Barley itself has ancient roots as a life-giving food. Its versatility and ability to grow in a broad range of challenging climates have enabled populations across the planet to benefit from this whole grain’s unique nutrition bundle for more than 10,000 years. It is also the source of one of the world’s most popular beverages — beer. Whether it is ale, stout, lager, pilsner, porter, IPA, sour (and others)—beer is embedded in our global cultural fabric. What’s exciting is that, today, the nutrient-rich byproduct of the malting and brewing process—brewers’ spent grain (BSG) can be used to enhance the diets of people and the health of our planet.
Historically, BSG has been discarded to landfill or used for animal feed rather than for human consumption.3 This previously untapped resource can be upcycled into nutrient-rich, climate-conscious ingredients that contain high levels of protein, fiber, and phytonutrients that can be incorporated into a range of beverage and food products. Instead of expending valuable resources on growing crops to produce new proteins or other nutrient sources, utilizing BSG allows producers to save the protein- and nutrient-rich barley we have. The process of malting barley and then brewing it for beer, so long part of the world’s cultural story, gives us a global, plentiful supply of BSG to work with while limiting the environmental impact.
There are decades of quality research published on the nutrition and health of whole grains and barley and there is growing and emerging science specific to upcycled barley in the areas of cardiovascular health; metabolic health; gut and digestive health; satiety and weight management; immune support (including anticarcinogenic potential) and inflammation; and muscle physiology, recovery, and performance (sports). For the first time ever, this research has been consolidated and validated by Wendy Bazilian, PhD, MA, RDN. Bazilian is a doctor of public health, a registered dietitian nutritionist, and American College of Sports Medicine-certified exercise physiologist. Read her review on the health and nutrition benefits of barley and upcycled barley at the link below.