Protein is an important component of specialized foods to treat moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) and severe acute malnutrition (SAM). Animal source proteins, in particular milk protein, are favoured and prescribed as ingredients in foods to treat MAM and SAM. This is because the protein quality of milk is higher than that of plant proteins. Among plants, cowpea, common bean and soybean have the most protein, the highest quality protein and thus are candidates for foods for acute malnutrition. Clinical trials in SAM patients show that incorporation of milk protein causes greater weight gain and recovery.
Mark Manary explores in his presentation the role of optimized plant protein combinations as a low-cost alternative to dairy ingredients for prevention and treatment of MAM and SAM