Soybean seed contains about 19% oil. To extract soybean oil from seed , the soybeans are cracked, adjusted for moisture content, rolled into flakes and solvent-extracted with commercial hexane. The oil is then refined, blended for different applications, and sometimes hydrogenated. Soybean oils, both liquid and partially hydrogenated, are exported abroad, sold as “vegetable oil,” or end up in a wide variety of processed foods. The remaining soybean husks are used mainly as animal feed.
Soy flour refers to defatted soybeans ground finely enough to pass through a 100-mesh or smaller screen where special care was taken during desolventizing (not toasted) in order to minimize denaturation of the protein to retain a high Protein Dispersibility Index (PDI), for uses such as extruder cooking of textured vegetable protein. It is the starting material for production of soy concentrate and soy protein isolate. Defatted soy flour is obtained from solvent extracted flakes, and contains less than 1% oil.Full-fat soy flour is made from unextracted, dehulled beans, and contains about 18% to 20% oil. Due to its high oil content a specialized Alpine Fine Impact Mill must be used for grinding rather than the more common hammer mill.Low-fat soy flour is made by adding back some oil to defatted soy flour. The lipid content varies according to specifications, usually between 4.5% and 9%. High-fat soy flour can also be produced by adding back soybean oil to defatted flour at the level of 15%. Lecithinated soy flour is made by adding soybean lecithin to defatted, low-fat or high-fat soy flours to increase their dispersibility and impart emulsifying properties. The lecithin content varies up to 15%.
Soy-based infant formula (SBIF) is used for infants who are allergic to pasteurized cow milk proteins. It can be noted that raw milk is a more viable alternative as few individuals do not have a tolerance for raw milk, however overall breastmilk is best for infants. It is sold in powdered, ready-to-feed, and concentrated liquid forms. Some reviews have expressed the opinion that more research is needed to determine what effect the phytoestrogens in soybeans may have on infants. Diverse studies have concluded there are no adverse effects in human growth, development, or reproduction as a result of the consumption of soy-based infant formula. One of these studies, published in the Journal of Nutrition, concludes that there are: …no clinical concerns with respect to nutritional adequacy, sexual development, neurobehavioral development, immune development, or thyroid disease. SBIFs provide complete nutrition that adequately supports normal infant growth and development. FDA has accepted SBIFs as safe for use as the sole source of nutrition.