A thorough understanding of the functionality of dairy proteins allows the development of sport and clinical nutrition products with the desired shelf life stability and excellent sensory properties. We talked to one of the speakers at Fi Europe 2017 Conference, Dr. Laurice Pouvreau, a Senior Project Manager Protein Functionality at NIZO, ahead of her presentation on the blending of proteins in high protein products.
Protein is a key ingredient for sports nutrition products – what types of protein are best for different stages of a workout?
"Before sport (depending on the intensity), a fast digestible protein is required. After a sport, in the recovery stage, protein can be a slower digestible protein and ideally protein/peptides which helps muscle recovery by increasing the intake of glucose and the storage in the form of glycogen in muscles."
Is there one source of protein that is considered superior to others when it comes to sports nutrition applications?
"Whey proteins are the golden standard of a good protein sources for sport nutrition, as it is a fast digestible proteins which has a balance amino acids. But for example, in the case of protein bars, a blend of proteins (often whey, casein and soy protein) is usually used as it brings a balanced amino acid composition but also comprises proteins with a different kinetics in digestibility. This brings fullness/satiety."
When developing products, is it best to stick to one source of protein, or to mix and match different ones?
"No to achieve the right texture and quality as well as a balanced amino acid composition, it is best to use a blend of proteins."
Does the choice of protein source differ depending on the applications, e.g. beverage vs cereal bars?
"Yes, in the sense that the necessary functional properties for each application. For protein bars, the water binding and stability during storage (hardening) is important as for beverages solubility and taste is much more important."
What is the biggest challenge for food producers when it comes to creating high protein products?
"Texture in relation to mouthfeel and taste will be the biggest challenge, even though the stability during storage in terms of product quality should not be forgotten (like hardening of protein bars)."
How do elite sports nutrition products differ from mainstream ones?
"Elite sport nutrition is designed per athlete by looking carefully at the calorie intake required depending on the physical activity planned in this day. Each athlete will have a specific diet prepared by a nutritionist. Mainstream products are for a larger crowd and are therefore not specific per person. Often the person buying these products are “healthy” but one should not forget that they also contain a lot of sugar."
What are your predictions for the F&B industry in the next 3-5 years?
"Sport nutrition will develop into more targeted products for different groups of people: sport nutrition for teenager, adult, and > 60 years old. The world is facing obesity and I believe that the food industry has a role in “sport nutrition” to also have products which are more adapted to the “amateur” sporting person."