Sustainable Food Future and Soy Protein

Sustainable Food Future: Risk or Opportunity

There is a lot broken in the way we produce and consume our food. Do you know that our food and agriculture now ill contribute up to 30% of global greenhouse gas omission?

And 50% of it comes from meat production. No thanks to the misusage of land and water combined with heavy doses of antibiotics that are fed to our "industrially bred" animal. In our desire to have cheaper yet plentiful meat lies a big threat to a sustainable food future. Eating less or better quality meat is not the only solution. A bigger solution lies in finding new and alternate sources of protein, especially vegan.

Turning vegan is quite the need of the hour. You may wonder why? You may ask that it is the hardcore vegetarian in me who is trying to enforce her belief to you. The solution lies in your question itself.

I met a senior friend who is a well-known Gastro at the City hospital. He told that 90% of Indians as lactose intolerant by nature. And why they should switch to vegan options. I may ignore his remarks. However, what I cannot or you should not ignore is the need to separate our dietary choices from their impact on our body and the planet that we live in. 

We need to opt for food sources that are not just healthy but are more energy-efficient, economically feasible and environmentally sustainable. How?

Switching to Energy-Efficient, Economically Feasible and Environmentally Sustainable Protein

Protein is an essential macronutrient for our body. They are the building blocks of the body tissues and also the source of body Fuel. Fixing the protein in your diet is a quick win. Consumption of protein is as vital as consuming the right protein from the right sources. 

I have heard many of my friends accrediting animal protein as the best source of protein. But given the highly imbalanced distribution and breeding of animal protein viz a viz the theory mentioned above [their contribution to increased fat in the body, slow digestion, and unsustainable farming] made them no longer relevant in today's world.

I am not suggesting non-vegetarians to turn to complete a vegan but am proposing them to accommodate or balance some wider sources of protein in their diet. Proteins that are energy efficient. economically feasible and environmentally sustainable.

One such possible source is Soy Protein!

Soy Protein as EE, EF and ES Protein

EE= Energy Efficient
EF: Economically Feasible
ES: Environmentally Sustainable

I was surfing the net to find out the better sources of protein for vegetarians. Different articles came with differing options. However, one source remains quite available in varied publications. And what's better than asking the leaders AKA DuPont about it? According to DuPont-

Soy protein is the only commercially-viable plant protein that has been recognized as a complete, high-quality source of protein.  Soy protein’s quality ranks up there with milk, egg and other animal-based sources and interestingly, it has a low carbon footprint. Soy is very efficient to produce, requiring less water, energy, and land than animal-based proteins like milk and meat. Consuming a vegan or vegetarian diet, rich in soy protein, is an excellent way to reduce your impact on the planet, not just greenhouse gases, but, land and water use. 

As a sustainable and environmentally friendly source of protein, soy has the smallest carbon footprint compared to analyzed animal sources, such as milk, beef, pork, or poultry. Soy protein is one of the few sustainable sources that can help accommodate the growing global demand for high-quality protein.

They further emphasized that with the carbon footprint that is 80-80 times lower than animal based protein footprints, soy protein production requires less energy, land, and water, and does not create the methane [CH4] and nitrous oxide [N2O] emissions typically associated with animals, especially ruminants. 

The increase in demand can lead to an increase in production and, in turn, better use of limited resources like water in a country like India. 

Protein Consumption Vs Requirement 
The National Academy of Medicine [source Harvard edu] recommends that adults get a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day or just over 7 grams for every 20 pounds of body weight. [1]

For a 140-pound person, that means about 50 grams of protein each day.
For a 200-pound person, that means about 70 grams of protein each day.

Consumption of the right calories is as vital as consuming the protein from the right source.

India definitely needs to develop a protein strategy for Future

In an interesting report by Jane Byrne, India is the 5th largest producer of the Soybean globally. right after America [wherein people consumed more proteins via animal protein than required], Brazil, Argentina, and China.  

Here are some interesting charts by Rabobank-

It is a cycle. As cliche as it may sound but If you do not return back the goodness that you derived from nature, it is certain that your benefits withdrawal may hamper or cease. 

If the world's largest populated country can switch to Soy protein, what stops us?

Well, it is the time that you must evaluate Soy protein as a dietary option, if not done yet. If required, visit a well-known nutritionist to learn more about the required intake for your body. I understand the growing market for imported foods like Quinoa. However, it is always recommended to eat what is locally produced over what is imported. Cost is another factor but first is health and demographic tolerance. Hemp seeds are another alternate but than availability is higher for Soy. 

For non-vegetarians, the good news is that form factor and the taste is almost relatable. And if you have a difficult kid who resists eating Soy, check out for some interesting recipe for kids on my Blog- How to Feed Soy To Your Child.

Eat Healthily, Stay Haute
Ekta Khetan


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