This is fascinating research for several reasons. First of all, there are currently 18 million Americans with diabetes, and the vast majority of those are type 2 diabetics. So this research has potential for treating these millions of Americans. One of the problems with diabetics is diabetic kidney disease, which is often diagnosed by observing the symptom of high protein levels in urine. This protein is almost always in the form of albumin, which is a protein derived from animal-based proteins such as cow's milk or whey protein. What this study shows, however, is that switching from animal-based proteins to soy protein had a measurable beneficial effect on decreasing unwanted proteins in the urine, and presumably promoting healthy kidney function in diabetic patients.
This research is also correlating some of what I've been finding in my own experience. For many years I have been recommending whey protein as a good source of protein for those pursuing a low-carbohydrate diet or who simply need a better source of protein other than animal protein. However, I've always held some concern with the idea that whey protein is derived from cow's milk. Cow's milk is something that I have frequently stated should be avoided by all human beings; in fact, cow's milk is the perfect food for baby cows, but not at all a good food for human beings. Strangely, human beings are the only species that will consume a liquid from another species and consider it to be food.
From a nutritional standpoint, cow's milk is imbalanced for human consumption and lacks several key nutrients, such as GLA, that are critical to the function of the human brain. One of the other problems with cow's milk is that it contains an animal-based protein, of course. That protein is called casein, and it is this casein that when ingested in large doses promotes diabetic kidney disease and results in high levels of albumin in the urine.
But there's another problem with casein, and that's the fact that casein causes stagnation throughout the human body. People who consume large quantities of casein frequently suffer from constipation and chronic sinus congestion. They may also suffer from asthma and mucus in the lungs. Of course, a person who is of outstanding physical health can normally handle a fair amount of casein in their diet without experiencing trouble. However, a person whose health is already compromised, such as anyone with type 2 diabetes, would see the negative impact of casein accelerated in their body. They might suffer from chronic sinus congestion or sinus pain. They may be frequently constipated, or suffer from asthma-like symptoms due to the build-up of mucus in their lungs.
In fact, people who drink cow's milk or consume whey protein are, in a way, encouraging the creation of mucus throughout their body -- not only in their sinus areas, but also in their digestive tract and lungs. The way to avoid these problems is to switch to soy protein, and soy protein is something I consume on a regular basis. In fact, now, after further research on casein, I have given up whey protein entirely.
Soy protein is useful for many other health conditions, not just type 2 diabetes. It has also been shown to prevent and help fight cancer as well as to stabilize blood sugar levels -- especially in diabetics and people who eat refined carbohydrates.
You can get soy protein from soy milk, isolated soy protein powders, tofu, soy cheese, and other products made from soy. Be careful, however, when purchasing isolated soy protein supplements, because you certainly don't want soy protein made with sweeteners -- and the sweeteners to avoid are unfortunately precisely those sweeteners that are frequently used in soy protein products. You don't want sucralose or aspartame, because those are artificial chemical sweeteners with questionable long-term health impacts.
Aspartame in particular is known as an excitotoxin and has been shown to cause neurological problems in the human body. You also don't want fructose in your soy protein mix, and fructose is probably the most common ingredient in isolated soy protein powders. Fructose is a form of sugar, and even though it closely mimics the sugar molecules found in fruits, fructose is still a refined white sugar, and that makes any soy protein using fructose a processed food that should be avoided. The only sweetener that's acceptable in soy protein is stevia, and there are very few companies that make isolated soy protein powders that use only stevia as their primary sweetener. I plan to be reviewing some of those in later articles.
In the meantime, be sure to check the ingredients on any soy protein products you might be purchasing, and make sure you're not buying products with fructose, aspartame, sucralose, or other sweeteners. But if I had to choose between aspartame and fructose, I would go with fructose, because I think fructose is less damaging to your health than aspartame.
If you are a type 2 diabetic, hopefully you're already working with a naturopathic physician. If so, you might want to make them aware of this study and see what advice they might give you on switching to soy protein. It also seems clear that if you are suffering from type 2 diabetes, shifting away from all cow's milk products would be a very good idea in terms of supporting your health. That would mean no milk, no cheese, no dairy products of any kind. For many people following the Atkins diet or low-carb diets, that may prove difficult. But in time, you can switch your tastes from dairy products to soy products, and live the rest of your life quite satisfied from the consumption of soy products.