The vegan diet was one of the biggest health trends in the last year. Read to know everything

The vegan diet has been one of the biggest health trends of the past year. But with the growing popularity of vegan/simulated meat, many wondered if their protein needs would be met and so plant protein was born. However, many looking to make the big switch have expressed apprehensions about the effectiveness of plant proteins. CE is aimed at doctors and private actors who share whether vegetable proteins meet the nutritional needs of the body.

N Lakshmi, Senior Dietitian at Kamineni Hospital, LB Nagar, begins by saying that there are many benefits of consuming animal protein: “Animal protein is a complete protein, which means it contains all the acids essential aminos that our body needs to function optimally. It is also a high-quality protein, which means it contains more essential amino acids than vegetable proteins. Animal proteins are also a good source of iron and vitamin B12. Iron is essential for transporting oxygen throughout the body. Some of the benefits of animal protein include increased muscle mass, improved bone health, reduced inflammation, and reduced risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

Animal agriculture is already among the top two contributors to each of the environmental problems we face today, laments Vaibhaw Dwivedi, co-founder of Urban Tiller, Asia’s leading leaf protein company, based in Hyderabad. “Meat is simply not sustainable. Even if we want to, there just isn’t enough land and water for animal protein to feed 10 billion people. However, the environment is not the only reason to go plant based. Fueled by investments across the value chain, there are many plant-based products on the market today that successfully replicate the taste and texture of meat and dairy products. The key, however, is to become aware, get going, and replace a few meals with plant-based products. The myth is that consumers have to compromise on taste, but that’s no longer true. It’s just a matter of keeping an open mind and trying,” says Vaibhaw.

Private actors are more than willing to respond to a wide range of demands apart from nutritional value. “Plant-based products come very close to mimicking the taste and texture of meat products. But the products available today are quite far from an exact replica. Research into creating exact replicas is an ongoing and resource-intensive process. The narrative of vegetable proteins as an alternative to meat is a misnomer in India. In reality, it is a cut-and-paste of the Western narrative where meat is an integral part of the daily diet and therefore plant-based products replace meat.

In India, we are traditionally flexitarians,” observes Rethesh Kumar, head of alternative and plant-based proteins at Hyderabad-based Symega Food Ingredients, which recently announced its foray into plant-based proteins. “We believe the real issues that plant-based products solve are food safety and healthier food in the form of the products we love to eat. With the abundance of raw materials like lenses and our updated manufacturing capabilities, we have a very efficient way to deliver it. Innovative product concepts will bring scale, where we will be able to offer these products at a much lower cost than meat products,” he adds.

Dr Hari Kishan Boorugu, Senior General Practitioner, Yashoda Hospital, Somajiguda, says, “Plant protein and animal protein provide us with the necessary amino acids. But some plant proteins do not provide all of the essential amino acids, but consuming a plant protein blend can overcome this. For building muscle, animal protein is more helpful, but studies have linked plant protein to better cardiovascular health. Vegetable proteins also provide fiber and antioxidants which are good for your health.

In conclusion, Dr. Lakshmi says, “There are many factors to consider when deciding whether plant or animal protein is healthier. Some people think that herbal products proteins are healthier because they offer a greater variety of nutrients, while others believe that animal protein is more beneficial because it contains all the essential amino acids, so it comes down to personal choice.