The Versatility of Actinase Protein Complex
The ingredients list found on the back or side panel of every commercially available food product - with few exceptions - serves as the consumer's best starting point for understanding the real contents of each product. It discloses the ingredients that make up the product, sorted in order from most abundant to least abundant. What it does not show is the actual quantity of each ingredient. As such, more people than ever before are reading the Nutrition Facts panel on product labels to truly understand what is in their food[i].
However, where one problem has been solved, another has emerged. While it is beneficial for people to know that their food contains a specific amount of nutrients and/or vitamins, there are variations within those elements that are not captured by a typical food label. This is illustrated clearly when examining protein.
Many consumers are well aware of the importance of protein in daily diet. Protein constitutes the very building blocks that sustain life, from digestion through to muscle maintenance[ii]. However, eating the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of 50 grams of protein may not be as healthy as it should be, due to the differences in protein sources and protein qualities.
The variation of protein used in products is almost as wide as the variation of products themselves. Manufacturers may use whey, soy, caseinate and other protein types to fortify their products with protein. And within each of these protein types are further refinements called 'protein grades' such as whey concentrate, whey isolate, whey hydrolysate, and so on. Though the specific type and grade of protein used in a product is not captured on the Nutrition Facts or Supplement Facts panel of a product, it is an important distinction.
The type and grade of protein determines how well the body will digest and assimilate it. Certain proteins such as whey isolate are readily digested after physical activities. Other proteins such as caseinates are ideal for sustained energy and anti-catabolism, and therefore best taken when there will be a long lapse before the next meal (catabolism is the state in which the body breaks down muscle tissue for energy).
One special grade of proteins - hydrolyzed proteins - is used in a very small percentage of products because of its high cost to manufacture. It is most often found in infant formula because it is very gentle on the stomach; it is easy to digest and assimilate. Hydrolyzed proteins are derived from complete proteins oftentimes through an enzymatic process of breaking down the protein into smaller constituents called peptides. The process divides the long protein molecules into shorter molecules called peptides. Generally, the smaller the peptide (measured in Daltons), the easier the protein is to digest and absorb.
Hydrolyzed proteins also owe their popularity to the fact that, as compared to standard proteins, they are less susceptible to denaturing (a process by which the proteins are broken into structures that the body cannot easily digest).
Since hydrolyzed protein is an excellent, natural formula of protein, it stands to reason that consumers would continually look for products using it. However, this is where the challenge occurs. The Nutrition Facts panel on product labels does not reveal the grade or even the type of protein used. To find this information, the consumer needs to turn back to the ingredient list. The FDA requires all food products to disclose the source of all proteins (eg. whey, soy, egg), but not the grade (eg. concentrate, isolate, hydrolysate).
Since all proteins are not the same, manufacturers employ various methods for incorporating them into products. Proteins such as caseinate and soy are alkaline-based and can only be used with 'milky' flavors such as chocolate and vanilla. Another drawback to casienates and soy is their high viscosity (thickness). This limits the amount of caseinate or soy that can be used in a beverage. Whey is an acid-based protein and is less viscous. Whey can be used with fruity flavors because of its compatibility with acidulants such as citric acid and malic acid. A challenge with all of these proteins is their heat instability - when they are heated, the proteins denature (break apart). Denatured proteins are difficult to digest and difficult to metabolize. Most proteins on the market fall into this category.
However, an innovative hydrolyzed protein blend called ActinaseŽ could be changing all of this for the better. Because of its molecular structure, Actinase is very dense. Forty grams of Actinase can be dispersed in less than three fluid ounces of water, with a viscosity no thicker than tomato juice. Any other protein at this concentration would become a sold mass. In other words, Actinase allows manufacturers to add more protein to their product without adding the thickness (or, viscosity) normally associated with protein fortification. Actinase is also very heat stable, so it has many applications that transcend the obvious sports drink market.
Yet Actinase's appeal goes beyond its heat-resistance and low viscosity. It is all natural, hypoallergenic, both acid and alkaline stable, and complete (i.e. Actinase contains all essential amino acids). Through a natural physiological mechanism called thermogenesis, Actinase also stimulates the body's metabolism and caloric burn rate. This is very good news for individuals on a weigh-loss or weight-maintenance program, since an increased caloric burn rate reduces the intensity and frequency of fat-storing insulin surges. It is also good news for consumers who want to ingest a good source of protein, but not necessarily taste it, since Actinase has a neutral taste and aroma.
Only a few years ago, learning about protein was confined to simply reading a food label to ensure that the Recommended Daily Intake was being met. Today, however, the subject has become more complex, especially with respect to protein. Consumers now understand that it is not enough to simply understand how much protein is in their food. They should be aware of the source and quality of the protein, as well.
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 http://www.protica.com
You can also learn about Profect at http://www.profect.com
[i] Source: "Understanding Labels". Supermarketguru.com. http://www.supermarketguru.com/page.cfm/261
[ii] Source: "The Importance of Protein". Ohiohealth.com http://www.ohiohealth.com/facilities/mcconnell/weightmanage/details/protein.htm
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