July 25, 2018

The pro(s) of #ProteinWeek

For all those who are diet conscious and working on that size zero figure, here is a fun fact for you.
Around 68% percent (or more) of Indians are not happy with their body and suffer from low self esteem. Coincidentally, around the same number have insufficient protein intake and land themselves up in trouble.

Pic Source: Google
It has been observed that a large percentage of Indians suffer from protein insufficiency.
Expressing concern over this disturbing fact, the Indian Dietitian Association has declared 24th to 30th of July as #ProteinWeek, a gesture supported by the PFNDAI (Protein Food Nutrition Development Association Of India) as well. The aim of this week is to emphasise on the importance of protein in our diet and raise awareness of its deficiencies amongst the public.

Functions of proteins:
  • Proteins, as we all know, are the building blocks of life, and are important for the normal functioning and well-being of our body.
  • They are responsible for mending the wear and tear of muscles. 
  • Hormonal proteins like insulin and oxytocin play a major role in regulating blood sugar concentration and uterine contractions during pregnancy respectively.
  • Also proteins help in formation of enzymes like Amylase and lipase that help digest carbohydrates and fats.
  • Proteins also play a role in supporting the immune system by helping macrophages fight invading organisms.

Required daily intake: 
1 gm/ kg body weight.


Daily intake of 56 gm in males and 46 gm in females.

Dietary sources:

  • Beans and fish are rich sources of lean protein (healthy).
  • Complex carbohydrates like whole grain and vegetables
  • Egg white
  • Milk (contains a protein called ‘Caesin’)
  • Pulses, nuts, greens
  • Other sources include, meat and meat products etc.
Proteins are made of individual components called amino acids.
Those amino acids that cannot be produced by the body and hence can be obtained only from our diet (meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, fish) are known as 'Essential amino acids;. These include  Histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, tryptophan, phenylalanine, valine, threonine, methionine. Proteins that contain these are most important for health, and need to be included in our diet..

Protein insufficiency/deficiency symptoms:
  • Easy fatiguibility 
  • Muscle wasting or atrophy
  • Muscle cramping
  • Weakness, soreness
  • Hair thinning
  • Faded hair colour
  • Brittle nails 
  • Severe protein deficiency causes redness, flaky skin and depigmentation. 
Our muscle mass tends to decrease with age. However, it is important to maintain healthy muscles, as these not just keep the joints in good shape but also provide energy for muscle contraction and movement.

Maintaining a healthy muscle mass and tone can be accomplished by 
  • A balanced diet with adequate amount of proteins.
  • Regular exercise. (Even brisk walking for 30 minutes a day, five times a week is enough to keep the muscles and joints in good condition.)
Pic source: Google

According to the IDA, the Indian diet has 50% inadequate protein pattern, especially vegetarian diets. It becomes imperative, therefore, to supplement our diet with additional sources of protein, especially in energy demanding situations like convalescence, pregnancy etc.

So next time you watch a svelte Shilpa Shetty preening on screen or a shirtless Salman Khan flaunting his six packs, remind yourself that glorious body you covet so much is not a consequence of eating less, but rather just a result of eating right...

This protein week, start eating healthy and make a difference...to yourself first! 


triloki nagpal said...

Thanks for a very informative and useful blog-post.
In spite of a protein rich diet, i tend to put on weight - specially around the belly.
Just venting out my frustration :)

Pri said...

@ Triloki Nagpal
You’re very welcome!
Very high protein diets should be avoided in case of diabetes and kidney issues.
As for belly fat, that is a common complaint amongst most Indians...since we prefer to diet but not exercise! 😐