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Nearly 70 Percent of Health Professionals Support Biotechnology's Use in Food Products

Biotechnology Recognized as a Tool to Make Soyfoods Even Healthier

ST. LOUIS, March 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Recent research reveals that 82 percent of healthcare professionals believe soy to be beneficial to the diet. And, the majority recognizes agricultural biotechnology as a method to make food products such as soyfoods even healthier. These findings come from the Healthcare Professional Biotechnology Awareness & Attitude Survey - sponsored by the United Soybean Board (USB) and conducted by an independent research firm in January 2009.

The study found that nearly 70 percent of healthcare professionals report having an overall favorable view of agricultural biotechnology for use in food products (68 percent). One in ten hold a negative view, while the remainder are neutral in opinion or unsure, suggesting a need for more outreach. When informed that biotechnology can be used to enhance soybeans in precise ways, the majority of survey respondents found these developments impressive enough they would recommend increased soyfood consumption to patients:

  • Omega-3s are essential fatty acids that may help reduce blood pressure and prevent heart disease. An increased omega-3 soybean oil would provide an even richer, renewable source.
  • Saturated fat tends to raise LDL ("bad") cholesterol, and therefore increase the risk of heart disease, certain cancers and strokes. While soybean oil is relatively low in saturated fat, efforts are underway to reduce it further.
  • Isoflavones are natural compounds found in soy that, although different from the hormone estrogen, do exert a mild estrogen-like effect under certain conditions. A wide body of research indicates multiple health benefits of consuming soy - such as alleviating menopausal symptoms, reducing risk of heart disease and certain cancers, and improving bone density - and isoflavones may be responsible for many of these benefits.

More specifically, health professionals reported that knowing about the near-term advances in increased isoflavone, increased omega-3 and low-saturate soybeans make them more likely to recommend soyfoods at 62, 59 and 53 percent, respectively.

The self-administered survey analyzed a representative sample of 200 dietitians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. It has a margin of error of +/- 4.2 to 6.9 percent, with a confidence interval of 95 percent.

The American Dietetic Association (ADA) firmly supports the use of biotechnology in food production when used to enhance the quality, safety and nutritional value of food. In its position statement published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, ADA encourages the availability of these products in the marketplace.

Consumers have long recognized soyfoods as healthy, as well. USB's Consumer Attitudes about Nutrition study has tracked an impressive 26 point climb in awareness of soy as healthy from 1997 to 2008, reaching 85 percent last year. In fact, Mintel's December 2008 report on Soy Based Food and Drink cites "healthfulness" as the top reason consumers choose to eat soyfoods.

According to the International Food Information Council's 2008 Food Biotechnology Survey, Americans continue to be receptive to benefits of plant biotechnology, with concerns about use of biotechnology in food production as low as one percent. The majority of Americans would likely purchase foods made using biotechnology for specific benefits. Seventy-eight percent would purchase foods produced through biotechnology to provide more healthful fats like omega-3s, and 67 percent would buy foods with reduced saturated fat content.

The United Soybean Board is comprised of 68 farmer-directors who oversee the investments of the soybean checkoff on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers. For more information on the health benefits of soy and simple recipe suggestions to help add soy to your diet, please visit

SOURCE United Soybean Board
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