Switching to Plant-based Meat? Here’s What You Should Know
Most of the plant-based meat products are so versatile and enjoyable that people who don’t necessarily opt a plant-based diet relish consuming them too. However, not many are still sure about the benefits of plant-based meat foods in terms of health, despite their popularity. Researchers have been deeply studying the benefits as well as disadvantages of consuming plant-based meat products.
You must have observed that plant-based meat products are becoming extensively available these days. These products are made using ingredients derived from plants that can be used in recipes that usually use meat, thus making them vegetarian or vegan.
Today, there are meatless hot dogs, burgers, bacons, meatballs, ground crumbles, and even deli slices available for people who opt for meat-free diets or are vegetarians. Most of the plant-based meat products are so versatile and enjoyable that people who don’t necessarily opt a plant-based diet relish consuming them too.
However, not many are still sure about the benefits of plant-based meat foods in terms of health, despite their popularity. Researchers state that growth of the plant-based meat foods market (which includes substitutes for cheese, milk, eggs, and meat) surged by significantly in the U.S. As per a report by Research Dive, the North America plant-based meat market is expected to grow with a CAGR of 24.3% from 2020 to 2027. The reason behind this growth is the rising significance of vegan diet products and growing awareness about health hazards of consuming tainted meat products among people in this region.
However, the question that are these plant-based meat substitutes really healthy and healthier than animal meat still resides in minds of many. Let’s first understand what actually plant-based meat is.
Plant-based meat tends to look alike, is similar in taste, and matches texture to animal meat, however, it is completely made out of plants. Some of the common options plant-based meat products include are as below:
- Ground meats
- Hot dogs or sausages
- “Chicken” nuggets or strips
- “Fish” options like tuna, salmon, or prawns
Are Plant-Based Meat Products Healthy for You?
The health benefits of any product depend on the ingredients it is made up of. As animals and plants entirely differ in terms of nutrient contents, manufacturers as well as users usually compare plant-based products to animal products in terms of macro and micro-nutrients.
Also, some plant-based meat products are greatly processed and comprise artificial fillers and flavours that don’t give you any nutrients. Such products cannot be counted into healthy category. On the other hand, some products might possess high quantities of sugar, salt, or saturated fats, which cannot be healthy. Some plants do not possess certain nutrients that animal-based products offer, for instance, vitamin B12, which are not always added to animal meat-free products.
Researchers have been deeply studying the benefits as well as disadvantages of consuming plant-based meat products. Many studies revealed that a quality plant-based meat product may aid in boosting your health. One research review discovered that as compared to traditional diets (diets that suggest consumption of different macro-nutrients or diets that are in low calories), plant-based diets are efficient when it comes to managing weight, diabetes, and gut health.
Also, one research has linked the consumption of plant-based foods with abridged threat of coronary heart diseases by nearly 40%. However, it cannot be said that all plant-based meat products are completely healthy, some might still have a few drawbacks.
Key Takeaway Message!
A rising number of plant-based meat products are available these days, as many people are switching to vegan diets. Many of these products are extremely delicious and easily available that even individuals who are non-vegetarians love consuming them.
Considering the nutritional perspective, most of the highly processed meat substitutes are not essentially healthy adoptions. For example, they are likely to be high in sodium and saturated fats. Most of the time, food experts recommend consuming less-processed meat substitutes, for instance seitan and whole soy foods.
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