1 cup self-rising flour 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cake flour 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons
1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup cake flour plus 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar plus 1/4 teaspoon soda
1 tablespoon cornstarch 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon tapioca 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 large eggs 3 small eggs
1 pound fresh mushrooms 6 ounces canned mushrooms
1 cup commercial sour cream 1 tablespoon lemon juice plus evaporated milk to equal 1 cup; or 3 tablespoons butter plus 7/8 cup sour milk
1 cup yogurt 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk
1 cup sour milk or buttermilk 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice plus sweet milk to equal 1 cup
1 cup fresh milk 1/2 cup evaporated milk plus 1/2 cup water; or 3 to 5 tablespoons nonfat dry milk solids in 1 cup water
1 cup honey 1 1/4 cups sugar plus 1/4 cup liquid
1 (1-ounce) square unsweetened chocolate 3 tablespoons cocoa plus 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 tablespoon fresh herbs 1 teaspoon dried herbs or 1/4 teaspoon powdered herbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 1 tablespoon dehydrated parsley
1 teaspoon dry mustard 1 tablespoon prepared mustard

Storage Chart

Fresh beef, lamb, pork, and veal
roasts 3 to 5 days
steaks, chops 3 days
ribs 2 days
stew meat 2 days
ground meat 1 to 2 days
Processed meats (after package is opened)
hams, whole and half 7 days
bacon 5 to 7 days
frankfurters 4 to 5 days
luncheon meats, sliced 3 days
Fresh fish 1 to 2 days
Poultry 1 to 2 days
Butter and Margarine 1 month
Buttermilk 1 to 2 weeks
Cheese (opened)
hard cheese: Cheddar, Swiss,
Parmesan (grated)
3 to 4 weeks
1 year
soft cheese: cream, Neufchatel
cottage cheese
2 weeks
5 to 7 days or date on pkg.
Eggs 1 month
Half-and-half 7 to 10 days
Milk, whole and skimmed 1 week
Sour cream 3 to 4 weeks
Whipping cream 7 to 10 days
Yogurt 10 days or date on pkg.
Fruit 5 to 7 days
Jams and jellies 6 months
Mayonnaise 1 to 2 months
Meats 1 to 2 days
Pickles 2 to 3 months
Vegetables 2 to 3 days
Most fresh fruit is best if used within 3 to 5 days. Apples maintain freshness about three weeks and citrus fruits about 10 days to 2 weeks. Try to use fresh vegetables as soon as possible after purchasing or after picking from the garden. Corn in the husk will only hold up 1 day in the refrigerator. Carrots and radishes will last 2 to 3 weeks, but most other vegetables should be eaten within 3 to 7 days. (Can or freeze vegetables the day they are bought or picked.)
Baking powder 1 year
Baking soda 1 year
Breakfast cereal, ready to eat
Check date on package
1 year
Catsup (opened) 1 month
Coffee (opened), (refrigerate after opening) 6 to 8 weeks
Cornmeal, regular and self-rising 10 months
Dried beans and peas 18 months
Flour, all-purpose
-whole wheat (refrigerated)
10 to 15 months
3 months
Grits, regular
-instant, flavored
10 months
9 months
Milk, evaporated and sweetened condensed 1 year
Pasta 10 to 15 months
Peanut butter 6 months
Salt and pepper 18 months
Shortening 8 months
Spices, ground
(Discard spices if aroma fades)
6 months
1 year
Sugar 18 months
Tea bags 1 year
Vegetable oil 3 months
Worcestershire sauce 2 years
Fruit 1 year
Vegetables 1 year
Soups 1 year
Meat, fish and poultry 1 year
Cake mix 1 year
Casserole mix 18 months
Frosting mix 8 months
Pancake mix 6 months
Tips for Pantry Storage: Store food in the coolest area of your kitchen, away from the oven and range. Hot, humid air decreases the storage life of most products. Keep all dry foods in their original containers or in airtight ones. Date your purchases and always use the oldest items first. When selecting canned foods, watch for dents, bulges, or stickiness; these could be signs of contamination.

Cooking Hints

Baking Unless otherwise specified, always preheat the oven at least 20 minutes before baking
Browning For best results in browning food in a skillet, dry the food first on paper towels.
Measuring Always measure accurately. Level dry ingredients with top of a cup or a knife edge or a spoon handle. Measure liquids in a cup so that the fluid is level with the top of the measuring line. Measure solid shortening by packing it firmly in a graduated measuring cup.
Storing Milk cartons make splendid freezing containers for stocks, soups, etc. They also serve well for freezing fish or shrimp, foods that should be frozen in water.
Baking Powder Always use double-acting baking powder
Breads and Cakes To test for doneness in baking a butter or margarine cake, insert a straw or a wire cake tester into the center of the cake in at least two places. The tester should come out clean if the cake is done. Cake should be lightly browned and beginning to shrink from the pan’s sides. Cake should spring back to touch.
Butter When a recipe says greased pan, grease the pan with solid shortening or oil, unless butter is specified.
Candies The weather is a big factor in candymaking. On a hot humid day, it is adviseable to cook candy 2 degrees higher than in cold dry weather.
Eggs Unused or extra egg whites may be frozen and used as needed. Make meringues or angel pies with the whites later. Egg whites freeze well and do not need to be defrosted. When boiling eggs, add 1 tsp. salt to the water. This prevents a cracked egg from draining into the water.
Fruit A whole lemon heated in hot water for 5 minutes will yield 1 or 2 tablespoons more juice than an unheated lemon.
Sauces When a sauce curdles, remove pan from heat and plunge into a pan of cold water to stop the cooking process. Beat sauce vigorously or pour into a blender and beat. When making a cream or a white sauce, melt butter, add flour, and blend well. Remove from heat before adding warmed milk.
Seafood For improved texture and flavor with canned shrimp, soak shrimp for 1 hour in ice water; drain. One pound of raw shrimp yields about 2 cups cooked and peeled shrimp.


