Protein Intakes in Rural India – Implications of Protein Quality
Keywords:Dietary Protein, Amino Acids, Protein Quality, Stunting, Under Nutrition, Low Birth Weight, Animal Source Foods.
A prevalence of 18% Low Birth Weight (LBW), 38% stunting in <5y children, and 18% sarcopenia in adults have been recently reported in India. These could partly be due to a poor-quality protein intake, which could support positive birth outcomes, linear growth in children and maintenance of the adult skeletal muscle mass with appropriate exercise. Quality protein is a highly digestible protein with adequate quantity of Indispensable Amino Acids (IAA). The measurement of risk of deficient quality protein intake requires knowledge of IAA requirements and their digestibility from different food proteins. The present analyses, using dietary intake data of different age groups from the latest National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau rural survey, showed that the protein quality of rural Indian diets was suboptimal and had considerable impact on the risk of quality protein deficiency, which varied from 14 to 80% among different age groups. Modest additions of animal source foods (such as milk and egg) could alleviate the risk of quality protein deficiency in the population. Dietary protein quality should be considered while evaluating dietary interventions and framing the policy of supplementary nutrition programs for vulnerable populations.
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