How much protein needed per day for Indians? A daily protein guide

About 90% of people in India are unaware of how much protein is required daily. Also, 80% of Indians do not meet their daily protein requirements.

Protein is an essential nutrient. It is used in your body to build muscle, bones, hormones, enzymes, connective tissues, antibodies and more! If you are deficient in protein, carbohydrates and fats can't act as replacements.

Outline:

  1. Key takeaways
  2. Introduction
  3. How much protein is needed per day?
  4. Importance of protein in diet
  5. Disease caused by deficiency of protein
  6. Daily protein requirement chart for all ages
  7. High protein Indian food to include in your daily diet
  8. FAQs
  9. Conclusion
Key Takeaways:

1. Vegetarian Protein Sources:
 Even as a vegetarian, it's possible to fulfil daily protein needs by choosing the right foods.

2. Calculation of Daily Protein Requirement:
 Use the formula DPR = 0.8 x (body weight in kg) to determine your daily protein requirement.

3. Activity Level Matters:
 Protein needs vary based on physical activity; inactive individuals require 1.0g/kg, moderately active need 1.3g/kg, and those with intense physical activity need 1.6g/kg.

4. Importance of Protein:
 Proteins play critical roles in growth, hormone production, pH balance, immunity, bodily processes, and even energy production.

5. High Protein Indian Foods:
 A list of protein-rich Indian foods includes chicken, eggs, fish, paneer, tofu, yoghurt, lentils, and various nuts and seeds.

Introduction

You can fulfil your daily protein requirement even if you are a vegetarian. There are many high protein vegetarian foods in India. You just need to understand what to eat.

Even though protein is so crucial, Indians don't consume it sufficiently. We believe it is because of a lack of awareness about protein requirements.

But Aware has got your back! In the next 5 minutes, you will learn to calculate your daily protein requirements, the importance of protein, protein requirements according to age, and dietary sources rich in protein.

How much protein is needed per day?

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8g per kg body weight. This means for every kg of weight you have, you should eat 0.8g of protein.

You can calculate it by using this formula:

Daily Protein Requirement (DPR)= 0.8 x (your body weight)

Hence, to figure out how much protein is required for 70 kg man, we can calculate it as:

70 kg person protein intake = 0.8 x 70 = 56g.

Hence, for a 70 kg person, protein intake should be 56g.

However, the RDA is the minimum nutrient amount you need to fulfil your basic requirements and avoid getting sick.

To help your body thrive, you should eat more than 0.8g of protein per kg body weight.

The protein requirement may vary from person to person. A physically active individual may require more protein than someone who is sedentary.

For those who are inactive, having 1.0g of protein per kilogram of body weight is enough. If you're moderately active, aim for 1.3g per kilogram. The recommendation for those who perform intense physical activity is 1.6 grams per kilogram.

A chart showing daily protein requirement as per activity levels
Image credit: The impact of animal source food products on human nutrition and health - Scientific Figure on ResearchGate.

Importance of protein in diet

Want to know why are proteins necessary in our food?

Protein plays many roles in the body. Protein is made from amino acids. When you eat protein, your digestive system breaks it down into these amino acids.

Amino acids are building blocks for many important structures and biomolecules in the body. A few essential functions of protein in the body are as follows:

  1. Growth: Your body utilizes protein to grow and maintain various tissues.
  2. Hormones: Many hormones, like insulin, human growth hormone, etc, are made up of protein.
  3. pH: Protein is essential to maintain acid-base balance in blood and other body fluids.
  4. Immunity: The antibodies produced to fight infections are made from protein.
  5. Bodily processes: Enzymes, molecules that facilitate chemical reactions in the body, are made up of protein. These enzymes are essential for many bodily processes like digestion.
  6. Energy: One gram of protein can provide 4 calories of energy. Your body usually doesn't use protein for calories, as it has many other essential functions. But if you have been starving, your body may break down the protein to get energy.

Disease caused by deficiency of protein

Kwashiorkor is a severe disease caused by a deficiency of protein.

It can make kids aged 3 to 5 look skinny in their arms and legs but swollen in their hands, feet, face, and belly. It happens more in poorer areas where there's not enough good food.

It can lead to problems like swelling, a bloated stomach, and dry skin.

The main reason for kwashiorkor is not having enough protein in the diet.

It occurs mainly in places where people mostly eat carbohydrates like rice or corn. Also, when toddlers are switched from breastfeeding to other food without a suitable protein replacement, it can cause kwashiorkor.

