‘A lot of well being advantages, except for simply delivering good high quality protein’ – Mycoprotein’s well being potential explored

Mycoprotein is a fungal protein that originates from the fungus Fusarium venenatum​, which happens naturally. It’s created by fermenting fungi spores with glucose and different vitamins in a course of that’s not dissimilar from that used to make beer.

One of many necessary issues to notice about mycoprotein-based meat substitutes is that they’re not technically ‘plant-based’, as mycoprotein stems from fungi, which is a complete completely different ‘kingdom’ to vegetation.


Quorn, arguably essentially the most well-known purveyor of mycoprotein items, hosted Tuesday’s summit. The summit gathered collectively consultants and researchers within the discipline of mycoprotein, and lined a number of of the well being and environmental advantages of the protein.

Fibre of life

On the occasion, Dr. Daniel Commane, an affiliate professor at Northumbria College, confused the significance of fibre to intestine well being and its presence in mycoprotein.

We started to tease out what may occur if we bought all people within the inhabitants to cease consuming meat and begin consuming numerous sources of plant based mostly meals [or] mycoprotein,” ​mentioned Dr. Commane.

“If all people did that tomorrow, we might on common, nearly hit the dietary tips for fibre​.” This might result in a lower in diabetes, diverticular illness and colorectal most cancers, amongst different issues.

However allowable well being claims have but to meet up with the rising data about mycoprotein’s well being advantages, in line with Dr. Fred Warren from the Quadram institute.

Mycoprotein has plenty of well being advantages, except for simply delivering good high quality protein. However a few of what you’ll be able to share with customers, notably when it comes to well being claims and packaging, hasn’t actually caught up with that​.

There isn’t actually any well being declare that I’m conscious of formulated round protein with fibre, and the helpful results that may have doubtlessly in colorectal most cancers. So I feel there’s there’s a mix of analysis and likewise the regulation catching up​.”

Fibre can also be present in plant-based meals, reminiscent of oats, however the fibre is completely different in its make-up, Dr. Commane later informed us. Regardless of this distinction,  “what’s necessary, I feel, is the advantages that you simply see with the oat lowers ldl cholesterol in the same method. We don’t know which is greatest​.”

Selection is essential. After we take into consideration our microbiome, “what you need, there’s plenty of completely different sources of fibre. A lot of various kinds of micro organism that concentrate on consuming completely different meals​.”

Animal vs. non-animal           

There’s a distinction between animal and non-animal sources of protein, and folks usually wrongly assume that the latter is of a decrease protein high quality than the previous, revealed Professor Benjamin Wall from the College of Exeter.

We’re mainly offering the vast majority of protein from mycoprotein, in which there’s a extra balanced amino acid profile is extra indicative of meat,” ​he mentioned.

Mycoprotein Picture Supply: Bartosz Luczak/Getty Photos

In a examine by the College of Exeter, folks have been fed both protein from ‘top quality animal-based sources’ or animal protein and requested to coach onerous. “We weren’t making an attempt to match [mycoprotein], as an illustration, to processed meat and burgers, we have been making an attempt to get folks excellent, wholesome omnivorous weight loss plan, and coaching them very, very onerous, and truly maximise the adaptive response you can measure beneath laboratory situations​.”

The examine confirmed that it was silly to underestimate non-animal protein sources. “The query then is what if we don’t take our protein from a [similarly protein rich] however non-animal supply, not the plant-based supply however fungal-based supply? Would that present a detriment to adaptive response? The reply was no​.”

Analysis new to the sphere

The summit additionally gathered collectively PhD college students from the Universities of Nottingham, Exeter and Northumbria to speak about a few of their analysis into the sphere.

Kamil Szepe, from the College of Nottingham, spoke about his analysis into stimulating the rise of the presence of amino acids in mycoprotein.

So trying on the methods of alternate methods of enhancing the mycoprotein​,” he mentioned, “we have to first begin taking a look at what’s the Most worthy, one of the vital helpful points of protein for diet. In order that shall be its amino acid composition​.”

The amino acids within the analysis have “been linked to being helpful to rising physique mass. In order that shall be for each folks like athletes or within the aged, who are likely to lose muscle mass​.”

Dr. Alistair Monteyne from the College of Exeter researched into the advantages on muscle-building from mycoprotein. His work “was to ascertain whether or not the mycoprotein was a high-quality protein supply.”

The analysis in contrast folks on an omnivorous weight loss plan to these on a vegan weight loss plan based mostly round mycoprotein. These with diets of mycoprotein constructed muscle extra efficiently than these on an omnivorous weight loss plan.

In line with Monteyne, the analysis has given ‘a extra beneficial view’ of a plant-based weight loss plan than many had beforehand held.

Gráinne Whelehan, additionally from the College of Exeter, regarded on the presence of micronutrients, reminiscent of B-12, vitamin D, calcium and iron within the bloodstream, evaluating their presence throughout a weight loss plan which included animal merchandise, and a vegan weight loss plan based mostly round mycoprotein.

The outcomes have been shocking. “We will see that such a vegan weight loss plan, very a lot mycoprotein heavy, doesn’t actually have an effect on the micronutrients . . . when you’ve got loads of mycoprotein for a quite a few quantity of weeks, doesn’t result in deficiencies in sure micronutrients, which has been steered earlier than​.”

Lastly, analysis from Dr. Dominic Farsi, who works for the analysis and improvement firm Teagasc, confirmed that mycoprotein is excessive in fibre and brings much less threat of most cancers in contrast with meat.

Mycoprotein is “not simply changing meat​,” mentioned Dr. Farsi, “however there’s additionally the opposite points of mycoprotein, like excessive fibre​.”

A sure stage of chemical compounds within the intestine can improve DNA injury, which in flip will increase most cancers threat. Dr. Farsi’s analysis discovered {that a} mycoprotein weight loss plan led to a decrease stage of genotoxicity (the power of gear to wreck genetic data in cells) than a processed meat weight loss plan.

So what this implies​,” mentioned Dr. Farsi, “is that mycoprotein might be a greater choice than crimson processed meat. However what this additionally suggests is the inclusion of mycoprotein could also be helpful to a regular Western weight loss plan​.”


Kew, the place the summit befell. Picture supply: Alexey_Fedoren/Getty Photos