Protein is another important Macronutrient that we need on daily basis. Around 10-15% of the calorie should come from Protein.

If we look at molecular composition of human body protein comprises 20%(second after water)

 Why we need Protein?
Functions of Protein:
Growth & structure

  1. Proteins provide building material for growth & repair of body tissue
  2. Proteins build & repair vital parts of most body structures such as skin, nails, hair, membranes, muscles, teeth, bones, organs, ligaments & tendons.
  3. Proteins provide support for cells, tissues & organs and create a 3-D framework for body.
Regulatory Roles
  1. All Enzymes are proteins. Enzymes facilitates numerous chemical reactions in the body, enzymes are essential for metabolism.
  2. Not all but hormones are proteins and act as chemical messengers. They co-ordinate,control & influence metabolic activities of each cell.
  3. Antibodies are proteins that are responsible for maintaining body's resistance to disease.
  4. Proteins are responsible for regulating the fluid balance in body compartments.
  5. Proteins act as buffers to maintain the normal acid-base concentration in body fluids.
  6. Proteins act as vehicle and transport nutrients and other substances into and out of cells.
  7. Neurotransmitters are proteins. 
  8. 10% of our brain and 20% of our heart, liver, and skeletal muscles are made up of Proteins. 
Energy production
Protein is used to provide calories to meet the energy needs of body. (4 calories per gram of protein)

Contractile Protein 
These proteins allow movements via muscle contractions 
Clotting of blood
Proteins are responsible for blood clotting & stop bleeding from a cut. 

Sources of Protein in general.

The functional units of protein are Amino acids 

 Proteins needs to be broken down to Amino acids.

There are 20 amino acids in total & many amongst them are synthesized in the body. Those which cannot be produced need to be supplied in diet & are referred to as Essential Amino acids. There are nine Essential amino acids & must be obtained from food. 

A complete protein is a protein that contains all of the essential amino acids. Animal proteins are complete, including red meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy.

Milk is made of two proteins, casein and whey. Whey protein can be separated from the casein in milk or formed as a by-product of cheese making. The liquid material created as a by-product while making cottage cheese is whey protein. Whey protein is considered a complete protein and contains all 9 essential amino acids and is low in lactose content.

Whey protein is one of the most commonly used supplements because the body tends to absorb whey faster than other supplemental forms. As we have seen whey protein supplements can be conveniently made and consumed in your home. 
The liquid rich in whey protein should not be discarded and instead used while cooking other foods such as soups and stews as a broth or in gravy.

There are a few non-animal sources that offer complete proteins. It is important to have soybeans, blue green algae, hemp-seed, buckwheat, and quinoa if your diet is meat/ milk/ or egg-free.

Then there are foods known as incomplete proteins, that include beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, peas, and corn.Just because they are incomplete doesn’t make them inferior. They just need to be combined to provide the right balance of essential amino acids. Proteins that, in combination, make a complete amino acid profile are known as complementary proteins. 

Combine two or more incomplete proteins and boom — you've got a complete protein. Note that having a varied vegetarian or vegan diet is key to getting enough protein. As long as you focus on eating enough calories and consuming a variety of plant based foods, like legumes, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds throughout the day, chances are you'll be getting the nutrients you need. One can enjoy them together in one meal or the combination can be consumed over the same day, such as black bean soup for lunch and brown rice with dinner. Here are some other food combinations that work:

Every time legumes like beans, lentils, and peanuts are combined with grains like wheat, rice, and corn, a complete protein is born. Peanut butter on whole wheat is an easy snack & pretty high in calories, provides a heaping dose of all the essential amino acids and plenty of healthy fats to boot.

Soy protein is a plant-based source of high-quality, complete protein.
The three most common complementary protein combinations are:

  1. Grains (rice, corn, wheat, barley, etc.) + legumes (peas, beans, lentils)
  2. Grains and milk products
  3. Seeds (Sesame or sunflower) +legumes
In some processed foods, protein is provided as hydrolyzed proteins, which means it is broken into poly-peptides/peptides. These products provide the free amino acids themselves & require no digestion before absorption. During illness if child's food intake is reduced or if child is not taking the required quantity of protein you may think of these products. Remember;

What happens if we consume too much protein?
  • As we know protein is responsible for balancing the body fluid. Too much of protein may result in Dehydration.
  • Excess of protein mobilizes calcium from bones and results in Osteoporosis. 
  • Similar to carbohydrates, excess & unused protein is stored as fat leading to weight gain.
Each component of Nutrition has got its own value. We need to weigh accordingly. Do not over ingest or avoid any of them.
Balanced nutrition is the key for healthy body 
a stress free life. 
I hope the information is fair enough to understand proteins & their requirements. You can choose & combine according to the availability & liking of your child.

After I posted the first part few mothers asked me whether milk can be given to a child with DS or not & a few more asked about Gluten.  I got these questions probably for more than 100 times till this date. There are lots of discussions going on for these two things. My purpose of writing about Nutrition is to empower all the mothers by making the whole concept of nutrition clear in their minds.  Now if you feel that Milk is creating some problem, choose an option that combats the disadvantages of not giving milk.But I would like to make the concept about giving/not giving milk clear.
My daughter Palak now 24, was never withdrawn from milk or milk products, neither my school children. My understanding about food is, the one, my forefathers ate was the safest & most nutritious. I continued giving that to my children. Palak & my son who is a typical child had same diet. But yes there are children with DS who are either allergic to milk or some are having Lactose Intolerance. There are no proven scientific data to support that 'cow's milk increases mucous production'. Some parents of children with DS exclude cow's milk from child's diet due to symptoms like running nose, irritability, colic & crying. Unless there are evidence of your child having lactose intolerance or allergic to cow's milk, you can continue giving cow's milk.  
 The absolute contraindication for gluten is Celiac  Disease. Celiac Disease is a digestive and autoimmune disorder that results in damage to the lining of the small intestine when foods with gluten are eaten.
Very small percentage of children with DS suffer from Celiac disease. Unless absolutely proven there are no reasons one should avoid giving gluten. In fact excluding gluten from child's diet without indication results in nutritional deficiencies. Gluten gives stickiness & elasticity to dough. It is an important protein for baking & gives the final product a chewy texture.
A gluten-free diet can lack in vitamins, minerals (calcium,iron,zinc & magnesium) & fibers. There is a little point in taking that risk unless the child is gluten sensitive or having Celiac disease. 



  1. Hii madam... I m surekha from pune Want to meet to you for my daughter's food schedule.

  2. Hii madam... I m surekha from pune Want to meet to you for my daughter's food schedule.

  3. Hi Dr Nina, I m priya. I have a daughter with DS. I have consulted few counselor n they say my daughter is hyperactive so I should go for gluten free diet, so I was very confused about it because I too believe that our forefather's food diet is good enough and balanced and by god grace she is not allergic to food items that she takes daily although she is very choosy. After reading your post I am kind of relaxed.Thnxs for sharing useful information about protein and complete protein.

  4. We are providing the best gainer in good quality and we offers mass gainer or weight gainer and also available whey protein, whey isolate and whey powder.

  5. Thanks for sharing.
    It is useful information to get the right nutrition for children brain development.

  6. VLCC diet counselors educate guests about healthy diet intake which contains right proportion of nutrition in accordance with their daily life style. Nutrition and Diet


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