Arla Foods Ingredients has developed Lacprodan® DI-7017, a new whey protein concentrate designed for
use in the production of nutritional sip feed supplements for consumption by elderly patients and those
recovering from illness and surgery.
DI-7017. . . the world’s first UHT-stable whey protein concentrate for sip feeds at neutral ph.
All over the developed world, people are living longer lives. In the
European Union, for instance, average life expectancy is forecast to
reach 89 years for women and 84.5 years for men by 2060. This is a
highly positive trend, but one side-effect is that protein malnutrition
is an increasingly common problem. In fact, up to 60% of elderly
hospital patients suffer from the condition, according to the British
Dietetic association. Put simply, this means they are consistently
failing to get the World Health Organisation’s recommended daily
intake of 0.8g of protein per kilogram of body weight, which can
lead to weight loss and other complications. This can be especially
problematic when elderly people are recovering from illnesses,
surgery or fractures.
Fortunately, high-protein ready-to-drink nutritional beverages can
provide essential support for anybody – elderly or otherwise – who
is at risk from protein malnutrition. And now a new (UHT)-stable
whey protein concentrate from Arla Foods Ingredients – called
Lacprodan® DI-7017 – is making it possible to create 100% wheybased
ready-to-drink beverage formulations that are significantly
more effective than has previously been possible – in both neutral
and acid formulations.
Overcoming formulation issues
UHT-stable ingredients are an essential component of ready-todrink
milky beverages designed for use as nutritional sip feeds,
because such products need to have a long shelf-life. Whey protein,
however, is notoriously hard to incorporate into UHT processes –
it tends to form a gel when formulated at these conditions. This
means that until now it has not been possible to produce a whey
protein concentrate for the clinical nutrition arena.
As a result, manufacturers have tended to use alternative and less
nutritionally effective proteins, such as casein, when formulating
beverages for use in clinical nutrition. However, after extensive
research, Arla Foods Ingredients has succeeded in addressing the
formulation issues associated with whey proteins in UHT-stable
beverages. The result – Lacprodan® DI-7017 – represents the first
time that a pure whey protein concentrate has been available in a
form that is stable when subjected to UHT processing.
Lacprodan® DI-7017 offers a range of formulation benefits. It
can, for example, be applied in nutritional sip feeds at neutral pH.
In addition, when using Lacprodan® DI-7017 as the sole protein
source, it is possible to obtain a protein concentration of at least
8% in the sip feed. If desired, however, Lacprodan® DI-7017 may
also be mixed with other protein sources. In terms of shelf life,
meanwhile, studies have shown Lacprodan® DI-7017 to offer an
excellent levels of stability.
As a whey protein, Lacprodan® DI-7017 provides significant
advantages over the other types of proteins typically used in
existing clinical nutrition drinks. These include:
✔ Faster gastric emptying
✔ Superior nutritional quality
✔ Higher muscle synthesis
Faster gastric emptying, in particular, is extremely important
for encouraging vulnerable people to consume their nutritional
beverages at a time when they may have a limited appetite. It is
especially an advantage in highly stressed patients, such as surgical
patients and cachexic patients suffering from anorexia, as it will
help facilitate a higher rate of compliance. In addition, patients
experiencing problems related to vomiting will benefit from faster
gastric emptying (1).
Both whey and casein are milk proteins, but their gastric emptying
rates are remarkably different. Casein exits the stomach at a much
slower rate than whey protein (1). This is mainly because casein
coagulates due to the acid environment in the stomach, where pH
is in the range of 1.5 to 3.5. The acid pH causes the casein micelles
to become unstable and aggregate, forming a solid structure.
Whey proteins, however, remain solubilised at acid pH. The result
is a significantly faster gastric emptying with whey protein than
with casein protein, since liquid food empties the stomach rapidly,
whereas solid foods empty much slower (2). See Figure 1 for an
illustration of this process.
