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Protein could give products for endurance athletes an extra edge, says Arla Foods Ingredients

By Elizabeth Crawford contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

A new fast absorbing protein from Arla Foods Ingredients could help crack open the endurance sports sector, which has significant potential for growth but until now has been largely dominated by sports drinks with only carbohydrates and electrolytes. 

Lacprodan Hydro.356 is a new whey protein hydrolysate that is better suited for endurance athletes than other proteins commonly used in sports nutrition products because it can be more quickly absorbed by the body, said Troels NØrgaard Laursen, senior manager, health and performance nutrition at Arla Foods Ingredients.

He explained that the ingredient is “predigested”​ so that “the peptides can be absorbed quickly without at further digestion. This means that it is a product that is easy to take before exercise as well as after.”

The easy to formulate protein can be applied in many familiar formats, including gels, bars, powder blends, tablets and even clear sports drinks, according to Arla. As a result, endurance athletes won’t be daunted by trying something new, but rather could be attracted to a distinguishing ingredient.

Laursen said Arla wanted to create the specialized whey protein for endurance athletes because this is an area that hasn’t historically included much protein, but rather has relied on electrolytes and carbohydrates for replenishment.

In addition, Laursen notes that long distance running and cycling are increasingly popular, which means demand for nutritional products in this segment also is increasing.

Indeed, the supplier cites Euromonitor International data that estimates the global endurance sports nutrition segment will grow 36% to $28 million between now and 2019.

Research supported

Recognizing protein for endurance athletes is a relatively unknown concept, Arla studied the ingredient’s impact on 18 elite runners. The runners who consumed Hydro.365 before and after training sessions for a week shaved 17 seconds off their run time for 4 km. The group that consumed a traditional sports drink without the protein did not see an improvement in their time.

“This is something that led to new recommendations in terms of what type of nutrition runners should consume and endurance athletes should have. It is very good evidence that is applicable for endurance runners who want to maximize their training,”​ Laursen said.

Brand ambassadors support the ingredient

Arla further is supporting the branded ingredient – and the products that contain it – by teaming with endurance athletes who will raise awareness of the ingredient.

This type of marketing for ingredients is rare, but Laursen said end-users already are asking Arla what products have the ingredient and where to buy them.

In addition, using branded ingredients can add a level of transparency and trust to products for end-users, who increasingly are concerned about what they are putting in their bodies, Laursen said.

Discover what else is new in protein by tuning in for our free online protein webinar Nov. 4.​ You can register quickly and easily HERE​. 

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