Advanced level chef The advanced cook knows the kitchen inside and out and can do virtually anything in it, including producing a complete menu. Recipes are easily executed, and he or she is able to add their own flair to a recipe without compromising its heart.
Adjust To change the seasonings in a dish by adding a spice, herb, and so on, after you have tasted the dish to see if it needs more flavoring.
Al dente An Italian phrase meaning “to the tooth”, used to describe food that is cooked only until it offers a slight resistance when bitten into, but which is not soft or overdone.
Baste To spoon or brush food as it cooks with melted butter or other fat, meat drippings or liquid such as stock.
Beat To make a mixture smooth by adding air with a brisk whipping or stirring motion, using a spoon or an electric mixer.
Blanch To precook in boiling water or steam to prepare foods for canning or freezing, or to loosen their skins.
Blend To process food in an electric blender, or to thoroughly combine two or more ingredients by hand with a stirring motion to make smooth and uniform mixture.
Bone To remove the bones, sinew, and gristle from meat, poultry, game, and fish.
Boil To cook in liquid at boiling temperature (212 degrees F. or 100 degrees C. at sea level) where bubbles rise to the surface and break. For a full rolling boil, bubbles form rapidly throughout the mixture.
Bouillon A clear soup made by cooking meat, usually beef, together with vegetables and seasonings, and then straining the resulting stock. It can also be prepared from bouillon granules or bouillon cubes.
Bouquet garni A combination of several herbs, such as parsley, thyme, and bay leaf, either tied in a bunch or put in a small cheesecloth bag and added to stews, soups, and sauces. It can easily be removed at any stage in the cooking.
Braise To cook slowly with a small amount of liquid in a tightly covered pan on top of the range or in the oven.
Bread To coat with bread crumbs before cooking.
Broil To cook by direct heat under a broiler in an electric or gas range.
Broth Any clear soup usually made with meat or fish stock.
Brown To cook foods quickly over moderately high heat so that they turn a rich golden brown color.
Butterfly To split a food (such as shrimp) down the center, cutting almost but not completely through. The two halves are then opened flat to resemble a butterfly shape.
Can To preserve food by sealing it in airtight containers. The food is processed either in a water bath or pressure canner.
Candy To cook in sugar or syrup, when applied to sweet potatoes and carrots. For fruit or fruit peel, cook in heavy syrup until translucent and well coated.
Caramelize To melt sugar slowly over low heat until it becomes brown in color.
Carve To slice meat or poultry into serving-size pieces.
Chill To refrigerate foods or put them in a bowl filled with ice until they are cold.
Chop Using quick, heavy blows of a knife to cut food into pieces. Chopped food is more coarsely cut than minced food.
Clarify To make liquids clear by filtering, such as stock or broth, or butter.
Coat To evenly cover food with crumbs, flour, or a batter.
Coddle To cook food in water just below the boiling point, as in coddled eggs.
Cool To remove from heat and let stand at room temperature. When a recipe says, “cool quickly,” the food should be chilled or set in a bowl of ice water to quickly reduce its temperature.
Cream To beat a mixture with a spoon or electric mixer until it becomes soft and smooth. When applied to combining shortening and sugar, the mixture is beaten until light and fluffy, depending on the proportion of sugar to shortening.
Crimp To decorate the edges of a pie crust by pinching the top and bottom crusts together with your fingers.
Crisp-tender To cook food to the stage where it is tender but still crisp.
Crown Roast A special occasion roast formed from the rib section of a pork or lamb loin by tying into a circle, ribs up. The roast’s hollow center section is usually filled with mixed vegetables or other stuffing.
Crush To reduce a food to its finest form, such as crumbs, paste or powder. Crushing is often accomplished with a mortar and pestle, or with a rolling pin.
Cube To cut into pieces that are the same size on each side – at least 1/2 inch.
Cut in To mix shortening with dry ingredients using a pastry blender or two knives.
Deglaze Deglazing is done by adding a small amount of liquid (usually wine or an acid) to a pan that food (usually meat) has been sautéed. The liquid will help loosen any browned bits of food that are stuck to the bottom and the resultant mixture often becomes a base for a sauce to accompany the food cooked in the pan.
Degrease To remove the fat from food. Fat rises to the top of food, making it easier to scoop the fat out.
Deseed To remove the inedible or fibrous seeds of fruits and vegetables.
Devein To remove the vein from the back of shrimp or to remove the interior ribs from peppers.
Dice To cut food into tiny cubes.
Dilute To make a food weaker by adding water or other liquid.
Dollop To add a small amount, such as a scoop or spoonful, of a semiliquid food to garnish another food.
Dot To distribute small bits of food over another food, such as dotting an apple pie with butter before baking.
Dredge To lightly coat foods to be fried, as with flour, cornmeal or breadcrumbs.
Drippings The melted fat and juices that gather in the bottom of a pan in which meat or other food is cooked. Drippings are used as a base for gravies and sauces and in which to cook other foods.
Drizzle To coat food lightly with a dry ingredient such as flour, bread crumbs, or sugar.
Dust To sprinkle foods lightly with sugar, flour, etc.
Fillet To cut lean meat or fish into pieces without bones.
Finely shred To rub food across a fine shredding surface to form very narrow strips.
Flake To break food lightly into small pieces.
Flute To make small decorative impressions in food. Pie crusts are fluted by pressing the pastry edge into various shapes.
Fold To add ingredients gently to a mixture. Using a spatula, cut down through the mixture; cut across the bottom of the bowl, and then up and over, close to the surface. Turn the bowl frequently for even distribution.
Freeze To reduce the temperature of foods so that the liquid content becomes solidified.
Fry To cook in hot fat. To pan fry, cook food in a small amount of fat. To deep-fat fry, cook the food immersed in a large amount of fat.
Garnish To decorate the served dish with small pieces of food that have distinctive texture or color, such as parsley.
Glaze To brush a mixture on a food to give it a glossy appearance or a hard finish.
Grate To reduce a large piece of food to small particles or thin shreds by rubbing it against a course, serrated surface, usually on a kitchen utensil called a grater.
Grease To coat a pan with fat to keep foods from sticking.
Grilling To prepare food on a grill over hot coals, or other heat source.
Grind To use a food grinder to cut a food into very fine pieces.
Hull To remove the stem of strawberries by hand or with a special implement called a huller.
Husk To remove the outside leaves from ears of corn.
Intermediate level chef By the time a cook reaches an intermediate level, no supervision will be required in the kitchen. Cooking is understood and can be completed well.
Julienne To cut vegetables, fruits, or meats into match like strips.
Knead To work dough with the heel of your hand in a pressing and folding motion.
Line To cover a pan or cookie sheet with paper to prevent foods from sticking.
Marinate To allow a food to stand in a liquid to add flavor.
Mince To cut food into very small pieces. Minced food is in smaller pieces than chopped food.
Mix To blend ingredients with a stirring motion using a spoon or fork.
Mull To heat beverages such as red wine and cider with spices and sugar.
Novice level chef Novice cooks are true first-timers in the kitchen, learning as they go. They are still learning basic terms and techniques, as well as the proper, safe, and efficient use of kitchen equipment. Once the water is boiling, though, they’re onto the next level!
Panbroil To cook uncovered, removing fat as it accumulates.
Panfry To cook food in a small amount of hot fat.
Parboil To partially cook food in boiling water before completely cooking it by some other process.
Pare To remove the skin from fruits and vegetables (the same as peeling). Use a paring knife or vegetable peeler.
Partially set To chill gelatin mixtures to the point in setting when the consistency resembles raw egg whites.
Peel To remove the outer layer or skin from a fruit or vegetable.
Pickle To preserve or flavor meat, fish, vegetables, etc. in a brine, or a solution made of vinegar, spices, and other seasonings.
Pit To remove the seed from a piece of fruit.
Plump To soak food (such as raisins or dried fruit) to make it soft and tender.
Pound To flatten food, especially meat, to make it thinner and more tender.
Poach To cook food in hot liquid, being careful that the food holds its shape while cooking.
Precook To cook food partially or completely before the final cooking or reheating.
Preheat To set the oven to a desired temperature so it is hot enough to receive food.
Preserve To prepare meat, fruit, vegetables, etc. for future use by salting, boiling in syrup, soakingin a brine, dehydrating, curing, smoking, canning, or freezing.
Prick To pierce food so it won’t explode, rise, expand, or shrink unnecessarily as it cooks.
Puree Any food (usually a fruit or vegetable) that is finely mashed to a smooth thick consistency. Can be used as a garnish or used to thicken soups and sauces.
Reconstitute To rehydrate dried food (such as dried mushrooms or sun-dried tomatoes) by soaking it in water or other liquid.
Reduce To boil a liquid (usually stock, wine, or sauce mixture) rapidly until the volume is reduced by evaporation, thereby thickening the consistency and intensifying the flavor, sometimes referred to as a reduction.
Render To separate solid fat such as suet or lard from meat tissue by melting.
Roast To cook a meat, uncovered, in the oven. Pot-roasting refers to braising a meat roast.
Sauté To cook food in a small amount of oil or other fat in a skillet over direct heat. In French, it literally means to jump.
Scald To bring food to a temperature just below boiling so that tiny bubbles form at the edges of the pan.
Scallop To bake food, usually in a casserole, with a sauce or other liquid.
Score To cut narrow grooves or slits partway through the outer surface of a food.
Sear To brown meat quickly by subjecting it to very high heat either in a skillet or under the broiler in the oven. The object is to seal in the juices.
Season To add flavor to food by adding salt, pepper, herbs, or spices.
Shred To cut food into narrow strips either by hand or by using a grater or food processor. Cooked meat can be shredded by pulling apart with two forks.
Sift To put one or more dry ingredients through a sieve or sifter to incorporate air and break up lumps.
Simmer To cook food gently in a liquid at a temperature of 185 degrees or until tiny bubbles just begin to break the surface.
Slice To cut food into evenly shaped pieces.
Steam To cook food in steam. A small amount of boiling water is used and more water is added during steaming if necessary.
Steep To extract color, flavor, or other qualities from a substance by leaving it in liquid just below the boiling point.
Sterilize To destroy microorganisms by boiling, dry heating, or steaming.
Stew To destroy microorganisms by boiling, dry heating, or steaming.
Stiff peaks To beat egg whites until peaks stand up straight when the beaters are lifted from the mixer bowl, but are still moist and glossy.
Stir To mix ingredients with a spoon in a circular or figure-eight motion until well combined.
Stir-fry To cook food quickly in a small amount of hot fat, stirring constantly.
Strain To separate solid from liquids through a strainer or fine sieve.
Toss To mix ingredients lightly by lifting and dropping them with a spoon or a spoon and fork.
Whip To beat food lightly and rapidly, incorporating air into the mixture to make it light and to increase its volume.


