Protein deficiency is the most overlooked problem in our country. As opposed to calcium or iron deficiency, most Indians don’t believe that protein deficiency is dangerous.

A study conducted by market research firm IMRB has revealed that around 73 per cent Indians consume protein deficient diets. Eighty-four per cent of the vegetarian diets are low on protein as against the non-vegetarian ones which are 65 per cent short of mandatory protein requirements, the study claimed.

Proteins are the building blocks of our body. Lack of enough protein can have a major effect on our health. It is vital for not only maintaining normal blood sugar levels and slowing digestion but it also helps maintain healthy hair, skin and nails. Protein plays a major part in maintaining brain function, energy levels and hormonal balance and thus helping us to perform better in our regular lives.

Lack of adequate protein in our diet can result in fatigue, brittle nails, poor muscle tone, thinning hair and dry skin.

Below are some of the common tell-tale signs of not having enough protein in our plate:

1) Edema (swelling) – Protein has a vital role in keeping excess fluids from accumulating in tissues as blood flows through body. Insufficient protein can thus lead to fluid build-up in tissues which can be noticed as swelling in the tummy, hands, feet, ankles, and cheeks.

2) Poor muscle tone – If we aren’t getting enough protein, our body uses the protein reservoir in our muscles to maintain the more important body functions and tissues. Thus, lack of protein can lead to muscle loss over time.

3) Fatigue – Due to muscle shrinkage, it will take more effort for us to accomplish the daily tasks. This in turn can lead to weakness and tiredness.

4) Dry Skin – Another sign of protein deficiency is dry, flaky or pigmented skin. Beauty protein comprises of Hemp which has a great omega 3 to omega 6 ratio. Omegas aid our skin to hold moisture leading to a youthful appearance.

5) Thin hair and nails – Hair and nails are made up majorly of protein. Slitting of hair, hair loss and brittle or ridged nails can indicate a lack of protein in our diet.

6) Craving sugar and calories – Protein helps in maintaining our normal blood sugar levels. When there is a lack of protein, our body looks for a more immediate solution to steady the blood sugar, such as craving sweets or junk.

How much protein do we need?

 The Recommended Dietary Allowance of protein for Indian men is 60 g and that for Indian women is 55 g. However, protein requirement differs as per our activity level. It is suggested that the person actively working out at moderate intensity needs approx. 1.2 to 1.5 g of protein per kg of body weight. For example, for a male with a height of 170 cm and weight of 80 kgs with a high lean body mass who is into athletics (does high intensity workouts 6-7 days per week) would require a minimum of 120 g of protein daily.

How to get enough protein?

The first-class protein sources are the animal sources-lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products like milk, yoghurt and cheese. The animal sources contain all the essential amino acids that the body needs; however, these are accompanied with fat also. The plant sources that are fairly high in protein are seeds, nuts, beans, pulses and legumes (such as lentils and chickpeas), soya products such as tofu and soya based drinks are also a good source of protein and negligible on fat.

A key factor in the intake of protein through diet is the quantity of food required to get the defined amount of proteins. Let us consider a few foods and the amount of protein we get from them.

Quantity of Food Food Item Amount of Protein
100 g Chicken 35 g
200 g Paneer 19 g
32 g  Whey Protein 25 g

When your protein requirements are met through food, there is no need to consume supplements. However, as your activity levels increase or the protein quality of your food decreases, Protein supplements are an efficient way to meet your added requirement that diet alone may not be able to fulfil, especially if you are not a good eater or having trouble consuming large quantities of food.

Well, if you are protein deficient, the first step would be to include protein rich foods in each meal of the day. The second step would be to meet the gap through supplementation.

BodyFirst® as a brand has taken an initiative to provide nothing but the best when it comes to supplements. We educate our consumers on protein supplements and ensure them any guidance that is necessary. With a range of protein supplements such as Chocolate and Mango flavoured BodyFirst® Whey Protein Isolate, BodyFirst® 100% Whey Protein with ProHydrolase® (chocolate and coffee flavour) and BodyFirst® Whey Protein Concentrate with ProHydrolase® (milk chocolate flavour).

Don’t let protein deficiency get the better of you. Take charge and stay healthy!