Natural Products Insider

JUL-AUG 2018

INSIDER is the leading information source for marketers, manufacturers and formulators of dietary supplements, healthy foods and cosmeceuticals. Since 1997, INSIDER has been serving the needs of the global nutrition industry.

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50 INSIDER July/August 2018 50 INSIDER July/August 2018 In terms of protein, animal products stand unopposed atop the popularity pyramid. Animal-based protein sources are generally favored for their quality, bioavailability and amino acid profi les. However, consumers are beginning to place an emphasis on alternative protein sources, with plant-based protein scaling quickly. "The hottest trend in protein has been the rise of plant-based protein products, and all indicators say this trend will continue," said Joe Weiss, president, Nutrition 21 LLC. A huge contributing factor to the rise of plant-based protein has been what goes through consumers' minds when they're in the grocery aisle. It's about more than just the bottom line for consumers. "In general, production of most plant-based proteins is known for low impact use of land, water and energy, and low resulting carbon emissions," shared Dina Fernandez, protein ingredient specialist, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). "This is highly valued by consumers because they want the power to choose foods and products with ethical and environmental added benefi ts, and for wellness and balanced lifestyle reasons." Not only do plant-based proteins offer an environmentally friendly protein alternative, they can stack up pound for pound with animal-based protein sources. What's in It for Me? Plant-based protein isn't just a simple nutritional trend. "When considering the importance of maintaining a healthy protein intake, plant-based protein products become a primary option for those looking to increase their protein consumption and meet the needs of various dietary restrictions," said Jim Komorowski, chief science offi cer, Nutrition 21. Options such as soy, lentils and peas offer vegetarians, vegans and the generally health-conscious the opportunity to enjoy virtually the same protein perks as animal-based sources. Couple this with the fact that plants offer distinctive nutritional benefi ts and they become an enticing option. "Diets rich in plant foods are increasingly being recommended to lower risk of cardiometabolic diseases, since there is strong evidence that fruits, vegetables, soy, whole grain, nuts and seeds are protective," said Michelle Braun, global protein scientifi c affairs lead, DuPont Nutrition & Health. Consumers are also seeking products that check more than one box on the benefi ts list. "Observational studies of vegetarians demonstrate their reduced risk for numerous chronic conditions; recent research demonstrates that just small increases in plant protein intake can be associated with reduced risk of death and disease," Braun explained (Proc Nutr Soc. 2016;75[3]:287-93; JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176[10]:1453-63). "Plant-based products are naturally cholesterol- and saturated fat-free," said Scarlett Full, nutrition scientist, Axiom. "They are also naturally free of contamination from growth hormones or antibiotics which may be in animal-derived sources." Amino Acid Profi le The human body requires more than 20 amino acids when it comes to repairing muscle and tissue. A common concern surrounding plant-based proteins is related to their amino acid profi les. "From a nutritional perspective, the protein quality of protein ingredients is evaluated using the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS)—the offi cial method used to evaluate protein quality," Fernandez noted. The PDCAAS scale ranges from 0 to 1, with 1 representing the highest-quality protein. A majority of plant- based proteins fall between 0.5 and 0.7. "Plant protein ingredients with PDCAAS values of 0.7 and above include pea, lupine, lentils, chickpea, quinoa, some edible beans and cashews, among others," she stated. "Protein ingredients with PDCAAS values of 0.5 to 0.7 include various edible beans, pumpkin seed, sunfl ower seed, chia, hemp, sacha inchi and most nuts. Finally, protein ingredients with PDCAAS values below 0.5 include wheat, rice, corn, barley, oat and algae. Plant proteins of high or low PDCAAS are loaded with nutritional elements such as fi ber, vitamins, mineral, antioxidants and bioactive components, and have a wide range of functionality profi les." Using this evaluation method, the amino acid gap between plant and animal proteins may not be as signifi cant after all. "It's somewhat dangerous to use PDCAAS as the 'gold standard' of measurement because it leads you to believe that plant proteins are nutritionally inferior to animal proteins," mentioned Kelly Shone, director of innovation, Bioriginal. "Rather, plant proteins offer a wide variety of complementary amino acid profi les. So, as long as a variety of plant proteins are being consumed throughout the day, the recommended daily amount of complete protein can be obtained." Plant-Based Protein Plant-based protein offers a comparable amino acid profile when stacked up against animal-based protein. The process of manufacturing plant protein is at the top of the list for sustainability when compared to animal products. A steady uptick in brands supplying plant protein provides a bright outlook for the market. Plant-Based Protein: A Snapshot by Connor Lovejoy INSIDER's Take

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