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Muscling up on protein | Food Business News



KANSAS CITY — Protein is hot with consumers, and manufacturers of bars and snacks are responding with many new alternatives on the market. Protein is associated with healthy lifestyles and helping to build muscles, among other benefits.

“High-protein snacks have a health halo among consumers because of their benefits in human nutrition and weight management,” said Tanya Jeradechachai, vice president of ingredient solutions, research and development, MGP Ingredients Inc. “There is a significant surge of keto- friendly snacks based on high customer demand for our wheat protein isolates, and we have yet to see this trend leveling off.”

Capitalizing on this trend and taking it a step further, bar makers are promoting other claims with these snacks for the health conscious, including low sugar, gluten- and grain-free, plant-based, clean label and more.

Nicole Redini, category strategy manager, F&BS, North America, Tate & Lyle, pointed to Mintel’s Global New Products Database, which shows that products launched over the past two years in the snack and bakery categories that contained a high/added protein claim also have focused on several clean label claims and appeared on at least 50% of new product launches over the past three years.

Additionally, 75% of consumers said they would pay a premium price for snacks and treats fortified with protein, according to a 2021 Kerry survey.

With several protein options, it’s important to understand what sources are available, the benefits they bring and how they will affect claims on labels.

Building better bars

A wide variety of proteins are available to fortify bars and snacks, including wheat, soy, whey, peas and other pulses, nuts and ancient grains.

Wheat proteins are versatile and can be used in many high-protein salty snacks and bars, Ms. Jeradechachai said, although they, like many high-protein products, can have tough textures if used in large concentrations.

“They provide viscoelastic properties and protein enhancement in keto-friendly salty snacks, such as pretzels, chips and crackers,” she said. “In high-protein bars, wheat protein isolates are used as binders, and the texturized wheat proteins are added for texture.”

She added that wheat protein isolates can form film and entrap air, which can create light and airy snacks.

Soy protein has been widely used for years and provides versatility in formulations.

“It’s a product that has been developed with love for many years, and it works well in all these spaces,” said Chad Rieschl, principal food scientist, North American applications team, Cargill. “It’s amazing how it works everywhere. All these proteins are catching up to see how they can be in that place.”

Dairy protein is another choice that provides several benefits for snack bars.

“For high-protein bars, dairy proteins — whey and milk proteins — provide an ideal solution as they are high in protein, clean flavored and have a complete protein profile to give a PDCAAS of 1.0,” said Steve Adolphson, research manager, bar applications at Glanbia Nutritionals.

PDCAAS, or protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score, rates the quality of a protein based on people’s amino acid requirements and ability to digest it, with 1.0 being the highest score. That means the protein will provide 100% of all the amino acids required in a diet.

“Plant-based proteins can also be a good choice, but they tend to have lower protein loads, and commonly have flavor challenges that need to be overcome,” Mr. Adolphson continued. “In addition, as the protein quality is not as high, a combination of different plant-based proteins needs to be used if there will be a claim made around high protein in the bar.”

Dairy proteins can also help bars maintain a soft texture.

“We would suggest including a hydrolyzed whey protein, as it will help with shelf life and slow the hardening of a high-protein bar,” said Peggy Ponce, Agropur’s director of product innovation.

Plant-based proteins surging

Although whey, soy and wheat are high-quality proteins used in many applications, the pursuit of clean label, plant-based products that are allergen-free can eliminate these options, depending on the claims snack and bar makers are pursuing.

“Plant-based is definitely having its moment in the sun, as is low sugar,” said Emily Jackson, technical service manager, Manildra Group USA. “Consumers are reflecting more on their food choices in the wake of the ongoing pandemic and are making choices that directly impact their health and the health of the planet.”

And there are many plant-based options with newer ones emerging.

“Any pulse or ancient grain in a flaked, grit or flour form can be utilized to enhance the protein of a snack such as pressed bars, crackers or extruded snacks, to name a few examples,” said Jennifer Tesch, chief marketing officer, Healthy Food ingredients.

