With the global trend of plant-based meat gaining traction, more people than ever are eager to try it and incorporate it into their diets. People around the world are adding it as a source of protein or consuming it on the days they can’t eat meat for some reasons or if they have turned vegetarian and miss meat.
What Exactly Is Plant-Based Meat?
Meat products such as beef, bacon, and sausage are derived from animals such as pigs (pork), cows (beef), and chicken. Plant-based meat, on the other hand, may resemble and taste like your favourite meats, but it is made from meat-free ingredients such as soy, pea, wheat gluten, pulses, or even jackfruit. According to a 2021 article published in Nutrients, plant-based meat can also contain added salt, artificial colours, flavours, and processing aids to create a “meat-like” sensory appeal. Plant-based bacon, meatballs, and other plant-based meats will have a similar flavour, texture, and appearance to traditional meat versions, but will not contain any animal products.
While many people choose plant-based meats for animal welfare or environmental reasons, many others do so because they believe it is healthier than eating a piece of chicken, steak, or other meat. Regardless of a person’s motivation for eating these meat substitutes, it is clear that this trend is not going away anytime soon, as plant-based meat markets have grown significantly.
Plant-based meats appear to be a natural solution that allows people to enjoy their favourite foods while complying with their health recommendations if you have been advised to limit your intake of processed meats, red meat, or any animal-based product. However, some experts believe that relying on plant-based bacon, sausage, and other heavily processed meat alternatives may be too good to be true and may not be the health solution we seek. Let’s have a look at the benefits and harms of plant based meat.
What are the main components of plant-based meat products?
The ingredients derived from these plant-based sources have a meat-like texture. Here are some popular places to find plant-based meat products:
- Wheat gluten or seitan
- Pea protein
- Potato starch
- Coconut oil
What are the benefits of eating plant-based meat?
Aids in the reduction of harmful bacteria
Plant-based protein contains less saturated fat, which is bad for your heart. This protein is also easier to digest and does not contain any harmful bacteria. It keeps you healthy and strong by assisting your immune system in its fight against disease.
Gives athletic results
Protein is an essential ingredient when training for any sport or maintaining a fit and muscular body. They help reduce cardiovascular risks and body fat, resulting in a leaner body. All of these factors are important not only for athletes, but for everyone. They work together to promote a healthy lifestyle and improve overall health.
Maintains gut health
The more plant-based protein you consume, the healthier your gut will be. Plant-based foods are high in fibre and nutrients, which aid in detoxification. They also aid in the development of various microbial systems in the gut.
Reduces health risks
Plant-based meat ingredients are high in minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, all of which are beneficial to your health. Another significant advantage of plant-based meat is its effect on heart health. It lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease and improves your overall health and well-being. Eating less meat reduces the risk of the following diseases:
- Blood pressure that is too high
- Cardiovascular disease
- Diabetes mellitus type 2
- There are numerous types of cancer.
- High levels of cholesterol
To some extent, eating plant-based meats helps reduce animal cruelty in slaughterhouses. Many plant-based meats have a similar texture and taste to animal meat, making the transition to these products or becoming vegetarian or vegan easier.
Risks associated with plant based meat
- Animal-based meat is frequently high in saturated fats and cholesterol, two of the leading causes of heart disease. Processed meats, such as bacon and sausage, are high in sodium, which increases the risk of heart disease.
- Plant-based diets necessitate careful consideration of what you put into your body. You must consume a well-balanced diet rich in nutrients such as vitamins, proteins, and zinc. Focusing solely on plant-based protein foods can lead to a lack of other nutrients.
- Eating plant-based foods may result in a protein-deficient diet. This is due to the fact that some foods, such as rice and beans, are incomplete protein sources unless combined with other sources. Make sure you consume enough amino acids by eating a plant-based diet. Amino acids aid in protein absorption.
- The body does not produce vitamin B12. Animal-based diets contain a significant amount of vitamin B12. To keep your vitamin B12 levels stable, eat beets, potatoes, and mushrooms.
How do you pick the best plant-based meat?
The term “plant-based” refers to the use of plants in the production of food. While this type of meat has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, the key to healthy and safe consumption is in your food selection. When selecting plant-based meat alternatives, make sure to:
- Examine the nutritional value and calorie count.
- Scan the ingredients to make sure that it suits your needs
- To be certain about the additives, carefully read the labels.
You can eat plant-based meat safely, healthily, and heartily if you make the right choices. Before beginning to consume plant-based meat products, consult with a doctor to determine which foods or substitutes are best for you.