History of Soy Nutritional Research (1946-1989)

Willaim Shurtleff, Akiko AoyagiISBN: 978-1-948436-32-8

Publication Date: 2021 Feb. 7

Number of References in Bibliography: 6039

Earliest Reference: 1946

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Brief Chronology/Timeline of History of Soy Nutrition (1946-1989)

1946 Feb. – Certain foods (not including soybean oil meal) contain an “unidentified factor essential for rat growth.” This is later recognized as vitamin B-12 (Federation Proceedings, p. 137).

1946 Oct. – The terms “chemical score,” “limiting amino-acid,” “limiting essential amino acid,” and “protein efficiency ratio,” are first used by Block and Mitchell as a measure of protein quality in connection with soybeans (Nutrition Abstracts and Reviews, p. 249-78).

The abbreviation “PER” (for protein efficiency ratio) does not appear until Sept. 1960.

1948 Jan. – The unidentified factor essential for rat growth is called the “animal protein factor” for the first time (Archives of Biochemistry, p. 115-29).

1948 Aug. 6 – Vitamin B-12 is first mentioned in connection with soybeans. By nature it is a cobalt complex. But the “animal protein factor” and vitamin B-12 may not be synonymous (Science, p. 134; Soybean Digest. 1949, Nov. p. 14-16).

1948 Oct. – “The prolonged feeding of raw soy-bean meal induced in chicks an enlargement of the pancreas and an increase in its proteolytic content.” Here this condition is first called “pancreatic hypertrophy” (American J. of Physiology, p. 33-41).

1949 Sept. – The term “protein crisis” is first used by R.G. Brierly in describing the devastation in Europe after World War II (Soybean Digest, p. 44-45).

1949 Nov. – Percy Julian, a brilliant African-American chemist working for the Glidden Co., discovers a new and less costly method of synthesizing the still rare and immensely expensive hormone Cortisone, from the soybean (Soybean Digest, p. 19).

1949 Nov. – The APF or animal protein factor is first used in connection with soybeans in an article in Soybean Digest (p. 14-16) titled “Animal protein factor: Here's what you can believe and what not to believe about the much-talked-of APF,” by James C. Fitz. Researchers soon realized that APF was identical to vitamin B-12.

1949 – Irvin E. Liener writes his Ph.D. thesis on “The Mechanism of Growth Inhibition by the Soybean Trypsin Inhibitor” at the University of Southern California. This marks the start of his life’s work on antinutritional substances in plants. He soon becomes the world’s leading authority on the subject.

1950 Oct. – A photo shows Adrian D. Joyce, chairman of the board of the Glidden Co., as he displays a gram of the first Glidden-made Cortisone, an important aid in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Produced at the company's soya products division plant in Chicago, this single gram is worth more than $100 (Soybean Digest, p. 25).

1952 June – The Journal of Clinical Nutrition, later renamed the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, begins publication. Its first article about soy is published in the issue of May/June 1955, “Possible sources of protein for child feeding in underdeveloped countries,” by Autret and van Veen.

1952 Aug. – “Fifty years of study of the role of protein in nutrition,” by Howard B. Lewis is published in the J. of the American Dietetic Association (p. 701-06). Concerning high and low protein in the diet: Carl Voit of Munich said 118 gm of protein per day; Russell H. Chittenden of Yale said 40-60 gm of protein per day. Mikkel Hindhede, a Danish physician, said 25-30 gm of protein per day. The current (1952) viewpoint is 44 gm of protein per day for a 70 lb male).

1953 Oct. 17 – Glaser and Johnstone report that a significant number of children are allergic to soy milk. Thus, when children from families having allergic diseases were fed soy milk from birth to 6 months, only 15% of the children developed some form of allergic disease by 6 years of age, whereas 65% of the sibling controls and 52% of the nonrelated controls fed cow's milk developed similar illnesses (J. of the American Medical Association. p. 620-22).

1955 Feb. – The term “first limiting amino acid,” is first used in connection with soybeans by H.L. Wilcke (Soybean Digest, p. 20-21).