Peas and other pulses do have their challenges, including giving bars a gritty, powdery or dry texture, but those problems can be offset with binding syrups, said Erin Nese, senior technologist, commercial innovation acceleration, Ingredion. Managing the taste is crucial as well.

“Plant proteins have inherent flavors that are beany or earthy,” Ms. Nese said. “Choosing a plant protein with the cleanest flavor profile will help with overall flavor. Flavor maskers can also be used to neutralize or mask off-notes. Formulators should work with flavors which complement plant proteins. Chocolate or nutty flavors pair well with many pea proteins in bars.”

A combination of plant proteins can also help overcome some of the challenges associated with them.

“Certain plant-based proteins in raw whole form such as legumes, may have strong flavor profiles. By utilizing a precooked option in flour or flaked form, these off-flavor notes can be reduced,” Ms. Tesch said.

A combination of proteins also can help bars maintain a soft, chewy texture during their shelf life.

“When you start adding proteins, they have a tendency to densify the material, so then you need to look at its supporting characters,” Mr. Rieschl said. “What are the ingredients you will couple with it to help improve or create the texture you desire? Or what proteins will you combine together to create the right texture and density and flavor profile that you’re looking at?”

Pea flour and split peas

ADM offers a range of flours that combine pea protein with wheat or rice proteins, which offer greater ingredient density and nutrient density in one product.

“Both wheat and rice MaxFlex blends deliver quality plant protein content and functionality as well as great taste, light color and improved texture for snacks ranging from crispy chips to soft-baked bars,” said Wendy van Buren, global commercial growth leader, alternative proteins , ADM.

Merit Functional Foods is now offering a canola protein to answer demands for plant-based protein options. It can achieve a PDCAAS of 1.0 when blended with pea protein.

“In addition to its solubility and protein levels, Puratein C has low water binding capacity that keeps bars soft and allows them to stay softer longer,” said Jeff Casper, director of research and applications at Merit.

Crisps, crackers and more

One way to increase protein without creating texture problems is to use crisps.

“At ADM, we produce soy crisps with 60% and 80% protein that are perfect for nutritional bar formulations,” Ms. van Buren said.

With high-protein crackers and other sheeted products, processability and texture present a challenge.

“Using high levels of protein in a sheeted snack requires higher levels of moisture compared to traditional snacks,” Ms. Nese said. “Pea protein, for example, has a high water-holding capacity; a formula with pea protein incorporated will require additional water to achieve a cohesive dough. A cohesive dough is also important for sheeting. If a dough is dry, crumbly or tearing during sheeting, adding a pre-gel starch may help solve the challenge. The final texture in a high protein snack may be dense and hard. Using the right starch texturizer in the formulation can help achieve a light, airy, crispy and/or crunchy snack.”

Another plant-based choice is also environmentally friendly. EverGrain Ingredients is one of the first to offer Upcycled Certified barley fiber.

“As concerns around food waste become more and more prevalent, consumers are looking to upcycled ingredients like our barley fiber and protein ingredients as a solution and path to a better future for themselves and for our planet,” said Giacomo Cattaneo, EverVita product owner, EverGrain Ingredients.

The type of protein and format a formulator uses will depend on the claim the bar or snack maker wants to make. For instance, a keto-friendly bar formulation would need added protein but keep sugar content as low as possible.

“Formulators are recommended to use protein isolates over the concentrates to ensure the highest protein and lowest available carbohydrate content possible, and to reduce the sugar and starch and replace them with dietary fiber,” Ms. Jeradechachai said. “The protein isolate source must also be functional — viscoelastic — especially in keto-friendly bakery products.”

Isolates have a higher protein content, often upwards of 80% to 90%, depending on the protein source, while concentrates generally have a lower protein content.

Ins and outs of extrusion

High-protein extruded snacks present unique challenges for formulators, although their popularity is growing among consumers.

