Exploring The World Of

Food Proteins

When you see a human what you see is a massive mass of proteins. The skin, muscles, hair, nails are all made of proteins. Proteins serve as the basic structural material of the body as well as being a biochemical catalysts and regulator of genes. About 16% weight of an average human is made of protein and all this comes from diet.

Need of Protein 

nuts, almonds, seeds

Proteins are important macronutrients that are needed by the body. Proteins are not stored in the body and hence need to be supplied from the diets daily. The daily requirement of proteins is based on the individuals body weight, age, physical activity and physiological level (Pregnancy, Lactation etc). Proteins are polymers made by the combination of different amino acids. Amino acids from diets are of 20 different types and are classified as essential, non-essential and conditionally  essential amino acids.

Some functions of proteins include functional components in skin, muscle, enzymes, hormones and antibodies. Amino acids and proteins play an important role in controlling different metabolic and biosynthetic pathways. They also play a major role in immunity and host defence mechanisms. 

Button will open the link to Protein Quality Evaluation joint report of FAO/WHO

Impact of Agriculture and Animal Protein 

All Protein comes from diets and a  good percentage of global protein supply comes from animal sources. Animal Proteins provide 18% of global calorie and 37% of global protein supply but their impact on the environment is disproportionate as shown,

  • About 77% of the land in agriculture is used for different livestock purposes and its maintenance.
  • 94% of mammal biomass (excluding humans) is livestock. Thus putting a disproportionate pressure on the planet.
  • 14% of the greenhouse emission gases (GHG) comes from animal agriculture.
  • A third of global freshwater resources is used for animal agriculture.
  • A leading cause of Eutrophication.

Source of Protein

The Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein from a Indian diet according to Indian council of medical research (ICMR) is 0.8 to 1gm/kg body weight. Some of the vegan sources of protein having more than 15% protein are,

Beans and lentils – Soya bean, Chickpea (white and brown), Kidney bean, Mung bean, Red and green lentils, Dals (moong, chana, urad), Black eyed peas, Tofu.

Nuts – Peanut, Cashew Nuts, Almonds Walnuts, Hazelnuts.

Seeds – Hempseeds, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Sesame seeds.

Single cell Protein – Nutritional yeast, Spirulina, Dried Mushrooms/ fungi, Chlorella.