Pick your plant-based protein

Supply and sources of plant-based protein are increasing. Recent news and innovation have focused on algae, ancient grains, beans, soybeans and wheat.

Soy adds satiety

Afternoon snacking on high protein soy foods improves appetite, satiety and diet quality in adolescents, according to a study that appeared on-line May 20 in The Journal of Nutrition. Researchers from the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Missouri in Columbia and DuPont Nutrition & Health in St. Louis led the study in which 31 healthy adolescents consumed afternoon snacks.

The adolescents were either 17, less than a year younger than 17 or less than a year older than 17. They consumed a high protein snack (26 grams of protein and 6 grams of fat per 27 grams of carbohydrates) or a high fat snack (4 grams of protein and 12 grams of fat per 32 grams of carbohydrates), or they did not consume a snack at all. People who ate the high protein snack showed delayed eating initiation. People who ate the high protein snack and people who ate the high fat snack showed a reduced appetite when compared to people who ate no snacks, but the difference was greater for people eating the high protein snack. People who ate the high protein snack ate fewer high fat, high sugar snacks in the evening.

“Standard meals tend to go to the wayside for kids this age, particularly from mid-afternoon to late evening, and many of the convenient ‘grab-and-go’ snacks are high in fat and sugar,” said Heather Leidy, Ph.D., lead author of the study and assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at the University of Missouri. “Adding protein snacks in the afternoon could be a strategy for individuals who are trying to eat more protein throughout the day.”

Algae gets the OK

Solazyme, Inc., South San Francisco, earlier this year received a “no objection” letter from the Food and Drug Administration on the Generally Recognized As Safe status of its whole algal protein. The AlgaVia branded ingredient is vegan-friendly, gluten-free and contains fiber, lipids and micronutrients such as lutein and zeaxanthin, according to the company.

Sales surge for bean snacks

When compared to the previous 52-week period, U.S. retail sales of Beanitos, a snack made of beans and featuring all the essential amino acids, increased 51% for the 52-week period ended Feb. 22, 2015, according to Information Resources, Inc., a Chicago-based market research firm.

Beanitos is a snack made of beans that features all the essential amino acids.

Archer Daniels Midland Co., Chicago, offers VegeFull cooked bean ingredients. Black beans contribute 7.6 grams of protein per half-cup serving while the half-cup protein levels are 7.2 grams for chickpeas, 7.7 grams for kidney beans, 7.3 grams for lima beans and 7.7 grams for pinto beans, according to ADM.

Protein from ancient grains

Many of the ancient grains qualify as a good source of protein. Glanbia Nutritionals, Inc., Fitchburg, Wis., offers crisps that may contain sorghum, quinoa, amaranth, chia or flax. The addition of vegan protein allows the crisps to reach protein levels of 50% to 60%.

Ardent Mills, Denver; Bay State Milling, Quincy, Mass.; and Honeyville, Brigham City, Utah, also offer ancient grain ingredients. SK Food International, Fargo, N.D., offers Ancient Grisps, which are milled and extruded from a custom blend of ancient grains, including amaranth, quinoa, sorghum and millet. AncientGrisps are about 5 millimeters to 7 millimeters in size and may be used in such applications as cereal, snacks, energy bars, granola, confections, salad toppings and yogurt toppings.

Wheat protein for muscles

An Optein lightly hydrolyzed wheat protein has been shown to aid muscle recovery after exercise, according to MGP Ingredients, Atchison, Kas. Optein has a high level of glutamine, which is reported to be effective in the prevention of fatigue and over-training syndrome of athletes and in the recovery of critically-ill patients. Optein has been shown to work in nutritional and protein drink powder mixes, sports beverages, smoothies, and protein, energy and meal replacement bars.