The Indian Dietetic Association (IDA) claimed on Tuesday that vegetarian diets in the country are 84 per cent protein deficient, mainly due to lack of awareness among the public.
Citing a study by market research firm IMRB, IDA said, "93 per cent of Indians are unaware of their ideal protein requirement and Indian vegetarian diets are worst affected with 84 per cent being deficient in protein, while 65 per cent of Indian non-vegetarian diets too deficient in protein.
"On the backdrop of such alarming data, IDA has decided to run a campaign to educate consumers about the importance of protein, a nutrient which is integral to our general health and well-being that impact every life stage," the IDA said in a statement.
Starting today, a seven-day long Protein Week is being observed by the IDA and it is supported by Protein Foods Nutrition Development Association of India (PFNDAI), the release said.
There should have clear understanding about importance and requirement of protein in terms of quality as well as quantity in daily diet, which is one gram per kg of body weight as per the recommendation of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the statement said.
IDA president (Mumbai) Naaznin Husein said the Protein Week is an initiative to spread awareness about the importance of protein.
A recent study has revealed that over 70 per cent of Indian adults have poor muscle health characterized by lower muscle mass and body protein content, she said adding that low intake of protein and sedentary lifestyle are some of the reasons for this condition.
"This is alarming as poor muscle health could lead to impaired muscle function, fatigue and poor metabolic health. Adequate protein intake and exercise would help maintain good muscle health," Husein said.