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  • Jefferson Adams

    Can NASA's New Gluten-Free Protein Powder Save the World?

    Jefferson Adams
    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Finnish scientists just figured out how to make food from thin air using a concept developed by NASA. Their gluten-free super food could feed billions and save the environment.

    Launch of Atlas V TDRS-K from Cape Canaveral AFS. Image: CC BY 2.0--NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
    Caption: Launch of Atlas V TDRS-K from Cape Canaveral AFS. Image: CC BY 2.0--NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

    Celiac.com 03/03/2020 - If NASA scientists have their way, humans might just eat their way out of the climate crisis. How? A new protein powder, Solein, made out of nothing more than CO₂, water and electricity. The result is a high-protein, flour-like product that contains 50 percent protein, 5–10 percent fat, and 20–25 percent carbohydrates. Based on a concept developed by NASA, the product has wide potential as a carbon-neutral source of protein. Best of all, it looks and tastes like regular flour, but is completely gluten-free.

    Making Gluten-Free Food from Air

    How, you might ask, is it possible to spin food out of thin air. A Finnish company called Solar Foods, is planning to bring to market a new protein powder, Solein, made out of CO₂, water and electricity. 

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    The company's protein powder, called "Solein," supposedly looks and tastes like wheat flour, but is completely gluten-free and safe for people with celiac disease.

    Solar Foods makes Solein by extracting CO₂ from air using carbon-capture technology, and then combines it with water, nutrients and vitamins, using 100 percent renewable solar energy from partner Fortum to drive a natural fermentation process similar to the one used to produce yeast and lactic acid bacteria.

    The company claims its single-celled protein is "free from agricultural limitations." Solein's manufacturing process is carbon neutral and highly scalable. The company is set to make the ingredient available for a wide variety of food products following its launch in 2021.

    Solein will likely first appear on grocery shelves in protein shakes and yogurt. 

    According to Anna Häkämies, Senior Specialist, Product Development, "Based on our current understanding, Solein is gluten-free. There is no reason to believe that any gluten protein exist in Solein."

    Will this new highly green, highly sustainable, carbon-neutral superfood help to save the planet? Join the protein powder discussions in our forum. Stay tuned for more on this and related stories.

    Read more about Solein at Bigthink.com


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    This sounds like a bunch of junk science to me and a gimmick to sell things.  You don't quote who the scientist is or anything.  They add nutrients which is more than just air.  It doesn't say what the "nutrients" are either.  So a big no from me.  I worked in research for many years and this is nothing but a con job to me. 

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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