Protein Quality in Medical Nutrition 

What is Protein Quality and How is it Determined?

Protein quality is the capacity of a protein source to meet amino acid requirements to satisfy metabolic needs1,2. Protein quality can be assessed by several different methods, such as Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS), Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score (DIAAS), biological value, and protein efficiency ratio.

PDCAAS

PDCAAS is a method of assessing protein quality that has been recommended by the Food & Agricultural Organization of the United Nations and World Health Organization1,2. PDCAAS is based on the total protein digestibility and amino acid score of the protein source. A protein source with a PDCAAS of 1 is considered high quality3.

Why is Protein Quality Important in Medical Nutrition?

As malnourished patients have increased protein requirements and decreased protein intake4, ensuring high quality protein becomes even more important. Offering medical nutrition products that provide the right protein quantity and quality is crucial to help meet patients’ requirements to support building body protein and maintaining bodily functions5-9.

Can Plant-Based Medical Nutrition Products Meet Patients’ Protein Requirements?

Yes. Protein isolates are a refined form of protein that contain very high levels of protein and very little carbohydrates, fibre or fat10. By using protein isolates in plant-based medical nutrition products, it is possible to achieve levels of protein that can help meet patients’ requirements.

Amount of Protein Isolate required to Provide 30g of Protein11.

Protein Isolate Amount Required to Provide 30g Protein
Casein 35g
Whey 37g
Soy 35g
Pea 39g


Can Protein Sources used in Plant-Based Medical Nutrition Products be Considered High Quality?

Yes, protein from both dairy and plant sources can meet standards for protein quality and be considered high quality1, and therefore meet the needs of patients requiring medical nutrition products.

Having a range of medical nutrition products with different sources of blends of high-quality protein can help to accommodate patient lifestyle preferences or medical needs.

Protein Quality of Fortimel PlantBased Energy

Our new plant-based oral nutritional supplement, Fortimel PlantBased Energy, contains a high-quality blend of pea and soy protein isolates that can help meet your patient’s protein requirements to support building body protein and body functions5-9.

Fortimel PlantBased Energy

Introducing...

A new oral nutritional supplement with a high quality blend of pea and soy protein

What is Protein Quality?

Protein quality is the capacity of a protein source to meet amino acid requirements to satisfy metabolic needs1,2.

How is Protein Quality measured?

Protein Digestibilty Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS) is a method to assess protein quality that is recognized by the Food and Agriculture Association and the World Health Organization2.

PDCAAS = Digestibilty * Amino Acid Score
PDCAAS of Pea and Soy Protein Blend in Fortimel PlantBased Energy

A protein source with a PDCAAS of 1 is considered high quality5.

Fortimel PlantBased Energy contains a high quality blend of pea and soy protein that can help meet your patient's protein requirements to support building body protein and body functions6-10.

This content is for healthcare professionals only. Fortimel PlantBased Energy is a Food for Special Medical Purposes intended for the dietary management of disease-related malnutrition. It must be used under medical supervision.

  • 1. Report of a joint FAO/WHO/UNU expert consultation. 2007.
  • 2. Report of an FAO Expert Consultation. 2013.
  • 3. Rutherfurd et al. J Nutr. 2015;145:372-9.
  • 4. Yang et al. Agro Food Ind Hi Tech. 2012;23:8-10.
  • 5. Huang et al. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2018;58.15:2673-8.
  • 6. Bauer et al. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2013; 14.8:542-559.
  • 7. Hurt et al. Nutr Clin Pract. 2017;32:142S-51S.
  • 8. Ochoa Gautier et al. Nutr Clin Pract. 2017;32:6S-14S.
  • 9. Rostom & Shine. Surgery. 2018;36:153-8.
  • 10. Hou et al. Exp Biol Med.2015;240:997-1007.

What is Protein Quality?

Want to learn more about protein quality? Watch our video explaining the fundamentals of protein quality, how it’s assessed and how protein from both dairy and plant sources can be considered high quality.

PDCAAS-card-teaser

Infographic: Protein Quality in Medical Nutrition

This infographic explains protein quality and demonstrates the protein quality of dairy and plant proteins used in medical nutrition assessed using PDCAAS.

View infographic

Protein Quality Summit: Demystifying Protein Quality in Medical Nutrition

This educational event, held by Nutricia during the ESPEN 2022 congress, included presentations from international experts on the topic of protein quality, it’s relevance in clinical conditions, and how standards for protein quality can be met with both dairy, plant, and blends of different protein sources.

Watch the Full Session Recording Here:


Watch the Individual Speaker Presentations here:

“Protein Quality 101 for Healthcare Professionals”
– Prof. Luc van Loon

“Protein Catabolism in ICU & Amino Acid Dynamics: Implications for Protein Used & Amino Acids Supplied”
– Dr. Lee-anne Chapple

“Drivers, Obstacles and Solutions to Inadequate Protein Intake in Non-Critically Ill Malnourished Patients”
– Prof. Maurizio Muscaritoli

“Protein Quality in Medical Nutrition”
– Dr. Yvette Luiking

fortimel-plantbased-promo

Introducing our first ever plant-based oral nutritional supplement

At Nutricia we know that every patient’s journey is unique and with the growing number of patients embracing a plant-based diet and lifestyle1 we have developed a vegan oral nutrition supplement (ONS) that can meet their nutritional needs and lifestyle preferences.

individualising-nutritional-care-16-9

Individualized Nutritional Care

Individualized nutritional care puts the focus on the patient’s needs, preferences and goals. Delivering nutritional care with an individualized approach can help optimize adherence and patient outcomes.