The combination of soy protein and stevioside, a derivative of the leaves of the stevia plant (Stevia rebaudiana), may counteract the numerous biochemical manifestations of metabolic syndrome, according to a recent report in the journal Metabolism.*
Afflicting more than 50 million Americans, metabolic syndrome is characterized by insulin resistance, hypertension, elevated triglycerides, and diminished high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
Animal studies have shown that stevioside lowers blood pressure and blood glucose, while soy protein is known for its beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease risk markers in type II diabetes. Stevia leaf is a calorie-free natural sweetener. Danish researchers sought to determine whether the combination of soy protein and stevioside would offer benefits in treating type II diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
In this 10-week study, male diabetic rats were randomly assigned to four groups fed different test diets. The control group received a standard carbohydrate-rich chow diet, while the other groups received either standard chow plus stevioside, half chow and half soy protein, or half chow and half soy protein plus stevioside. Each week, the researchers measured plasma glucose, blood pressure, weight, and food intake in the test subjects.
After two weeks of treatment, the stevioside-supplemented rats demonstrated reductions in systolic blood pressure and blood glucose levels. The rats supplemented with soy protein demonstrated reductions in total cholesterol, triglycerides, and free fatty acids.
The researchers concluded, “The combination of stevioside and soy supplementation appears to possess the potential as an effective treatment of a number of the characteristic features of the metabolic syndrome.”
—Christie C. Yerby, ND