Plant-based Protein: The Newest Trending Nutrient

Breathing Room

I recently attended the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo to hear about emerging nutrition research and trends in foods. Dozens of vendors promoted plant-based protein products, which came in the form of shakes, bars, powders, pastas, and more. When walking through the massive exhibit hall, it was clear that protein was the trending nutrient!

Protein food sources are either animal-based or plant-based. All animal proteins and some plant proteins, like quinoa and soy, are “complete proteins” and contain all nine essential amino acids necessary for good health. Plant proteins that are missing amino acids can be combined together—like rice and beans, or hummus and pita—to become “complete” and provide all nine essential amino acids.

It’s no surprise that the food industry is responding to consumer’s desires for more protein, especially in plant form. Consumers are eating more plant-based proteins to reduce their…

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