Protein plays the most important role amongst the various nutrients that human body requires. Protein is the “building block” of our muscles, skin , enzyme and hormones and is responsible for building all tissues of our body.
A 2017 survey in India shows that 73% Indians are Protein deficient. While the recommended dietary allowance of protein for an average Indian adult is 0.8 to 1 gm per kg of body weight, the actual consumption was found to be around 0.47gm per kg of body weight.
Indian diet was essentially clean and balanced till just a generation ago. The impact of globalisation has brought a drastic change in the lifestyles and created a change in our dietary choices. There has been a shift from consuming just the traditional cuisine to developing a taste for a variety of food, irrespective of whether it suits the climatic and body conditions.
Indians diet now comprises of simple carbohydrates (sugar and starches from refined carbs where a large % of its natural fibre and nutrients are removed). Intake of complex carbohydrates (Whole & unprocessed found like whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits ) has declined over the years. The result is an “unbalanced” diet resulting in a surge in obesity, diabetes, cancer, liver, and heart diseases.
A corrective action to these health issues, calls for the vital nutrient “Protein” which is responsible for the repair, growth and protection of the body, to be included in right measures in our daily meal. Unfortunately, protein has fallen prey to myths that –‘an increased protein will add to body weight’. Thus, reducing its intake.
Protein is found everywhere in our body. Be it muscles, skin, hair, bones, blood or any tissue. It is for this reason that a protein deficiency has a wide range of symptoms.
Mild deficiency symptoms are:
*Increased appetite. (This is because, simple carb diet gets digested quickly making a person feel hungry very soon, unlike a protein that is slow in digesting and make a person feel full for a long period)
Moderate deficiency symptoms are:
*Loss of muscles, but increase in obesity due to fat
*Dry and flaky skin
Severe protein deficiency includes:
*Cracking of skin
*Stunted growth in children
*Weak bones resulting in easy fractures
*Deterioration in brain functioning
There is a growing gap about the knowledge of Quality protein in daily diets. Hence there is an urgent need to create awareness on the importance of all nutrients, the ideal measures in which they should be taken to make a balanced diet as per one’s level of physical and mental work. Awareness about the type of proteins available and their best health benefits is a must to bridge the knowledge gap.
Protein deficiency should be corrected by including Natural proteins in daily diets. A protein that is “LEAN” is ideal as they do not contain saturated fats that usually cause an increase in cholesterol and create risks to heart. Thus Lean protein becomes an ideal choice to correct health issues and build healthy cells.
The Author Ms. Sandhya Ajaykumar is the COO of Vridhi Techno Farms Private Limited (VTF).