Four Steps

Right now, there may be an invisible enemy ready to strike. He’s called BAC (bacteria) and he can make people sick. In fact, even though consumers can’t see BAC – or smell him, or feel him – he and millions more like him may already be invading food products, kitchen surfaces, knives and other utensils.

But consumers have the power to Fight BAC! and to keep food safe from harmful bacteria. It’s as easy as following these four simple steps:

Soy: Health Claims for Soy Protein, Questions About Other Components

Vegetarians and health enthusiasts have known for years that foods rich in soy protein offer a good alternative to meat, poultry, and other animal-based products. As consumers have pursued healthier lifestyles in recent years, consumption of soy foods has risen steadily, bolstered by scientific studies showing health benefits from these products. Last October, the Food and Drug Administration gave food manufacturers permission to put labels on products high in soy protein indicating that these foods may help lower heart disease risk.

As with health claims for oat bran and other foods before it, this health claim provides consumers with solid scientific information about the benefits of soy protein and helps them make informed choices to create a “heart healthy” diet. Health claims encourage food manufacturers to make more healthful products. With soy, food manufacturers have responded with a cornucopia of soy-based wares. (See “The Soy Health Claim.”)

No sooner had FDA proposed the health claim regulation, however, than concerns arose about certain components in soy products, particularly isoflavones. Resulting questions have engulfed the regulation in controversy.

