In this episode of Dietary Dialogue, Dr Madan talks about proteins and why they need to be consumed with fibre and rationed carbs. Here are some of the …
Okay now let me take you further to the
next, very important macronutrient and
that is proteins. To my mind, in an Indian
scenario, proteins are very, very
important because almost every Indian
diet –
vegetarian or non-vegetarian – is protein
insufficient. If I calculate the protein
intake of an average Indian diet, I will
find very few people who would be
crossing one gram per kg ideal body weight. So, let's understand that considering that
majority of Indians are vegetarians and
even the ones who are non-vegetarians
are not the strict non-vegetarians, who
would be consuming non-veg all the
three meals in the day. So, somewhere
protein is one nutrient which kind of
gets neglected and we need to be
consciously aware to look at where the
protein is in our diet. Now first of all,
let me come back to where I said in my
last session that protein is a
specialized nutrient so we definitely
need it in good quantity because it does
specialized jobs in the body.
What are those specialized jobs? It helps
you build muscle, it helps you build
immunity, it helps you build cell
integrity, it helps you build everything
which is needed for a good metabolism
and all the regulatory functions which
are happening in the body. So if we want our
body to be healthy, we should be having
adequate amount of protein. Now, what is
adequate? Adequacy again depends on our age, our sex,
our level, of you know, physical activity,
our physiological state. So each of these
conditions will vary our protein intake.
The third thing is that if we are
talking about protein, then it is very
important that whatever protein we
provide to our body, should be very well
assimilated. Assimilated means utilized.
So, what determines this? Remember,
proteins are made up of components which
are called amino acids, and some of these amino acids can be synthesized in the
body, but some of them are 'essential'. That means, they have to be obtained from food
and that is where our prudence comes in.
So, it is not all the foods will be
containing all essential amino acids;
there could be some foods which we call
as 'Complete Protein Foods', whether it is
egg, milk, animal foods. They do contain
not only good quantity of protein, but
all essential amino acids. But, we do get
proteins from pulses, we get proteins
from nuts, we get proteins from cereals,
but these proteins are partially
complete, so if we want to get the
quantity and the quality, we must make
sure that we have a balance of these two
categories of protein. And why is it necessary? Because, unless
and until we provide all essential amino
acids to the body, the body is not in a
position to put the protein for anabolic
purposes. Right? Now comes the fact that
can we only live on proteins? Should we
overdo on proteins because it's so good?
No. We don't need to under-do, neither we
need to overdo. We need to take good or
adequate amount of protein depending on what our needs are. And the second thing
which is very important, is, remember
proteins get utilized in the body better
if they are supported by carbohydrates.
So there is something called
carbohydrate-to-protein ratio. So,
whenever we look at our food, if it is
only protein, I think they're not helping
our body utilize it well. So we must
support a protein with carbohydrate. Of
course we need to create this ratio, we
need to know how much carbohydrate so
that this carbohydrate is sparing the
protein for the purpose of bodybuilding
and specialized functions, and the
protein is not getting used as a source
of energy. Remember friends, using protein
as a source of energy is like wasting a
resource. Now, let me take you to the
other extent, there are some category of
people or some individuals who tend to
over emphasize on protein. I already told
you that protein if in excess leads to
the production of metabolic end products
which can strain your liver,
which can strain your kidney; and to my
mind, more than heart, the most important
organ which maintains your metabolic
balance is your kidney and liver and
these are the organs which also take in a
lot of abuse. So, they don't tell you that
they are getting abused on day one, but
it is only over a period of time that
they are in a position to communicate to
you that they have been abused and there
is going to be a metabolic imbalance in
the body. So what is the answer? The
answer is that we definitely need to
prioritize protein, we definitely need to
get good quantity and quality of protein
and as an Indian, like I said, if the
carbohydrates are rationed so whenever
we serve ourselves, we must look at
2-3 things in our plate: (1) Where
is my fiber? – What is fiber? Fiber comes
from your vegetables. Okay, fiber
is coming from your carbohydrates which
are enriched with fiber. Fiber is coming
from your pulses which are not only
giving you protein but they're giving
you fiber. The second is, 'Where is my
protein in the plate?' and then, 'Where is
my rationed carbohydrate in the plate?'
Remember one fundamental principle of
looking at your plate when you serve.
Divided it into four parts: two of the
parts should be your vegetables – cooked
or raw. So that's where your fiber your
are coming; one part should be your
protein, which can be an egg, which can be
a lean cut off chicken, which can be curd,
which can be milk-based product. And it's
only one portion which should be the
rationed but good quality of
carbohydrate. Now if we overdo on
proteins; if three parts of our plate is
protein, and only one part is
carbohydrate; so what have we done, we
have eliminated fiber completely. So we
are overdoing on protein which is again
not a good idea.
So have protein in all the meals and
distribute your protein; not having too
much protein in one meal. Distribute your
protein throughout the day. Support it
with fiber and carbohydrates, so that
it's better utilized. One more thing
which I would like to say is that good
amount of protein taken in breakfast
gives you lesser rise in your blood
sugars. So your blood sugars get better
controlled. Good amount of protein taken
in the dinner also helps you minimize
the spike of sugars at night. So it's
very very important that we emphasized
proteins at breakfast, lunch, snacks, and
dinner, but breakfast & dinner become very, very important meals and thirdly,
whenever you work out, the post-workout
meal, if it is high in protein, it really
helps you, you know, in the muscle repair
in a big way. So let's summarize by
saying: What are the good quality protein sources?
Like I said, the complete protein would
be egg, lean meats – whether it is chicken,
fish, or lean cuts of meat, lean as in
devoid of fat, because we do, we want the
protein but we don't want the fat. all your,
then then, after this, comes your soybean which is again the protein, like 100
grams of soybean gives close
to 40-45%, 43 per cent of protein. All
your pulses give you in the range of 20
to 25 grams of protein per 100 grams and
1 katori of your dal gives you around
about 7 grams. So, I'll help you to quantify
the protein: one egg gives you 7 grams of
protein, about 50 grams of your chicken
which is like a handful piece will
give you about 7 grams of protein,
4 pieces of paneer will give you 7 grams
of protein, 1 katori of dal will give you
7 grams of protein, a handful of nuts
will give you 3 to 4 grams of protein,
your one chappati will give you 2 to 3
grams of protein. This is just to give
you an idea that all these foods are
giving you protein. Even in vegetables
like peas are giving you protein, beans
are giving you protein; so even your
vegetables are contributing to protein
but the fact still remains that we need
the protein but we need the goodness of
protein without extra fat, which may be
coming as a part of the food, or which
may add while handling that food. For
example: if I use fish and if I subject
it to frying, then I don't think so we are
doing good to the protein. We are getting
protein from the fish but we are adding
a whole lot of fat which is not a good
So remember, proteins need to be taken in good quantity, complete proteins need to
be taken and they need to be taken with adequate amount of fiber, and rationed amount of carbohydrates

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