India Home To Victims of Protein Misinformation: All You Need To Know

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India Protein Paradox, Protein 101
September 1, 2020

Right To Protein Team

India Home To Victims of Protein Misinformation: All You Need To Know

In the 21st century, almost all essential information is available to us at the click of a button.  In the ’90s one would have to refer to the scores of newspaper articles and books to find reliable information. But thanks to the internet, modern-day technology has enabled us to access thousands of information sources such as websites, blogs, chat forums, videos, etc. to know more about our nutrition requirements and how to fulfill them.

Although there exists a vast amount of information, Indians continue to struggle with achieving their nutritional goals. Reports have indicated India is not likely to meet its global nutritional targets and over 70% of the urban population could be protein deficient. Infact, a 2020 Indian Consumer Market report suggested that in urban areas, beverages, refreshments, and processed foods account for the highest expenditure while protein-rich food constitutes only one-third of their food budget. Protein for overall better nutrition can be acquired through general and natural food sources available without any difficulty.

So, what could be the real challenge?

The Right To Protein initiative decided to get to the bottom of this to find out why there is a dearth of focus on protein-rich food consumption in most Indian households.

When we set out to speak to over 2000 mothers (the primary decision-makers of a household’s food intake) about protein, we were met with a shocking revelation – while 95% of Indian mothers recognized protein as a macronutrient and believed it was “very important”, only 3% really understood why they should consume it at all! Moreover, a majority could not even correctly identify more than 3 protein-rich foods from a list of 11 ingredients. The survey also highlighted that about 82% of Indian mothers with kids feel that they should focus more on vitamin and energy than proteins for their children. Meanwhile, 81% of mothers were under the belief that eating basic meals with dal, rice and roti provides adequate protein. This is evidence of the fact that in a country like India, where daily meals are carbohydrate-heavy, macronutrients like protein that have traditionally been overlooked as an important component of daily meals.

The study unveiled three main reasons that may be the cause of a decline in protein consumption in India:

Protein Paucity – One of the first findings suggested that although mothers claim to know protein, they do not understand why should people consume it Most mothers acknowledge that protein is essential, yet they don’t actively try to include protein in their diet.  Furthermore, over 90% of the mothers are not aware of Protein’s core functions such as immunity and repairing tissues.

Protein Psych – The second finding attributed the lack of protein in our diets to the misinformation surrounding protein consumption. Myths like protein are only for people who are building their bodies, or they are expensive. About 70% of mothers also believed that proteins are difficult to digest and can lead to weight gain. These are the myths that pose significant barriers when it comes to the inclusion of  protein-rich foods in daily diets

Protein Pinch – About 81% of mothers believed that the regular Indian diet of roti, dal, and rice is enough to meet the daily protein requirements. They even failed to identify 8 out of 11 sources of protein correctly. A protein pinch is created because of the lack of knowledge about the quantity and the quality of protein, that can be included in daily Indian diets.

There are many barriers that we face in adopting a nation-wide protein-rich diet. With the right message from the right people is one thing that can help deal with the problem. Spreading the correct facts are the only things that can help combat the protein deficit, and the protein paradox study is undoubtedly a step in the right direction. More of these small steps in the right advice can make a big difference towards the goal of a protein-rich diet across India.

While highlighting these problems, the study also discusses the way forward in increasing more awareness and spreading accurate information about protein consumption that will help curb misinformation and helps Indian’s work towards  achieving overall better nutrition

Ensure that 1/4 of your plate’s content should be protein during all meals you take during the day. Keep an eye out for all animal and plant-based sources of high protein and try to add them to your daily diet. Understand, based on your activities and your weight, how much protein you need to consume.

 

Protein-O-Meter

The amount of protein you need depends on your weight, goals, and lifestyle. Protein-O-Meter will take your body-composition and activity level into account to estimate your protein needs. Start with the number given by the calculator, see how that makes you feel, and try adjusting your protein level up or down to see what amount makes you feel good and perform well!

Protein Index

Find out all about whole foods that are protein heroes! Achieve your fitness goals by finding out just how much protein you should incorporate to stay nourished.

Protein-O-Meter

The amount of protein you need depends on your weight, goals, and lifestyle. Protein-O-Meter will take your body-composition and activity level into account to estimate your protein needs. Start with the number given by the calculator, see how that makes you feel, and try adjusting your protein level up or down to see what amount makes you feel good and perform well!

Protein Index

Find out all about whole foods that are protein heroes! Achieve your fitness goals by finding out just how much protein you should incorporate to stay nourished.

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