This came as no surprise to Elizabeth A. Yetley, Ph.D., lead scientist for nutrition at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition . “Every dietary health claim that has ever been published has had controversy,” she says, “even the relationship of saturated fat to a healthy diet.”

While the controversy may seem confusing to the consumer giving it casual consideration, a careful review of the science behind the rule reveals a strict divide between what FDA allows as a health claim based on solid scientific research and related issues that go well beyond the approved statements about health benefits of soy protein.

What’s known is that all foods, including soy, are complex collections of chemicals that can be beneficial for many people in many situations, but can be harmful to some people when used inappropriately. In that simple fact lies much of the scientific dilemma–when do data show a food is safe and when do they show there could be problems?

Scientists agree that foods rich in soy protein can have considerable value to heart health, a fact backed by dozens of controlled clinical studies. A yearlong review of the available human studies in 1999 prompted FDA to allow a health claim on food labels stating that a daily diet containing 25 grams of soy protein, also low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.

“Soy by itself is not a magic food,” says Christine Lewis, acting director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition’s Office of Nutritional Products, Labeling and Dietary Supplements. “But rather it is an example of the different kinds of foods that together in a complete diet can have a positive effect on health.”

Much of the research to date has examined dietary soy in the form of whole foods such as tofu, “soymilk,” or as soy protein added to foods, and the public health community mostly concurs that these whole foods can be worthwhile additions to a healthy diet. The recently raised concerns, however, focus on specific components of soy, such as the soy isoflavones daidzein and genistein, not the whole food or intact soy protein. These chemicals, available over the counter in pills and powders, are often advertised as dietary supplements for use by women to help lessen menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes.

The problem, researchers say, is that isoflavones are phytoestrogens, a weak form of estrogen that could have a drug-like effect in the body. This may be pronounced in postmenopausal women, and some studies suggest that high isoflavone levels might increase the risk of cancer, particularly breast cancer. Research data, however, are far from conclusive, and some studies show just the opposite–that under some conditions, soy may help prevent breast cancer. It is this scientific conundrum, where evidence simultaneously points to benefits and possible risks, that is causing some researchers to urge caution.

Unlike the controversy surrounding soy isoflavones, available evidence on soy protein benefits is much clearer. That’s why FDA limited its health claim to foods containing intact soy protein. The claim does not extend to isolated substances from soy protein such as the isoflavones genistein and daidzein.

“The story’s not all in yet,” says Margo Woods, D.Sc., associate professor of medicine at Tufts University, who has studied soy’s effects in postmenopausal women. “There’s a lot of emerging data and it’s confusing. In the meantime, we should be cautious.” She says her concerns are centered mainly on isoflavone supplements and that she’s “much more comfortable” recommending soy as a whole food. “There are probably hundreds of protective compounds in soy [foods]. It’s just too big a leap to assume that a pill could do the same thing.”

Daniel Sheehan, Ph.D., director of the Estrogen Knowledge Base Program at FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research, also urges caution in consumption of soy isoflavones. In formal comments submitted to the public record of his own agency while FDA was reviewing the health claim, Sheehan, along with colleague Daniel Doerge, Ph.D., wrote, “While isoflavones may have beneficial effects at some ages or circumstances, this cannot be assumed to be true at all ages. Isoflavones are like other estrogens in that they are two-edged swords, conferring both benefits and risks.”

As a science-based agency, FDA recognizes that research information evolves with time and that some of the existing confusion will be resolved as new studies are completed. “We continue to monitor the ongoing science,” Yetley says. “As new data warrants, we make adjustments in our position and the advice we give to the public. We take this responsibility very seriously.”

Soy Benefits

Soy protein products can be good substitutes for animal products because, unlike some other beans, soy offers a “complete” protein profile. Soybeans contain all the amino acids essential to human nutrition, which must be supplied in the diet because they cannot be synthesized by the human body. Soy protein products can replace animal-based foods–which also have complete proteins but tend to contain more fat, especially saturated f at–without requiring major adjustments elsewhere in the diet.

While foreign cultures, especially Asians, have used soy extensively for centuries, mainstream America has been slow to move dietary soy beyond a niche market status. In the United States, soybean is a huge cash crop, but the product is used largely as livestock feed.

With the increased emphasis on healthy diets, that may be changing. Sales of soy products are up and are projected to increase, due in part, say industry officials, to the FDA-approved health claim. (U.S. retail sales of soyfoods were $.852 billion in 1992 and are projected to rise to $3.714 billion in 2002. See attached chart – We’ve seen this before with other claims FDA has approved,” says Brian Sansoni, senior manager for public policy at the Grocery Manufacturers of America. “It brings attention to products; there are newspaper and TV stories and information on the Internet.”

To qualify for the health claim, foods must contain at least 6.25 grams of soy protein per serving and fit other criteria, such as being low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium. The claim is similar to others the agency has approved in recent years to indicate heart benefits, including claims for the cholesterol-lowering effects of soluble fiber in oat bran and psyllium seeds.

FDA determined that diets with four daily soy servings can reduce levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), the so-called “bad cholesterol” that builds up in blood vessels, by as much as 10 percent. This number is significant because heart experts generally agree that a 1 percent drop in total cholesterol can equal a 2 percent drop in heart disease risk. Heart disease kills more Americans than any other illness. Disorders of the heart and blood vessels, including stroke, cause nearly 1 million deaths yearly.

FDA allowed the health claim for soy protein in response to a petition by Protein Technologies International Inc., a leading soy producer that tracks its origins to soybean studies sponsored by Henry Ford in the early 1930s. The company was acquired by E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company (DuPont) in 1997. In considering the petition, FDA reviewed data from 27 clinical studies submitted in the petition, as well as comments submitted to the public record and studies identified by FDA. The available research consistently showed that regular soy protein consumption lowered cholesterol to varying degrees.

One of the studies, conducted over nine weeks at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 1999, found that soy protein can reduce plasma concentrations of total and LDL cholesterol but does not adversely affect levels of HDL, or “good” cholesterol, which at high levels has been associated with a reduction in heart disease risk. Another often-quoted study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1995, examined 38 separate studies and concluded that soy protein can prompt “significant reductions” not only in total and LDL cholesterol, but also in triglycerides, another fat linked to health problems when present at elevated levels.

