Deccan Chronicle

Vegetarian diets lack protein? Busting this age-old myth

Deccan Chronicle. | DC Correspondent

Published on: November 8, 2023 | Updated on: November 8, 2023
Representational Image

Representational Image

Proteins are an essential component of a healthy diet, playing a crucial role in various bodily functions. But India continues to face a concerning issue of protein deficiency, with many individuals not meeting the required daily intake. The recommended protein intake for an average adult in India is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. However, the average consumption typically rests at about 0.6 grams per kilogram of body weight.

In India, there is a common association of proteins with non-vegetarian foods like meat and fish. Challenging this misconception, the Almond Board of California recently hosted a session in Vishakhapatnam. During this event, Nutrition & Wellness Consultant, Sheela Krishnaswamy, emphasized that natural protein sources, such as almonds, can often sufficiently meet one's protein needs. She addressed common misconceptions about vegetarian diets lacking protein, concerns about weight gain, and issues related to protein digestion.

Unfortunately, even today, a significant number of Indians lack awareness about the vital dietary necessity of protein. According to a survey, 73 percent of Indians fail to meet the recommended daily protein intake, with over 90 percent lacking awareness of this shortfall. Moreover, another survey has unveiled a pervasive lack of understanding about the importance of protein as a vital macronutrient, especially among Indian households, particularly mothers.

During the recent session, Nutrition & Wellness Consultant Sheela Krishnaswamy emphasized that the increasing commercialization of fitness-related diets has led many to mistakenly believe in the necessity of protein supplements. She stressed the importance of recognizing that natural protein sources, including almonds, pulses, and dals, are often more than sufficient to meet one's protein requirements. She also discussed the availability of plant-based protein options like soybean, pulses, dals, and nuts, with almonds being a notable example. "Almonds contain 21.2% protein by weight, and a 30 g serving provides 6.3 g of protein. Additionally, almonds are a source of nutrients such as zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, vitamin E, and Vitamin B2," nutritionist Sheela Krishnaswamy highlighted during the session.

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