Around 73% of the Indian diets are protein deficient and the shortfall is more alarming among the vegetarian ones, according to a new study.

84% of the vegetarian diets are low on protein as against the non-vegetarian ones which are 65% short of mandatory protein requirements, the study conducted by market research firm IMRB claimed. Among cities, Lucknow is the most protein deficient (90%). Ahmedabad and Chennai face a shortfall of 84%, Vijayawada 72%, Mumbai 70% and Delhi 60%.

The study, titled 'Understanding Protein Myths & Gaps among Indians', covered 1,800 respondents across eastern, western, northern and southern regions. Protein is one of the most misunderstood nutrients in India with 93% of Indians being unaware of their ideal protein requirements, it claimed. "Indians suffer from several myths related to protein which is one of the fundamental nutrients for the human body," the report said. It deduced that Indians are not well aware of the adverse impact of protein deficiency, as only one-third of the respondents strongly endorsed that lack of protein can cause weakness and fatigue.

A closer look at various consumer segments showed that the deficiency is highest among men with families at 75% and mothers at 72%. It said that around 93% of the respondents were unaware of their ideal protein requirement, with pregnant ladies on the top (97%), followed by lactating mothers (96%) and adolescents (95%).