Hyderabad: Claims of protein shakes being high in protein with no added sugars may be belied by a reading of the label. Hidden sugars in the form of sucrose, galactose and glucose may be often found lurking there and the exact quantity of protein may be found to be less than expected.
In India, not many of us scrutinise food labelling closely. What is important is how much protein is present in 100 grams of the product. At the same time, the protein requirement of vegetarians and non-vegetarians differs, but this too determines the protein requirement of the body. Always take the tall claims in advertisements of these products with a large dose of salt, and, anyway, question if such supplements are really required if the food plate is balanced.
M. Gayathri, clinical dietician at Apollo Hospitals does not advise protein shakes for the young and healthy. “If their diet is not balanced, the first correction is to make the food plate balanced. The natural ability of the body to digest proteins must be encouraged rather than take it in powdered form that has a large quantity of sugar in different forms. Higher quantity of protein, minerals and vitamins is for those whose natural absorption is not functioning properly due to disease, age or identified malnourished form. Those who are heavily into gym or body building also have to check on their natural versus powdered forms of consumption.”
Reading the label is very important to identify whether it is fulfilling your dietary requirements.
Syeda Sana Siddiqua, senior dietician at a private hospital says vegetarians must look for vitamin B12, calcium, zinc and iron in the powders. “It is also important to check on the protein source, whether it is whey, soy or milk protein. Whey protein contains a higher branch and chain of amino acids. Milk proteins are co-ingested with prolonged supply on amino acids. Whey in combination with soy proteins helps to bridge the appearance of amino acids during the time of digestion. These are minute but important factors which have to be understood if a person is having protein powders regularly.”
The composition, digestibility and bioavailability of essential amino acids is very important when buying a protein product.
“The label on every protein package mentions how much protein we get per 100 grams of consumption. If we get 40 grams of protein for 100 grams of the product, it is called high protein,” explains K. Sunitha Premalatha, chief dietician at Yashoda Hospital.
“People must evaluate the quality of protein based on the biological value, net protein utilisation, PDCASS value (method of evaluating the quality of a protein) and protein efficiency ratio. These four parameters are very important while selecting a protein package.”
Non-vegetarians who have egg, chicken and fish must look out for the scoop size in protein powders which can be 20 gm to 35 gm per day. But it depends on their intake of non-vegetarian food; if it is every day, then they do not require it. Hence non-vegetarians must consult a nutritionist or doctor before they start intake of protein powders.
Too much protein in the body leads to over-working of the kidneys and leads to kidney diseases. According to Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines, recommendation for Indians is 0.8 grams of protein per kilo of body weight for adults. In senior citizens, as the mean body mass decreases, protein intake is to maintain muscle mass....