Organic plant proteins
Infant, sports and vegan nutrition
Elementa carries a range of plant-based proteins with useful and varied nutritional characteristics:
- Rice protein isolate,
- Yellow pea protein isolate and concentrate,
- Toasted pumpkin protein concentrate,
- Faba bean protein concentrate.
All are composed of 50 to 90% proteins on dry matter. They are naturally gluten-free and lactose-free. They are available with organic certification.
Plant-based proteins can satisfy human protein needs, as an alternative to animal-origin proteins, catering to vegan and vegetarian diets as well as other special diets (food allergies, intolerances).
Elementa offers a wide range of plant proteins derived from various plants of interest:
1. Organic rice proteins
The organic certified rice protein isolates contain more than 80% protein on dry matter. They come from Oriza sativa species.
These ingredients are Kosher and Halal certified, guaranteed GMO-free according to the organic regulations in force and hypoallergenic.
Rice proteins are very interesting for their amino acid profile, close to the milk one. Rice proteins are fine and creamy white powders with a sligth cereal taste and smell.
They are intended for high-protein sports nutrition products, for weight control and for infant foods.
2. Organic pea proteins
Elementa also offers organic pea protein isolates and concentrates from Pisum sativum species. They have respectively more than 80% and 55% of protein on dry matter.
Available with organic certification, our proteins are Kosher and Halal certified, guaranteed GMO-free according to the organic regulations in force and hypoallergenic.
The pea proteins are fine beige powders with a neutral odor and taste, with hints of green and nuts. The concentrates are available in granulated form.
Interesting for their balanced profile in amino acids, rich in lysine and glutamine, they are also considered for their technological properties. Pea proteins are used in many formulations such as drinks, protein bars, for sports and vegan nutrition.
3. Organic pumpkin seed proteins
Organic toasted pumpkin concentrate is derived from seeds grown and processed in Europe from the species Curcurbita pepo.
It contains more than 60% protein on dry matter, and are guaranteed GMO-free according to the organic regulations in force and gluten-free.
This ingredient is a fine powder with a light green color, a vegetable odor and roasted almonds taste. Pumpkin proteins have a complete amino acids profile, and are rich in minerals as zinc, phosphorus and magnesium. This concentrate is ideal for sports nutrition products, such as shakers, energy bars, or dietetic products.
4. Organic faba bean proteins
Faba bean proteins, from Vicia faba species, are grown and processed in Europe. They are available as an organic certified concentrate with more than 60% protein on dry matter.
GMO-free according to the organic regulations in force and gluten-free, faba bean proteins are a fine cream-colored powder, with a green smell and taste. Its nutritional properties are interesting for its Lysine and fiber content.
They are ideal in the formulation of sports and vegan nutrition products, such as protein bars, drinks and shakers.
Plant-based proteins have nutritional properties that are perfectly adapted for vegans and vegetarians, as well as those who are lactose- or gluten-intolerant. They represent an ideal alternative to animal proteins.
Proteins play an important structural role in the human body. They participate in the renewal of muscle tissue, hair, nails, skin and the bone matrix. As the main component of digestive enzymes, haemoglobin, hormones, receptors or immunoglobulins, they are involved in various physiological processes (ANSES, 2019).
Plant-based proteins are a source of essential nutrients. They contain useful compounds, such as minerals (iron, zinc, magnesium), fibre, fatty acids (omega-3 and -9) and vitamins.
1. Advantageous nutritional properties
Plant-based proteins can cover the daily requirements for protein and also essential amino acids. Lysine, isoleucine, leucine, valine, cysteine, methionine, threonine, phenylalanine, tryptophan are the nine essential amino acids that the human body cannot synthesize in sufficient quantities. They must be supplied by the diet to meet nutritional needs.
According to the protein source, content and quality, the amino acid composition and availability can vary. Elementa has selected different sources of plant-based proteins that have particular properties.
Cereal is known as a source of sulphur-containing essential amino acids (methionine and cystine) that participate in the synthesis of creatine. However, most have a low lysine content.
Rice proteins have an amino acid profile similar to that of milk, are rich in glutamine and arginine, they also have a non-negligible quantity of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA). BCAAs are leucine, isoleucine and valine, and there are scientific reports that they are highly involved in muscle effort. Leucine appears to prevent muscle breakdown, and play a role in sterol synthesis. Glutamine supplies energy to cells and regulates the activity of the immune system. Arginine is involved in many metabolic processes, such as muscle contraction.
