Spent grains as Human grade food
Brewer’s spent grains (BSG) is considered an ideal ingredient for human food because of being readily available, low-cost, and rich in nutrients. It can be added to foodstuffs, such as bread, biscuits, muffins, and snacks, that need to improve their fiber and protein content while minimizing calorie intake (Mussatto and others 2006).
Initially, BSG was considered too coarse for direct consumption, requiring milling. The brownish color and high moisture content limited its usage in off-white food products, such as cookies, cakes, bread, and pasta (Ozturk and others 2002).
Up to 15 % addition of BSG was acceptable for addition to cookies and did not significantly affect the senses
ReGrained, is an example of a company that’s turning used brewing grains into energy bars and granola. Ounce-for-ounce, spent grains contain a similar protein content to almonds, and three times the fiber of oats.
Note – the addition of BSG to bakery products had some limitations due to the flavor and texture (sensory properties) of the end products. Therefore, only a small amount (5% to 10%) is recommended.
Human health benefits
Ozturk and others (2002) investigated the impact of 5% and 25% BSG in wheat flour when preparing cookies. The results showed that the dietary fiber content increased with increasing BSG content. These BSG-containing cookies provided various human health benefits, such as increasing cholesterol and fat excretion, increasing fecal weight, accelerating transit time, and decreasing gallstones (Mussatto and others 2006). According to Stojceska and Ainsworth (2008), the incorporation of BSG with 4 different enzymes into wheat flour bread at different levels (0% to 30%) afforded bread with considerably improved fiber contents along with an increase in fat content. However, the degree of softness, shelf life, texture (sensory properties), and loaf volume was lower than those of bread made with wheat flour. This can be improved using the right combination of BSG and enzymes (Stojceska and Ainsworth 2008).
Brewers’ spent grain, because of the high nutritive value, have been evaluated for their usage in the manufacture of breakfast cereals, bread and other baked goods, and snacks. Unfortunately, brewer’s spent grain usually must be milled into flour before use in food products because the grains are too coarse otherwise.
The authors of this study found that spent grains are rich in hydroxycinnamic acid and phenolic acids, which may have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties.