Bookmark Website  | Free Registration  | The Team
The Lounge  | Champions  | The Wire |  Schedule |  Audio  |  Arcade  |  The Top Ten  |  Historical  |  Email  |  Video

Not All Protein is Created Equally


America's focus on nutritious eating began to receive national attention in the 1940s when President Roosevelt introduced the RDA, or Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) model. This model, which took on the shape of a pyramid in the 1980s (and hence now goes by the term "food pyramid"), has gone through a number of iterations since its inception more than 60 years ago[i].

This change and evolution of the RDA model is, in many respects, a positive step. It demonstrates that, just as America's information on diet and nutrition is advancing, so too are the models that guide its eating habits. In fact, the USDA itself has decided to update the term and now refers to "RDI's" ("Reference Daily Intake") instead of RDA's.

However, undermining some of this positive change is the fact that many Americans are increasingly confused over what, how, and when to eat. A survey conducted by the USDA in 1996 verified this fact when 40% of respondents agreed strongly with the statement that "there are so many recommendations about healthy ways to eat, it's hard to know what to believe"[ii].

One of the most serious expressions of this growing dietary confusion has to do with a concept called the Daily Value, or "DV". Introduced by the USDA in the 1990s, the DV is a dietary numerical reference that is supposed to allow people to make healthy eating choices[iii].

The philosophical idea behind the DV, which is expressed as a percentage, is that it provides a very important piece of information. The DV informs consumers how much of a nutrient they are getting from a particular food item. For example, if the DV label on a can of beans declares that it represents "10% of the DV for fat", then consumers can keep track of that number to know if, throughout the day, how much fat they are eating[1].

However, one does not have to be a mathematician or a dietician to see that the above idea begs a significant question: is this10% of the DV for fat "good" or is it "bad"? In other words, should a consumer choose this source of fat because it represents a good source of fat, or avoid it for the opposite reason?

It is this question that has caused so much confusion among health-conscious consumers. It has caused particular anxiety among those who are wisely ensuring that they eat the recommended daily allowance for protein.

The importance of protein in diet cannot be understated. It is not simply an essential macronutrient for athletes, such as bodybuilders and runners. Protein is critical for life itself, regardless of mobility or athleticism. Among other essential functions, protein maintains and repairs muscle tissue, aids digestion, regulates chemicals, manages hormones, and produces enzymes[iv]. In extreme cases, a dangerous lack of protein actually leads to a condition called Kwashiorkor, where the body cannibalizes itself[2].

Trying to determine the right amount of protein - as expressed in terms of DV% -- has been a difficult challenge for most eaters. Unfortunately, as a result of this confusion, some consumers have not been eating high quality protein. This is because the DV number is simply not enough information upon which they can make healthy protein eating decisions.

The missing number in the DV equation is the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) level. The RDI for protein is, generally, 50 grams per day. Consumers can take the number of total grams of protein in a product, and divide it by this RDI for protein to determine what the "optimum" DV number should be.

For example, if a product offers 25 grams of protein, and the RDI is 50 grams per day, then the product's "optimum" DV will be 50%. Therefore, the figure "50%" should appear on the product's labeling. If the number is lower than 50%, the consumers instantly know that it is not an optimum source of protein.

Finding high quality sources for essential micronutrients like protein (among others) is a challenge that should not be difficult, but it is, because some food makers do not want to educate consumers on how to detect high quality from low quality. This is particularly unfortunate in the health and nutrition food industry, where one would expect manufacturers strive for high quality nutrition. Regrettably, this is not always the case.

However, that is not reason to despair. Rather, it just as much reason to support companies that are making the effort to ensure that their products reflect only high quality DV levels, and a concurrent effort to educate the public on how to determine optimum DV.

About Protica

Founded in 2001, Protica, Inc. is a nutritional research firm with offices in Lafayette Hill and Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. Protica manufactures capsulized foods, including Profect, a compact, hypoallergenic, ready-to-drink protein beverage containing zero carbohydrates and zero fat. Information on Protica is available at www.protica.com. You can also learn about Profect at www.profect.com.

