Issue 39

New method recognises the high bioavailability of dairy proteins

FAO Expert Consultation recommends new way to measure protein quality

Dairy protein quality gains a 10-30% higher score with a new evaluation method, which enables a much clearer differentiation of how dairy and vegetable proteins contribute to a healthy diet.
Recommended by an Expert Consultation of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the method is a step forward in the drive to manufacture foods with an optimised protein content and, on a global scale, to meet the nutritional needs of the fast-growing population.
If widely accepted, Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score (DIAAS), as the method is called, will replace the current FAO/WHO method, PDCAAS – Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score.

Accurate picture of bioavailability
The FAO decision to recommend DIAAS is driven by the need for an evaluation that reflects both protein content and absorption. While PDCAAS is a measurement of faecal crude protein, DIASS scores the digestibility of amino acids in the ileum. This gives a more accurate picture of protein bioavailability.
“In particular, DIAAS justifies the good amino acid profile of dairy protein and its high bioavailability,” says Anja Serena, nutrition scientist at Arla Foods Ingredients.
Faced with the massive population growth forecast up to 2050, one of the biggest challenges ahead for mankind is food security. Essential amino acid sources with high bioavailability will become the main solution to obtain the most nutrient-dense food solutions.

More documentation needed
The cross-industry Global Dairy Platform has already welcomed the FAO recommendation. Before DIAAS can be fully implemented, however, further documentation of ileal amino acid digestibility is required. In the meantime, the FAO urges that the DIAAS method is applied to measure faecal crude protein digestibility.