Going by the textbook definition, the word protein is a derivative of the Greek word proteios, meaning “essential to life” because, unlike carbohydrate and fat, protein contains sulfur and nitrogen, two vital elements for every cell in your body. Protein also helps produce enzymes and hormones, maintain fluid balance, and regulate numerous vital functions, from building antibodies to muscle. As far as your diet is concerned there are numerous kinds of protein, but the right kind of protein taken at the right times can make all the difference, in your strength, immunity and wellbeing.
Still, a lot of myths surround protein, an everyday macro-nutrient and it goes missing from many plates.
Myth # 1
PROTEIN DEFICIENCY IS NOT FOR ME. IT HAPPENS TO PEOPLE WHO ARE MALNOURISHED!
Well, this is the mother of all myths. The typical Indian meal, whether served in a home in Mumbai or Delhi, is painfully deficient in proteins. The earliest symptoms of protein deficiency are hair fall, tiredness and brittle nails. The continued lack of proteins, the building blocks of your body manifest in belly fat, unhealthy lipid profile and eventually diabetes. And the solution to these lifestyle diseases lies in increasing protein intake.
Myth # 2
ALL PROTEIN SOURCES ARE EQUAL
No, all proteins have not been created equal. How good a food is as a protein source is determined by the essential amino acids it has to offer, because these amino acids are critical for good health and must be sourced through food? Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS) is the benchmark established by World Health Organisation against which all protein foods are measured against. The score of 1.0 is the highest score possible for a quality protein source. The three foods that have 1.0 protein score are whey (dairy), egg whites and soy.
Myth # 3
THE PROTEIN NEEDS WILL REMAIN THE SAME THROUGHOUT THE LIFE.
While an average male requires 56g of protein and a woman needs 46g of protein every day to prevent protein deficiency. Protein needs do not remain the same throughout the life. If you have got a physically demanding job, or you walk a lot, your protein needs will go up. Seniors who focus on protein-rich foods are able to prevent muscle loss (sarcopenia) in advancing years. Their protein intake goes up, almost 50 percent higher than the Daily Recommended Intake.
Myth # 4
TOO MUCH PROTEIN WILL LEAD TO WEIGHT GAIN.
On the contrary, it will make you thin. Both carbs and proteins per gram serve 4 calories, but protein is a more satisfying nutrient and keeps you full for longer. Have a breakfast rich in protein and complex carbohydrates and you are less likely to nibble later, as a result,your calorie consumption will go down. Since protein helps build lean muscles, it keeps your metabolism active. A high protein diet keeps your blood sugar stable and contributes to a slimmer waistline.
Myth # 5
PLANT BASED PROTEIN IS AN INCOMPLETE SOURCE OF PROTEIN
This is just half of the picture. Vegetable proteins except soy do not provide all essential amino acids (protein molecules that the body can’t process and obtains from foods) but this doesn’t make them any inferior or incomplete source of protein. In fact, a typical Indian meal recommends combos like rice and beans, roti and lentils to fill in the protein gaps. Soy, a plant-based protein contains nine essential amino acids in a balanced quantity along with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids
Look at the bigger picture of protein and get enough of this macronutrient to stay fit, healthy and energetic.