A whopping 80% of all Indians are protein-deficient, revealed a survey titled 'Protein Consumption in the Diet of Adult Indians Survey' (PRODIGY) conducted by IMRB. As many as 91% vegetarians and 85% non-vegetarians among Indians were found to be deficient in proteins.
Cumballa Hill Hospital consultant nutritionist Niti Desai said, "The survey included men and women aged between 30 and 55, belonging to socio-economic classes A and B, with 59% non-vegetarians and 41% vegetarians. The protein requirement of an average adult per day is 1 gram per kg of the body weight. One of the key symptoms of lack of proteins is weakness and fatigue. The epidemic of lifestyle diseases - central obesity, diabetes and high triglyceride levels - in urban India can also be addressed if we increase our dietary protein intake."
The most popular food items, considered to be the best sources of protein by vegetarians, are milk, green leafy vegetables and pulses, while non-vegetarians preferred eggs, chicken and fish. PRODIGY found that in the west zone, 73% respondents were unaware of the ideal protein intake for an average adult, as compared with 98% in the north zone.
The sample showed that the protein intake of 88% of the people was less than the ideal consumption amount, pointing to a wide gap in the requirements versus consumption of each individual. On this count, the gap was lowest (68%) in the west compared to north (99%).
To a query whether people took protein supplements to make up the deficit, the response was positive from only five percent respondents, of which nearly 3.5% were women. Desai said, "But a staggering 67% in the west zone who didn't consumer protein supplements said their regular food provided them with sufficient protein nutrition, pointing to a lack of knowledge about protein as a compulsory body requirements and its importance in accelerating body growth and building a person's immunity system."
Desai said, "Most people associated increased protein intake as ideal for bodybuilders, or the sick and malnourished. It was high time people started incorporating protein-rich foods in their regular diet."