Q. "I recently bought some textured soy protein, since it seemed pretty healthy. But I've since read some articles stating that textured soy protein is not as healthy as it seems. Could you please provide your input? I'd like to include it in my diet if it is not too unhealthy."
A.Like many foods that make our lives more convenient, textured soy protein (also known as texturized vegetable protein or TVP) can help people to have healthy diet without having so much meat.
What's Good About TVP ?
TVP is an inexpensive and relatively concentrated source of complete, plant-based protein. It's made from the part of the soybean that's left over when the beans are processed into soybean oil. When rehydrated, TVP has a texture like cooked ground beef, which makes it very popular as a vegetarian meat substitute. Food manufacturers use textured soy protein to produce veggie bacon, chicken nuggets, soy-burgers, and so on. You can also use TVP in chili or to make a vegetarian Bolognese sauce for your spaghetti.
How Much Soy Is Too Much ?
For reasons I discussed in my series on Soy Pros and Cons, I also think it's wise to avoid eating excessive amounts of soy. But because soy is used to produce so many vegetarian alternatives - such as soy yogurt, milk, cheese, and meat substitutes - it's easy for vegetarians and vegans to end up eating soy at every single meal, without even realizing it.
Does TVP Fit into a Healthy Diet ?
Here's the bottom line on TVP and foods made with it: I don't think it's necessary to avoid processed foods or soy products. Occasionally enjoying some TVP as a protein source or meat substitute is perfectly fine.