“When it comes to snacking, really where a lot of the traction is happening with protein fortification is around extruded snacks,” said Marilyn Stieve, senior product manager, bars and snacks, Glanbia. “There we have a line of milk proteins that we’ve developed specifically for extrusion that can allow up to 74% protein in an extruded snack. It’s a little bit more challenging getting into high protein levels when you start talking about extrusion.”

Texture is one challenge with high-protein extruded snacks. Ms. Stieve said it’s important to understand the protein matrix and find ways to functionalize it so snacks can go through the temperature and pressure of extrusion while keeping a pleasing, crunchy texture.

“When we set out to develop proteins that could work well in extruded snacks, it was really focusing on the protein molecules and how that would behave through extrusion in order to minimize that glassy-type challenge,” she said, referring to the brittle texture that can come with these products. “When you start talking about extruding plant-based protein, it can be even more challenging with the texture because it is very difficult to get good expansion when you’re working with plant-based protein. I’m speaking specifically about pea protein. And flavor can also be a significant challenge.”

Mr. Rieschl explained that there are a couple of ways that extruded snacks are made, which can influence the amount of protein that can be put in the product.

“Direct expand comes out, it puffs, and you can cut it, coat it and go,” he said. “And there’s a 3G pellet, which is where you can potentially increase the moisture and some of the protein. You dry this pellet, and then you can expand it later. Whether it’s microwaved, hot air popped or oil fried, you can potentially get a little more expansion.”

Consistency of the raw materials in a high-protein extruded snack is vital for ensuring a high-quality product.

“Extrusion has the general effect of increasing the digestibility of proteins and reducing the microbial load of the finished product,” Ms. Jeradechachai said. “Proteins normally undergo aggregation — such as cross-linking — due to the heat and shear effect of the extruder, which dictates the end-product quality.”

Ms. Nese said she doesn’t see high-protein extruded snacks slowing down anytime soon.

“New high-protein snacks may take on different forms,” ​​she said. “Instead of protein bars, for example, we may see more extruded snacks or sheeted snacks.”

Experts see the trend toward high-protein bars and snacks continuing into the foreseeable future. As consumers strive to guard their health in the face of a pandemic, they are seeking out these products.

“I see the trend continuing,” said Julie Phillips Waters, an Agropur food technologist. “Busy lifestyles lead to more snacking. And today, people are more mindful and conscious of what they’re eating.”

Mr. Casper agreed, adding that “consumers are going to continue to look for innovation in high protein snacks that can deliver on taste, texture, color and protein content while maintaining clean label and plant-based designations.”

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Whole Grain Benefits

For the 55-and-over crowd, March 27-April 3, 2022 | Local News



For information about services available to older adults, contact Pam Jacobsen, director of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and Helen Mary Stevick Senior Citizens Center, 2102 Windsor Place, C, at 217-359-6500.

RSVP and the Stevick Center are administered by Family Service of Champaign County.


  • Active Senior Republicans in Champaign County’s monthly meeting will be held at 9:30 am on April 4 in the Robeson Pavilion Room A & B at the Champaign Public Library. This month’s speakers will be Jesse Reising, Regan Deering and Matt Hausman, Republican primary candidates for the newly redrawn 13th Congressional District.
  • Parkland Theater House needs four ushers each night for “The SpongeBob Musical,” opening April 14. There will be nine shows in total — April 14-16, April 22-24 and April 29-May 1. For details, call or email Michael Atherton, Parkland Theater House Manager, or 217-373-3874.
  • Parkland College also needs four volunteers for commencement. The commencement ceremony will be in person at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at 8 pm May 12. Volunteers needed from 6:30 to 8 pm For details, contact Tracy Kleparski, Director of Student Life, at or 217- 351-2206.
  • The Milford High School National Honor Society and Student Council is hosting a Senior Citizens Banquet at 6 pm April 22. The event will be held in the MAPS #124 Gymnasium (park at south doors at Milford High School. To RSVP, call Sandy Potter at 815-471-4213.


