An international research team from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore (NTU Singapore) and Waseda University in Japan discovered that fermented soybean waste, or soybeans, can increase fat metabolism and offset the effects of diet-induced obesity in laboratory trials.
With 14 million tonnes of soybeans produced each year and over a third of the world’s population being overweight or obese, the researchers believe that their findings may pave the way for fermented soybeans to be included into nutritious diets in the future, tackling both food waste and obesity.
The NTU and Waseda study team fermented soybeans obtained from a Singapore beancurd maker using a procedure similar to that used in Asian countries to produce fermented soybean foods such as miso, soy sauce, and tempeh.
To improve the potential beneficial ingredient present in the soybeans, they were fermented in the dark at 25°C for four days with the addition of Aspergillus. When scientists analysed fermented and unfermented soybeans, they discovered that fermented soybeans contained more protein, a greater total phenolic content, which indicates higher antioxidant capabilities, and less insoluble dietary fibre.
The researchers next compared the anti-obesity benefits of fermented soya beans on mice fed a three-week high-fat diet to mice fed one of three other diets: a normal diet, a high-fat diet, or a diet enriched with unfermented soybeans.
The researchers discovered that mice given fermented soybeans every day for three weeks were healthier. They found that the mice acquired the least amount of weight, had the least amount of visceral and subcutaneous fat, and had lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
The drop in triglycerides was partly attributable to a large drop in proteins involved in fatty acid production, according to further studies.
According to the researchers, the fermented soybean has a lot of potential for preventing diet-induced obesity.