Home-prepared soymilk: Potential to alleviate proteinenergy malnutrition in low-income rural communities in South Africa?

Sara S. Duvenage, Wilna H. Oldewage-Theron, Abdulkadir A. Egal, Gabriel N. Medoua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Research findings reported pronounced protein and some energy shortfalls for school-aged children and female caregivers in rural communities in Qwa-Qwa, South Africa. The household gardening project was expanded to include soy cultivation. Subsequently, a process was developed for home-preparation of soymilk to support macronutrient consumption. The limited explorative experimental approach included chemical analysis for total protein (Kjeldahl digestion, spectrophotometric determination), total carbohydrate (Anthone method) and total lipid content (extraction, Gravimetric method, separation). Total energy content was calculated. All results were benchmarked against equivalents. Duplicate analysis of samples, respectively prepared from 1:2 (n = 6) and 1:4 (n = 4) volume ratios of rehydrated minced soybeans: water for cooking of soy mash, indicated statistically-significant differences for reported nutrients (p ≤ 0.05). Comparison between sourced commercial soymilk products for drinking indicated no statistical differences (p > 0.05). Although statistically-significant shortfalls were indicated for nearly all such values for home-prepared soymilk (1:4 ratio) against industrial 'SoyCow' soymilk and values reported in the South African database for standardised nutrient composition of food (p ≤ 0.05), a much-needed contribution will be made to protein (and energy) intake through consumption of the product. More efficient extraction (possibly double mincing of rehydrated soybeans and more efficient pressing of cooked soy mash) should be explored, followed by an intervention study to evaluate the impact of daily consumption of home-prepared soymilk on the nutritional status of children in low-income communities. The development of recipes to promote the inclusion of undissolved fibre from the soymilk extraction process (okara) in dishes prepared at household level, such as bread, is recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalHealth SA Gesondheid
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013


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