[1] The FDA is clear that the DV concept is not intended to direct people on how much they should eat. In this example, the eater should not conclude that eating 10 cans of beans will achieve "100% of the recommended fat intake per day". The DV is intended as a reference number only and not as a recommendation. The intake per day is suggested by the RDA/RDI, which will be discussed further in this article.

[2] Kwashiorkor is more prevalent in some parts of the developing world, but incidences have been reported in the US.

References

[i] Source: "Food Pyramid History". http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/Fall02/Greene/history.htm

[ii] Source: America's Eating Habits: Changes and Consequences. USDA. http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/aib750/

[iii] Source "Daily Values Encourage Healthy Eating". FDA. http://www.fda.gov/fdac/special/foodlabel/dvs.html

[iv] Source: "The Importance of Protein". OhioHealth. http://www.ohiohealth.com/facilities/mcconnell/weightmanage/details/protein.htm

Copyright 2004 - Protica Research - http://www.protica.com


MORE RESOURCES:

Huffington Post

What The Government Got Wrong About Nutrition -- And How It Can Fix It
Huffington Post
“It's true that the focus on reducing fat in the DGAs implicitly led to higher carbs,” said Dr. Walter Willett, chair of the department of nutrition at Harvard's School of Public Health. “And that became problematic, because the vast majority of carbs ...

and more »


Medscape

Processed Food Is Vital in US Diet, Nutrition Society States
Medscape
Processed foods are an important part of the US food supply and ensure that Americans have food to eat (food security) and food that meets nutritional guideline requirements (nutrition security), according to a controversial scientific statement issued ...



Impulse Nutrition serves smoothies; Five Guys on Archer reopens soon
Gainesville Sun
The old Florida National Bank drive-thru building at the corner of Northwest First Avenue and Northwest Second Street recently reopened as a nutrition bar that serves smoothies and herbal teas. Impulse Nutrition first welcomed customers in mid-June.

and more »


Nutrition: Vegan communities are growing
Buffalo News
Nutrition science prefers discussing a whole-plant-food diet, rather than a vegan one, to eliminate connotations of animal-rights or environmental ideology. But there's little debate that diets limited to vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, spices and ...



Nutrition for the next generation
Devex
Students eat their lunch at school in Nigeria. Good nutrition is one of the best investments political leaders can make in the next generation, writes International Food Policy Research Institute's Lawrence Haddad. Photo by: Gates Foundation / CC BY-NC-ND.



Cornell Chronicle

Ag secretary briefed on nutrition, dairy, climate research
Cornell Chronicle
In an agrarian world fraught with complication, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack met with Cornell faculty members July 29 to learn about solutions in the realm of dairy, nutrition and climate change. Kathryn Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of ...

and more »


Fox News (blog)

Obama policy on nutrition is hard to digest
Fox News (blog)
The federal government is in the middle of rewriting its Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a twice-per-decade process that sets the nation's official nutrition recommendations. The process has historically been non-controversial, but this year's ...

and more »


Presidio Sports

Sansum Nutrition for Athletes: Benefits of Beets
Presidio Sports
Research published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has shown that eating cooked beets can acutely improve running performance. After eating 200 grams (7 ounces) of cooked beets, runners ran an average of 3 percent faster.



Bullying, nutrition among issues tackled by students from Springfield Summer ...
MassLive.com
They urged others to read the nutrition information on the back of food packages and to make exercise a part of their lives. And they also enjoyed a video montage of some of the scenes from the summer camp held at the Springfield College campus.



CNBC.com

Hospira May Buy Danone Medical-Nutrition Unit for $5 Billion
Wall Street Journal
Such a deal, which could allow Lake Forest, Ill.-based Hospira to move its domicile abroad for tax purposes, has yet to be completed, and the talks could lead nowhere. In an inversion deal, a U.S. company acquires all or part of a foreign firm, a move ...
Danone Advances After Medical-Nutrition Unit Talk ReportsBloomberg
Hospira in talks to buy Danone medical nutrition armCNBC.com
Danone In Talks With Hospira To Sell Its Medical Nutrition Business For $5B ...International Business Times
Binary Tribune -Reuters UK
all 75 news articles »

Google News


Advertisement



Section Site Map - Submit News - Feedback - Comments - Advertise with Us

Copyright 2006 Luminati Inc. All rights reserved.