Other studies hint that soy may have benefits beyond fostering a healthy heart. At the Third International Symposium on the Role of Soy in Preventing and Treating Chronic Disease, held in late 1999, researchers presented data linking soy consumption to a reduced risk of several illnesses. Disorders as diverse as osteoporosis, prostate cancer, and colon cancer are under investigation.

Soy’s Many Faces

Though soy may seem like a new and different kind of food for many Americans, it actually is found in a number of products already widely consumed. For example, soybean oil accounts for 79 percent of the edible fats used annually in the United States, according to the United Soybean Board. A glance at the ingredients for commercial mayonnaises, margarines, salad dressings, or vegetable shortenings often reveals soybean oil high on the list.

But the health claim only covers the form that includes soy protein. This form can be incorporated into the diet in a variety of ways to help reach the daily intake of 25 grams of soy protein considered beneficial.

While not every form of the following foods will qualify for the health claim, these are some of the most common sources of soy protein:

Tofu is made from cooked puréed ed soybeans processed into a custard-like cake. It has a neutral flavor and can be stir-fried, mixed into “smoothies,” or blended into a cream cheese texture for use in dips or as a cheese substitute. It comes in firm, soft and silken textures.

“Soymilk,” the name some marketers use for a soy beverage, is produced by grinding dehulled soybeans and mixing them with water to form a milk-like liquid. It can be consumed as a beverage or used in recipes as a substitute for cow’s milk. Soymilk, sometimes fortified with calcium, comes plain or in flavors such as vanilla, chocolate and coffee. For lactose-intolerant individuals, it can be a good replacement for dairy products.

Soy flour is created by grinding roasted soybeans into a fine powder. The flour adds protein to baked goods, and, because it adds moisture, it can be used as an egg substitute in these products. It also can be found in cereals, pancake mixes, frozen desserts, and other common foods.

Textured soy protein is made from defatted soy flour, which is compressed and dehydrated. It can be used as a meat substitute or as filler in dishes such as meatloaf.

Tempeh is made from whole, cooked soybeans formed into a chewy cake and used as a meat substitute.

Miso is a fermented soybean paste used for seasoning and in soup stock.

Soy protein also is found in many “meat analog” products, such as soy sausages, burgers, franks, and cold cuts, as well as soy yogurts and cheese, all of which are intended as substitutes for their animal-based counterparts.

Since not all foods that contain soy ingredients will meet the required conditions for the health claim, consumers should check the labels of products to identify those most appropriate for a heart-healthy diet. Make sure the products contain enough soy protein to make a meaningful contribution to the total daily diet without being high in saturated fat and other unhealthy substances.

Are Consumers Warming Up to Soy?

Although it’s clear that Americans are increasing their consumption of soy products, the soybean has a long way to go before it becomes a staple in the average pantry. According to a 1999 survey by the United Soybean Board, two-thirds of consumers surveyed believe soy products are “healthy,” up from 59 percent in 1997. While the public may think it’s good for them, only 15 percent eat a soy product once a week.

The reason for the disparity appears to be a problem of perception. “Americans are not prepared to make massive lifestyle changes in order to get healthy foods into their diet,” says chef and soy cookbook author Dana Jacobi. “Many people have negative attitudes toward soy products due to their misconception of, or their experiences with, taste and texture. But in fact, there are so many ways to work soy into your diet.” (See “Adding Soy Protein to the Diet.”)

Industry figures show that in some cases, the popularity of soy foods is increasing dramatically. For example, in 1998, sales of soymilk grew 53 percent in mainstream supermarkets and 24 percent in health food stores over the previous year, according to data from Spence Information Services, a San Francisco sales tracking firm. Another research firm, HealthFocus, reports that 10 percent of shoppers in 1998, versus 3 percent in 1996, said they are eating more soy specifically because they believe it will reduce their risk of disease.

According to the Soyfoods Association of North America, three factors are responsible for driving soy’s upward trend:

  • Baby boomers are more enlightened about, and more interested in, longevity and good health than previous generations.
  • The double-digit growth in Asian populations in the United States has fueled demand for traditional soy foods. Americans also are eating more Asian foods, which often include soy.
  • Young people are choosing more plant-based foods. A food industry survey found that 97 percent of colleges and universities now offer meatless entrées on their menus.

Mainstream grocery stores also have been prominently displaying soy products amid traditional foods. Soy-based burgers and sausages are often found in the freezer case next to other meats. Some stores offer refrigerated soymilk alongside cow’s milk products. And it’s not unusual to see tofu, along with soy cheese and cold cuts, in a store’s fresh fruit and veggie department. “We expanded our line of soy products in the produce section even before [FDA approved] the health claim,” says Paulette Thompson, nutritionist for Giant Food, a large East Coast grocery chain. “But soy is still rather mysterious to many consumers, so it’s important to educate them.” She says her company is offering information about soy in its Sunday newspaper supplements and its quarterly consumer magazine. It also plans a special “healthy products” promotion that will trumpet the benefits of soy and other diet components.

For consumers reluctant to try soy foods because they fear a bad taste, food manufacturers are creating new lines of soy-based products that contain enough soy to meet the claim requirement but are developed specifically to taste good. “Soy’s major stumbling block has been its taste, real or perceived,” says Meghan Parkhurst, spokeswoman for Kellogg Co. She says the company plans to introduce in several western states a granola-like soy cereal that got high marks for taste in consumer trials.

Examining the Controversy

While the existing scientific data strongly support the value of increasing soy protein as described in the health claim, questions have been raised about individual components of soy, especially when consumed as concentrated supplements by some segments of the population.

“FDA continues to monitor the debates about the relative safety of these individual soy components and the scientific research that will eventually resolve them,” says the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition’s Lewis, “If new results suggest an increased risk, the agency will modify or refine its policies in light of the new information.”

