A couple of weeks after consuming cheesy burgers, some magical results just came out! Guess what? Your blood sugar doesn’t rise as you expected. But at night, just after eating a burger, you may face some discomfort as your blood sugar rises. However, when you share this experience with the doctor, he might say that it’s that plant-based meat that you have just eaten and nothing else without paying much attention. After leaving his chamber, many questions may come up in your mind, including do these plant-based meats share the same nutritional values as real meat? Or how do you choose this plant-based meat?
After studying multiple reports, today we will discuss these questions related to this topic but before that, let’s talk about when it comes to a healthy diet, why does the world admire these plant-based products in the first place?
Plant Based Meat
We all know the health benefits of a plant-based diet, right? But unfortunately, when everyone is rushing to recover from covid, 36.6% of individuals still eat fast foods on any given day. This low-quality diet heavy in junk food has been related to increased health conditions. In light of these dangers, plant-based meat may be a lifeline.
So, what are plant-based meats actually? Plant-based meats are known as meat analogs intended to resemble actual meat in the food industry. It’s made from vegetarian sources such as soya, jackfruit, peas, beans, wheat gluten, or seitan. You may have already noticed multiple items in your grocery store named vegan meat, meat substitute, or vegetarian meat, which creates an entire space to rethink meat.
Is Plant-Based Meat Actually Healthy?
Despite its growing popularity, you may be wondering if plant-based meat truly satisfies healthy criteria. To know more, there are many facts to consider.
Red Meat Issues
After reviewing WHO reports, where red meat is a Group 2 carcinogen, and processed meat is a group-1 carcinogen, concerns regarding meats are just growing alarmingly in the health community. Research conducted by Oxford University discovered that the more meat you consume, the higher your chance of developing cancer. Though cancer therapies are progressing and as the globe enters epidemic times, health professionals are looking forward to plants for cancer prevention.
In light of the response, it was discovered that those who consume a plant-based diet have a 29% decreased risk of acquiring rectal cancer. Besides that, vegan food is more beneficial than the American Heart Association-recommended diet in lowering the risk of heart disease. Apart from great nutrition, plant-based meat products are rapidly replacing traditionally processed meat products because saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories are lower in plant-based meat than in animal-based meat.
During manufacturing plant-based meat, basic ingredients like soy, wheat, pea, and fava proteins, as well as starches, flours, and hydrocolloids, are being used to make plant-based meat similar to real animal meat. Besides that, food scientists used high-moisture extrusion and shear cell processing techniques to produce meat-like bites, less carbon emission effect, and more energy-efficient products. That again ensures its quality over animal-based meats.
Generally, pomegranate powder and soy leghemoglobin is used for the red color of fresh or rare beef. However, some manufacturers like Beyond Meat produce flesh substitutes with pea protein, which gives their goods a chewy, meat-like feel. As pea is regarded as a clean-label ingredient, it has additional benefits of being soy-free, gluten-free, and lactose-free.
Consider Mother Earth
Land, water, and energy are three precious natural resources vigorously used for food production. However, according to a report, when we look over animal protein food production, the amount of land consumed, the necessity of water, fossil fuel, or phosphate rock are several, which is dozens of times more than for soybean-based protein meals. The emission of acidifying chemicals, biocides, and copper from beef protein food production is also more than that of soybean-based protein food production.
When each life cycle of meat products has been extensively researched, it was found that plant-based diets emit fewer greenhouse gases than animal-based meals. After reviewing experts’ reports, you may have asked whether these plant-based meats meet real meat criteria when it comes to nutrition value. When you have heart conditions, then eating meats or meals heavy in saturated fats or trans fats may have certain negative effects that we are all aware of.
According to the research, switching from ground beef to a plant-based ground beef replacement product can be a healthy decision in several respects. It was even found that eating at least two servings of plant-based meat per week for eight weeks reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease compared to eating the same quantity of animal meat. But again, there is some negative news among so much good news. While too much salt makes plant-based meats more appetizing and shelf-stable, did you know that high sodium levels can induce harmful effects?
Not only that, but plant-based meats are highly processed and contain fewer nutritional components, which may be responsible for weight gain if the excess is taken. Yet, according to experts, plant-based meats may fit into a healthy diet if consumed in moderation and no more than a couple of times per week. In fact, plant-based diets are a low-cost, low-risk strategy to help decrease BMI, blood pressure, HbA1C, and cholesterol levels. So, when there is so much confusion, how do you choose plant-based foods to get their real benefits??
Before purchasing, some simple tricks that should be applied such as:
- Check label
Examine the Nutrition label and select a product that best meets your aim and objectives. The best options may be plant-based meats produced from allergen-free pea protein that contain all nine important amino acids in human diets.
- Check nutrional value
If you have a heart condition or weight issues, plant-based meats that are higher in sodium and saturated fats couldn’t be good options. Instead, read first and add meats that have a nutrient-dense ingredient list that includes whole foods. Furthermore, plant-based meats containing seitan or essential wheat gluten should be avoided for patients with celiac disease.
- Try out alternatives
While still confused, you may add substitutes such as Tofu, Tempeh, or chickpeas which are somewhat similarly effective when it comes to nutritional value.
Apart from pricy tags, safety measures, and the nutritional value of plant-based meats, it can save you from the unhealthy effects of junk foods. As the expert says, moderate consumption of plant-based meats can be helpful for reducing the monotonous experience of taste also. So are you ready to try some plant-based meats over real meats?