Protein hunger is an everyday fact of life for great numbers of the world's people, many of whom do not get any food at all. In Eastern Asia, for example, where the consumption of meat and dairy products is almost nil, protein intake is also seriously reduced. In fact, in such regions a polite salutation between friends is, "Have you eaten?"
When I gave food to the poor, they
called me a saint. When I asked why
the poor were hungry, they called me
a communist. (Dom H. Camara)
This is a cruel paradox: man has now all necessary knowledge to produce enough food to feed the entire world population. Even protein could be made plentiful by science. However, famines and malnutrition still exist in many regions...
Protein plus another 40 nutrients
It is now known that in addition to carbohydrates and fats, which provide energy, man needs at least 40 other nutrients, and that a deficiency in any one of them can cause illness. Of course, in the Western world it is customary to take nutritional supplements daily to make sure all these nutrients are properly absorbed.
Protein is the most vital nutrient to human beings and unfortunately the most expensive. Protein is a large, complex chemical substance made up of varying combinations of about 20 amino acids, of which at least 10 are essential in man's diet. They all promote growth during childhood and aid in the renewal of tissues.
Protein is first manufactured by plants using nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon from the soil and the air. Hence, both man and animals depend largely on plants for protein. But most plant products contain incomplete protein: they lack some of the essential amino acids or have them in the wrong proportion. And the absence of even one essential amino acid limits the body's ability to make use of the others.