Study finds South Indians Low on Protein

Study finds South Indians Low on Protein

CHENNAI: A recent study revealed that protein deficiency is increasing at an alarming rate in South India, particularly in the city. According to Protein consumption in Diet of adult Indians, a consumer survey (PRODIGY), conducted by IMRB, more than 80 per cent of Indian diets are protein deficient which means people are not getting the right amount of proteins daily, making it a serious issue.

Carried out in seven major cities with a sample size of 1,260 respondents (males and females, non-pregnant and lactating) between the age of 30-55 years and belonging to socio economic class A and B — 59 per cent of the sample size was non-vegetarian and the rest were vegetarians. Dr Dharini Krishnan, consultant dietician, said, “The protein requirement of an average adult per day is 1 gram per kg of the body weight. An average Indian consumes much less on a daily basis and this can lead to symptoms such as weakness and fatigue. People should pay more attention to their daily protein intake which can also help in weight reduction and blood sugar management.”

Myths about protein as found in the survey included a ‘high protein intake will lead to weight gain’ and ‘protein is important only for people who exercise or gym’. Based on the food preference, the most popular food items that were regarded as the best sources of protein by vegetarians were milk, green leafy vegetables and pulses, while eggs, fish and chicken found favour among non-vegetarians. A surprising fact brought forth by the survey was that 91 per cent of the vegetarians were found to have a higher protein deficiency as compared to 85 per cent of their non-vegetarian counterparts. Also, according to PRODIGY, 87 per cent of respondents in the South zone, were not aware of the ideal protein requirement for an average adult, as against the North zone, where 98 per cent of the people are unaware of the same. 

A quick check on the sample population showed that the protein intake of 88 per cent of people was less than the ideal amount of consumption, indicating that there is a huge gap in the protein requirements and protein consumption for each individual. Dr Krishnan adds, “Young children taking long duration or intensive exercises definitely need to pay attention to the amount of protein that they take. Those who undergo a lot of physical training need the help of a professional to plan their diet. They may need to use protein supplements to meet their protein needs of the day.”

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