Improving Protein Quality of Bread — Nutritional Benefits and Realities

  • Antoinette A. Betschart
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 105)


The bases for improving bread protein quality are critically examined. Protein consumption is shown to be directly related to total calorie intake in many countries, with a correlation coefficient (r) of ≥ 0.90. Concentration of protein in bread, % kilocalories, is similar to that of mixed diets in many parts of the world. Quality of bread protein, when evaluated by male weanling rats, may be improved by supplementation with lysine and threonine, as well as with many protein sources. Human adults, on bread diets, may be maintained in nitrogen equilibrium or slightly positive nitrogen balance. Increases, however, in nitrogen retention have been reported when lysine was added to bread. Laboratory studies with infants and young children, often hospitalized and recovering from severe malnutrition, show that lysine supplementation of wheat flour and gluten diets enhanced nitrogen retention and weight gain. No effect was observed when whole wheat diets were supplemented with lysine. Several field studies with children indicate that the addition of lysine to either supplemental breads provided at school, or to all wheat products consumed, resulted in no observed beneficial effects. Other field studies report an increase in either weight or height with addition of lysine to breads. A laboratory study with human adults suggests that a wheat flour: soy flour mixture has a higher biological value than wheat flour alone. The role, in human nutrition, of breads with improved protein quality remains somewhat obscure.


Wheat Flour Protein Quality Wheat Product Nitrogen Retention Amino Acid Supplementation 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antoinette A. Betschart
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AgricultureWestern Regional Research Center, United StatesBerkeleyUSA

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