80 percent Indians suffer from protein deficiency: Survey

Mumbai, June 1 (IANS) A whopping 80 percent of all Indians were protein-deficient, a new survey has revealed.

As many as 91 percent vegetarians and 85 percent non-vegetarians among Indians were deficient in proteins, the survey titled ‘Protein Consumption in the Diet of adult Indians Survey’ (PRODIGY) said.

Conducted by IMRB in seven major cities among 1,260 respondents, it revealed that majority of Indians were not getting the right amount of proteins in their diet daily.

The survey included men and women aged between 30 and 55, belonging to socio-economic classes A and B, with 59 percent non-vegetarians and 41 percent vegetarians, said Cumballa Hill Hospital consultant nutritionist Niti Desai on Monday.

“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,” Desai said on the survey outcome.

The most popular food items, considered 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 percent respondents were unaware of the ideal protein intake for an average adult, as compared with 98 percent in the north zone.

The sample showed that the protein intake of 88 percent 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 percent) in the west compared to north (99 percent).

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 percent were women.

But a staggering 67 percent 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 bulding a person’s immunity system, Desai said.

She explained that most people associated increased protein intake as ideal for bodybuilders, or the sick and malnourished, adding that it was high time people started incorporating protein-rich foods in their regular diet.


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