Additional sources of plant protein
Companies have a variety of sources to choose from when they want to add plant-based protein to foods and beverages:
Algae – TerraVia, San Francisco, offers AlgaVia whole algae for use in such products as baked foods, snacks, beverages and bars. The whole food, which is not a protein isolate or concentrate, contains about 65% protein. It also delivers dietary fiber and beneficial lipids and contains all the essential amino acids.
Almonds – A 2015 consumer survey in North America from the Sterling-Rice Group found almonds received excellent ratings for their health attributes, including “nutritious,” “good for your heart,” “a source of energy,” “high in protein” and “a source of fiber,” according to the Almond Board of California, Modesto, Calif. Almonds have 6 grams of protein per oz and also contain fiber, vitamin E, calcium, riboflavin and niacin.
Beans – Archer Daniels Midland Co., Chicago, offers VegeFull bean ingredients in such forms as powders, meals, grits and whole beans, said Janice Rueda, Ph.D., director, research and business development for ADM Edible Beans. One cup of black beans, navy beans or pinto beans has about 15 grams of protein.
“The amino acid compositions of beans and grains complement each other,” she said. “Beans are deficient in the amino acids methionine and cysteine, but they do have adequate lysine, which is the limiting amino acid in grains.”
VegeFull bean powders most commonly are used in bakery applications.
“However, we’re seeing increasing use of the coarser grind sizes — the meals and grits — to provide texture and visual appeal,” Dr. Rueda said. “Especially in the whole grain bread and bread and crackers with textural inclusions, the VegeFull bean grits add not only a nice boost in nutrition but also add some really nice texture to the final product.”
Peanuts – A legume, peanuts contain more than 7 grams of protein per oz, according to The Peanut Institute, Albany, Ga. Peanut flour may be used to bread chicken, turkey or beef. Peanut powder may be added to protein shakes.
Soy – Soy protein provides all nine essential amino acids in amounts that allow the body to synthesize the protein it needs for muscle, enzymes and growth and survival, according to The Soyfoods Council, Ankeny, Iowa. Soy qualifies for a Food and Drug Administration health claim since diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 25 grams of soy protein a day may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Wheat – Manildra Group USA, Shawnee Mission, Kas., offers GemPro Ultra wheat protein isolate for use in beverages, nutrition bars, baked foods and vegetarian/vegan foods. The ingredient contains about 25% to 30% glutamine in the form of glutamine peptides. Consuming glutamine-rich proteins promotes faster recovery after heavy exercise.
Optein hydrolyzed wheat protein from MGP Ingredients, Atchison, Kas., is compatible with grain-based foods for protein fortification and as a rich source of soluble peptide-bonded glutamine, said Ody Maningat, Ph.D., vice-president of research and development and chief science officer for MGP Ingredients.
“When consumed in the form of energy or meal replacement bars, it reduces muscle soreness, aids in muscle recovery and maintains healthy blood and glucose levels, especially among active individuals,” he said.