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Iso-Rich Soy
(Jarrow Formulas)

Protein Powders

by Gary F. Zeolla

Soy protein was actually the first protein I used via Twinlab's Vege Fuel. However, I later switched to Jarrow's Iso-Rich Soy as the label indicates that the soy protein is “non-GMO” meaning it is attained from soy that had not been genetically modified. Since 90% of the soy produced in the USA is GMO soy, if a product does not specifically indicate it is non-GMO, then it is probably GMO soy. Such was the case with the Twinlab product and every other soy protein powder I've seen, except for the Jarrow product.

The Jarrow soy is also basically pure protein, containing no carbs or fat. It contains natural vanilla flavoring, but no sweetener, so you will probably want to add some kind of sweetener. I would recommend using liquid stevia, available from iHerb. An eye-dropper full is enough to sweeten a quart of protein powder.

But I should mention that the consumption of soy is actually a very controversial issue. There are many proposed health benefits to soy consumption, but there are also potential drawbacks. I won't go into details here as I do so in the two-part article Soy: Health Food or Food to Avoid?. Here, I will just say that I stopped consuming soy altogether due to the potential drawbacks. But if I were to use it, I would only use non-GMO soy, hence I would recommend Jarrow's soy rather than Twinlab's or some other brand.

The reason this product is called "Iso-Rich" is that it is formulated in such a way as to be especially high in isoflavones. These are the substances in soy that are believed to be responsible for its purported health benefits. It is also high in IP6 (inositol hexaphosphate). IP6 is believed to be beneficial to the immune and cardiovascular systems. It can even be purchased separately as a supplement. But such supplementation is not necessary if one is using a product like this one.

As a general rule, soy protein is not of as high a quality as animal proteins. However, this product has been formulated  in such a way that it's Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS) is 1.00. This is the same as the PDCAAS for egg white and casein proteins.

And finally, one notable possible benefit for weightlifters from soy is that soy is high in the amino acid glutamine. This is the most abundant amino acid in muscle tissue, and many feel that a high intake aids in muscle repair and building. But given the potential problems with soy, I am only giving this product 3 stars.

October 2014 Update

In October of 2014 I thought of trying to reincorporate soy into my diet. I was thinking of doing so as I've been consuming a lot of dairy, so I figured it might be good to replace one of the 1-2 servings a day of the Natural Whey and Natural Casein Protein Powders I was consuming with a soy protein powder. But before spending the money on a container of soy protein powder, I purchased a much cheaper half gallon of Giant Eagle brand Organic, Plain Soymilk. Being organic, by definition, it is also non-GMO. And this product only contains water, soy, sugar, and natural flavoring, plus several vitamins and minerals. Therefore, if I had a problem with it, it would most likely be the soy.

But first, I should mention that a common symptom I experience if I consume something I am allergic to is I am not able to sleep at night. I know that sounds weird, but it has happened so many times that I know it to be true. That said, I drank one cup of this soymilk with my pre-workout cereal about 3pm. That night, I went to bed about 10:15 pm as usual, but then at 2 am I woke up, wide awake. Again that is what happens when I am exposed to allergens during the day. Then after that I tossed and turned the rest of the night. I might have fell asleep for short periods of time, but I was definitely not rested when I got up at 6 am.

But I wanted to be sure it was the soymilk, so the next day I did the same thing. But this time something strange happened. About 9 pm I began feeling very cold while watching TV, even though it was 70 degrees in the room. Then when I went to bed, I put on all of my covers, but I was still cold, even though it was 69 degrees in my bedroom. I was so cold I had a hard time falling asleep. Then throughout the night I repeatedly wake up shivering, stayed awake for a while, then fall back asleep, only to wake up again freezing. Finally at 4 am I felt warmed up, took off a blanket, and fell asleep until my alarm went off at 6 am. I have never experienced such a thing before, but I can only guess that it was related to soy's propensity to mess up hormones.

But whatever the case, that was the end of my thought of using soy again. I was rather obviously allergic to it, and it might have been having other weird effects on my body. But before this little failed experiment, I had taken the time to do a little research on soy protein powders. I will relate what I learned and was thinking of doing if the soy experiment had gone well, so if the reader wishes to use such products, you will know where to begin.

iHerb is my "go to" source for natural foods and supplements, so the following links are to it. If you order any of these items, use referral code HOP815 to receive $5.00 off your first order. I first checked to see if  Jarrow Formulas, Iso-Rich Soy, Powder was still available, and I was pleased that it was and that it still is non-GMO. It contains natural vanilla flavoring but no sweetener, so I first thought of sweetening it with liquid stevia. But all such products contain either alcohol, which I am also allergic to, or glycerin, which gives me runny stools. But then I noticed Now Foods, Certified Organic, Better Stevia, Extract Powder. It contains only stevia, so it would be a good product to use. And that would give me a relatively good tasting vanilla soy protein.

But then I looked for Twinlab, Vege Fuel, Unflavored, Powder. I had used this product a long time ago before switching to the Jarrow product, as the Jarrow product was non-GMO while the Twinlab wasn't. But I was pleased to see that the Vege Fuel is now also non-GMO. Kudos to Twinlab for making the switch. But the Twinlab product has no flavoring or sweetener, so I figured I use the Now Stevia Powder to sweeten it, and for flavoring, I'd use Now Foods, Healthy Foods, Certified Organic, Cocoa Powder. In that way, I'd have both a vanilla and a chocolate flavored soy protein powder. Thus if you're going to use a soy protein powder, you might want to give those ideas a try.

Iso-Rich Soy  - Protein Powders. Copyright 2003, 2004, 2014 by Gary F. Zeolla.

The above protein powder is available at iHerb and Amazon.
For iHerb, use coupon code HOP815 to get $5.00 off your first order.

The above article was posted on this site May 9, 2004
and last updated June 21, 2017.

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