Framework for Conducting Protein Intake Assessments

There is no recognized standard process for selecting appropriate screening and/or refined methods for estimating protein intakes. However, a good framework would include initial tiers that review existing assessments and that use screening methods that are quick and easy to conduct. To facilitate the discussion, a three-step framework is proposed, along with examples of results that would be obtained using a typical analysis in each step.

An Example: Intake of an introduced protein expressed in corn grain

• The example assumes the introduction of a new variety of corn that contains an introduced protein at a concentration of 500 |g /100 g corn protein.

• For a similar corn variety, the USDA nutrient database reports the protein concentration as 8.12 g/100 grams of corn based on seven samples (SEM = 0.3).1

• American consumers, on average, consume 58 g/day of corn-containing products [excluding oils but including corn sugar and high-fructose corn sugars/syrups (HFCS)]; the 90th-percentile consumer consumes 120 g and the 95th-percentile consumer consumes 154 g. Hispanics consume slightly more (mean = 60 g/day; 90th-percentile, 123 g/day; and 95th-percentile, 164 g/day).

• There is essentially no protein in corn sugar and HFCS. Excluding those fractions, the mean per capita consumption of protein-containing corn products is 15 g/day for the U.S. population and 21 g/day for the Hispanic population. The 90th percentile is 45 g/day for the U.S. population consumer and 65 g/day for the Hispanic consumer. Other corn products, such as corn starch, contain very low levels of protein; if those are excluded, the consumption of foods of interest would be still lower.

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