Knit or crochet for those in need:

Meditative Movement with Yoga:

  • 9 to 10:15 am Tuesdays and Thursdays.


  • 11 am to noon, second and fourth Tuesdays. Call 217-359-6500.


  • Noon to 3 pm Thursdays.


Card game 13:

  • To sign up to play, call 217-359-6500 and ask for Debbie.

Men’s group:

  • 9 am Monday-Friday. Join us for a cup of coffee and great conversation.


The Peace Meal Nutrition Program provides daily hot lunches at 11:30 am for a small donation and a one-day advance reservation at sites in Champaign, Urbana, Rantoul, Sidney (home delivery only), Mahomet (home delivery only) and Homer.

For reservations, call 800-543-1770. Reservations for Monday need to be made by noon Friday.

NOTE: There is no change for home deliveries, but at congregate sites, you can get a carry-out meal.


  • BBQ pork sandwich, mini potato bakers, corn, creamy cole slaw, bun.


  • Turkey pot roast with carrots and celery, Italian green beans, pineapple, whole grain roll.


  • Savory sausage stew, broccoli, chunky apple sauce, biscuit, surprise dessert.


  • Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and brown gravy, tomatoes and zucchini, apricots, whole-grain roll.


  • Chef’s choice — regional favorites will be served.


If you are 55 and older and want to volunteer in your community, RSVP (funded by AmeriCorps Seniors and the Illinois Department on Aging) provides a unique link to local nonprofits needing help. We offer support, benefits and a safe connection to partner sites.

Contact Pam Jacobsen at or 217-359-6500.


Senior Volunteers.

  • RSVP of Champaign, Douglas and Piatt counties/AmeriCorps Senior Volunteers is your link to over 100 nonprofit organizations. Please contact Pam Jacobsen at or call 217-359-6500 for volunteer information.

Food for seniors. Handlers needed to unload boxes of food for repackaging at 7 am on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. We are looking for backup delivery drivers to deliver food to seniors. Contact Robbie Edwards at 217-359-6500 for info.

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Whole Grain Benefits

The future of nutrition advice



By Lisa Drayer, CNN

(CNN) — Most of us know we should eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

So why would the National Institutes of Health spend $150 million to answer questions such as “What and when should we eat?” and “How can we improve the use of food as medicine?”

The answer may be precision nutrition, which aims to understand the health effects of the complex interplay among genetics, our microbiome (the bacteria living in our gut), our diet and level of physical activity, and other social and behavioral characteristics.

That means that everyone could have their own unique set of nutritional requirements.

How is that possible? I asked three experts who conduct precision nutrition research: Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology and chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and Martha Field and Angela Poole, both assistant professors in the division of nutritional sciences at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology.

Below is an edited version of our conversation.

CNN: How is precision nutrition different from current nutrition advice?

dr Frank Hu: The idea of ​​precision nutrition is to have the right food, at the right amount, for the right person. Instead of providing general dietary recommendations for everyone, this precision approach tailors nutrition recommendations to individual characteristics, including one’s genetic background, microbiome, social and environmental factors, and more. This can help achieve better health outcomes.

CNN: Why is there no one-size-fits-all prescription when it comes to what we should be eating?

Huh: Not everyone responds to the same diet in the same way. For example, given the same weight-loss diet, some people can lose a lot of weight; other people may gain weight. A recent study in JAMA randomized a few hundred overweight individuals to a healthy low-carb or low-fat diet. After a year, there was almost an identical amount of weight loss for the two groups, but there was a huge variation between individuals within each group — some lost 20 pounds. Others gained 10 pounds.

Martha Field: Individuals have unique responses to diet, and the “fine adjust” of precision nutrition is understanding those responses. This means understanding interactions among genetics, individual differences in metabolism, and responses to exercise.

