What’s the big deal with protein?

What’s the big deal with protein?

When life gives you lemon, you ask for something higher in protein.

Why is protein trending so much now? Darren Seifer, a food and beverage analyst of The NPD Group, says, “It’s not restrictive.” While fat-free, gluten-free, and sugar-free craze revolves around avoidance and restraint, protein is all about eating and drinking more of it. And people seem to like that. 

An Indian diet typically comprises dals, sabzis, rotis and rice. We love our dal-chawal, idli-sambhar, maach-bhaat and sabzi-roti. If you look at it closely, it is predominantly rich in carbs. While we are not saying that carbs are bad for you, your daily meal lacks protein. Now, you may assume that dal, fish, chicken and eggs are all protein sources so where are you going wrong with your protein intake. You are not going wrong. You are just taking less protein than what your daily requirement is. 

So, how much protein is enough protein? The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recommends that an average Indian adult should consume about 1 gram of protein per kg of body weight every day. Although enough to prevent deficiency, the amount of protein required also depends on several factors such as activity level, age, physique goals, and overall health. 

The table below gives details on how much protein one must take according to the individual’s variances: 

 

Condition

Purpose

Protein Intake

Healthy weight and active

Keep the weight

1.4 - 2.0 g/kg

Healthy weight and active

Build muscle

1.6 - 2.4 g/kg

Healthy weight and active

Lose fat

1.6 - 2.4 g/kg

Overweight

Lose fat

1.2 - 2.5 g/kg

Pregnant

Meet protein requirement

1.7 - 1.8 g/kg

Lactating

Meet protein requirement 

1.5 g/kg

Source: Examine.com

As you can see from the above table, the average protein intake usually comes around 2 g/kg if you want to lose weight or put on muscle. So if you are a 60 kg female then you should be consuming 60 x 2 = 120 grams of protein every day, way less than what your staple dals, eggs and chicken are probably giving you. The solution? Either eat more protein-rich foods or supplement!

Now that you have understood your protein requirements, let’s help you in understanding why you really need protein. 

As Will Douglas Heaven explains “​​Nearly everything your body does, it does with proteins: they digest food, contract muscles, fire neurons, detect light, power immune responses, and much more… A protein is made up of a ribbon of amino acids, which chemical forces fold up into a knot of complex twists and twirls. The resulting 3D shape determines what it does” In other words, there are a hundred million variations to proteins and ensuring that we eat enough of them is of utmost importance! 

Weight loss

Protein helps you with weight loss. Let’s come to the ‘how’ part of it. Protein provides a feeling of fullness, or satiety, which can help with weight loss. Back in 2013, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal conducted a study, which concluded that dieters who doubled their protein intake lost more fat and maintained more muscle mass than those who ate the recommended daily allowance.

Not much has changed in a decade. Here are two studies to prove our point:

  1. In one study in men with obesity, consuming 25% of calories from protein increased feelings of fullness. It further reduced late-night snacking desires by 50% and obsessive thoughts about food by 60%. 
  2. In another 12-week study, women who increased their protein intake to 30% of calories per day lost 5 kg (11 lb) by simply adding more protein to their diet.

So if you want to lose weight, protein should be at the heart of your plan because it is harder to eat a lot more of it than carbs and fats, which do not provide a similar feeling of satiety.

Building muscle mass & Maintaining weight

Protein is used to repair and maintain your body tissues, including your muscles. The consumption of protein helps your body to begin the process of muscle protein synthesis, inherently strengthening and building up your muscles by adding new muscle fibres. Specifically speaking, the amino acid leucine is responsible for many of the anabolic (muscle-building) processes. This is known as the “leucine trigger concept”. 

After a workout, people prefer taking proteins in the form of health shakes and food. That is because muscles tear during exercise and protein helps them recover from those tears. Protein basically adds additional layers of muscle fibres to that tear, which is how you add muscle . When you are losing weight, what you really want to lose is fat, not muscle. However during weight loss you tend to lose a bit of both. The solution to this issue is again protein -  eat plenty of it! With time you will be able to maintain a high metabolic rate because you will be carrying around a lot more muscle compared to fat. This higher metabolic rate will ensure that you are able to maintain weight.

Fight diseases

Protein also helps you in fighting diseases. It is made up of 20 amino acids that are clearly divided into essential amino acids and non-essential amino acids. A dietary protein is considered complete if it contains enough of each of the amino acids your body needs but cannot synthesize.

Findings from studies conducted by Cambridge University indicate a significant role for amino acids in immune responses by regulating: 

  • the activation of T lymphocytes, B lymphocytes, natural killer cells and macrophages 
  • cellular redox state, gene expression and lymphocyte proliferation
  • the production of antibodies, cytokines and other cytotoxic substances

Miscellaneous

Here is a list of important functions of protein in your body:

  1. Digestion and blood clotting depends on enzymes, which is a form of protein.
  2. Some proteins provide cells and tissues with rigidity and stiffness. For instance, keratin is found in your nails, hair, and skin and collagen is found in your bones and tissues. 
  3. Protein regulates the pH value of your blood. 
  4. Protein transports and stores nutrients such as haemoglobin that transports oxygen from your lungs to body tissues. 

One nutrient and so many uses! We don’t want you to leave your butter chicken or dal makhani or kadhai paneer. We only want to be a part of this happy dietary family. India’s protein consumption is much lower than the 48 gms/day that is recommended by the ICMR, primarily due to habits. You can easily and quite smartly fill this gap by taking supplements along with your food. This is where Happy Ratio can come in.

So, the next time someone asks you, “What do you have?” You can proudly say “We have Happy Ratio’s protein-focused formula” (read in Mr Bachchan’s tone). Why Happy Ratio though? Because Happy Ratio follows a simple rule: use science to provide All-In-One Nutrition through delicious health shakes. 1 serving of Happy Ratio protein-focused formula not only gives you 25 g of high protein, all 20 amino acids and 37 of the 39 essential nutrients but is also sugar-free, gluten-free and makes for an incredibly tasty cold coffee! If you want all the 39 essential nutrients in your drink then try the All-Macros formula in rich chocolate, creamy vanilla and energetic coffee flavours!

We have two amazing offers for you - buy 2 products and get 1 free by using our code HAPPYJUNE or buy any 1 product and get a Try-It-All Sampler Pack absolutely free by using our code TRYITALL10 here

References:

https://www.ndtv.com/health/protein-day-2021-special-indias-right-to-protein-needs-immediate-attention-2379790

https://examine.com/guides/protein-intake/ 

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-protein-can-help-you-lose-weight#TOC_TITLE_HDR_8 

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-protein-per-day#weight-loss

https://www.technologyreview.com/2022/02/23/1045016/ai-deepmind-demis-hassabis-alphafold/ 

https://www.orfonline.org/expert-speak/indias-protein-deficiency-and-the-need-to-address-the-problem/#:~:text=India's%20protein%20consumption%20is%20much,gm%20per%20kg%20body%20weight

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/amino-acids-and-immune-function/B1A9C1587A8602613F6447BA8404D8E1 

https://inbodyusa.com/blogs/inbodyblog/the-relationship-between-nutrition-and-muscle-growth/#:~:text=A%20diet%20containing%20mixed%20amino,leucine%20trigger%20muscle%20protein%20synthesis

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/protein-the-nutrient-du-jour/2014/07/22/6a11b882-0b7b-11e4-b8e5-d0de80767fc2_story.html

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