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What is Mycoprotein? Benefits, Nutritional Value, Risks and Side Effects

Mycoprotein is the protein that is obtained from fungi. It is a possible substitute for nutrients of animal origin, especially due to its ease of production. Likewise, it is postulated as an environmental solution that reduces the needs of resources used, since it generates less waste.

Among other things, this protein has the advantage of having all the essential amino acids, as well as a good score for digestibility. Of course, at the moment it is not easy to access it. There are few production points and it is just beginning to be included in the diet.

What is Mycoprotein?

Mycoprotein is a nutrient obtained from fungal fermentations in a laboratory. It is an element that has a good assimilation and a high concentration of fiber.

It is valid to satisfy the daily protein requirements, which are estimated to be above 0.8 grams of the nutrient / kg of weight / day, according to a study published in the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism. Keep in mind that these nutrients are necessary to ensure good muscle health.

However, technological development is necessary for the mass production of this nutrient, and for its inclusion in the diet as a common ingredient. For now, moderate amounts are generated in controlled environments from a combination of fungi, enzymes and bacteria.

Even so, it is estimated that with the passage of time it will become one of the priority forms of protein, along with that which comes from insects. Both are relatively easy to achieve in terms of resources, and they are respectful of the planet.

Nutritional value

Currently, the only marketed product that has mycoprotein inside has the following nutritional value per 100 grams:

  • 86 calories.
  • 2 grams of carbohydrates.
  • 2 grams of fat.
  • 6 grams of fiber.
  • 5 grams of protein.

Potential Benefits of Mycoprotein

The main benefit of mycoprotein is its ability to meet the daily requirements of the nutrient, as it ensures the supply of all essential amino acids. This improves the health of lean tissue. On the other hand, in the sporting context it could increase the athlete’s recovery capacity.

Keep in mind that proteins are essential nutrients to restore muscle after a session of physical work, as stated by research published in Nutrients. With this, supercompensation processes are stimulated that allow adaptations and strength gains.

In addition, the fiber it contains is capable of increasing the feeling of satiety and, incidentally, reducing the risk of unbalancing the diet towards a hypercaloric profile. As a general rule, these nutrient delays gastric emptying, which reduces appetite.

Risks and side effects

Among the main risks of mycoprotein is the development of a food allergy. In this case, the intake of products containing the nutrient should be avoided, as moderate or severe symptoms could be experienced. Likewise, there is the possibility of other types of adverse reactions that cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

However, the rate of allergic reaction to the mycoprotein is very low at the moment. For this reason, it does not pose a great risk at the public health level either. Of course, it is necessary to observe how the rate progresses when the products with the nutrient become more common in the diet.

Other alternatives to meat

It is clear that mycoprotein is one of the best alternatives to meat due to its aminogram and its digestibility. However, today there are other products on the market capable of increasing the protein intake of the diet. Among them, those made from soy protein, such as tofu, stand out.

Seitan, and even tempeh, are other examples found regularly in the context of vegan diets. Both products concentrate a large amount of nutrients inside, although the proteins they have are of low biological value.

There is also the possibility of resorting to protein supplements. Most are made from whey or egg, but you can find options that are made from vegetables such as peas or soybeans.

Mycoprotein, an option for the future

At the moment, few products have mycoprotein inside them. Despite this, this nutrient is postulated as a good alternative to proteins of animal origin. It does not have disadvantages in terms of concentration of essential amino acids or digestibility, so it allows to cover daily requirements in an optimal way.

However, it will be necessary for technology to continue advancing to be able to produce different products that contain this nutrient. Also, to create extensive production plants that allow satisfying population needs. However, the option is very promising in the long term.

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