• Dairy Ingredients Enhance Nutrition in Food Aid Products

    By Dacia Whitsett-Morrow April 28, 2016

    Food-and-Nutrition-Bulletin.jpgGlobally in 2014, UNICEF reported 159 million children under age five were stunted, so delivering improved nutrition – especially in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life – is critical to help mitigate the devastating impact of malnutrition. Just-published proceedings shed further light on the latest scientific advancements on the beneficial nutritional role of dairy ingredients for vulnerable populations.   

    These proceedings from the Dairy for Global Nutrition Symposium, (held during the 2015 Experimental Biology annual meeting) were entitled, “Protein Quality, Growth and Malnutrition: Advances in the Science and the Role of Dairy in Food Aid.” Recently published in the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (Volume 37, Supplement 1, March 2016), they feature a compilation of articles by leading experts in the field of malnutrition and food aid who presented at this ground-breaking symposium. These experts confirmed that dairy ingredients provide high-quality protein that supports healthy childhood development and aids in the treatment of malnutrition and in recovery from stunting.

    Highlights of the proceedings in the March 2016 issue of Food and Nutrition Bulletin supplement include:

    Preventing Malnutrition in Vulnerable Groups

    • The addition of dairy ingredients to the Food Aid Basket was an important factor in improving the nutritional quality of food aid products. This change allowed for formulations that can help mitigate severe and acute malnutrition by encompassing the health benefits of U.S. dairy proteins.
    • This diet alteration may help prevent children ages 6 to 24 months from becoming malnourished and stunted. This discovery surfaced when studies demonstrated that dairy ingredients can stimulate growth and development in children to reduce common health issues stemming from food insecurity.
    • Maternal nutrition has a significant impact on the body composition of babies before birth. A mother’s diet, weight and body mass can put a child at risk for fragile development. Through preventive testing, researchers found a positive correlation between the consumption of dairy proteins and healthy birth weight. The results reinforce the value of dairy proteins as an essential dietary component throughout pregnancy.
    Protein Quality over Quantity
    • The quality of protein is based on its ability to meet requirements for the nine essential amino acids, which cannot be made by the human body. In contrast to plant proteins, U.S. whey and milk protein ingredients are a complete source of protein, containing all the essential amino acids. This is in addition to other key nutrients, such as potassium and calcium.
    • The Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS) has long been the standard for determining protein quality. However, in 2011, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization proposed to calculate protein quality using the Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score (DIAAS) method instead. While more data is needed to support full implementation, high-quality proteins from milk, whey and other dairy products may score 30 percent higher compared with scores using older methods, even though dairy proteins already are rated at or near the top of all current measures.
    • Protein quality is essential to food aid. Providing vulnerable populations with high-quality U.S. dairy proteins as ingredients in food aid products will serve as long-term treatment and a preventive measure for malnutrition.
    For more information on U.S. dairy proteins, visit www.ThinkUSAdairy.org and for more details on the research on the benefits of dairy in vulnerable populations, visit DairyforGlobalNutrition.org.

    Market Insights Protein Food Aid Dairy Proteins Whey Protein Malnutrition
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