Like iron and calcium deficiency, proteine deficiency is also common among Indians, say experts. Most Indians think that proteine deficiency is not an important concern. The most common myths are that protein is only for body-builders or gym-goes, and that diet gives one enough protein and cutting on protein is a good way to lose weight. Proteins are essential at all stages of life, even after growth and development since humans constantly lose protein through normal physiological losses and it needs to be replenished.
According to a report by the Indian Market Research Bureau, the protein deficiency in Indians is more than 80%. While the recommended daily protein intake stands at 60-90 grams, Indians usually consume only about 10-30 grams. This deficiency is more prominent in urban and semi-urban households where the intake of processed foods, aerated beverages and refreshments is high as compared to pulses and cereals.
Good quality protein could come from meat, milk, eggs as well as legumes and pulses. The quality of protein is related to the presence of all essential amino acids as well as its digestibility.
Vegetarians can include a combination of pulses along with cereals. Besides pulses, other sources are legumes, green peas, soybean, paneer, tofu, sprouts, etc. One should also include fistful of nuts, roasted peanuts or chana along with seeds cocktail as a protein snack.
Signs and symptoms of protein deficiency
1. Skin, hair and nail problems
Protein deficiency may leave its mark on the skin, hair and nails, all of which are largely made of protein. There are chances you may see redness on the skin, brittle nails, thin hair, faded hair colour, all of which are considered symptoms of protein deficiency.
2. Loss of muscle mass
Your muscles are made up of mostly protein and if your body is protein-deficient, you tend to start losing muscles. In fact, muscle loss is one of the first signs of inadequate protein intake.
3. Increased risk of bone fractures
Your bones too are also at risk. Protein helps maintain the strength and density of bones. Not consuming enough protein content might weaken your bones and increase the risk of fractures.
4. Bigger appetite and increased calorie intake
Sufficient protein intake may keep you satiated for a longer period, thereby preventing cravings and hunger pangs. However, lesser protein intake does exactly the opposite; it leaves you hungrier, which results in increased calorie-intake.
5. Risk of infections
Protein deficiency takes a toll on your immunity system. Impaired immune system may disable your body to fight infections.
6. Fatty liver
Another common symptom of protein deficiency is fatty liver, or fat accumulation in liver cells.
7. May inhibit proper body growth in children
Protein not only helps in building bone mass and muscles, but it is essential for overall body growth as well. It is important for children to load up on enough healthy proteins to ensure proper body growth.
Conclusion that insufficient of protein may cause various health problems such as kwashiorkor, marasmus, impaired mental health, edema, organ failure, wasting and shrinkage of muscle tissues, and weakness of immune system. Also, consult a doctor in case you see these symptoms to avoid problems in the longer run.