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73% of Indians Are Protein Deficient. This Company Is Working To Change That

73% of Indians Are Protein Deficient. This Company Is Working To Change That

This initiative aims to raise awareness about the importance of protein, with a focus on the crucial role protein-based nutrition plays in an active and healthy life.

This article has been sponsored by Danone India

From having balanced home-made meals, to a sudden shift towards unhealthy snacking and busy lifestyles, to once again becoming conscious of how we treat our bodies — India has seen and is still going through several changes in the field of personal healthcare.

At a time when topics like health, fitness and immunity are part of nation-wide discourses, conversations around protein – building blocks of muscles — is yet to receive its deserved attention or recognition.

This lack of awareness is concerning. Despite being an important macronutrient, the majority of India’s population consumes protein-deficient diets. According to several studies, over 70% of Indians have protein deficiency.

One of the implications of this protein deficiency could be poor muscle health. According to the Inbody-IPSOS study of 2018, 71 per cent of Indians have poor muscle health, while 68 per cent have lower than adequate protein content in their bodies.

Protein-based nutrition plays a key role in rectifying this deficiency, and several companies have taken up the challenge of ensuring adequate nutrition. Driving advocacy around the role of protein in promoting health has been a priority for Danone for years.

Danone India collaborates with different partners to celebrate ‘The Protein Week’, an initiative that is an intrinsic part of Danone’s ‘One Planet. One Health’ vision which is predicated on the notion that the health of the people and that of the planet are interconnected.

This initiative aims to raise awareness about the importance of protein, with a focus on the crucial role protein-based nutrition plays in an active and healthy life.

Expounding on this principle, Himanshu Bakshi, MD, Danone India adds, “At Danone, we believe that food companies have a critical role in addressing the ever-changing needs of the consumers and that we can change the world through food. Our ‘One Planet. One Health’ frame of action embodies our commitment towards encouraging healthier eating and drinking habits in consumers and espouses sustainable business practices for the industry.”

As a part of Danone’s One Planet. One Health vision, Danone is striving to improve the nutritional profile of its products and at the same time trying to inspire healthy eating and drinking practices. For example, numbers belie the magnitude of the protein deficiency in India that is now morphing into a serious health concern. With protein being an important macronutrient, its role in building muscles, and immunity cannot be ignored.

Talking about the Protein week, Himanshu adds, “We have been organising ‘The Protein Week’ since 2017 to tackle protein deficiency through public awareness campaigns with partners. It is part of our commitment to addressing local public health challenges through product innovation and solutions, and we aim to inspire healthier eating and drinking habits among consumers.”

Sustainable steps to a healthier tomorrow

From spreading awareness through several communication platforms to partnering with relevant organisations that drive substantial impact on the ground level, Danone India has been informing Indians about healthier and more holistic lifestyle choices for the past few years now.

Given that more and more people in India especially millennials are becoming aware and conscious of their diet choices, the fact that companies behind our food are thinking with the consumers is encouraging.

In 2018, Danone also joined the ‘Eat Right India’ movement launched by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), to work on improving the nutritional profile of its product portfolio in India.

As one of its prominent moves, Danone India focuses on innovation that addresses local needs, without compromising on the local tastes. More than 90 per cent of their products come under the healthy category.

Talking further about Innovation, Mr. Sonjai Uppal, Director R&I at Danone India said, “Our collective contribution towards our One Planet. One Health vision rests on our ability to develop pioneering products – from design to market. Innovation is an integral part of our company’s DNA and to bring health through food, we endeavor to listen to consumers through dynamic digital activations and anticipate new food trends. We are “Indianizing” the product portfolio and we call this process “Indovation”. For example, we continuously enhance the taste of our legacy brand – Protinex as per the expectations of our consumers. Given the increasing preferences towards low sugar products, we have launched Protinex Lite- which is a zero-added sugar variant. The intent is to make a meaningful difference to people’s health without compromising on taste”.

Immuno-Nutrient Calculator

Another move towards this commitment of spreading awareness about healthier eating and drinking habits is the launch of the Immuno-Nutrient Calculator which helps users assess their daily intake of important nutrients, to bolster their immune system. It creates a nutrient profile of the food consumed by an individual and computes the number of immuno-nutrients in them. It is accessible for free on the Protinex website.

The key 11 nutrients in this include protein, vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, iron, copper, and zinc. The results of this first-of-its-kind calculator, in association with nutrition experts from Fitterfly, allows the users to understand their diets better.

“I tried the immune nutrient calculator and found it very easy to use and quite an eye-opener. For example, I realized that while I was meeting my protein, vitamin A and C, folic acid and few other needs, I was way short of my vitamin E, vitamin D, zinc and iron requirements. It will help many people get a reality check, and accordingly take corrective measures,” said Kavita Devgan, author, nutritionist and weight management consultant.

This could act as a great motivator for many among us who have been striving to move toward better eating habits to take care of our health.

(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)

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