Many female consumers mistakenly believe that eating and drinking high-protein products could make them fat or develop excessive muscle mass, according to whey protein supplier Arla Foods Ingredients. The growing popularity of protein as an ingredient in recent years has been well documented. According to Euromonitor, protein supplements represent the fastest growing category in consumer health, with global sales rising by 59 percent to $5.4 billion between 2006 and 2011.
However, Arla Foods Ingredients is warning that the industry should not be complacent by assuming this means common misconceptions about protein have disappeared altogether. Despite scientific evidence to the contrary, some consumers—predominantly female—still avoid high-protein products because they perceive them to be high in calories, and therefore fattening, or associate them with body builders and fear they will develop a muscular and unfeminine body shape.
Troels Laursen, head of Health and Performance Nutrition at Arla Foods Ingredients, said: “We’re seeing huge numbers of new consumers buying into the whey protein space for the first time. But there remains large untapped potential because many women still believe—wrongly—that consuming higher levels of protein could have a negative impact on their physiology. It’s important manufacturers work with their ingredients suppliers to develop concepts that will shatter these myths by educating female consumers about the true benefits of whey protein.”
Arla Foods Ingredients will turn the spotlight on its latest whey protein innovations at the IFT Food Expo, which takes place from June 22 to 24 in New Orleans. Exhibiting on Booth 611, Arla Foods Ingredients will showcase Lacprodan® DI-7017, a premium whey protein concentrate developed for the lifestyle nutrition market. It is ideal for use in great-tasting food and beverage applications, including long-life UHT drinks.
Arla Foods Ingredients will also highlight Lacprodan HYDRO.365, a gold-standard whey protein hydrolysate created to offer fast recovery after physical activity. Easily digested and rapidly absorbed, Lacprodan HYDRO.365 has the potential to reduce recovery time from days to hours when consumed within two hours of exercise. It offers superior nutrition to athletes who require fast recovery after intense competitive events or training and workout sessions.
Troels Laursen said: “These two ingredients show how it’s possible for us to develop whey proteins tailored to specific markets and applications, which in turn makes it possible to create product concepts that appeal to certain demographics. This is a sensible approach, because there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all product. Consumers have differing needs nutritionally and in terms of their lifestyles. With our portfolio of nutritional whey proteins, Arla Foods Ingredients is able to work closely with customers to develop the right concepts for the right markets every time.”
There is compelling evidence to counter the most common misconceptions people have about protein. Although some believe protein is fattening, gram for gram it actually contains fewer than half the calories in fat and the same amount as in carbohydrate. In addition, a recent study revealed that whey protein keeps people feeling full, helping them to lose weight. The researchers found that, over a period of five months, consuming whey protein daily led to a significant reduction in total body weight, waist size and fat mass.
Another myth about protein is that it will cause women to become bulked out with unwanted muscle. In fact, as part of a regular diet whey protein will help to improve a person’s overall body composition by keeping them more toned, because it encourages the body to produce lean muscle while discouraging fat storage. One study even found that a diet rich in whey protein increases a person’s basal metabolic rate, which is the amount of energy needed to keep the body going while it is at rest, thereby helping to maintain a healthy weight.
Troels Laursen concluded: “Clearly, if women still have misconceptions about the impact whey protein will have on their weight and body shape, we need to do more to address these. At Arla Foods Ingredients, we believe the most effective way to do this is to use tailored whey protein ingredients to create products that really resonate with women, so that they come to understand the real and tangible benefits offered by a diet rich in high quality whey protein.”