As per the ICMR (latest 2020 guidelines) a healthy adult would need about 0.8 to 1 gm of protein per kg of their body weight. In India, some people either over consume protein just by a rough estimate while some hardly even reach 0.6 gms per kg body weight in their consumption.
Protein preserves muscle mass and eating it in adequate amounts is beneficial for weigh management diabetes control and amino acid requirement of muscle development. Each individual’s protein needs depend on many aspect such as weight, age, body composition goals, stage of life cycle, medical issues etc.
Generally people who are physically very active such as athletes, weight trainers (gymgoers), pregnant, lactating women, people who are undergoing medical treatment for cancer or on dialysis would need higher than 1 gms per kg body weight but this has to be prescribed by a qualified nutritionist or a dietician and not by someone who has been self-experimenting or is a self-claimed nutritionist who themselves have managed to lose weight by consuming extra proteins.
The best practise for consuming proteins in the diet is choosing good quality protein source form egg whites, low fat dairy products such as buttermilk, curds, paneer or cottage cheese, soya or tofu, lean meats such as fish or lean cuts of poultry. Other sources such as legumes, lentils, dals, nuts and seeds can be combined with cereals to increase the biological value of the protein.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Neomee Shah, Nutrition Consultant at Fast&Up, shared, “Protein intake is perhaps one of the most important parts of our daily diet. It serves different parts of the body, including boosting our overall strength, facilitating muscle growth, strengthening hair and nails, tissue repair, immunity boosting and hormone production. Protein is made from a chain of twenty- three amino acids, of which fourteen are produced by the body daily. However, the other nine must be produced from external food consumption which leaves us with the responsibility of eating food rich in amino acids that allow us to obtain the correct amount of protein, completing the required amino acid profile in the body.”
The doubtful question of how much protein a person should consume in a day is quite common. Dr Neomee Shah highlighted, “While the amount varies for everyone according to different lifestyles and active periods, for a sedentary person, the required amount is 0.8 – 1g per kilo of your body weight. With busy routines and improper nutrition, we may not be able to achieve the necessary protein our body needs which is where protein supplements, like protein powders, granola bars, whey, plant- based and even vegan supplements, come into play, providing us with the nutrients we need.”
She listed some innovative ways of incorporating protein supplements in your diet:
1. Add a scoop of protein powder to your daily cup of coffee.
2. Water infused with protein powder in your shaker to be consumed after a workout.
3. Homemade granola bar made with protein powder as a pre and post workout snack.
4. If you don’t like carrying much to the gym, have your breakfast oatmeal with protein powder or soak you overnight chia seeds oats with a protein supplement.
5. You can make lunchtime chapatis with protein powders to ensure that your protein intake is met.
6. Cook your pulses with protein powders.
7. If you’re hungry at snack time, a healthy protein bar of dried fruits, nuts, seeds and protein powder will keep you satiated.
8. Bake your delicious cakes, muffins and cupcakes in a healthy way with protein powder
9. Mix some protein powder in your smoothie.
10. Protein powders can also be added while making veggie soup, pizza and pasta sauce, dhoklas, etc to give you the intake you require.
A protein shake isn’t for everyone. To make it easier for people who aren’t used to taking protein supplements to get in their ideal amounts, a great compromise is incorporating an unflavoured protein into daily meals. Aditi Mammen, Co-Founder of Origin Nutrition, suggested, “When choosing a protein supplement to “hide” in your food, you will need to choose one which doesn’t have any added flavourings or sweeteners. You also need to make sure that the protein has been heat tested to ensure that the bioavailability remains the same after being exposed to higher levels of heat.”
She spilled the beans on some great ways to include protein supplements in your everyday diet:
1. Make crispy dosas by mixing half a scoop of protein powder into your dosa batter.
2. Knead one scoop of protein powder into your roti atta and make hot fluffy rotis.
3. For high protein dal, remove a small amount and mix it with half a scoop of protein. Transfer back into the rest of your dal mixture and serve.
4. If delicious protein filled soups are your cup of tea, then add in a scoop of protein before blending your soup and serve warm.
Have fun with your protein supplements but also remember that it should be consumed throughout the course of the day in every meal you have.