T Nation

If you had a choice....

Ok guys heres the situation: lets say you haven’t eaten in a while and the only source of food would be a protien bar whos number one source of protien comes from soy protien isolate, with caesin and whey as afterthoughts in the protien blend. Would it be better to eat that or wait a few more hours or whatever to get a meal, shake, etc.?

eat it.

gee you may grow big boobs and want to decorate your house. are you for real?

Although I try to avoid soy products as much as possible, I don’t think a small, occasional amount is going to be a big deal. Eat a soy bar every day? Noway! Eat a soy bar once in a blue moon to keep from becoming catabloic? I probably would. In fact, I’ve probably ate worse things whem really really hungary. I avoid soy but don’t get to obsessive about it to the point of completely avoiding eating.

I think soy is like anything else, use it moderation and it won’t hurt you. I’m Asian so i have been eating it for 34 years and it has’nt hurt me.

thats a good question. I’d say go for it though. You have to weigh out your options. Neither way is optimal. Which is worse though. The negative estrogen effect of the soy or the catabolic effect of not eating? I’d say, not eating would do more damage. How about this situation though. You are faced with the same dilemma, but all you have is some sort of carby carb low/no protein meal. Then would you wait a few more hours for the good stuff even though it is time to eat then, or would you eat the way the “normal” people eat?

I think the whole “evil soy” thing is being beat to death on this forum. I’ll admit I may be wrong but I just don’t think soy is all that bad a thing for lifters. I’m not saying it’s ideal and I’m not saying there aren’t estrogens in it but I think it’s kind of like a “reverse HMB” type of situation. HMB is a supplement that looks good on paper in terms of muscle gain but just hasn’t proved to be much good in the real world. By the same token, soy, because of the estrogens, looks bad on paper but doesn’t seem to actually limit muscle growth by much. I ate a LOT of soy for a long time (my ex was a vegetarian and loved the stuff) and never noticed any catabolic effects. In fact, during this period (in my mid-thirties) I put on a lot of muscle and increased my lifts by a lot (and I think my “numbers” are very impressive for a guy my age). Now the effects of soy may be greater on different people, particularly youngsters who haven’t fully developed, and concentrated soy isoflavone pills are definitely to be avoided, but the idea that a soy protein bar after working out will make you grow breasts is absolutely crazy. Lots of lifters use soy as a protein source and I work out with one guy who is built like a brick shithouse (225+ lbs., very low bodyfat, 500+ lbs. bench) who eats tofu, and has for years, like you wouldn’t belive (I mean PLATES full of the stuff). His situation is similar to what mine was in that his wife loves tofu and makes it all the time. Now, I’m not saying soy should be your principle protein source, both me and the guy I just mentioned have ALWAYS (we’re both now in our 40s) made sure we eat plently of RED MEAT but some soy protein won’t damage results in terms of real world strength or mass, while not eating after working out WILL have adverse consequences. I have the impression that lots of skinny college kids are reading this board and going crazy to avoid soy (not eating products that have even just a few grams of soy, etc.) when the reality is they should be far more concerned with other things (like getting enough red meat and sleep) that actually can make a difference over the long term.

Blackjack said it all!

Blackjack - I greatly enjoyed your post. Nothing will impair your gains more than excessively worrying about small things and forgetting about the big boys. There are too many people that think it’s ok to miss a workout once a week, but would not dare touch anything with soy. Good post!

I believe it’s always better to eat something not so good then miss a meal. If your bars are what you got, then go for it… but try to get better bars to keep on hand for next time. If you’re out and about, then try to find something that fits your diet needs on short notice - hell, even Burger king and the like is better then missing a meal (order it with no sauce, and skip the bun if your low-carbing). Of course, you can always pack a few packets of an MRP and use that the next time (if you need to, buy a bottled water, drink a bit of it, and roll up a piece of paper into a funnel to get the MRP into it, and you’ve got an instant shaker - 1.5 liter bottles seem to work the best for this).