A number of studies already are under way or in the planning stages now. In one study, Barry Delclos, Ph.D., a researcher at FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR), is overseeing a long-term, multigeneration study in rats of the soy component genistein. Early data using rats suggest that genistein alone may prompt undesirable effects such as the growth of breast tissue in males. The study will analyze the relationship between dosage and any adverse outcomes.

The National Institutes of Health is sponsoring a long-term follow-up study on the safety of soy infant formula. The study is a “longitudinal retrospective epidemiological” assessment in which young adults who consumed soy formula as infants will be compared with young adults who consumed milk-based formulas as infants. They will be evaluated for any adverse effects from infancy into their childbearing years.

NCTR’s Sheehan says research is needed in this area because an earlier study, published in 1997 in the medical journal The Lancet, showed that infants consuming soy formula had five to 10 times higher levels of isoflavones in their blood serum than women receiving soy supplements who show menstrual cycle disturbances. He says these levels may cause toxicological effects. “Infants receive higher doses of soy and isoflavones than anybody because it is their only food and they are consuming it all the time.” The American Academy of Pediatrics, however, has published guidelines showing that in some cases, soy protein-based formulas “are appropriate for use in infants” when cow’s milk cannot be tolerated.

Sheehan also expresses concern about the effects soy may have on the function of the thyroid gland. Animal study results, some of which date back to 1959, link soy isoflavones to possible thyroid disorders, such as goiter. A 1997 study in Biochemical Pharmacology identified genistein and daidzein as inhibitors of thyroid peroxidase, which data suggest may prompt goiter and autoimmune disorders of the thyroid. Critics of these studies suggest that iodine deficiency may be a factor that needs to be considered when evaluating study results.

Though the research community has varying degrees of concern about a possible “dark side” to soy consumption, one thread runs consistently through its messages: the need for more research f or new uses of soy components. The health claim, however, focuses on uses of soy protein that are generally accepted among health professionals as useful for heart-healthy diets.

Sales of soy foods probably will continue to rise steadily for the foreseeable future, says Sansoni of the Grocery Manufacturers of America. “We’re seeing a ‘buzz’ with soy products that intrigues people and they want to try them,” he says. “But I don’t believe soy is a fad. It’s a continuing trend that’s here for the long haul.”

With the rising interest, the health claim for soy protein appears to have succeeded. It has provided specific guidelines to help the public improve the heart-healthiness of its diet and has stimulated the industry to produce new food products high in soy protein. These trends, in the end, should be good for those trying to lower their risk of heart disease.

John Henkel is a member of FDA’s public affairs staff.

Adding Soy Protein to the Diet

For consumers interested in increasing soy protein consumption to help reduce their risk of heart disease, health experts say they need not completely eliminate animal-based products such as meat, poultry, and dairy foods to reap soy’s benefits. While soy protein’s direct effects on cholesterol levels are well documented, replacing some animal protein with soy protein is a valuable way to lower fat intake. “If individuals begin to substitute soy products, for example, soy burgers, for foods high in saturated fat, such as hamburgers, there would be the added advantage of replacing saturated fat and cholesterol [in] the diet,” says Alice Lichtenstein, D.Sc., professor of nutrition at Tufts University. Whole soy foods also are a good source of fiber, B vitamins, calcium, and omega-3 essential fatty acids, all important food components.

The American Heart Association recommends that soy products be used in a diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, and lean meats. The AHA also emphasizes that a diet to effectively lower cholesterol should consist of no more than 30 percent of total daily calories from fat and no more than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat.

Nowadays, a huge variety of soy foods is on shelves not only in health food stores, but increasingly in mainstream grocery stores. As the number of soy-based products grows, it becomes increasingly easy for consumers to add enough soy to their daily diets to meet the 25-gram amount that FDA says is beneficial to heart health. According to soybean industry figures, the numbers add up quickly when you look at the protein contained in typical soy foods. For example:

  • Four ounces of firm tofu contains 13 grams of soy protein.
  • One soy “sausage” link provides 6 grams of protein.
  • One soy “burger” includes 10 to 12 grams of protein.
  • An 8-ounce glass of plain soymilk contains 10 grams of protein.
  • One soy protein bar delivers 14 grams of protein.
  • One-half cup of tempeh provides 19.5 grams of protein.
  • And a quarter cup of roasted soy nuts contains 19 grams of soy protein.

Though some consumers may try soy products here and there, it takes a sustained effort to eat enough to reach the beneficial daily intake. This is especially true for those who have elevated cholesterol levels. “Dietary interventions that can lower cholesterol are important tools for physicians,” says Antonio Gotto, M.D., professor of medicine at Cornell University, “particularly since diet is usually prescribed before medication and is continued after drug therapy is begun.” He emphasizes that in order to succeed, such diets must have enough variety that patients don’t get bored and lapse back into old eating habits. He says his experience with patients suggests that it’s important to learn how to “sneak” soy into the diet painlessly.

“People think it’s challenging to get a high concentration of soy into your diet,” says chef and cookbook author Dana Jacobi. “But it’s actually easy to consume 25 grams [of soy protein], once you realize what a wide range of soy products is available.” For those new to soy, she recommends what she calls “good-tasting” soy foods such as smoothies, muffins made with soy flour, protein bars, and soy nuts.

The American Dietetic Association recommends introducing soy slowly by adding small amounts to the daily diet or mixing into existing foods. Then, once the taste and texture have become familiar, add more.

Because some soy products have a mild or even neutral flavor, it’s possible to add soy to dishes and barely know it’s there. Soy flour can be used to thicken sauces and gravies. Soymilk can be added to baked goods and desserts. And tofu takes on the flavor of whatever it is cooked in, making it suitable for stews and stir-fries. “Cook it with strong flavors such as garlic, crushed red pepper, or ginger,” says Amy Lanou, a New York-based nutritionist. “One of my favorites is tofu sautéed with a spicy barbecue sauce.” She also suggests commercial forms of baked tofu, which she says has a “cheese-like texture and a mild, but delicious, flavor.” For soy “newbies,” she also recommends trying a high-quality restaurant that really knows how to prepare soy dishes–just to see how professionals handle soy.

