Soy is on top as a high-quality plant protein

Dec 06, 2011

The importance of protein in the human body is undeniable. However, the idea of what makes a protein a "quality protein" has not been as easy to determine. A new study from the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry takes a closer look at the criteria for determining the quality of a protein.

Traditional methods for determining quality have shown animal proteins such as milk and eggs to be high in quality. However, those who are interested in a plant-based diet, or diversifying their proteins, have a more difficult time determining which of their choices are high in quality. Testing methods have shown most , such as , are lower in quality than animal-based proteins.

"Accurate methods for determining protein quality are key to helping people plan a healthful diet," said Glenna Hughes, MS, research scientist at Solae. "Due to the increasing interest in including plant-based proteins in the diet, accurate information on protein quality is needed in scientific literature to help educate consumers and on this topic."

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the (WHO) recommend using the protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) as a simple and scientific procedure for assessing protein quality. The PDCAAS methodology focuses on three different parameters: the amount of each essential amino acid the protein contains, how easily the protein can be digested, and by taking both of those parameters into account, whether the protein meets the FAO/WHO's amino acid requirements set for children aged two to five years, as they have higher needs to support growth and development than adults.

According to this study, has a PDCAAS of 1.00, meaning it is a high-quality protein that meets the needs of both children and adults. Eggs, dairy and meat proteins also have a PDCAAS score of 1.0.

However, soy protein is the only widely available high-quality plant-based protein that achieves this score.

"It's important for people to understand that a plant-based diet is healthy, but that not all proteins are created equal," said Connie Diekman, RD, LD, FADA. "If you are planning a vegetarian diet or want to incorporate plant-based proteins in your diet, understanding protein quality using the PDCAAS scale can allow you to select proteins that score higher, such as soy, to ensure that you are getting the essential amino acids you need."

Explore further: Study confirms water quality in glass and plastic bottles

More information: For more information on the study, the following is a link to the abstract: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22017752

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researcher develops power-packed soy breakfast cereal

Mar 06, 2008

Breakfast of champions? That would be a soy protein-packed, low-fat, high-fiber cereal that meets the requirements for three different FDA health claims and leaves you feeling full so you won’t be tempted to eat again until ...

Mankind benefits from eating less meat

Apr 06, 2006

If people were to eat more vegetable proteins instead of animal proteins, this would result in multiple – and much-needed – benefits. Such a 'protein transition' will positively affect sustainable energy production, sustainable ...

Is it time to revisit the current protein recommendations?

Jun 17, 2008

Current protein recommendations were established with the goal of preventing deficiency, but newer research indicates that many adults may benefit from eating more than the minimum requirement. These findings are presented ...

Research breakthrough for the protein factories of tomorrow

Sep 22, 2006

Using a kind of molecular ‘hip joint operation,’ researchers at Uppsala University have succeeded in replacing a natural amino acid in a protein with an artificial one. This step forward opens the possibility of creating ...

Recommended for you

Rice chemist wins 'Nobel Prize of Cyprus'

Aug 21, 2014

Rice University organic chemist K.C. Nicolaou has earned three prestigious international honors, including the Nemitsas Prize, the highest honor a Cypriot scientist can receive and one of the most prestigious ...

User comments : 0