CNN: How do we eat based on precision nutrition principles now?

Huh: There are some examples of personalized diets for disease management, like a gluten-free diet for the management of celiac disease, or a lactose-free diet if you are lactose intolerant. For individuals with a condition known as PKU (phenylketonuria), they should consume (a) phenylalanine-free diet. It’s a rare condition but a classic example of how your genes can influence what type of diets you should consume.

Angela Poole: If I had a family history of high cholesterol, diabetes or colon cancer, I would increase my dietary fiber intake, eating a lot of different sources, including a variety of vegetables.

fields: If you have high blood pressure, you should be more conscious of sodium intake. Anyone with a malabsorption issue might have a need for higher levels of micronutrients such as B vitamins and some minerals.

CNN: There is research showing that people metabolize coffee differently. What are the implications here?

Huh: Some people carry fast caffeine-metabolizing genes; others carry slow genes. If you carry fast (metabolizing) genotypes, you can drink a lot of caffeinated coffee because caffeine is broken down quickly. If you are a slow metabolizer, you get jittery and may not be able to sleep if you drink coffee in the afternoon. If that’s the case, you can drink decaf coffee and still get the benefits of coffee’s polyphenols, which are associated with decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes without the effects of caffeine.

CNN: How much of a role do our individual genes play in our risk of disease? And can our behavior mitigate our disease risk?

Huh: Our health is affected by both genes and diets, which constantly interact with each other because certain dietary factors can turn on or off some disease-related genes. We published research showing that reducing consumption of sugary beverages can offset the negative effects of obesity genes. That’s really good news. Our genes are not our destiny.

Another area of ​​precision nutrition is to measure blood or urine metabolites, small molecules produced during the breakdown and ingestion of food. For example, having a higher concentration of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) strongly predicts one’s future risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The blood levels of BCAAs depend on individuals’ diet, genes and gut microbiome. We found that eating a healthy (Mediterranean-style) diet can mitigate harmful effects of BCAAs on cardiovascular disease. So measuring BCAAs in your blood may help to evaluate your risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease and encourage dietary changes that can lower the risk of chronic diseases down the road.

fields: The environmental effects can sometimes be on the same magnitude as the genetic effects with respect to risk for disease.

CNN: Our individual microbiomes may be able to dictate what type of diet we should be consuming. Can you tell us about this emerging research? And what do you think of microbiome tests?

Poole: Research has shown that in some people, their blood sugar will spike higher from eating bananas than from eating cookies, and this has been associated with microbiome composition. Scientists have used microbiome data to build algorithms that can predict an individual’s glucose response, and this is a major advance. But that’s not an excuse for me to shovel down cookies instead of bananas. Likewise, if the algorithm suggests eating white bread instead of whole-wheat bread due to blood glucose responses, I wouldn’t just eat white bread all the time.

At the moment, I’m not ready to spend a lot of money to see what’s in my gut microbiome… and the microbiome changes over time.

Huh: Microbiome tests are not cheap, and the promise that this test can help develop a personalized meal plan that can improve blood sugar and blood cholesterol … at this point, the data are not conclusive.

CNN: How will nutrition advice be different 10 years from now?

Poole: I think you will receive a custom-tailored grocery list on an app — foods that you want to buy and foods that you want to avoid, based on your blood sugar responses to foods, your level of physical activity and more.

Huh: We will have more and better biomarkers and more affordable and accurate nutrigenomics and microbiome tests as well as better computer algorithms that predict your response to food intakes.

But these technologies cannot substitute general nutrition principles such as limiting sodium and added sugar and eating more healthy plant foods. In a few years, you may be able to get a more useful response from Alexa if you ask her what you should eat — but like other answers from Alexa, you’ll have to take it with a grain of salt.

The CNN Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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Whole Grain Benefits

Are Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches Healthy?



In order to assess its nutritional value, first we must discuss the breakdown of this sandwich.

