• Posts
  • RSS
  • ◂◂RSS
  • Contact

  • Efficiency of Seitan

    November 30th, 2013
    food, meat, veg  [html]
    When I was looking at the efficiency of meat I looked some at the efficiency of alternatives. I noticed that seitan is made by keeping just the protein component of wheat and throwing away the rest, and wrote:

    While flour is 10-15% gluten, seitan uses high-gluten flour, and so about 14% of the original wheat becomes seitan. This is about 7 calories [of] wheat per calorie [of] seitan. This is worse than the 2.2 calories [of] corn per calorie [of] beef we got above.

    Aside from being confusing, this has a key mistake. The problem is that neither meat nor meat substitutes are entirely protein. I compared beef at around 25% protein to pure gluten at 100% protein. In other words if you want to get the same number of grams of protein from seitan as you get from an amount of beef you only need to eat 1/4th as much. We should redo the calculation to go from pounds of raw grain to grams of protein [1] to get a fair comparison. [2]

    To get 100 grams of protein from wheat (as gluten) you would need 1.5 pounds of grain while to get it from corn (via beef) you would need 3 pounds. [3] To make veggie meat with the same protein density as beef, you'd need ~2 pounds of wheat per pound of veggie meat, compared to ~4 pounds of corn per pound of beef. Seitan isn't as inefficient as I had thought.

    (I think other kinds of veggie meat like tofu, tempe, and TVP are more efficient than seitan by this metric. Though they are also concentrations and I haven't looked at them in detail.)


    [1] It's weird that we use British units for typical measurements but metric ones for nutritional quantities.

    [2] This also conflates 'wheat' with 'flour', but this turns out not to be a problem because 'wheat' generally means 'wheat berries' and 'flour', whole-wheat at least, is just ground wheat berries. So one pound of wheat yields one pound of flour.

    [3] 100g is 0.22 lbs. 14% of wheat is protein, so 0.22lbs of wheat protein requires 1.57 lbs of wheat. 25% of beef is protein and a pound of beef requires 3.7 pounds of corn, so 0.22lbs of beef protein requires 3.25 lbs of corn.

    Comment via: google plus, facebook

    Recent posts on blogs I like:

    Fireside Friday, November 27, 2020

    Hey folks! Fireside this week. A bit of a change-up in terms of the coming attractions. I had planned to start “Textiles, How Did They Make It?” next, but I want to do a bit more reading on some of the initial stages of textile production (that is, the pr…

    via A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry November 27, 2020

    Building Depth and Window Space

    How much window space does an apartment need, relative to its area, and how does this affect building style? A fascinating post from about a year ago on Urban Kchoze makes the argument that modern North American buildings are too deep – Simon calls them o…

    via Pedestrian Observations November 27, 2020

    Thoughts you mightn't have thunk about remote meetings

    Welcome to this week's edition of "building a startup in 2020," in which all your meetings are suddenly remote, and you probably weren't prepared for it. I know I wasn't. We started a "fully remote" company back in 2019, but …

    via apenwarr November 23, 2020

    more     (via openring)


  • Posts
  • RSS
  • ◂◂RSS
  • Contact