Monday, January 24, 2011

What are Hydrolyzed Proteins, and Do You Need to Avoid Them?

If you’ve been reading food labels, you surely have come across products that have hydrolyzed proteins. These include:
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • Hydrolyzed soy protein
  • Hydrolyzed whey protein
What are they, anyway?

Hydrolyzed proteins are created by breaking food down into amino acids. Usually this is accomplished by boiling the food in hydrochloric acid and then neutralizing the solution with sodium hydroxide. As yucky as this sounds, these foods (if you can call them that) are considered safe by the FDA.

Why are these added to our food? Because it makes them taste better. (Well, that’s the theory anyway.)

The key question is: Are they safe for food allergies?

What’s left after the hydrolyzing process is the protein, but it’s usually the protein that causes food allergies. Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) could be made from wheat, soy, corn, or other vegetables. The good news is that the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act really helps us out here – at least for the top eight food allergies. If the HVP is made from wheat or soy, then it must be clearly called out on the label. If you have a corn allergy, then you need to do further research on a product that contains HVP, before you can declare it safe.

If a product contains hydrolyzed whey protein, then “milk” must be clearly called out on the label (either with a “contains milk” statement, or by placing the word “milk” in parentheses after the ingredient), and those with milk allergies need to avoid it.

Hydrolyzed wheat protein and hydrolyzed soy protein don’t require a “contains” statement, but need to be avoided by those with wheat and soy allergies, respectively.

You may have heard that HVP is a way to disguise MSG (monosodium glutamate) in processed foods. They aren’t the same thing, but HVP and MSG are both flavor enhancers, and HVP does contain high levels of glutamate (hence the connection). If glutamate causes problems for you, then you should avoid all HVP.


gastric bypass surgery Los Angeles said...

Thanks for the information I did not know about them,I think we should be more aware of what food we are buying by reading and studying the labels behind the food.

online pharmacies said...

If you have food allergies, be careful when you eat food containing hydrolyzed proteins.

Supplements Canada said...

There are certain types of processed proteins that is harder to ingest.

Gail said...

My doctor explained to me why these are added to foods - many of them diet foods, like Healthy Choice, etc. Hydrolyzed Proteins are sort of "pre-digested." It's more than for flavor enhancement, though - hydrolyzing makes proteins "sharp," so they get into your system easier and faster. It helps you feel like you are satisfied faster, so eating those smaller portions of weight-loss oriented foods feels less painful.

They also use it as a binder on generic drugs to increase the bio-availability of the drug. Sharp, pointy hydrolyzed proteins carry the medicine into your bloodstream faster, getting more of it into you sooner, which makes the generic work more like the brand name drug.

AND they're found in hygiene and beauty products - shampoo, conditioner, hand lotion, soft soaps, shower gels, makeup, you name it, it's in them.

I can't tolerate it in any form. It's not always an immediate reaction, but within a day or two, I develop large bumps which feel hot to the touch and are extremely painful. I thought they were zits or cysts at first, but they are more like hives - nothing in them, they never come up. Best not to touch them at all, if you can stand it.

Anonymous said...

I find them intolerable also. It is a hot stingy sometimes itchy redness on my face, over my eyes and mostly on the sides of my neck. --- Like going through a microderma abrasion over and over again.

1sleepingangel said...

I go into tachycardia, usually about 148 or so for a few hours or half a day or night. Is there anything I can use to counteract the effects after I ingest something with MSG or it's relatives?

Juntjoo said...

Last few days I've been going nuts reading package labels trying to pinpoint what caused this crazy disabling case of full body hives I've been suffering from. Seems "hydrolyzed corn protein" was the culprit in some packaged meats and beans someone sent me for my birthday that I don't usually eat. Out of all the strange ingredients from my research these hydrolyzed veggie proteins seem to be most likely the cause. Never had such intense hives from head to toe.

CHS said...

I begin with severe neck pain at base of skull. It proceeds to dizziness, headache, numbness of lips and tongue, double vision. I have through trial and error isolated the reaction to Hydrolyzed Protein. I often have these reactions in restaurants: Arby's Roast Beef, Chicken at Olive Garden, Parmesan Crusted Tilapia. Eating "clean" seems to be the only solution.

Unknown said...

I've been 50% on the "Myers Way", a whole lifestyle change which includes eating a very clean, strict diet for 3 months to reverse & prevent my thyroid disease (hoping soon to be following it at least 75% in a few days--lots of changes can be expensive, but beyond a shadow of a doubt, with my loss of symptoms, I'd have it no other way). But, my five children & hubby aren't convineed of the wonderful lifestyke changes (especially limited diet) as they won't read the science (or anything) about it yet. So, as mom & cook & in charge of my family's nutrition, I've removed all gluten, grains, 95% of refined sugar, legumes, nightshade veggies, & processed foods from their diets. Today, my 4 yr old has diarhea, which must be from hydrolyzed corn protein (only change in their diet) that she ate about 3 days ago (the time it often takes for symptoms from food allergies to show). The protein was in a beef Jerkey I fed them on Thursday, :( The jerkey also has soy, sugar, caramel color, cultured dextrose, natural flavor aND a few other things that might be the cause?

Colette said...

To the last commenter: It's definitely possible that the problem was due to the hydrolyzed corn protein, but any of those ingredients you mention could cause adverse reactions.

Minna Rose Ahlers said...

I'm curious. I have atopic syndrome ie asthma, eczema, irritable bowel disease and numerous other skin, food protein (semen, egg white, raw fish, rye grass pollen etc, etc and antibiotic allergies. However if all these things are denatured by cooking I can take them. Therefore I thought protein hydrolysate would be a soup of amino acids with no allergic provocation. Is this not so?

Colette said...

Minna, I am not an expert on this, but my understanding is that cooking does not eliminate proteins (and therefore potential allergens still exist).

DJs Source said...

We found out that Hydrolyzed Soy Protein is in my wife's Chi Silk Fusion Shampoo and my 2 year is super allergic to soy. Do you think with that in my wife's hair will affect her or does it need to be consumed?