, how much of it should you eat?
“Eating 25 to 30 grams of soya chunks a day is beneficial and will not increase the estrogen levels in the body. Neither will it increase the uric acid levels in the body,” suggests Kaur.
She also recommends consuming the fresh, home-cooked version if you really want to reap the health benefits of soya chunks.
So, you see, moderation is the key for this wonder food to do its magic but it is worth every claim of making you healthy!