Choose Topic
Using 0 of 1024 Possible characters
Home »  Living Healthy »  National Protein Day 2021: Understanding The Importance Of Protein In Indian Diet

National Protein Day 2021: Understanding The Importance Of Protein In Indian Diet

National Protein Day 2021: Indians lack sufficient protein in their diet. You must make all attempts to increase the protein intake of the diet. Here's why it is important to get adequate amount of this macronutrient.

National Protein Day 2021: Understanding The Importance Of Protein In Indian Diet

National Protein Day: Proteins are known to be the building blocks of the human body


  1. Indians lack sufficient protein in their diet
  2. It is important to get good quality protein from the diet
  3. Proteins can help in building muscle mass

National Protein Day is observed on February 27. It has been known for ages that the Indian diet lacks protein. An adequate amount of protein in the diet would be around about 20% of the total calories consumed. Protein is essential for building up of muscle and repair of the tissues. It also gives us strength and stamina. Unfortunately, the Indian diet has too much of carbohydrates. It is estimated that between 60-75% of Indian diet, irrespective of whichever zone of the country you are talking about, viz., north, south, east, west, central or the north east of India. When almost 65- 70% of the diet is comprised of the carbohydrate, that leaves only 30-35% for the other 2 macro nutrients, namely fat and protein.

The fat content of the Indian diet is also going up and ahead constitutes about 20-25% of the total calories. This means that in many Indian diet, only 8-10% of the calories comes from protein which is grossly inadequate. Very often, the protein ingested is also of poor quality and of low biological value. This is one of the reasons why Indians don't do so well in athletics, sports and games or when brute strength is needed. All attempts should therefore be made to increase the protein content of the Indian diet.

National Protein Day: How can one get sufficient protein?

For non-vegetarians, this is relatively easy because one can get excellent protein from chicken, fish and eggs. Mutton (red meat) also provides protein, but it is desirable to limit its intake as much as possible because it is not so healthy. Unfortunately, even the so-called non-vegetarians in India take the non-veg dishes only once or twice a week and therefore, although technically they are called 'non-vegetarians', even they, do not get enough protein in their diet.

Also read: Here's How You Can Add More Protein To A Vegan Diet

What about vegetarians?

In the case of vegetarians, the problem is still worse, because their choice of protein foods is much more limited than non-vegetarians. This is because non-vegetarians can also have the vegetable sources of protein (if they like), whereas for vegetarians the choice is limited to the few vegetarian items which contain protein. Having said that, there are quite a few items from which they can get protein. To name a few, pulses and legumes like bengal gram, green gram, black gram, rajma, various dhals, pulses and mushrooms are all rich in protein. Cereals like rice, wheat and ragi also contain protein. Milk and dairy products are also sources of protein for vegetarians. The problem with vegetarian protein is that some of the vegetable sources of protein are that they are deficient in one amino acid. For e.g. rice is deficient in the essential amino acid lysine. Similarly, pulses are deficient in the amino acid methionine. Luckily, rice has sufficient methionine and pulses have sufficient lysine. Therefore, with a combination of rice or wheat and pulses taken together, the deficiency of one amino acid can be made up by its excess in the other and therefore one can provide good quality protein of high biological value even for vegetarians.


Proteins are known to be the building blocks of the human body
Photo Credit: iStock

Practical tips to get enough protein

If possible, one should try to add protein items with every meal, i.e with breakfast, lunch and dinner. If one makes a conscious effort to add protein in every meal, one can ensure that they can increase their protein content to at least 20 % of the total calories.

Also read: Protein Deficiency: Signs And Symptoms You Are Not Eating Enough Protein

What are the other advantages of protein

Proteins have great satiety value. So, if you include protein in your meals, you will not feel hungry for long periods of time. If you take only carbohydrate, you will become hungry very soon and thereby you will tend to overeat. It is the common experience of people that if they have eggs or other proteins foods for breakfast, they will not feel hungry for a long time.

What are the possible side effects of proteins

Proteins are, in general, a little more difficult to digest. Hence if one takes excess amounts of protein (particularly if large amount of legumes and pulses are consumed) flatulence and abdominal distention may occur. One might then have to reduce the quantity of protein one is consuming. If one has kidney failure, one may be asked to reduce the amount of protein that one is consuming. Even here, usually it is the non-vegetarian protein which is reduced and vegetable proteins are generally permitted.

In summary, proteins form one of the three major macro nutrients in the food. Indians lack sufficient protein in their diet. You must make all attempts to increase the protein intake of the diet. This will also ensure that you get sufficient fibre as most of the protein containing foods also contain fibre. So, the next time you sit down to eat, whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner, please look for that helping of protein that you can include with your meal.

Also read: Protein Rich Milk Alternatives That Can Help You With Weight Loss

(Dr V Mohan, Chairman and Chief of Diabetology, Dr Mohan's Diabetes Specialities Centre Chennai)

Listen to the latest songs, only on

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.


DoctorNDTV is the one stop site for all your health needs providing the most credible health information, health news and tips with expert advice on healthy living, diet plans, informative videos etc. You can get the most relevant and accurate info you need about health problems like diabetes, cancer, pregnancy, HIV and AIDS, weight loss and many other lifestyle diseases. We have a panel of over 350 experts who help us develop content by giving their valuable inputs and bringing to us the latest in the world of healthcare.

................... Advertisement ...................

................... Advertisement ...................




Using 0 of 1024 Possible characters
Choose Topic

................... Advertisement ...................

-------------------------------- Advertisement -----------------------------------