A pan-India survey released on Monday revealed more than 80% Indians are protein deficient, indicating that protein deficiency on a rise in the country.
As many as 91% vegetarians and 85% non-vegetarians were deficient in proteins, the survey titled ‘Protein Consumption in the Diet of adult Indians Survey’ (Prodigy) revealed. The survey included men and women aged between 30 and 55, belonging to socio-economic classes A and B, with 59% non-vegetarians and 41% vegetarians with a sample size of 1,260 respondents.
“The protein requirement of an average adult per day is 1 gram per kg of the body weight. One of the key symptoms of lack of proteins is weakness and fatigue. The epidemic of lifestyle diseases — central adiposity or belly fat, diabetes and high triglyceride levels — in urban India can also be addressed if we increase our dietary protein intake,” said Niti Desai, consultant nutritionist at Cumbala Hill Hospital.
It showed a region-wise distribution of the awareness levels of people. In the west zone, 73% of the respondents were not aware of the ideal protein intake for an average adult, as against the north zone, where 98% of the people were unaware of the same.
The survey also highlighted the myths that revolve around proteins and their consumption patterns across different regions of the country. Remarkably, more than 80% of the people were aware of the health benefits associated with proteins, such as their role in strengthening muscles, building immunity, overcoming fatigue and for healthy nails and hair.
On the flip side, 85% believed that a regular diet is almost sufficient for daily protein needs and that higher protein intake would lead to weight gain. “People fail to understand the importance of protein intake in the daily diet regime. They tend to associate increased protein intake as being ideal for body builders, malnourished or very sick patients only. It is high time that we start incorporating protein rich foods in our diet,” said Desai.
What you didn’t know about proteins
Myths busted by study
* Regular diet is enough for protein needs
* Important only for people who exercise/ gym
* High protein intake will lead to weight gain
Why you need proteins
* Essential for strengthening immunity
* Important for pregnant and lactating women, growing children and elderly
* Helps build muscles and speeds up recovery
More than 80% of the people were aware of the health benefits associated with proteins, such as their role in strengthening muscles, building immunity, overcoming fatigue and for healthy nails and hair, the study showed.
* Green leafy vegetables
* Pulses and legumes