How much, and what kind, should we eat?
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Guidelines for dietary protein intake have been promulgated for almost 100 years. Nonetheless, lack of clarity and apparent contradictions in current guidelines have resulted in uncertainty among nutrition practitioners and the general public. Some of the confusion may be alleviated by re-labelling dietary guidelines in terms of the recommended minimal and flexible intake. The terminology of "Recommended Dietary Allowance" implies that you should eat this amount and no more; in reality it better reflects a minimal amount of protein that will prevent symptoms of protein deficiency in most individuals. Most people will benefit from protein intake greater than the minimal amount, but the physiological circumstance will influence how much above the minimal amount is desirable. Consequently, the amount of recommended protein intake above the minimal amount can be considered to be flexible.
Dietary protein recommendations have traditionally referred to "high quality" protein, without a specific definition of quality. Recently a report of an expert consultation of the Food and Agriculture Organization was issued in which the Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score (DIAAS) was proposed as a means by which to quantify protein quality. DIAAS aims to reflect the extent to which a particular protein meets all of the dietary requirements for the indispensable amino acids. The calculation of DIAAS, and assessment of the underlying assumptions, will be discussed.
Robert R Wolfe, PhD
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
*** Original Source: CNS Regional Conference - Advances in Protein Nutrition Across the Lifespan - January 10, 2015
Last Updated: April 6, 2015
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