Thursday, April 3, 2014

Powerful Proteins Come from Milk

In addition to making practically every 2014 food trends list, protein was the topic of an entire day-long track at IFT Wellness14 at the end of March. The week prior, it was also a dominant call out on innovations that debuted at Natural Products Expo West.  (Check out some innovations at the end of this blog.)

The month before, MilkPEP launched the Milk Life campaign designed to reinforce how milk’s many nutritional benefits--including high-quality protein--can help power the potential of every day.

With 8 grams of high-quality protein in each 8-ounce glass, milk is a natural source of protein, a nutrient most Americans are trying to increase in their diets because of the benefits associated with intake, which include exercise recovery, healthy aging, muscle building and weight management.

The appeal of milk proteins is so strong that developers of all types of foods and beverages are including isolated and concentrated varieties in product formulations. All types of dairy foods can benefit from a boost of dairy proteins, in particular whey, the most powerful of them all.

To read more about “Innovative ways to formulate with whey” click HERE.

At the same time dairy proteins have been receiving accolades in the media and at industry events around the country, some folks have been trying to undermine dairy proteins’ value. Most recently there was an article published in Cell Metabolism (19, 407-417, March 4, 2014) that included this statement in the summary: “Respondents aged 50 to 65 reporting high-protein intake had a 75% increase in overall mortality and a four-fold increase in cancer death risk during the following 18 years. These associations were either abolished or attenuated if the proteins were plant derived.”
You can view the paper HERE.

Fortunately, a team of protein experts quickly convened and wrote a letter to the editors of Cell Metabolism explaining that the conclusions and analyses of the study were biased and flawed and not supported by the researchers’ own analyses or the greater literature. The experts explained that in their opinion, the peer-review system failed to adequately evaluate this paper. When this happens, the scientific community has the responsibility to provide additional oversight with scholarly evaluation and debate, which is what they tried to do with their letter. Unfortunately, the editors declined to publish the letter, recommending that the authors simply post their comments on the journal website.

The authors declined that approach. Instead, they made their unpublished letter available through social media and would like to spread the word. You can view the letter HERE.

Understanding protein quality

Separately, by any measure, whey proteins have consistently been found to be among the highest quality proteins. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations (FAO), high-quality proteins are those that are readily digestible and contain the dietary essential amino acids in quantities that correspond to human requirements.

Until about a year ago, protein quality was quantified by its Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS). Since, a new, advanced method--the Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score (DIAAS)--is recommended by FAO for assessing the quality of dietary proteins.

Using the PDCAAS method, values are “truncated” to a maximum score of 1.00, even if scores derived are higher. Because protein quality varies according to origin (animal vs. vegetable), their individual amino acid composition and their level of amino acid bioactivity, it is essential to document the quality of protein ingredients to best formulate nutrient-dense foods.

“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, Massey University, New Zealand, who chaired the expert panel that recommended to FAO the new method for evaluating protein quality. “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.”

Supporting the power of whey proteins, and at the same time recognizing the value of other sources of protein to help feed the booming population, Dr. Craig Sherwin, director of protein technology center at Davisco Foods International Inc., spoke at IFT Wellness14 on the topic of blending proteins. He explained how whey proteins are known for their clean flavor and high solubility, particularly at low pH. To achieve additional goals of thermal stability and improved economics, product developers often look to blends of whey proteins with other protein sources.

Sherwin explained to attendees that data from FAO shows that whole milk powder has 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. Specialty dairy proteins designed to contain higher levels of functional amino acids such as leucine, a metabolic trigger for muscle protein synthesis, or tryptophan, a sleep aid, also scored well over 100. Precise values for protein quality and digestibility can differ among suppliers based on level of purity since each product has a slightly different amino acid profile.

In his presentation, Sherwin demonstrated how blends of high-quality whey protein with caseins, soy protein or collagen can still deliver theoretical DIAAS scores of 100. This suggests that whey proteins can easily be the foundation of a beverage or snack formula up to even the highest fortification levels. This includes protein-enhanced dairy foods.

