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30th April 2021


The Role of Dairy Proteins in Foods for Special Medical Purposes

Author: Karen Lancashire
Role: Senior Marketing Executive

When you think of healthy eating and nutrition, protein is undoubtedly one of the most talked about classes of food.

Often referred to as “Protein mania”, protein has been one of the largest trends to hit the food industry over the last decade and keeping up to date with all the material being produced is a feat in itself. Be it how novel proteins like insect, algae or microbial protein will change the food landscape or how eating too much animal protein is bad for your health and the environment.

It is safe to say, ‘The craze around Protein is here to stay’.

Protein plays such a significant role in our diet, as the building blocks for bone and muscle to ensuring our immune system functions correctly. Its broad range of health benefits means its use and composition are key considerations that must be factored in when developing new food ingredients. The drive-in development of novel ingredients over the last 12- 18 months has been focused around plant-based and other protein alternatives, but there is still a place in the market for animal-derived proteins. The exceptional nutritional value and abundance of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) in dairy proteins means they still have a considerable role to play in the development of nutritional products and foods, especially in foods for special medical purposes (FSMP).
Milk is a fundamental component of early-stage nutrition. As a nutrient-rich food, milk provides antibodies for strengthening the immune system as well as fats and proteins for muscle synthesis and development and is still the best alternative to mother’s milk.

Milk contains two primary protein groups, casein, and whey. The nutritional profile of casein and whey protein makes them invaluable components of many FSMPs. FSMPs are specialist foods developed specifically for individuals with medical conditions that are not able to obtain sufficient nutritional intake through a normal diet.

Casein in particular, is known as a slower release protein, which means there is a longer lasting benefit from the slower absorption of amino acids, which contributes considerable nutritional benefits to medical foods. To improve the functional properties and thus its ease of formulation into medical food products, casein can be hydrolysed to produce a casein protein hydrolysate. This is achieved by using an enzyme which breaks down the casein protein into it component parts producing smaller peptides and amino acids, improving its heat stability, solubility, and digestibility. Biocatalysts Ltd have just launched an enzyme, Promod™ 517MDP specifically developed to achieve a high degree of hydrolysis of casein to support formulation of FSMPs including specialist infant and follow-on formulas.

To conclude, when adapting proteins into new food ingredients it is very important to understand what benefits the protein source offers. Casein is a complete protein that is absorbed slowly which means it:

• Promote satiety
• Bolsters the immune system
• Supports muscle growth and development
• Boost the development of antioxidant function
• Promotes healthy weight and metabolism
• Contributes to the maintenance of healthy triglyceride levels
• Supplies all essential amino acids

For more information on Promod™ 517MDP or to ask for a sample contact us at


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