There are actually a few different ways to make soy protein isolate, but the most common way is pretty disturbing. Through a process called hexane extraction, the fats are separated from the soybean. This hexane bath the soybeans soak in is actually super dangerous. Hexane is a gasoline byproduct that is extremely explosive.
“Soy protein really is the best vegan alternative to whey and casein protein products,” says Valdez. You can always start eating more high-protein, vegan-friendly protein sources too, like pea protein, brown rice protein, and hemp protein.
Made through a process called acid-washing, soybeans get soaked in acid or alcohol to remove the sugar and dietary fiber. Then, what’s left gets dehydrated which ultimately makes a dry powder that looks like any ‘ole protein powder.
Soy protein isolates are traditionally prepared from defatted soy meal using aqueous or mild alkali extraction (pH 7-10) of proteins and soluble carbohydrates. The insoluble residue, mostly carbohydrate, is thus removed by centrifugation, followed by precipitation of soy protein at its isoelectric point (pH in the range of 4.5).
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