Soy chefs and nutritionists suggest the following further possibilities for adding soy to the diet:

  • Include soy-based beverages, muffins, sausages, yogurt, or cream cheese at breakfast.
  • Use soy deli meats, soy nut butter (similar to peanut butter), or soy cheese to make sandwiches.
  • Top pizzas with soy cheese, pepperoni, sausages, or “crumbles” (similar to ground beef).
  • Grill soy hot dogs, burgers, marinated tempeh, and baked tofu.
  • Cube and stir fry tofu or tempeh and add to a salad.
  • Pour soymilk on cereal and use it in cooking or to make “smoothies.”
  • Order soy-based dishes such as spicy bean curd and miso soup at Asian restaurants.
  • Eat roasted soy nuts or a soy protein bar for a snack.–J.H.

    The Soy Health Claim

    In October 1999, FDA approved a health claim that can be used on labels of soy-based foods to tout their heart-healthy benefits. The agency reviewed research from 27 studies that showed soy protein’s value in lowering levels of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad” cholesterol).

    Food marketers can now use the following claim, or a reasonable variation, on their products: “Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 25 grams of soy protein a day may reduce the risk of heart disease. One serving of (name of food) provides __ grams of soy protein.” To qualify for the claim foods must contain per serving:

    • 6.25 grams of soy protein
    • low fat (less than 3 grams)
    • low saturated fat (less than 1 gram)
    • low cholesterol (less than 20 milligrams)
    • sodium value of less than 480 milligrams for individual foods, less than 720 milligrams if considered a main dish, and less than 960 milligrams if considered a meal.

    Foods made with the whole soybean, such as tofu, may qualify for the claim if they have no fat other than that naturally present in the whole bean.


Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian Cuisine

Use the exchange list to give yourself more choice.

Breakfast 1,600 Calories 1,200 Calories
Orange 1 medium 1 medium
Pancakes, made with 1% milk, low fat and egg whites (3) 4″ circles (2) 4″ circles
Pancake Syrup 2 T 1 T
Margarine, diet 1 1/2 tsp 1 1/2 tsp
Milk 1%, low fat 1 cup 1/2 cup
Coffee 1 cup 1 cup
   Milk 1%, low fat 1 oz 1 oz

Vegetable Soup, low-sodium, canned, 1 cup 1/2 cup
Bagel 1 medium 1/2 medium
Processed American Cheese, low-fat and low-sodium 3/4 oz
Spinach Salad
   Spinach 1 cup 1 cup
   Mushrooms 1/8 cup 1/8 cup
   Salad dressing, regular calorie 2 tsp 2 tsp
Apple 1 medium 1 medium
Iced Tea, unsweetened 1 cup 1 cup

   Egg Whites 4 large eggs 4 large eggs
   Green Pepper 2 T 2 T
   Onion 2 T 2 T
Mozzarella Cheese, made from part-skim milk, low-sodium 1 1/2 oz 1 oz
Vegetable Oil 1 T 1/2 T
Brown Rice, seasoned with 1/2 cup 1/2 cup
   margarine, diet 1/2 tsp 1/2 tsp
Carrots, seasoned with 1/2 cup 1/2 cup
   margarine, diet 1/2 tsp 1/2 tsp
Whole Wheat Bread 1 slice 1 slice
Margarine, diet 1 tsp 1 tsp
Fig Bar Cookie 1 bar 1 bar
Tea 1 cup 1 cup
Honey 1 tsp 1 tsp

Milk 1%, low fat 3/4 cup 3/4 cup
Calories: 1,650 Calories: 1,205
Total Carb, % kcals: 56 Total Carb, % kcals: 60
Total Fat, % kcals: 27 Total Fat, % kcals: 25
*Sodium, mg: 1,829 *Sodium, mg: 1,335
SFA, % kcals: 8 SFA, % kcals: 7
Cholesterol, mg: 82 Cholesterol, mg: 44
Protein, % kcals: 19 Protein, % kcals: 18

1,600: 100% RDA met for all nutrients except: Vit E 92%, Vit B3 97%, Vit B6 67%, Magnesium 98%, Iron 73%, Zinc 68%
1,200: 100% RDA met for all nutrients except: Vit E 75%, Vit B1 92%, Vit B3 69%, Vit B6 59%, Iron 54%, Zinc 46%
* No salt added in recipe preparation or as seasoning. Consume at least 32 oz. water.

Tips for Eating Health Food and Vegetarian

Health food and vegetarian food is usually fresh and wholesome. Protein usually comes from chicken or fish, or it may be from combined vegetable proteins (such as rice and beans). But watch out for fats and oils. Sometimes vegetarian recipes compensate for meatless entrees by adding fat to fill you up.

Tips: There are lots of great vegetarian sandwiches. Just avoid those with lots of cheese and avocado.

Instead of Try
Granola made with oil Fat-free or low-fat granola
Salads with oil-based dressing Salads with fat-free dressing
Sandwich fillings with mayonnaise Sandwich fillings with mustard, low-fat/no-fat mayonnaise or yogurt sauce
Whole-egg dishes Yogurt-based dishes with yogurt made from fat-free milk

Vegetarian Diets

What is a vegetarian diet?
Some people follow a “vegetarian” diet, but there’s no single vegetarian eating pattern. The vegan or total vegetarian diet includes only foods from plants: fruits, vegetables, legumes (dried beans and peas), grains, seeds and nuts. The lactovegetarian diet includes plant foods plus cheese and other dairy products. The ovo-lactovegetarian (or lacto-ovovegetarian) diet also includes eggs. Semi-vegetariansdon’t eat red meat but include chicken and fish with plant foods, dairy products and eggs.

Are vegetarian diets healthful?

Most vegetarian diets are low in animal products. Theyâre also usually lower than nonvegetarian diets in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol. Many studies have shown that vegetarians seem to have a lower risk of obesity, coronary heart disease (which causes heart attack), high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus and some forms of cancer.

Vegetarian diets can be healthful and nutritionally sound if theyâre carefully planned to include essential nutrients. However, a vegetarian diet can be unhealthy if it contains too many calories and not enough important nutrients.

