Friday, March 1, 2013

Protein for Breakfast--and When They Are Dairy Proteins, You Get Better Benefits

It was wonderful to see so many of you at IFT Wellness this week. Congratulations to the Institute of Food Technologists on another wonderful conference.

A well-attended session--Healthier Living: Protein Needs for Physical Performance--put dairy in the spotlight. The speakers reviewed research that supports higher protein intake levels than the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). These increased levels are designed for optimum muscle health and function rather than simply the minimum level to prevent deficiency. 

One of the speakers, Donald Layman, professor emeritus of nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, my alma mater, explained that data indicates all humans need about the same amount of dietary protein every day for basic lean muscle repair and remodeling. To reap other benefits—those for optimum performance—one must consider the quality of the protein and the quantity of the protein at every meal, in particular breakfast.

Simply, data suggests that every meal should include 30 grams of high-quality protein (contains all nine essential amino acids), and is particularly high in the branched-chain amino acid leucine (a trigger for many of the benefits associated with protein consumption). This is the amount of protein for the body to function at its best.

This magic number is 30 grams of protein…at every meal.

“This is very important at smaller meals, which often tend to be overloaded with carbohydrates and fat,” said Dr. Layman.

The good news is when you focus on increasing high-quality protein concentrated in leucine, the carbs and fat naturally get decreased. So, if one focuses on the protein content of the diet, the rest falls into place.

Here’s the even better news. Of all the protein ingredients available to food and beverage manufacturers, whey protein isolate contains the most leucine: 11%. Milk protein concentrate comes in second at 9.5%, followed by egg protein at 8.8%. 

What does this mean for dairy processors? For starters, marketers need to promote the inherent high-quality protein content of fluid milk so that more consumers reach for a glass at every meal. In fact, the inherent protein content of all dairy foods is a great marketing tool.

On the innovation side, by starting with a source of high-quality protein—milk—and boosting protein with one or more of these ingredients, dairy foods become the ideal product to get many consumers to that magic number of 30 grams of protein at every meal.

Breakfast Opportunity
Breakfast tends to be one of the more challenging meals to consume enough protein, especially for those consumers who eat on the run. Here are two new on-the-go dairy-based beverages to the rescue. 

General Mills is rolling out BFAST, a nutritious breakfast shake based on nonfat milk. Each shelf-stable prisma carton contains 180 to 190 calories, depending on flavor, and 8 grams of protein. The majority of the protein comes from milk, but some of the other ingredients, including whole grain quinoa, also contribute to the protein content. The whole grains and inulin allow for the content claims of: 8 grams of whole grain and 3 grams of fiber per serving.

The product is marketed as a shelf-stable, dairy-based, portable breakfast shake with the nutrition of a bowl of cereal and milk, including vitamins and minerals, fiber, protein and whole grain. It is designed for the on-the-go millennial who may otherwise skip breakfast. BFAST comes in three flavors: berry, chocolate and vanilla. 

BFAST was introduced regionally in the Northeast in December. The suggested retail price is $1.79 for singles; $4.49 for three-pack. For more information, visit HERE.

Later this year, Kellogg Company will be rolling out nationally its Breakfast To Go milk-based drink. With 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber in each 10-ounce shelf-stable shake, the company believes this beverage is a great start to the day. The beverage is made with a protein blend based on nonfat milk, whey protein concentrate and soy protein isolate.

The aseptically packaged plastic bottles are sold in packs of four in three flavors: Milk Chocolate, Strawberry and Vanilla.

For more information, visit HERE.

And here’s some news from the Global Dairy Platform…

New Method to Assess Quality of Dietary Proteins
A groundbreaking report by an Expert Consultation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations (FAO) has recommended a new, advanced method for assessing the quality of dietary proteins.
The report, “Dietary protein quality evaluation in human nutrition,” recommends that the Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score (DIAAS) replace the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS) as the preferred method of measuring protein quality. The report recommends that more data be developed to support full implementation, but in the interim, protein quality should be calculated using DIAAS values derived from fecal crude protein digestibility data. Under the current PDCAAS method, values are “truncated” to a maximum score of 1.00, even if scores derived are higher.

Protein is vital to support the health and well-being of human populations. However, not all proteins are alike as they vary according to their origin (animal vs. vegetable), their individual amino acid composition and their level of amino acid bioactivity. “High quality proteins” are those that are readily digestible and contain the dietary essential amino acids in quantities that correspond to human requirements.

“Over the next 40 years, three billion people will be added to today’s global population of 6.6 billion. Creating a sustainable diet to meet their nutritive needs is an extraordinary challenge that we won’t be able to meet unless we have accurate information to evaluate a food’s profile and its ability to deliver nutrition,” says Paul Moughan, co-director of the Riddet Institute, who chaired the FAO Expert Consultation. “The recommendation of the DIAAS method is a dramatic change that will finally provide an accurate measure of the amounts of amino acids absorbed by the body and an individual protein source’s contribution to a human’s amino acid and nitrogen requirements. This will be an important piece of information for decision makers assessing which foods should be part of a sustainable diet for our growing global population.”

Using the DIAAS method, researchers are now able to differentiate protein sources by their ability to supply amino acids for use by the body. For example, the DIAAS method was able to demonstrate the higher bioavailability of dairy proteins when compared to plant-based protein sources. Data in the FAO report showed whole milk powder to have a DIAAS score of 1.22, far superior to the DIAAS score of 0.64 for peas and 0.40 for wheat. When compared to the highest refined soy isolate, dairy protein DIAAS scores were 10% to 30% higher. 

DIAAS determines amino acid digestibility, at the end of the small intestine, providing a more accurate measure of the amounts of amino acids absorbed by the body and the protein’s contribution to human amino acid and nitrogen requirements. PDCAAS is based on an estimate of crude protein digestibility determined over the total digestive tract, and values stated using this method generally overestimate the amount of amino acids absorbed. Some food products may claim high-protein content, but since the small intestine does not absorb all amino acids the same, they are not providing the same contribution to a human’s nutritional requirements. 

Since its adoption by FAO/WHO in 1991, the PDCAAS method had been widely accepted but also criticized for a number of reasons. In addition to the issues of truncation and overestimation, PDCAAS did not adequately adjust for foods susceptible to damage from processing and anti-nutritionals, which can make some amino acids unavailable for absorption.

“We support the recommendations of the FAO Expert Consultation, including the immediate use of DIAAS values calculated from fecal crude protein digestibility data,” says Donald Moore, executive director, Global Dairy Platform. “Immediately removing ‘truncation’ will provide health professionals, regulators and policy makers a more accurate representation of which foods provide the highest quality of nutrition. We urge industry to support the additional research required to enable implementation of the more accurate DIAAS method. ”

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