Implications of antinutritional components in soybean foods

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 1994;34(1):31-67. doi: 10.1080/10408399409527649.


There are a number of components present in soybeans that exert a negative impact on the nutritional quality of the protein. Among those factors that are destroyed by heat treatment are the protease inhibitors and lectins. Protease inhibitors exert their antinutritional effect by causing pancreatic hypertrophy/hyperplasia, which ultimately results in an inhibition of growth. The lectin, by virtue of its ability to bind to glycoprotein receptors on the epithelial cells lining the intestinal mucosa, inhibits growth by interfering with the absorption of nutrients. Of lesser significance are the antinutritional effects produced by relatively heat stable factors, such as goitrogens, tannins, phytoestrogens, flatus-producing oligosaccharides, phytate, and saponins. Other diverse but ill-defined factors appear to increase the requirements for vitamins A, B12, D, and E. The processing of soybeans under severe alkaline conditions leads to the formation of lysinoalanine, which has been shown to damage the kidneys of rats. This is not generally true, however, for edible soy protein that has been produced under milder alkaline conditions. Also meriting consideration is the allergenic response that may sometimes occur in humans, as well as calves and piglets, on dietary exposure to soybeans.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Lectins / adverse effects*
  • Lectins / pharmacology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nutritive Value*
  • Plant Lectins
  • Plant Proteins, Dietary / chemistry
  • Protease Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Protease Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Protease Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Soybean Proteins
  • Soybeans / chemistry*


  • Lectins
  • Plant Lectins
  • Plant Proteins, Dietary
  • Protease Inhibitors
  • Soybean Proteins