Typically, there are three main ingredients — bread, peanut butter, and jelly — each with different nutritional values.

Nutritional value of bread

Bread can be a part of a balanced diet. The nutritional value of bread depends on the type chosen.

For starters, whole-grain bread is the best option because it provides a higher amount of nutrients. Whole grain kernels have three parts: the bran, endosperm, and germ (1).

Because whole grain bread retains all three parts, it’s higher in protein and fiber compared with other breads. These nutrients slow the absorption of sugar into your blood stream and keep you full longer (2, 3).

Whole grain bread is also richer in key nutrients, like B vitamins, iron, folate, and magnesium. Look for the word “whole” as part of the first ingredient in bread’s nutritional label (2).

Choosing sprouted grain bread, like Ezekiel bread, is also an excellent choice. The sprouting process increases digestibility and bioavailability of nutrients. Studies show sprouted bread has more fiber, vitamin E, and vitamin C, and beta-glucan (4).

Sourdough bread is fine, too. Although it’s not as high in fiber and protein, it has a lower glycemic index than white bread.

Glycemic index measures how quickly food increases blood sugars. In general, foods with a lower glycemic index better support your overall health.

But keep in mind that glycemic index doesn’t tell the whole story. We must look at the meal as a whole — for example, what we add to the bread. Nutrients, like protein and fats, can help lower the overall glycemic load of a meal, and serving sizes also play a role (5).

As a guideline, look for whole grain breads that offer at least 2 grams of fiber per slice. We also suggest using bread that contains 3 grams of protein or more per slice.

If that’s not available, sourdough bread may be your next best option.


Choose breads that are higher in fiber and protein, like whole grain bread or sprouted grain bread. These varieties help slow absorption of sugars and keep you full longer.

Nutritional value of peanut butter

Many people find peanut butter delicious.

Nutritionally, it also delivers. Peanut butter is a good source of protein and healthy fats, important for all stages of life, especially growing children. Plus, it’s a good source of fiber.

Two tablespoons (32 grams) of smooth peanut butter contain 7 grams of protein, 16 grams of fats, and 2 grams of fiber (6).

Importantly, the majority of fats in peanut butter are unsaturated fats. Research consistently indicates that replacing saturated fats found in animal products with more unsaturated fats (like those in peanut butter) may lower cholesterol and improve heart health (7, 8).

For growing kids, healthy fats are vital for healthy development. Plus, fats help absorb the vitamins A, D, E, and K, all of which play a synergistic role in supporting immune and brain health (9, 10).

Contrary to popular belief, conventional peanut butter doesn’t usually have more sugar than 100% natural peanut butter. However, it may have more salt (6).

When shopping, check the nutrition labels to ensure it doesn’t contain additional ingredients other than peanuts.

When enjoying natural peanut butter, the oil will separate from the peanut butter. Not to fret — just give it a good stir! This helps mix the oils with the solids.

Pro tip: You can store peanut butter upside down in the fridge to keep it from separating again!


When available, choose 100% natural peanut butter, as it’s lower in salt. Remember to stir the peanut butter before eating to mix the oils with the solids.

Nutritional value of jelly

The PB&J sandwich isn’t complete without jelly or jam. What’s the difference, anyway?

Well, while jellies and jams have similar nutritional value and taste, there’s a slight difference: Jellies are made with fruit juice, while jam is made with the fruit juice and pulp (7).

Both jellies and jams contain pectin (artificially added to jelly), which has prebiotic effects that may improve gut health (8).

However, both are naturally high in sugar, so enjoy them in moderation. To have more say in the ingredients used, you can try making your jelly at home.

If you’re buying from a store, look for jellies with no added sugar in the ingredients list. Alternative names for added sugars include glucose, sucrose, dextrose, and fructose.


Jellies are high in natural sugars and contain pectins that may have a beneficial effect in promoting good health. Try to choose jellies with no added sugars.

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