Figure 1: Proteins mixed in simulated gastric acid (pH 2, 0.5%
HCl) and sieved afterwards (a is whey protein and b is casein
protein (Arla Foods Ingredients))
The faster rate of gastric emptying associated with whey protein
results in quicker uptake of amino acids into blood plasma and,
consequently, a higher peak level. The results of one study (3)
demonstrated there to be a more significant increase in essential
amino acids in the plasma at 30 minutes following whey protein
consumption, compared with casein protein. Another study (4)
demonstrated that 100 minutes after consumption of whey protein,
the average plasma amino acid increase above baseline was 88%,
while casein protein produced an increase of only 44%.
demonstrable ability to support growth in humans and animals.
Whey protein has this mix because it contains a higher proportion
of branched-chain amino acids, and other essential amino acids,
compared with all other sources of protein. In fact, the amino acid
profile in whey proteins is such that it covers or even exceeds
the human requirements for essential amino acids, according to
standards set by the World Health Organisation (5).
In particular, whey is rich in the amino acid leucine, which is well
documented to play an important role in muscle synthesis. This
makes it a key component in the diet when seeking to minimise
muscle loss during hospitalisation (see Figures 2 and 3).
Figure 2: Essential amino acid content of various protein
sources. (www.foodcomp.dk, Arla Foods Ingredients)
Figure 3: Leucine content of various protein sources. (www.
foodcomp.dk, Arla Foods Ingredients)
The nutritional value of whey protein is superior to other protein
sources when evaluated with respect to biological value and net
protein utilisation. Biological value is a measure of the proportion of
ingested protein that becomes incorporated into the proteins of the
body. Net protein utilisation is the ratio of amino acid converted to
proteins to the ratio of amino acids supplied. See Figure 4.
Figure 4: Nutritional quality of various protein sources. (6, 7)
Greater muscle synthesis
The higher peaks in plasma amino acids after consumption of whey
protein translate, in turn, into a marked increase in protein synthesis
compared with casein protein (3). The superior muscle synthesis
after whey protein ingestion is mainly due to higher leucine content
and a faster absorption than other protein sources.
Researchers from the Top Institute Food & Nutrition (www.tifn.
nl) in the Netherlands reported in the American Journal of Clinical
Nutrition last year that the combined benefits of whey protein mean
it offers roughly twice the levels of muscle synthesis as casein when
ingested by elderly men (12).
The researchers noted that the whey protein had been shown to
be more helpful than casein and casein hydrolysate in terms of
furthering postprandial muscle protein accretion in healthy older
males. They added that this more significant muscle protein
synthetic response to ingestion of whey ingestion was probably
attributable both to its faster digestion and absorption kinetics
and higher leucine content. This, they said, further increased the
postprandial rise in concentrations of plasma leucine. The results,
they concluded, could be useful in terms of developing more
effective nutritional strategies to reduce losses of muscle mass
related to ageing.
Another study (13) conducted over two weeks among young men
at bed-rest also showed a higher net protein synthesis in the whey
protein group compared with the casein group.
Together, the evidence underpinning the benefits of using whey
protein in nutritional sip feed supplements points overwhelmingly to
the fact that people drinking Lacprodan® DI-7017 will experience
faster recovery from illness. In particular, with the world’s ageing
population placing a strain on medical and social care services,
there’s no doubt that this highly effective UHT-stable whey protein
concentrate can play a key in maintaining high standards of clinical
nutrition and care.
1. Fried et al. J Ped. 120(4): 569-572. 1992.
2. Achour et al. Eur J Clin Nut. 55, 769-772. 2001.
3. Tang et al. J Appl Phsiol. 107: 987-992. 2009.
4. Boirie et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 94: 14930-14935. 1997.
5. FAO/WHO . Expert consultation on protein quality
evaluation. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
6. Internal analysis, Arla Foods Ingredients Group P/S
7. Hoffman et al. J Sport Sci Med. 3: 118-130. 2004.
8. Townsend et al. Biomedicine & Pharmaco. 57(3-4): 145-155.
9. Wu et al. J Nutr. 134: 489-492. 2004.
10. McPherson et al. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 14(6): 562-
12. Pennings et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 93(5): 997-1005. 2011.
13. Antonione et al. J Nutr. 138: 2212-2216. 2008.
Whey proteins like Lacprodan® DI-7017 have long been recognised
as a source of especially high-quality nutrition. In this context,
quality refers to a combination of the right mix of essential
amino acids to support tissue growth, easy digestibility and a