Plant proteins - a valuable resource

By Judy Buttriss

- Last updated on GMT

Buttriss: ‘dietary expectations are changing towards a more western pattern’
Buttriss: ‘dietary expectations are changing towards a more western pattern’

Related tags: Nutrition, Protein

Food and nutrition considerations are often short-term, but there is a far bigger picture that needs a lot more attention.

Global population is predicted to rise to 9.7bn by 2050. It’s currently 7.4bn and was 2.5bn in 1950.

Many nations are becoming more prosperous and dietary expectations are changing towards a more western pattern, meaning greater demand for animal protein.

Impact of climate change

But how achievable will this be without exacerbating the impact of climate change and land and water limitations?

Animal proteins provide a mix of amino acid (protein building blocks) that are closest to our needs.

But this mix can also be achieved by combining plant proteins, which is a feature of fibre-rich traditional diets based on mixes of wholegrains and pulses, for example, rice or chapatti with lentils (dahl), or tortilla with beans.

Protein combinations

Knowledge about how to prepare such protein combinations in a tasty way from scratch may be limited, and this provides an opportunity for industry.

It is not about avoiding highly nutritious animal proteins – meat, milk, eggs and fish – it’s complementing their use to achieve dietary guidelines in a sustainable way.

  • Judy Buttriss is director general of the British Nutrition Foundation

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