The researchers wanted to see if hydrolysates of soy protein may affect the regulation of these hormones and their receptors. "And we found that soy had an effect on these mechanisms and hormones that are induced in the body to help the degradation of fat and reduce weight, but it does so by increasing the metabolism and not reducing food intake, "she says.
"We wanted to compare the effects of hydrolysates of soy proteins and soy peptides with those of leptin because we hypothesized that soy might behave in the body in a similar way. Leptin is a hormone produced in our adipose tissue that interacts with receptors in the brain and the signals that we are full stop eating, "said Elvira de Mejia, a U of I assistant professor of food science and human nutrition .
Research shows that when soy consumption goes up, the weight decreases. A new study from the University of Illinois in May to help scientists understand exactly how that weight loss occurs.
To compare soy peptides with leptin, the Mejia graduate student Nerissa Vaughn, with the help of professor Lee Beverly, implanted cannulas in the brains of lab rats, they injected leptin as a positive control. When the scientists could see their working model, they injected two formulations of hydrolyzed soy protein and soy peptides, scientists can, in order to monitor the effects of each on food intake and weight loss.
Injections were given three times a week for two weeks, during this period, the animals have unrestricted access to food and water. Food intake was measured 3, 6, 12, 24 and 48 hours after injection, and rats were weighed 24 and 48 hours after injection. All rats received the same amount of exercise, and all rats lost weight.
But after the third injection, de Mejia and Vaughn noticed a significant weight loss in the group of animals that received one of the soy hydrolysates, even though the animals have not changed their eating habits. In this case, soy protein appears to have caused weight loss not by reducing food intake but by altering the metabolism rats.
Experience has shown that not only soy peptides could interact with receptors in the brain, it has shown that eating less is not always the reason for weight loss, said the researcher.
"Weight loss is a complex physiological event. It is not always as simple as' Eat less or exercise more," said Mejia. " Losing weight is a cascade of steps, starting with the production of certain hormones and of their further action in the brain. Some people are resistant to these hormones, just like other people are insulin resistant. These people have never received the message from the brain that tells them they are full, "she added.
Mejia plans to continue to investigate the effects of soy proteins on weight loss. She believes soy contains anorectic peptides that signal a feeling of satiety, as well as peptides that boost metabolism. The next step is to divide and purify the soy hydrolysates so that she can identify each peptide and understand its bioactivity.
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