Recognizing early symptoms of kwashiorkor is crucial. It can lead to severe issues like low blood sugar, liver problems, and even starvation.

Daily protein requirement chart for all ages

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of protein varies throughout your life, especially in childhood and teens. A growing child needs more protein than adults. This is because proteins are vital for tissue growth.

Table 1
Age Group RDA, g·kg−1·day−1
7–12 months 1.2
1–3 years 1.05
4–8 years 0.95
9–13 years 0.95
14–18 years 0.85
>19 0.8

High protein Indian food to include in your daily diet

Many Indian foods are good sources of protein. Hence, we have compiled a list of healthy and high protein Indian foods to include in your diet.

  1. Chicken Breast (cooked): ~27 grams of protein
  2. Eggs: ~13 grams of protein
  3. Fish (Salmon): ~20 grams of protein
  4. Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese): ~18 grams of protein
  5. Tofu: ~8 grams of protein
  6. Greek Yogurt (unsweetened): ~10 grams of protein
  7. Cottage Cheese (Low-Fat): ~11 grams of protein
  8. Milk: ~3.2 grams of protein
  9. Chickpeas (cooked): ~8 grams of protein
  10. Lentils (cooked): ~9 grams of protein
  11. Black Gram (Urad Dal - cooked): ~25 grams of protein
  12. Green Gram (Moong Dal - cooked): ~7 grams of protein
  13. Kidney Beans (Rajma - cooked): ~9 grams of protein
  14. Soybeans (cooked): ~17 grams of protein
  15. Quinoa: ~4 grams of protein
  16. Peanuts: ~25 grams of protein
  17. Almonds: ~21 grams of protein
  18. Walnuts: ~15 grams of protein
  19. Flaxseeds: ~18 grams of protein
  20. Chia Seeds: ~16.5 grams of protein
  21. Sunflower Seeds: ~21 grams of protein
  22. Cauliflower (cooked): ~2 grams of protein
  23. Broccoli (cooked): ~3 grams of protein
  24. Spinach (cooked): ~3 grams of protein

Consuming the above daily protein foods will ensure you fulfil your daily protein requirements. The following charts represent the calorie to protein ratio for getting 20g of protein from many foods.

A charts representing the calorie to protein ratio for getting 20g of protein from many foods.
Image credit: The Anabolic Response to Plant-Based Protein Ingestion - Scientific Figure on ResearchGate.

FAQs

Can I eat chicken daily?

Having chicken in moderation is okay, but don't rely on it as your only protein source.

Opt for lean muscle proteins from different foods like meats and fish. You can also opt for dairy, legumes, and other plant-based options. This way, you get a broader range of nutrients for overall health.

How much protein in 500 ml milk?

A road-side vendor in small town India boiling milk in a large pan.
Image by the author Lucky Mehtani: A road-side vendor in small town India boiling milk in a large pan.

The protein in 500 ml of milk typically ranges from 16 to 24 grams, depending on the type of milk. You should check the nutrition label on your milk for exact information.

How much protein in 1 scoop of whey protein?

The protein content in one scoop of whey protein can vary based on the brand and specific product. However, a standard scoop of whey protein powder generally contains around 20 to 25 grams of protein. You should check the nutrition label on your whey protein container for exact information.

In 1 gm of protein, how many calories are there?

Generally, protein provides approximately 4 calories per gram when you consume it. Therefore, in 1g of protein, there are about 4 calories.

How much protein in 1 egg?

One egg has about 6 grams of protein.

How protein helps in weight loss?

Protein aids in weight loss by promoting a feeling of fullness, boosting metabolism, and preserving lean muscle mass. Consuming adequate protein can help control appetite, reduce overall calorie intake, and support fat loss.

Conclusion

Protein awareness is an issue for many in India.

While the recommended protein intake is 0.8g per kg, we suggest aiming higher, especially if you're physically active. The rich array of high-protein Indian foods provides numerous options to fulfil your daily protein requirement.

With better protein awareness, consider taking the next step with the Aware Health Rewards app. With Aware, you get more than just information; you get a tailored diet plan to meet all your nutritional requirements.

Why settle for generic advice when you can have a diet plan that cares about your unique needs?

Download the Aware app today!

About the author: 

Lucky Mehtani
, B. Pharm, a licensed Pharmacist, merges his healthcare expertise and passion for writing to enhance India's heart health. Through insightful blogs, he provides well-researched information on managing chronic lifesyle condition to prevent heart attacks and strokes.
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