T-men and T-vixens, check out this new study on soy protein. Although in this study the animals got either soy or casein only for 15 weeks and most people would not only eat soy protein alone for that period of time, it kind of makes you want to rethink using soy as your main protein source. Basically the researchers found that soy protein accelerates protein breakdwown (preferentially in myofibrillar - muscle - protein) due to rises in cortisol/glucocorticoids from soy consumption. I think that some soy in your diet (from cereals or bars) will not harm you at all but big soy meals or taking most of your protein from soy is not beneficial.
Br J Nutr 2001 Apr;85(4):447-57 Activation of skeletal muscle protein breakdown following consumption of soyabean protein in pigs. Lohrke B, Saggau E, Schadereit R, Beyer M, Bellmann O, Kuhla S, Hagemeister H. Research Institute for Biology of Farm Animals, Dummerstorf-Rostock, Department of Animal Nutrition, Germany. email@example.com.
Diets with protein of inferior quality may increase protein breakdown in skeletal muscle but the experimental results are inconsistent. To elucidate the relationship, pigs were fed isoenergetic and isonitrogenous diets based on soyabean-protein isolate or casein for 15 weeks, with four to six animals per group. A higher plasma level of urea (2.5-fold the casein group value, P = 0.01), higher urinary N excretion (2.1-fold the casein group value, P = 0.01), a postabsorptive rise in the plasma levels of urea, 3-methylhistidine and isoleucine in soyabean protein-fed pigs suggested recruitment of circulatory amino acids by protein breakdown in peripheral tissues. Significant differences between dietary groups were detected in lysosomal and ATP-dependent proteolytic activities in the semimembranosus muscle of food-deprived pigs. A higher concentration of cathepsin B protein was found, corresponding to a rise in the cathepsin B activity, in response to dietary soyabean protein. Muscle ATP-stimulated proteolytical activity was 1.6-fold the casein group value (P = 0.03). A transient rise in the level of cortisol (2.9-times the casein group value, P = 0.02) occurred in the postprandial phase only in the soyabean group. These data suggest that the inferior quality of dietary soyabean protein induces hormonally-mediated upregulation of muscle protein breakdown for recruitment of circulatory amino acids in a postabsorptive state.