What are the nutrients to consider in a vegetarian diet?

  • Protein: You don’t need to eat foods from animals to have enough protein in your diet. Plant proteins alone can provide enough of the essential and non-essential amino acids, as long as sources of dietary protein are varied and caloric intake is high enough to meet energy needs.
  • Whole grains, legumes, vegetables, seeds and nuts all contain both essential and non-essential amino acids. You don’t need to consciously combine these foods (“complementary proteins”) within a given meal.
  • Soy protein has been shown to be equal to proteins of animal origin. It can be your sole protein source if you choose.
  • Iron: Vegetarians may have a greater risk of iron deficiency than nonvegetarians. The richest sources of iron are red meat, liver and egg yolk — all high in cholesterol. However, dried beans, spinach, enriched products, brewer’s yeast and dried fruits are all good plant sources of iron.
  • Vitamin B-12: This comes naturally only from animal sources. Vegans need a reliable source of vitamin B-12. It can be found in some fortified (not enriched) breakfast cereals, fortified soy beverages, some brands of nutritional (brewer’s) yeast and other foods (check the labels), as well as vitamin supplements.
  • Vitamin D: Vegans should have a reliable source of vitamin D. Vegans who donât get much sunlight may need a supplement.
  • Calcium: Studies show that vegetarians absorb and retain more calcium from foods than nonvegetarians do. Vegetable greens such as spinach, kale and broccoli, and some legumes and soybean products, are good sources of calcium from plants.
  • Zinc: Zinc is needed for growth and development. Good plant sources include grains, nuts and legumes. Shellfish are an excellent source of zinc. Take care to select supplements containing no more than 15-18 mg zinc. Supplements containing 50 mg or more may lower HDL (“good”) cholesterol in some people.

What meal plans are recommended?
Any type of vegetarian diet should include a wide variety of foods and enough calories to meet your energy needs.

  • Keep your intake of sweets and fatty foods to a minimum. These foods are low in nutrients and high in calories.
  • Choose whole or unrefined grain products when possible, or use fortified or enriched cereal products.
  • Use a variety of fruits and vegetables, including foods that are good sources of vitamins A and C.
  • If you use milk or dairy products, choose fat-free/nonfat and low-fat varieties.
  • Eggs are high in cholesterol (213 mg per yolk), so monitor your use of them.  Limit your cholesterol intake to no more than 300 mg per day.

Related AHA publications:

  • An Eating Plan for Healthy Americans… American Heart Association Diet
  • Easy Food Tips for Heart-Healthy Eating (also in Spanish)
  • Controlling Your Risk Factors… heart attack and stroke

Vegetarian Eating

Is it better for my health and weight loss to eat like a vegetarian?

The term “vegetarian” means different things to different people. Although most vegetarians avoid all meat, fish, and poultry, individual vegetarian styles can vary. There are three types of


  • Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat milk, cheese, yogurt, and eggs.
  • Lacto-vegetarians eat milk, cheese, and yogurt, but avoid eggs and foods containing eggs.
  • Vegans, or strict vegetarians, avoid eating all animal products.

A well-planned vegetarian eating style can be healthful, nutritionally sound, and beneficial for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Depending on the type of foods you choose to eat or avoid, your eating plan will need to include a wide variety of foods that contain protein from either dairy products and eggs, or dried beans and whole grain products. In addition, vegetables and fruits will provide energy, fiber, and vitamins and minerals.

Regarding weight loss on a vegetarian diet, the principle of calories in and calories burned still holds. If you want to lose weight, you need to burn more calories that you take in. If you choose a lacto-ovo vegetarian eating style, you should choose lower-fat dairy foods in the form of reduced-fat cheeses and fat-free milk products.

For more information see the ADA Nutrition Fact Sheet “Meat-Free” Goes Mainstream.


An eating pattern low in fat and rich in fiber and other important nutrients can help prevent a number of chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease. Eating the recommended 2-3 servings of fruits and 3-5 servings of vegetables each day is a good place to start.

  • Vegetarian Eating – Is it better for my health and weight loss to eat like a vegetarian? Find Out…
  • Vegetarian Diets – Most vegetarian diets are low in animal products. Theyâre also usually lower than nonvegetarian diets in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • Vegetarian Tips – Health food and vegetarian food is usually fresh and wholesome.
  • Lacto-Ovo Cuisine – From Breakfast to Dinners, enjoy from a wide variety of Lacto-ovo Vegetarian Cuisine.
  • Soy Claims – Soy: Health Claims for Soy Protein by John Henkel

The ZONE® Diet


This diet, originated by Dr. Barry Sears, is based on a balance between carbohydrates, protein and fats, eliminating cravings for any of these nutrients through deprivation. The foundation of the Zone Diet is that by controlling your diet with balance, you can stabilize your blood sugar and insulin which helps your body burn fat more effectively. Stable blood sugar also helps control hunger and helps the body function at an optimal level without the “swings” that excess sugar can cause. Lowered insulin also means that the body won’t store as much fat.

A 40-30-30 diet system is used where participants eat 40% of their calories from favorable carbohydrates, 30% from low-fat proteins, and 30% from unsaturated fat items. Portion size control is one of the keys to succeeding on this diet.
The diet plan is low in calories (800-1200) and protein should be eaten at every meal and snack. Carbohydrate intake should be twice that of protein.


The Zone program is more than just a diet. It is a well-rounded approach to nutrition and fitness. There are four keys to the Zone Nutrition Program:

1. The Zone Diet (40-30-30)
2. Using monounsaturated fats
3. Omega-3 fish oil supplements
4. Exercise

Individuals first figure out how many calories their body needs based on lean body mass and physical activity level. From there, calories are balanced as follows:

  • 40% complex carbohydrates – starches, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and fruits.
  • 30% low-fat protein – poultry, fish, seafood, lean meat, tofu, whey, and low-fat cottage cheese.
  • 30% unsaturated fat – oils, nuts, and seeds.

Retail Products (ZonePerfect®)

Protein Powder
Shake Mixes
Omega-3 Supplements

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