The Great Protein Quality Opportunity

When I first started selling soy protein in 1996, I had to learn what protein quality was.  In the old days we used PER – a measure of the effectiveness for protein to maintain health in rats.  I am sure mothers around the world would have been comforted in knowing that the nutrition of their infant formula was based on what a baby rat needs – not a baby human.  In the 80’s & 90’s a new protein quality measure was emerging, this one called PDCAAS – it measures the amino acids needed by humans and is based on the needs of preschool aged children.  It remains the standard measure for protein quality today.

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, protein is the building block of the human body, there is a minimum amount of specific, what we call “essential,” amino acids required for our bodies to function and remain healthy.

PDCAAS measures the essential amino acids present in protein sources to indicate protein quality.  Egg is a perfect protein.  Milk based products like whey protein and casein are perfect proteins.

Soy is a perfect protein.

Please remember, proteins are groups of amino acids and most foods contain protein.  It’s just that not all proteins have all the essential amino acids.

Below are some common PDCASS values:

Whey Protein                                   1.00

Whole Egg                                        1.00

Casein                                                1.00

Soy Protein                                       1.00

Beef Protein                                     0.92

Pea Protein                                       0.88

Potato                                                0.74

SPI Group enjoys food safety music

Yes, we really listened to food safety music!  Every year we support the Northern California IFT section’s joint event with the UC Davis Food Science Department.   We love sponsoring food science students and having the opportunity to talk with them over dinner.

This year’s event was one of the most entertaining IFT events we have ever been to!   Instead of a speaker, we were thrilled to listen to Food Safety Music, performed by Dr. Carl Winter’s hilarious and educational food safety music parodies.

We loved hearing “You gotta wash your hands” (Sung to the tune of the Beatles “I wanna hold your hand”), but I think the favorite was “We are the microbes” (we are the champions).

The whole evening was perfect and the songs appealed to students, professors and industry members alike!

SPI Group visits NASA food labs

At SPI Group, we are strong supporters of local IFT events – and we may have just been to our favorite events with the Alamo IFT section! We loved going to Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX to hear Dr. Shannon Walker discuss her experience with long duration space flight.

Dr. Walker described how she trained at the Cosmonaut training center in Russia, using training suits that weigh a couple of hundred pounds! They do their training in large pools where they will spend 6 hours underwater. After 3 years of training, Dr. Walker went to the International Space Station where she spent 6 months living and working.  She said that one thing that she loved was seeing 16 sunrises and 16 sunsets every day, since the International Space Station orbits the earth once every 90 minutes. She showed us her many photos taken from space including hurricanes and spectacular shots of Northern and Southern lights.

Since we are food scientists, we of course asked her about the food! She told us that there are approximately 200 different foods and beverages in the International Space Station pantry. The foods are mostly soft and have to stick together – the main issue is that the food can not have any crumbs at all since the crumbs could get in to the space station filter system.  She told us that they have to add salt and pepper in a liquid form, from a dropper bottle!

 

We were fortunate enough to tour both the Space Food Research Center at Texas A&M university, where they make retorted pouches, as well as the food lab at Johnson Space Center. Contact us for more details and photos of space food!