Quality Amino Acids from Protein are Essential for Life
I have an old book on my shelf called “Protein-Calorie Malnutrition”. I don’t even know where I got it, but I think it was being given away as some office was being cleaned out.
The book contains a summary of the current state of knowledge (at the time the book was published) on what happens when people don’t get enough calories and protein in their diets. Of course, you can have sufficient calories, but not enough protein, so different varieties exist. The book is largely technical but does contain a few pictures. The preface, I think, serves it well and provides a nice contrast to the largely technical, and important, nature of the book:
“It constitutes the latest in an important series of landmark documentations of knowledge concerning what well may be the world’s most appalling cause of early death and morbidity.”
Related to this, I remember learning in an advanced biochemistry class that with body protein losses, say during a prolonged illness, after about 25-33% of total body protein loss, human survival is not possible. Ironically and tragically, the professor who taught me that suffered a prolonged illness, lost a lot of his body protein stores, and died after a few months. He also was receiving some of the best medical care in the world at the time.
As we’ve discussed here on the blog time after time, the amino acids in proteins are essential nutrients, and all sources are not equal. That’s why we write about tests for ensuring protein quality, and the importance of minimizing heating time on proteins – heating for only minutes begins to damage amino acids. It’s barely been 100 years since humans figured out (at least on a large scale) that raw materials from plants, including oilseeds like soybeans, could be heated in a controlled way in order to make vastly-improved proteins and sources of more-usable calories. We also discovered that processing co-products, such as rice bran, could be stabilized and improved for long-term storage of protein and calories. Lastly, research into the proper processing of food aid products, like corn/soy blends, continues for all of these reasons (see here and here).
Speak with us about high-shear dry extrusion and mechanical oil pressing for making high-quality ingredients to supply amino acids in proteins, which are essential for life.