The protein problem, its size and nature

Sukhatme, P. V. (1974) The protein problem, its size and nature Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (General), 137 (2). pp. 166-199. ISSN 0035-9238

Full text not available from this repository.

Official URL:


An insufficient amount of protein in the diet is held to be at the heart of the problem of persistent and widespread malnutrition in the developing countries. However, when one examines the available data, the conclusion is clear that what diets lack is not protein but energy foods to enable the body to utilize the protein people actually do eat. The paper presents a method of investigating the nature of the problem based on the simultaneous examination of diets for protein and energy, illustrates it on available data and concludes that protein malnutrition is the indirect result of inadequate energy intake. There is no evidence that the quality and concentration of protein in cereal-legume diets normally eaten in the developing countries is inadequate to meet protein needs provided energy intake is adequate. The protein problem is therefore essentially a socio-economic problem. Production of semi-conventional, cheap, protein-rich foods using modern technology, and distribution of factory foods so produced through special feeding programmes as recommended by the international bodies, will be a costly and inefficient method of solving the problem. The belief that diets are deficient in protein and that the deficiency is acute can also be traced to the new interpretation that has been placed on the meaning of recommended intake by the FAO/WHO expert committee on nutrition, namely that as an individual's intake falls below the recommended level, the risk of inadequate intake increases. The validity of this interpretation and its implications are examined in the paper.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to John Wiley and Sons.
Keywords:Energy Intake, Malnutrition
ID Code:98514
Deposited On:27 Aug 2014 12:05
Last Modified:27 Aug 2014 12:05

Repository Staff Only: item control page