Vegetable protein drink from lupine for sports and wellness
Food with lupine seeds has become increasingly popular in recent years. The healthy legumes are already called the new soy by some people. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute have now developed a protein-rich drink based on sweet lupins, which at the same time tastes sour and refreshing.
Herbal protein drink
For many people who want to keep their meat consumption low or who eat a vegetarian or vegan diet, food is often brought to the table that is produced from soy or milk protein. However, some people do not tolerate this so well. Lupins are not only a suitable substitute for them. Schnitzel, sausages, flour and ice cream are made from the plant. In addition, these legumes can be used to make a vegetable protein drink that is ideal for athletes.
High protein diet
Athletes in particular often consume a lot of proteins. A protein-rich diet can contribute to natural muscle building and help you lose weight.
Many people think of eggs and steaks when it comes to protein. However, vegetable proteins are more recommended. Because these are considerably healthier than animal protein, as scientists reported.
The seeds of the lupine also contain nutritious proteins. Fraunhofer researchers have now developed a protein-rich drink based on sweet lupins, which at the same time tastes sour and refreshing.
Refreshing and sour taste
As stated in a communication, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV have developed a process that uses the lupine seeds as the basis for a protein-containing drink with a refreshingly sour taste.
The Chair for Brewing and Beverage Technology at the Technical University of Munich was involved in the project as a cooperation partner.
According to the researchers, some hurdles had to be overcome in the project. The combination of proteins and a refreshing taste profile is a real challenge. Because proteins are generally not soluble in the acidic pH range.
The lupine is an exception here because it contains a protein minor fraction that can also be dissolved in the acidic pH range. But the plant posed another problem for the experts: it contains phytic acid. This binds valuable minerals, inhibits enzymes and is therefore not very digestible.
Nutritious and at the same time refreshing drink
The Fraunhofer researchers have now developed a process that preserves the valuable proteins when processing sweet lupins and at the same time reduces the unwanted phytic acid.
They rely on a combination of grain malt and special microorganisms. The latter break down the phytic acid hydrolytically, i.e. with the help of water. A two-stage mashing and fermentation process is used.
This actually uncomplicated, but nevertheless sensitive process was optimized and adapted by the researchers in several places. At the end there is a lupine extract in the form of paste or powder.
This serves as the starting point for a wholesome, nutritious and at the same time refreshing drink. By using the extract as a beverage base, the protein content can be specifically adjusted. Many different flavors are possible, the lupine extract tastes relatively neutral.
Process similar to brewing beer
If you think of beer in terms of grain malt, mash and fermentation, you are quite right. The manufacturing process is similar to brewing beer and uses equipment such as a mash pan, lauter tun or fermentation tank that every brewery has. Large additional investments are therefore not necessary.
"Even small breweries have the opportunity to offer soft drinks in the field of sports, wellness or health with little economic risk," says Dr. Caroline Fritsch, research assistant at Fraunhofer IVV.
“Ultimately, the production of lupine drinks is no more difficult than brewing beer,” adds Raffael Osen, project manager at Fraunhofer IVV.
Refreshing like a cool pilsner, but rich in protein and guaranteed non-alcoholic - those who just come back from sport can get a strengthening, low-calorie and tasty drink from the fridge with the lupine drink, the message says.
Comparable to a cool whey drink that is carbonated, but on a plant basis so lactose-free and vegan.
Even ecologically conscious consumers can therefore consume a lupine drink with a clear conscience, because the vegetable raw materials come from regional cultivation. However, the drink is not yet commercially available.
Legumes as a soft drink
Sweet lupine is not the only plant that Fraunhofer researchers are focusing on. Other legumes such as beans or peas could also serve as the basis for healthy and protein-containing drinks.
The manufacturing processes only need to be slightly adjusted. “The process is now well established. In the next step, we will try to apply the processes to other raw materials in order to achieve a greater variety of products, ”said Osen. "Especially high-protein plants like peas or beans have great potential."
Anyone who comes up with the idea of trying a sweet lupine on a summer walk should be warned. Wild lupins contain toxic bitter substances and are particularly dangerous for allergy sufferers.
The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) also recently pointed out possible health impairments or the risk of poisoning from bitter lupine seeds. (ad)