Weight Loss: What Exactly Is Protein? Our Nutritionist Explains

Proteins: Ever wondered why there is so much hype about protein? Nutritionist Rupali Dutta explains what proteins are and why they are so important for good health and weight loss.

Weight Loss: What Exactly Is Protein? Our Nutritionist Explains

Protein for weight loss: Proteins are important for the immune system


  • Protein is an important macronutrient
  • It can help in achieving quick weight loss
  • It is important to consume protein on a daily basis

With all the hype that is going around protein, the macronutrient probably needs no introduction. Protein is one of the three major macronutrients that you need along with carbohydrates and fats. Proteins can be helpful in aiding quick weight los. Proteins can be defined as the building blocks of the body, found nearly in every cell of the trillions of cells present. Proteins are made up of amino acids - which are attached to one another in long chains. There are as many as 20 different kinds of amino acids, and the sequence in which they are arranged helps in determining the kind of role that particular protein plays.

What exactly is protein? Know the benefits

"Proteins are compounds made from amino acids. It is a macronutrient which is essential for building muscle mass," says clinical nutritionist Dr Rupali Dutta.

Also read: Weight loss: These Are The Best Options For Low Carb High Protein Evening Meal

She goes on to add that protein is a macronutrient that is involved in making and maintaining the blood volume. "It is an important of immune system. The body needs protein on a daily basis. 0.8 gms to 1 gm of protein is required per kg of ideal body weight every day," she informs.

Ask her about why there's so much hype about protein and she says that it is because of the Indian diet, which is carb-heavy. "The Indian diet is a very carb-heavy diet and the basis of it does not include adequate protein food sources. A simple Indian diet might not provide you with your daily recommended intake of protein."


Proteins have gained so much prominence probably because Indian diets are carb-heavy
Photo Credit: iStock

Also, she says that people have now become more conscious about weight management and this is the reason why proteins have gained so much prominence. In times when low-carb and carb-free diets are doing the rounds, the focus has shifted to proteins massively.

This might also be because proteins can help in building muscle mass and weight loss. Protein-rich foods like chicken, eggs, dairy products, lentils and legumes can all fill you up quickly, keep you full for longer. This reduces overall calorie intake and aids weight loss.

But this does not mean that whole grains and carbs are not important, Dr Rupali asserts. "You cannot swap one nutrient for the other. Each nutrient has its own value and an important function to perform. You should include all of these nutrients in appropriate quantities," she says.

Also read: Indian Superfoods: Rujuta Diwekar Explains Why This Protein-Rich Food Must Be A Part Of Your Monsoon Diet

Coming back to proteins, the macronutrient also performs the following essential functions:

1. Building new cells and repairing the already existing ones.

2. Offering protection to the body from virus and bacteria

3. Promoting proper growth and development in pregnant women, young children and teenagers.

Now you know what exactly are proteins and why you need them. Eat them in the right quantity and don't go overboard with consumption of protein or any other macronutrient. In order to increase your protein intake, you can include some protein food sources in each of your meals. This is an effective and natural way to increase protein intake. 


Include protein in every meal to gradually increase intake of protein
Photo Credit: iStock

Also read: Diabetes Diet: Here's Why Protein Rich Foods Are Important For Diabetics

Following are protein-rich foods you can include in your diet

1. Eggs

2. Lentils and legumes

3. Nuts and seeds

4. Milk and dairy products

5. Cottage cheese

6. Lean meat, poultry and fish

7. Soy products like tofu

8. Oats

9. Spinach

10. Peas

(Dr Rupali Dutta is consultant nutritionist at Fortis Escorts)

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.