Let’s Eat Well (Feb 22, 2014)

Let’s Eat Well

Promoting healthy dietary choices.

            Measuring dietary protein quantity and quality is important for health recommendations to individuals, populations, and countries.  The Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS) measure of evaluation utilized for the last 20 years warrants reconsideration to improve dietary protein quantity and quality measurement, as well as health recommendations. Current research supports changes in recommendations for individuals, with potential future research offering changed recommendations for population groups. 

            The current PDCAAS measurement of evaluation determines the total protein in feces, provides a scoring value for digestibility of proteins, and calculates the bioavailability of proteins digested (Leser, 2013).  The newly presented measurement of evaluation, the Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score (DIASS), better determines individual protein quantity rather than total protein and calculates the amount digested by the end of the small intestine rather than from feces in order to eliminate inclusion of bacterial protein quantities resulting from feces (Leser, 2013).  The DIASS improves the value score of dietary protein ingested, allowing milk and soy proteins to have a score, as well as meat, fish, and eggs to have improved value scoring (Leser, 2013).  The DIASS increases calculation of necessary bioavailable protein, rather than destroyed lysine, required for absorption of calcium and connective tissue collagen formation (Leser, 2013). 

            The individual, high-protein dietary recommendations, for weight management and maintenance of muscle mass, historically is 0.83 grams of protein per kilogram per day or total daily protein intake of 20% (Leser, 2013).  The 2013 Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations report, supported by 33 published scientific papers in the British Journal of Nutrition, recommends 0.99 grams of protein per kilogram per day with the new DIASS evaluation (Leser, 2013).  Defining and measuring protein quantity and quality allows each of us to understand how to support our own health and avoid chronic disease (Leser, 2013). 

            Several additional population groups will benefit from further research for dietary protein recommendations.  Modified dietary protein recommendations for groups such as the elderly, the immune-compromised, as well as the chronically inflamed or ill, consider the burdens of aging and disease (Leser, 2013).  Modified recommendations, specific for gender, athletic training, and weight loss programs, achievable with the DIASS evaluation, take physical activity and dietary habits into consideration (Leser, 2013).  Public health initiatives, enhanced with new dietary protein recommendations and considerations for physical activity expenditures, can better prevent age-related muscle-mass loss, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and particularly obesity (Leser, 2013). 

An improved evaluation process of protein quality and quantity measurement influences individual health decisions.  Funding and support for further research could lead to food industry product development and marketing strategies directed at individuals (Leser, 2013).  Changed nutritional standards also affect food assistance programs for the most vulnerable individuals (Leser, 2013). The DIASS evaluation provides a better measurement tool that shows not all protein has the same value. 


Leser, S. (2013). The 2013 FAO report on dietary protein quality evaluation in human nutrition: Recommendations and implications. Nutritional Bulletin, 38(4), 421-428. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/nbu.12063

Image Reference:

From Galakitchen.com (2013). Where do you get your protein? Retrieved from  http://galakitchen.com/2013/08/27/where-do-you-get-your-protein/

broccoli or steak


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