PFNDAI (Protein Foods and Nutrition Development Association of India), an organization founded to promote food safety, quality, nutrition, and healthy diets through education, along with ‘Right To Protein’ a nationwide protein awareness and education initiative which shares a common vision, recently concluded a research paper identifying soy protein as a key food source to fortify traditional Indian foods and develop new, innovative high-protein foods and beverages which can help in improving India’s protein consumption.
The research finds soy as an underrated superfood and a ‘wonder-bean’ due to its nutrition profile, accessibility, and affordability. “For decades, protein deficiency has been a concern relative to the traditional Indian diet, contributing to developmental delays in children and negative health impacts more broadly in the population. In this recent work, we have explored how soy protein, a high-quality, plant-based protein, can help improve low protein consumption in India. Food innovation, as well as continued consumer education on the importance of protein, and more specifically the benefits of soy protein by busting common myths, will be key in improving the protein status of India’s population,” said Dr Jagadish Pai, executive director, PFNDAI.
The research paper also brings forth the role of soy in India as a sustainable source of high-quality protein which offers long-term health benefits, including reduced cardiovascular disease risk. Further nutritionist and supporter of the ‘Right To Protein’ initiative, Khushboo Jain Tibrewala said, “In addressing India’s protein consumption challenge, both protein quantity and quality are important. As health professionals, we have been working on dispelling fears and driving awareness. But high-quality proteins, like soy, which provide all the essential amino acids in the proper ratios, need to be recommended more often as it supports healthy growth, development, and maintenance of body tissues.”
The research sets the ground for understanding the importance and benefits of consuming protein while busting myths about soy and bringing forth the goodness of soy to help resolve the protein consumption challenges faced in the country.
Deeba Giannoulis, head of U.S. Soy Marketing - South Asia & Sub-Sahara Africa (SASSA), a supporter of the ‘Right To Protein’ initiative added, “It is assuring to see soy being recognised as a superfood and wonder-bean from an esteemed organisation like PFNDAI. India can make an excellent case for using soy for food as an accessible, affordable, and sustainable source of protein. We urge food manufacturers to explore soy proteins to boost the protein content and quality of traditional foods and recipes, while innovating new nutritional foods and beverages targeting the precise protein needs of different segments of the population, from children to adults.”