We learned about the basics of protein, its function in the human body, and food sources in the previous article, 'The Most Popular Nutrient-Protein.' Although nutrition science supports eating enough protein, many myths persist. This article debunks some myths associated with protein-rich food sources and discusses the additional health benefits and wellness routines.
Myth No. 1: Dairy proteins are unhealthy and cause chronic diseases.
- Several media reports claim that some vendors are adulterating dairy and dairy products. When such products are consumed, they can cause GI disturbances, allergies, and even chronic diseases. This, however, does not negate the fundamental properties of dairy foods such as milk, curd, paneer, cheese, and others. Many genuine brands provide authentic dairy products, but due to dairy misinformation, people avoid it and underestimate its health and nutritional benefits.
- Dairy foods provide a high-quality protein source that contains all essential amino acids. dairy proteins have high bioavailability and a package of nutrients like calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamins A, D, and B12, riboflavin, and niacin. Milk has a casein protein content of 80% and a whey protein content of 20%. Casein greatly helps in mineral absorption, particularly calcium and phosphorus. Whey protein is a popular nutritional supplement that is high in branched-chain amino acids, which have been linked to positive health effects such as promoting muscle growth and strength, lowering blood pressure, and improving mood.
Different dairy foods may contain varying amounts of protein per serving, such as the amount of protein in 100g of some dairy foods as follow; (source IFCT2017)
- Milk (cow) - 3.1 g
- Milk (buffalo) - 3 g
- Milk (skimmed) - 3.5 g
- Curd - 3.5 g
- Curd (slim) - 4.2 g
- Greek yogurt - 8 g
- Paneer (cow -low fat) - 21 g
- Paneer (buffalo) - 14 g
- Cheese - 20 g (but fat is 25g)
Until one is clinically diagnosed and experiences symptoms due to allergies associated with milk and milk products eg. lactose sensitivity, there is no reason why one must eliminate dairy from their diet. Choose a good organic milk brand and benefit from the fullness of protein from dairy foods.
Myth No. 2: Soy protein is a risky ingredient.
- There are ample misconceptions regarding soy protein such as soy affects fertility in men, its cancer-causing in women, soy interferes with thyroid function and many more.
- Soy has been consumed for centuries and extensively researched. Numerous studies have been published highlighting the health and nutritional benefits of soy protein. The soybean stands out among plants for its "high quality" protein, and it is the most commonly consumed plant protein with a quality comparable to animal protein. In most cases, "quality" is defined in terms of protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS), which considers the essential amino acid composition and digestibility of the protein. Depending on the specific soy product, the PDCAAS value for soy protein ranges from 0.91 to 1.0, with 1.0 denoting the highest value for whey protein.
- Studies have shown that plant-based protein decreases cholesterol levels and reduced the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Decreased estrogen levels in menopause cause symptoms like hot flushes, genital epithelial atrophy, and osteoarthritis. Isoflavones, naturally present in soybeans, have a similar estrogen-like effect. Significant beneficial effects were seen in menopausal women using isoflavones containing soy supplements, it's referred to as a safer alternative to hormone therapy.
- Soy comes from soybeans. You can find it in soy milk, tempeh, edamame, and tofu. It is also used instead of meat in some vegetarian dishes eg. popularly known as vegan meat.
Myth No. 3: Vegetables don't have proteins
- Vegetables are the foundation of any healthy eating regimen. They are packed with vitamins and nutrients your body needs to function at its best. But when it comes to protein many are not aware about some vegetables have protein
- Not all vegetables are high in protein compared to other foods like legumes, dairy, etc. but there are some protein-rich vegetables to others. Mentioned below are the amount of protein in 100g of vegetables: (source IFCT2017)
- Edamame = 18g, Broccoli = 2.4g, Green limba beans (vaal) = 7.8g, Brussel sprouts = 2.6g, Mushroom = 3.6g.
- Include these protein-rich vegetables in your meals to boost your protein intake.
Myth No. 4: Plant-based proteins contain more carbohydrates and more calories.
- The usual macronutrient distribution of plant protein is around 23 to 25% and carbohydrates are 57 to 65% of which 22-25% of dietary fiber is found in pulses. Plant proteins are nutrient-dense for example, chia seeds are rich in fiber and contain healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, and are low-calorie foods like many other vegetables (broccoli, spinach, kale, mushrooms, asparagus, hemp seeds, etc.)
- The right plant-based foods can be an excellent source, often with fewer calories than animal products. It is also known that high-protein diets help reduce body weight.