The United Nations named 2016 the “Year of the Pulse” so it makes sense that this versatile group of ingredients is showing up in a variety of applications. Pea protein’s star continues to rise and formulators are using lentils, chickpeas, and dry peas to add functional and nutritional benefits to their products. Melanie Zanoza Bartelme, associate editor of Food Technology magazine chats with the US Dry Pea & Lentil Council (booth 1877) and Ingredion (booth 1231) about the power of pulses.
Posts Tagged ‘pulses’
Pulses are part of the legume family, but the term refers to only the dried seed. Therefore, all pulses—dried beans, chickpeas, lentils, lupins, and so on—are legumes, but not all legumes are pulses (e.g., peanuts, green peas, green beans, edamame, etc.). A nitrogen-fixing crop, pulses are very nutritious foods: They are rich sources of fiber, vitamins and minerals, beneficial phytochemicals, and high quality protein. The United Nations General Assembly declared 2016 the International Year of the Pulse, and the information presented during session 040, “A Dietary Staple for the 21 Century: Celebrating 2016, the International Year of Pulses,” on Monday, July 18, provided the rationale for this declaration.
David Jenkins of the University of Toronto has been a vegetarian since he was 12 years old and a vegan for the past 10 years. Because the protein content of pulses complements the protein content of other vegetarian foods, such as wheat and rice, Jenkins has been consuming beans for many years. Jenkins, who is also a physician, has other reasons for consuming pulses on a regular basis: Pulses reduce blood pressure and serum cholesterol and are associated with decreases in the risks of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
His colleague at the University of Toronto, John Sievenpiper, concurs. Sievenpiper said that pulses may be a nutritional model of acarbose, an anti-diabetic drug. In the fight against type 2 diabetes and heart disease, this is extremely important. Sievenpiper said that the prevalence of type 2 diabetes has reduced the advances made in reducing mortality from cardiovascular disease: People who have type 2 diabetes are more likely to have cardiovascular problems leading to heart attacks and death. Studies being conducted at the University of Toronto indicate that pulses have protective cardiometabolic properties. For this and other reasons, Sievenpiper said that a shift is occurring in the clinical approach to diabetes, heart disease, and other noncommunicable diseases: Physicians are increasingly recommending adjustments to food intakes and dietary patterns.
These recommendations take into account the advice conveyed in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Joanne Slavin of the University of Minnesota explained that the dietary guidelines utilize systematic scientific reviews, meta-analyses and scientific reports, dietary data analyses, and food pattern modeling analyses. She pointed out that the 2010 Dietary Guidelines placed less emphasis on pulses because there was limited evidence to establish a clear relationship between pulse consumption and lower serum cholesterol. In addition, “pulses are unique foods as they fit as both a vegetable and protein in USDA dietary guidance,” she said. The studies being conducted at the University of Toronto help provide more data on the benefits of eating pulses, which is why there is greater emphasis on dry beans and peas in the 2015 version of the guidelines. Nevertheless, “consumption of pulses remains low and below recommended levels in the U.S.,” Slavin said.
Sievenpiper provided an anecdote that should encourage everyone to eat more pulses. His patient, a 74-year-old male, had hypercholesterolemia and ate a diet high in red meat and low in vegetables and fruits. Sievenpiper told the man to eat more nuts, viscous fiber, fruit, and vegetables—particularly vegetable proteins. To date, the man has experienced weight loss as well as a 70% reduction in his LDL cholesterol. From this and other evidence, Sievenpiper is pretty sure that a diet that incorporates regular intake of pulses results in clinically meaningful improvements in glycemic control (comparable to that with acarbose) as well as blood lipids, blood pressure, and body weight. But of course, Sievenpiper emphasizes that more research is needed; Slavin and Jenkins agreed. Regardless, pulses are clearly unique and special foods.
Protein remains a hot topic in the food industry, and alternative proteins are of particular interest to many. “The world population is growing. We all need protein. We all want protein,” said Rene Floris, division manager, flavor and texture at food research organization NIZO. Floris and three other presenters zeroed in on several high-profile alternative proteins in a session on Sunday, July 17, titled “Sustainability of Alternative Protein Sources: From Micromycelium to Insects to Urban Farming.”
Presenter Nicolas Meneses of the Buhler Group pointed out that today’s animal-based protein system is not sustainable. To meet food needs, it’s necessary to increase protein production by 50%, he said. Alternative protein sources will be required.
The presenters, who also included Alexander Mathys, an assistant professor of sustainable food processing at ETH, and Uma Valeti, CEO of cultured meat pioneer Memphis Meats, identified a variety of alternative proteins poised to play a significant role in the marketplace—now or in the future. The list includes pulses, insects, and algae, among others.
People all over the globe have loved meat for 12,000 years since animals were first domesticated for meat production, said Valeti, a cardiologist who cofounded Memphis Meats.
“There are three main problems with this love for meat,” said Valeti. These problems include an inadequate supply; health risks ranging from E. coli to antibiotic resistance; and the economic inefficiency of producing meat. It takes about 15,000 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of meat, said Valeti, who also observed that the meat industry contributes about 18–20% of all greenhouse gases.
“Cheap meat is made possible only by polluting the environment,” he reflected.
But, he continued, he believes that the greatest opportunities for innovation come from challenges like the preceding. To that end, Valeti’s company is committed to creating an economically viable meat option to reduce reliance on conventionally raised farm animals. Memphis meat is culturing meat cells to yield a product that won’t take a toll on the environment and will be free of pathogens. The company’s R&D team is currently focused on reducing the cost of producing cultured meat. Valeti said he expects to commercialize cultured meat in about five years.
Floris noted that many proteins once viewed merely as food industry by-products are now high-value ingredients. He cited the examples of whey protein and soy protein.
The presenters agreed that insect protein has potential but faces regulatory and consumer acceptance barriers in Western markets. Other up-and-coming alternative proteins include pulses, faba beans, quinoa, duckweed, and algae. Floris noted that the latter two require minimal land mass for production.
Sunday, July 12; 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Protein is one of three macronutrients that humans need to survive, and in most Westernized diets, the main sources of protein are animal-derived. Animal-derived proteins take a toll on the environment, depleting land, water, and energy resources. But with the food industry’s participation, more consumers might be persuaded to eat protein from plant sources. During the session 021, “Expanding the Universe of Sustainable Ingredients: Alternative Proteins and Why We Need to Rethink These Key Nutrients,” speakers will address alternative sources of protein. Specifically, Laurie Scanlin, will explore the growing consumer demand for quinoa due to its positive influence on health and wellness and its recognition as a super-food. As a consequence, quinoa protein offers functional benefits to food and beverage manufacturers and appeals to health-conscious consumers. Another speaker, Beata Klamczynska, will discuss algae-derived proteins. As an ingredient, algae not only are a great source of protein but also contain carbohydrates, fiber, and oils. And the third speaker, Anusha Samaranayaka, will review the increasing addition of pulse proteins to mainstream food products. Samaranayaka will also cover current manufacturing trends for pulse proteins, including product formulations and new developments on the horizon. Scanlin, Klamczynska, and Samaranayaka will make their presentations on Sunday, July 12, at 10:30 a.m. in room N427a at McCormick Place South.
Presented by: Sudarshan Nadathus, Givaudan Flavors; Laurie Scanlin, Keen Ingredients; Beata Klamczynska, Solazyme Food Ingredients; and Anusha Samaranayaka, POS Bio-Sciences