The Indian thali has long been touted as the perfect case in point for a balanced meal. But when it comes to everyday meals, not all pay attention to the various nutrients that are required for the body. According to the Indian Dietician Association (IDA), the Indian diet in fact has 50 per cent inadequate protein pattern. India also houses a large population of vegetarians. While there are many plant-based protein sources, a large number of people fail to meet their daily requirement.
Protein Foods Nutrition Development Association of India (PFNDAI) also supported the fact, which highlights the importance of including extra intake of protein-related food since vegetarian diets alone would not fulfil the protein requirement of the body.
According to experts, the issue is a matter of concern as pregnant women would not be able to achieve optimal protein intake with exclusively vegetarian diets until they add milk to the diet.
"Proteins from different sources complement each other. Even with a ratio of 5:1 cereals and pulses combination, the protein quality in terms of digestibility and bio-availability is only around 65 per cent when compared to milk protein," said B. Sesikeran, a pathologist.
He was speaking at the launch of "The Protein Week", an initiative aiming to educate people against the myths and realities of proteins. According to experts, Indians lack awareness about good quality sources of protein.
Protein requirement in the second growth spurt during pregnancy is twice of a toddler's and this requirement is heightened by almost 20 gm per day in the third trimester compared to an adult woman.
Neelanjana Singh, President of IDA, Delhi Chapter, said: "Quality-based protein is as important as quality of protein taken. For effective utilisation of protein, it is necessary to also include adequate calories in one's diet."
Under the initiative, the IDA and the PFNDAI aim to hold educational seminars engaging key opinion leaders across the country to spread awareness and discuss the protein-related issues.
Inputs from IANS