Poultry India launches National ‘Protein Awareness’ Campaign to highlight Protein Deficiency in the country

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Punekar News's photo.September 23, 2015, Pune: Poultry India, an advisory body with a unanimous primary mandate of spearheading the ‘Eat Right, Eat Healthy’ educational campaign, today announced the launch of an all-India Protein Awareness Campaign. It is a national initiative to educate people on the vital role proteins play in enhancing day-to-day health, fitness and general wellbeing.

The all-India Protein Awareness Campaign will be conducted in several phases using different tools to promote and educate people on the absolute necessity of proteins. The campaign will include an eclectic choice of communication vehicles like road-shows, open house discussion with parents, teachers and school children in urban and semi-urban areas, town-hall meets with village elders and guardians, etc. Poultry India will also circulate printed material to retail outlets highlighting the importance of protein and what would be the consequences for the lack of its intake.

Commenting at the launch Mr. Harish Garware, Executive Committee member, Poultry India, said: “At 194.6 million, India today houses the highest number of protein deficient and undernourished people in the world, of this a staggering 65 million children under the age of 5 are stunted. Empirical data shows that Indian children are much more malnourished and protein deficient than their poorer counterparts in sub-Saharan Africa.

“Protein cannot be storied. Your body needs it daily. In right quantities. Today, Protein-Energy malnutrition (PEM) in young children is currently the most important nutritional problem that has reached near epidemic status. This often results from consuming food that is low in protein. It was thus imperative thatan awareness campaign to help remedy this situation be launched. With this objective we decided to launch the protein awareness ‘Eat Right, Eat Healthy’ campaign,” added Mr. Garware.

According to a definitive survey ‘Protein Consumption in the Diet of adult Indians Survey’ (PRODIGY) published in India highlighted the fact that 80% of all Indians are proteindeficient. The survey was conducted in seven major Indian cities among 1,260 respondents and concluded that and as many as 91% vegetarians and 85% non-vegetarians are deficient in proteins. One of the key symptoms of lack of proteins is weakness and fatigue. The epidemic of lifestyle diseases – obesity, diabetes hypertension, and high triglyceride levels – in urban India can also be addressed if Indians increase their dietary protein intake, the survey said. (Ref: http://www.hindustantimes.com/…/80-of…/article1-1354357.aspx)

International Diabetes Federation (IDF) official estimate of India’s diabetic population was 65.1 million. Indian media reported around 67 million diabetics in India in November 2013. That’s dangerously close to IDF’s 2007 prediction of India’s diabetic population in 2025 touching 69.9 million. It seems we are reaching this unsavoury milestone 10 years too early!

By 2030, India will be home to 1.6 billion people, which means overall demand for food will be much higher. Furthermore, while there are many poor in India (roughly 60% of the population), there are also some very rich people, along with a rapidly rising middle class. Incomes have been rising by 7-8%. Hence there is greater demand not just for more food, but also for better quality food. Little wonder then that the Government of India is closely working with Poultry India team to propagateWorld Egg Day 9th October, 2015. A week-long programme is being organized starting from 3rd October, 2015 onwards and includes essay writing competitions and egg recipe/ cooking competitions for women, teachers, etc. creating awareness on the importance of eggs by distributing pamphlets, brochure, and Recipe Book, etc.

Further highlighting the need of protein in a daily diet and the grim situation that currently exists, Mr. Om Prakash Singh, Core Committee Member, Poultry India, said: “Everybody agrees that protein is good for the body. But very few, including those educated, really know that we require a daily protein intake equivalent to our body weightevery day. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) survey however, Indians consume only 37 gms of protein a day which is a mere half of the requisite protein intake that is averaged in the West! The ‘Eat healthy, Eat Right’ campaign is thus aimed at educating people on the goodness of proteins — from any source vegetarian or non vegetarian — and the important role proteins plays in supporting day-to-day health, fitness and general wellbeing.”

“Our Honourable Prime Minister NarendraModilaunched a worthy campaign Swacch Bharat-Swasst Bharat to educate us on how to stay clean and thus stay healthy. Poultry India wants to support our PM by educating people on eating right, eating healthy. We want to tell them that obesity means various life threatening diseases and that it decreases the quality of life and increases individual and national healthcare costs,” OP Singh continued.

Another key highlight of the campaign is highlighting the various sources of proteins in easily available daily foods.

Dal and beans offer protein and tend to be sources of several minerals like potassium and magnesium. On the downside, they offer only a moderate, at best, amount of protein. Digesting dal and beans is not easy, hence many experts recommend limiting its intake quantity for up to 50-60 grams per day. However, this gives you only 10-11 grams of protein per day which is much less than the recommended daily protein intake of 1 gram of protein for every kilogram of bodyweight everyday! So if you weigh 70kgs, you need 70gms of proteins everyday!

If one were to get protein needs from dal alone you would have to consume a huge amount of dal and beans. (See below chart) They contain 25% protein and approx 50% starch or high carbohydrate content, which explains why they’re so hard to digest. Beans contain trisaccharides that are difficult to break down (including oligosaccharides). Healthy intestines produce enzymes that can break the trisaccharides into simple sugars. Also, because beans are rich in protein and starch (requiring different digestive environments and enzymes) this can make thorough digestion more difficult. While its protein is being digested, starch lies in the stomach and ferments producing gas and toxins making one feel bloated and uneasy.

Dr Geeta Dharmatti, nationally acclaimed nutritionist, said: “Given the risk low protein levels pose to the health of Indians, spreading proteins evenly across meals is extremely important. Combining vegetable, grain, pulses, egg and dairy products gives you a perfect protein intake for the day. Those who can, should add lean poultry because as little as 100gms of lean chicken per day will give you nearly half the recommended protein intake your body needs. Lean Chicken, eggs whites, fish have less saturated fat than most red meat.Omega-3 fatty acids, found in eggs, fish and some plant sources, may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
“Consumption of adequate protein ensures strong immune defense, efficient signaling of nerves and impulses, healthy hair and maintenance of fluid balance in the body. Protein can also turn into an energy provider when required by the body. Insufficiency of protein in the body affects all organs and overall growth and development. Probably the most important contribution of protein is its ability to reduce appetite and cause a spontaneous reduction in calorie intake. Protein is much more satiating than both fat and carbs”, added Dr. Geeta.

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