What is plant-based meat? What are its pros and cons?

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 What is plant-based meat? What are its pros and cons?
Image source: © Skypixel | Megapixl.com
                                 

Highlights

  • Plant-based meats are prepared entirely from plants but resemble meat. 
  • Plant-based diets can help fight weight loss and diabetes. 
  • Consumer adoption of these items has been on the rise, owing to better nutritional value and eco-friendly factors.  
  • Some meat substitutes are high in sodium and may contain additives. 

For health, ethical, or environmental reasons, consumer preference for plant-based meat has been increasing over the past few years. Many people assume that eating more plant-based foods will improve their health as well as the environment.  

Plant-based meat has the potential to be a solution for environmental problems on a global scale in the long run. Some people, however, may be sceptical that it supplies the same nutrients as meat. Different brands of plant-based meat have different nutrient density as well as nutritional strengths and weaknesses. A person's dietary intake should constantly be considered in light of how it may affect their health. 

This page examines the various varieties of plant-based meat and their benefits and drawbacks.  

Also read: What is meatless meat? Is it slowly replacing animal-based meat? 

What are plant-based meat and meat product? 

Plant-based meats are meals that resemble meat but are produced entirely from plants. Some of the types and forms of meat and fish that have vegetarian-friendly alternatives include:    

  • ground meat 
  • sausages 
  • chicken 
  • scampi 
  • prawns
  • salmon 

Plant-based, or "fake," meat is made with a range of ingredients. Some vegan items are available, while others contain non-vegan components like egg and milk. Brands can utilise a variety of ingredients in plant-based meat products such as soy and tofu, pea protein, beans, wheat gluten, and vegetables. 

 Plant-based burger

Image source: © Skypixel | Megapixl.com

Must Read: Top lifestyle trends of 2021   

Can consumption of plant-based meat make you healthy? 

Plant-based components are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. According to various studies, plant-based diets can help with weight loss and diabetes. Moreover, they suggest that these products can aid in the prevention of a variety of health problems, including hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. 

Official bodies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), have raised concerns about carcinogens found in red and processed meat, which may increase the risk of cancer. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), eating more plant protein instead of meat may enhance heart health. 

Good Read: Why the world needs a more sustainable & equitable food system?  

Some plant-based goods, on the other hand, may contain fillers and salt, as well as saturated fats. Furthermore, while some producers include vitamin B12 — a vital nutrient for the human body — in their goods, others do not, making plant-based meat inferior in this regard. Plant-based meat may also be deficient in zinc and other micronutrients compared to traditional meat. 

Can plant-based meat keep you healthy?

Pros and Cons of meat-based products 

Fibre and natural phytochemicals that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which you may receive from some meatless alternatives, are two things that meat and dairy products lack. Meat alternatives are richer in fibre and lower in saturated fats. They can also deliver the same amount of protein as ground beef and have a similar flavour.  

Related Read: Behaviours to inculcate for a better living  

Plant-based meat consumes 47%–99% less land than traditional meat. Despite providing only 17 percent of humanity's food supply, animal agriculture consumes 77 percent of all agricultural land on the planet. Agricultural expansion, which is the single largest driver of environmental degradation on land, is driven by this inefficiency. 

On the other hand, these plant-based meats have some disadvantages as well. Some meat substitutes are high in sodium and contain a lot of food colourings other textural additions. One should be a discerning consumer and read labels properly.  

Meat alternatives frequently include palm and coconut oils. In case, there is any food allergies or sensitivities, one should consider soy or tempeh which are high in protein and have the fewest additives. 

Also Read: How to stay healthy post retirement?  

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