Check out these innovations

Beyond Better Foods is growing its Enlightened frozen novelty line with new flavors and forms. Peanut Butter and Toasted Almond join Coffee, Fudge and Orange Cream in the stick bar lineup. Chocolate wafer sandwiches are the new form. The first two varieties are Mint and Vanilla Bean.

These ice cream novelties deliver protein and fiber with less sugar and fewer calories than most other novelties. Each 75-gram stick novelty contains a mere 70 to 80 calories and 8 to 9 grams of protein, depending on variety. The sandwiches contain 100 calories and 7 grams of protein. Skim milk and milk protein isolate are the sources of protein.

All of the novelties are a high source of fiber, which comes primarily from soluble corn fiber. Erythritol and monk fruit extract keep calories and sugar content at appealing levels.
For more information, visit HERE.

Arctic Zero is also expanding its frozen dessert pint line with three new flavors: Coconut, Orange Cream and Sea Salt Caramel. The company has tweaked all of its formulations to offer consumers creamier, smoother protein-packed, low-calorie frozen desserts.

“I have an insatiable appetite for inventing new and unique flavors, and improving upon existing fan favorites to evolve our line of frozen desserts,” says Founder Greg Holtman. “We listen closely to what our loyal customers say about our functional foods and are excited to introduce them to our new pint flavors. We’re also proud to share our newly enhanced formulation with Arctic Zero fans everywhere, so they can enjoy a creamier, smoother texture and richer taste in every pint.”

The new flavors join Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Coffee, Cookies & Cream, Mint Chocolate, Strawberry and Vanilla Maple. All of the pints contain a mere 150 calories and a whopping 12 grams of whey protein and 8 grams of fiber. The latter comes from the addition of chicory root and sugar cane fiber. The company touts the fact that the product is made with high-quality whey protein and that it is gluten free and lactose-intolerant friendly. For more information, visit HERE.

The Powerful Yogurt Company is growing, too. At Natural Products Expo West the company unveiled two new product lines: Powerful Yogurt PLUS+ and Powerful Yogurt Protein Bars.

The Powerful Yogurt PLUS+ line of Greek yogurts adds hearty whole grains to the company’s signature high-protein Greek yogurt. Powerful Yogurt PLUS+ has 21 grams of inherent milk protein per 8-ounce serving. It comes in there varieties: Coconut + Quinoa, Tropical Fruit + Oats and Lemon + Chia.

The company is expanding beyond the dairy case with Powerful Yogurt Protein Bars. Developed by an award-winning bar maker, Powerful Yogurt Protein Bars feature 20 grams of protein from a proprietary protein blend of whey protein concentrate, milk protein concentrate and whey protein isolate, along with nonfat dry milk and soy protein isolate. The bars are also a source of probiotics and are low in sugar (4 grams). Varieties are: Chocolate Coconut, Peanut Butter & Jelly and Yogurt Crème.

“We are very excited to be evolving into a company with a strong portfolio of great-tasting, all-natural, high-protein foods that fuel the active lifestyle,” says Founder and CEO Carlos Ramirez. “One year ago we launched Powerful Yogurt with one product line. The success of our high-protein, award-winning Greek yogurt led to the strong growth and innovation that you see today, but this is just the beginning.” For more information, visit HERE.

This last item is also not a dairy product, but worth a mention because it epitomizes the power of protein. Sport Beans Protein Recovery Crisps from Jelly Belly Candy Company delivers a new option for muscle recovery following intense training or competition. These post-performance crisps are formulated with proteins to rebuild muscle, and balanced with carbohydrates to replenish energy stores. They combine two sources of protein—pea on the inside and whey on the outside--in a bite-sized crisp that mimics a malt ball. Each 1.5-ounce bag provides 10 grams of protein. Varieties are Berry Smoothie, Chocolate and Vanilla. For more information, visit HERE.


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