Although animal proteins may be more potent than plant proteins, processing food can help close the gap, according to Dr. Sridevi Annapurna, director of the nation’s most prestigious food technology institute, The CFTRI.

Dr Sridevi Annapurna Singh at the Happiest Health Edge of Nutrition Summit

As the director of the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) located in Mysuru, Dr. Sridevi Annapurna Singh has been at the forefront of research into food processing safety, technology, and safety in India. With a particular focus on food safety, protein quality, and nutritional quality, CFTRI aims to increase our understanding of the relationship between food and health.

In her presentation at the Happy Health’s Edge of Nutrition Summit on 11 July, Dr. Singh discussed the importance of protein and how it can contribute to the overall well-being of our society.

The diet and the health

“A bad diet can be more tightly linked to illness than smoking alcohol, or physical exercise. A lot of us will lose the years of our lives that we earned more enjoyment from life and also money, because of poor nutrition,” Dr Singh says with conviction.

Protein, a essential macronutrient, is a critical component in our diet and worthy of the attention of a particular kind. Proteins are structural elements for nails, hair, and tissues, as metabolic enzymes, carriers of nutrients, and even as antibodies to support immune function. Understanding the underlying factors that allow proteins to fulfill these various functions is vital.

“Animal proteins are generally better suited for human consumption as they contain a balanced composition of essential amino acids, making them ‘complete proteins,” she explains.

However, plants’ proteins are often deficient in some or all essential amino acids, making them”incomplete” proteins.

An issue of quality

A protein’s quality is contingent on many factors, including the amount of amino acids essential for digestibility, bioavailability, and digestibility. Animal proteins are more likely to have higher levels of what’s known as PDCAAS (protein digestibility adjusted amino acid score) because of their similarity to human protein requirements.

Yet, plant protein can provide many other benefits to the body, such as phytonutrients, fiber vitamins, minerals, and a better fat profile.

The issue of protein from plants

Plant proteins are popular due to their low cost, availability, and environmental stewardship; however, their usage has things that could be improved. Proteins from plants are seeds that have high molecular weights, making them less soluble and difficult for digestive enzymes to digest.

In addition, they have anti-nutrients, which can hinder digestion and absorption of nutrients, Dr. Singh notes.

Processing techniques are one method to overcome the shortcomings in plant protein.

“Protein isolates Concentrates, hydrolysates, and isolates may enhance their functionality, quality and bioavailability. In addition, enzyme modifications could increase the digestibility and solubility of protein sources, increasing the potential of these proteins for food products development,” Dr Singh explains.

The impact on the environment

As the world population increases, diversifying protein sources is essential for food security and the sustainability of the environment. Plant proteins like millets, seaweed, and algae provide environmentally sustainable alternatives that use less resources than water and land and minimize deforestation.

Proteins are vital to our health, so knowing their importance in the proper diet is essential. While animal proteins are renowned for their high quality and nutritional value, Plant proteins offer distinct advantages, such as the sustainability of their environment and a variety of dietary compositions.

The latest developments in food processing technologies offer promising possibilities for improving plant protein quality, function, and acceptability.

Dr. Singh’s message reads, “Using various proteins will fulfill our nutritional needs to improve health and contribute to a more sustainable future.