Proteins are building blocks for the lean tissues in our bodies, we rely on getting these from our food. However, there is a major misunderstanding about protein in our diet.
In general, animal sources of protein like eggs, chicken, and fish and eggs provide all of the essential amino acids in high concentrations hence these foods are called complete protein sources. In contrast, plant-based protein sources like lentils, nuts, and seeds even though high in protein, do not have all the essential amino acids present and thus tend to be incomplete sources of protein.
Therefore a combination of grains and pulses has been had for ages to provide a complete protein source based on the principle of combining complementary protein sources of two food groups lentils and grains. No wonder one sees traditional combinations like rajma-chawal, idly-sambar, khichidi, etc.
It might seem that since plant-based proteins are incomplete in their nutrient content that they're nutritionally inferior compared with animal-based proteins. But in fact, the health benefits of substituting plant-based proteins for animal-based ones are profound. Meals that contain vegetarian sources of protein also contain more fiber and less fat, than meals that feature animal-based protein. which can contribute to elevated levels of LDL cholesterol if we eat too much of it. A diet high in animal protein, especially if it's poor quality animal protein, like processed meat can be harmful to our health Processed meats often contain nitrates used as a preservative, which can damage blood vessels and contribute to hardening of the arteries. These meats also tend to be very high in sodium, which can be a contributor to high blood pressure. So moderating our intake of meat and substituting it with lentils is a sensible idea, even for few days a week if possible.
Is Whey Protein powder good for you?
There is no naturally available food that has protein in such high concentrations, not even meat. Whey protein powder is highly processed to manufacture such high quantities of protein in a single serving. If you are into heavy bodybuilding then whey protein makes sense but for regular athletic exercise and workout, you should look for natural protein sources be it plant-based or animal-based, as all excess protein is stored in the body as fat!
What does the body do with excess protein?
If you eat more protein than the body needs, the excess nitrogen of amino acids is excreted as urea in your urine and the rest of the protein molecule is used for energy or stored as fat. This can lead to weight gain over time, especially if you consume too many calories while trying to increase your protein intake which doesn't match your physical activity.
Therefore the most sensible diets are usually those that encourage us to eat moderate amounts of high-quality protein foods. These should come from a variety of different sources, including animal and vegetarian sources of protein that are combined for completeness.
All-natural Protein-rich dish ideas with Chefcouts: