This was discovered by scientists from Unilever and Wageningen University in the Netherlands processed soy has a better nutritional profile but its parent ingredient, soy.
Unilever pointed out that this statement is contrary to the opinions of many in food industry that processed soy is not as valuable as a source of protein.
This discovery is important because soy, in its natural form, cannot be added to a piece of plant-based chicken or ice cream, and must first undergo processing: soaking, heating and peeling.
Our study revealed that the quality of the soy proteins used in our plant foods is not compromised during processing, contrary to misconceptions. “Its processing slightly increases the nutritional quality of the protein,” dice Amelia Jarmanhead of health and wellness science and technology at Unilever.
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Processed soy vs natural soy
To compare the processed soy with its natural component, the researchers used essential amino acid digestibility results (DIAAS). This measurement is the standard measurement of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
The higher the score, the more protein will be able to meet the body’s needs and requirements. Therefore, a score of 75 or above will be considered good.
Data analysis showed mixed results protein quality among the soy product groups, but the DIAAS score for soy protein concentrate, which is most commonly used in foods such as The Vegetarian Butcher’s plant-based meats, was 88, slightly higher than natural soy (which gets a score of 85.
“Given the growing demand from environmentally conscious consumers who want to give up meat but still seek high-quality, nutritious food, this research is important because it shows that meat-free alternatives actually meet our body’s protein needs,” Jarman concluded.
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