Pulses, pea and fava bean proteins, are the seeds of plants in the legume family. They are a source of lysine and have very limited levels of sulphur-containing amino acids.
Pea proteins have a balanced amino acid profile, rich in leucine and arginine, which both participate in muscle contraction. They have low trypsin inhibitor activity (trypsin inhibitors are ant nutritional factors). It has a good digestibility (close to 96%).
In addition, fava bean proteins are a source of tyrosine, which is a precursor of melanin, dopamine, noradrenaline and thyroid hormones.
c. Oilseed plants
Proteins derived from oilseeds, including pumpkin seed, have a balanced essential amino acid profile, and are a source of minerals and vitamins.
Pumpkin protein is particularly complete. It has a high quantity of BCAAs and arginine and histidine, also high in iron.
2. Organic plant proteins : Health benefits
The scientific literature details the various benefits that plant-based proteins offer, with many studies demonstrating the specific positive effects of plant proteins. Plant-based proteins appear to have many benefits, particularly on health: enhanced sleep, cardiovascular health, weight control and immune system.
a. Muscle maintenance and growth
Essential amino acids derived from plant-based proteins help promote muscle maintenance and growth. BCAAs are essential amino acids that are broken down in skeletal muscles (see, for review, Shimonura et al. 2006). Supplementation with these BCAAs, before or after exercise, may help increase muscle mass and limit the breakdown of muscle proteins due to their anti-catabolic properties.
Additionally, one study showed that proteins help favour the maintenance of muscle mass with age, particularly when plant-based protein-rich diets are consumed (Gorissen et al. 2018). Another study noted that the synthesis of muscle proteins depends on the quantity of leucine (a BCAA) available (Norton et al. 2010).
b. Maintenance of bone mass and strength
The type and quantity of proteins consumed in the diet have a significant impact on bone mass and strength. Researchers at the Department of Physiology at the University of Grenada showed the benefits of a protein-based diet for bone health (Nebot et al. 2104). A high-protein diet appears to improve bone properties in rats. Another study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2008, indicates that diets high in protein may help enhance bone mass and decrease the number of fractures when calcium intake is sufficient. Moreover, the study underlines the important role proteins play in bone health, for the prevention of osteoporosis and sarcopenia
c. Effect on satiety
Satiety is the absence of hunger between meals, a feeling that is generally increased after consumption of a high-protein meal. A study conducted by INSERM Lyon in 2012 accurately describes the double-loop chain reactions triggered by the digestion of proteins, and how it involves the nervous system. First, the presence of oligopeptides, derived from protein digestion, affects nervous system receptors, which send a signal to the brain, which in turn triggers glucose synthesis in the intestine. The increase in glucose concentration in the intestine sends a signal to the brain — specifically the hypothalamus — which controls food intake and feeling satiated (full).
Proteins are generally used in high-protein diets for weight loss, and their effects on feeling full have been proven. A study showed that intake of plant-based (bean and pea) proteins favourably influences appetite relative to animal proteins (pork and veal) at equivalent caloric and protein amounts (Marlene et al. 2016).
In parallel, dietary protein contributes helps fight against obesity and metabolic syndrome, it is involved in satiety and energy metabolism (Westerterp et al. 2012)
- ANSES – French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety, Proteins [on line], https://www.anses.fr/en/content/proteins (consulted on 21 November 2019).
- Gorissen, S., &Witard, O. Characterising the muscle anabolic potential of dairy, meat and plant-based protein sources in older adults. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 77(1), 20-31.
- CREVIEU-GABRIEL, Digestion des protéines végétales chez les monogastriques. Exemple des protéines de pois, INRA Prod. Anim., 1999, 12 (2), 147-161 I.