1955 – The term “net protein utilization” is first used as a measure of protein quality in connection with soybeans by Miller and Bender (British J. of Nutrition, p. 382-88).

1955 – In 1955, following a meeting of thirty biochemists, nutritionists, pediatricians, and scientists at Princeton, New Jersey, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) establishes a new expert group, the Protein Advisory Group (PAG) to reinforce policy making and to “act on behalf of WHO in rendering advice to FAO and UNICEF on the safety and suitability for human consumption of proposed new protein-rich foods.” The PAG became a tripartite FAO/WHO/UNICEF Protein Advisory Group in 1961.

1961 April – The term “net protein ratio” is first used as a measure of protein quality in connection with soybeans by Guggenheim et al. (Bulletin of the Research Council of Israel. Section 9C, p. 167).

1961 – The term “lactose intolerance” is first used in connection with soyfoods in J.I. Rodale’s The Complete Book of Food and Nutrition.

In Nov. 1967 in Prevention (another Rodale publication) we read: “Human beings are the only mammals that continue to drink milk into adult life. Nobody really knows why.”

1965 – WHO’s Protein Advisory Group starts to publish the P.A.G. News Bulletin. No. 5 (April 1965) contains several articles about soy.

1966 Nov. – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Orville L. Freeman introduces the concept of a worldwide “protein gap” in an article in Soybean Digest (p. 10) titled “The billion dollar export awards: Closing the protein gap.”

1968International Action to Avert the Impending Protein Crisis, a United Nations publication, recommends soybeans as the single most promising protein source to close the “protein gap.” The major protagonist of the protein gap theory is the Protein Advisory Group (PAG) of the United Nations (Lancet. 1974 July 13. p. 93-96; American J. of Clinical Nutrition. 1975 March. p. 281-86 (P.R. Payne)).

1969 – The term “slope ratio” is first used as a measure of protein quality in connection with soybeans by D.M. Hegsted. (In Milner, p. 38-48).

1969 May – Lysinoalanine (LAL), an unusual toxic amino acid derivative created by severe alkali processing of food proteins (such as spun protein fibers) is first mentioned by de Groot and Slump (J. of Nutrition, p. 45-56).

1973 Feb. – The complete amino acid sequence and primary structure of the Kunitz soybean trypsin inhibitor is discovered by Koide and Ikenaka, biochemists at Niigata Univ. School of Medicine in Japan (European J. of Biochemistry, p. 417-31)

1978 Nov. – In a study of “Breast cancer and diet among Japanese in Hawaii,” Nomura and Henderson found that the more miso soup consumed and the more tofu consumed, the lower the rate of breast cancer (American J. of Clinical Nutrition; 6,860 men were studied for 4 years).

1980 – The use of soy extenders in ground beef is approved by the U.S. Armed Forces (Food Product Development. March, p. 34; Wolf 1981, p. 467-73).

1983 – USDA approves use of soy (and other vegetable protein products) as partial substitutes for meat, poultry and seafoods in school lunch and some other feeding programs.

1984 Sept. – The ability of equol [or S-equol] to play a role in the treatment of estrogen-mediated conditions [such as relief of menopausal symptoms] is first proposed in an article by K.D.R. Setchell et al. in the American J. of Clinical Nutrition (Sept., p. 569-78).

1985 – The Corrected Relative Net Protein Ratio (CRNPR) method for calculating protein quality is introduced. It credits the protein used for both growth and maintenance (unlike the PER method) and it takes only 2 weeks rather than 4 for PER (Sarwar et al. p. 689-93).

1986 – The Bowman-Birk protease inhibitor, isolated from soybeans, is found to be one of the most potent in preventing colon cancer in mice (Troll et al. p. 153-65).

1989 April 1 – A study of 7,999 Japanese men living in Hawaii, followed for 18-21 years, found that tofu consumption lowered the risk of prostate cancer more than any other dietary factor studied. Men who consumed tofu five or more times per week were 65% less likely to develop prostate cancer compared to men who consumed tofu once per week or less (Severson et al. in Cancer Research, p. 1857-60).

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