- INSERM, L’effet « coupe-faim » des protéines élucidé [en ligne].https://presse.inserm.fr/leffet-coupe-faim-des-proteines-elucide/1219/ (consulté le 10.11.2019)
- Marlene D. Kristensen, Nathalie T. Bendsen, Sheena M. Christensen, Arne Astrup& Anne Raben Meals based on vegetable protein sources (beans and peas) are more satiating than meals based on animal protein sources (veal and pork) – a randomized cross-over meal test study, Food & Nutrition research (2016)
- Nebot E, Erben RG, Porres JM, Femia P, Camiletti-Moirón D, Aranda P, López-Jurado M, Aparicio VA. Effects of the amount and source of dietary protein on bone status in rats. Food Funct. (2014)
- Norton, L.E., Wilson, G.J., Layman, D.K. et al. Leucine content of dietary proteins is a determinant of postprandial skeletal muscle protein synthesis in adult rats. NutrMetab (Lond) 9, 67 (2012)
- Robert P Heaney, Donald K Layman, Amount and type of protein influences bone health, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 87, Issue 5, , Pages 1567S–1570S (2008)
- Shimomura Y1, Yamamoto Y, Bajotto G, Sato J, Murakami T, Shimomura N, Kobayashi H, Mawatari K., Nutraceutical effects of branched-chain amino acids on skeletal muscle. . J Nutr. (2006)
- Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Lemmens SG, Westerterp KR. Dietary protein – its role in satiety, energetics, weight loss and health. Br J Nutr. (2012)
Dietary plant-based proteins are found in significant quantities in cereals, pulses, oilseeds, grains and algae.
Elementa’s range of proteins are food ingredients with high protein concentrations.
On a regulatory level, the Codex Alimentarius defines these ingredients as “vegetable protein products” (VPP). VPPs are « food products produced by the reduction or removal from vegetable materials of certain of the major non-protein constituents (water, oil, starch, other carbohydrates) in a manner to achieve a protein (N x 6.25) content of 40% or more. The protein content is calculated on a dry weight basis excluding added vitamins, minerals.” (Codex Alimentarius 1989).
The Codex Alimentarius FAO/WHO oversees international food standards, guidelines and codes of practice. According to the general standard, protein content must be equal to or greater than 40% (on a dry weight basis) for a food products to be called VPP. (General Standard for Vegetable Protein Products (VPP) Codex Standard 174-1989. Adopted in 1989. Amended in 2019.)
Moreover, the Codex Alimentarius presents the general guidelines for the use of VPP in food (General Guidelines for the Utilization of Vegetable Protein Products (VPP) in Foods CAC/GL 4-1989) that defines the conditions for using the term VPP, labelling rules and use in food intended for human consumption.
Plant-based proteins are ingredients that can be incorporated in formulas as nutritional ingredients for protein supplementation. Various manufacturing processes can increase the protein concentration relative to the raw product. They also help improve the technological properties of proteins (e.g. their solubility), as well as decrease any potential antinutritional inhibitors, thereby enhancing protein digestibility.
Proteins can also be used as functional ingredients. According to their source, plant-based proteins have very useful functional properties for product formulation. They are used for their emulsifying, jellifying and thickening properties, for their capacity to retain water and their filmogenic properties (AFFSA, 2007).
Our range of products includes various types of plant-based proteins adapted to your formulation needs:
The rice and pea protein isolates in our product range are derived by extracting starch using a wet milling process, followed by separation, concentration and drying processes.
The most common process for isolating proteins is simple milling (giving a simple powder) or milling defatted powder.
Proteins can be extracted using acid precipitation or ultra-filtration, leading to the separation of protein concentrates from carbohydrates and insoluble coproducts. After concentration and drying, this process produces a powder with a high protein content, up to 95% proteins (dry matter).
Isolates are ideal for a multitude of formulations, for sports nutrition, special diets or infant foods. These isolates are used for elaborating recipes for health-food products such as protein bars and meal substitutes.
Plant-based protein concentrates are processed differently according to their source and the starch content of the cereal grain. Most of our protein concentrates are obtained using a mechanical separation procedure that separates the starch (large particles) from proteins (small particles). There is no chemical extraction and no solvents are used.
Pumpkin seed, pea and faba bean proteins are ideal for the formulation of protein bars and sports nutrition products. They can be particularly useful for plant-based protein powder mixes for use as toppings, for smoothie-type beverages, as well as for bread-like preparations, meals for special diets, spreads or dips.
Source: AFFSA, Apport en protéines : consommation, qualité, besoins et recommandations. 2007
Several health claims can be used for proteins:
- “Protein contributes to the increase in muscle mass”;
- “Protein contributes to the maintenance of muscle mass”;
- “Protein contributes to the maintenance of normal bones”.
Regulation No 432/2012 on health claims stipulates that “The claim may be used only for food which is at least a source of protein as referred to in the claim SOURCE OF PROTEINS as listed in the Annex to Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006”.
A food product is called:
- “High in protein” if at least 20% of the energy value of the food is provided by protein;
- “Source of protein” if at least 12% of the energy value of the food is provided by protein.