Choosing to cut out meat altogether and start eating an alternative may or may not be such a good idea if you are doing it for health reasons.
More and more people are changing to a vegan diet and it is now so easy as there are so many alternative vegan meats to choose from. Everywhere you look there are new plant-based meats hitting the market. You have brands like Impossible, Bocaburger, Field Roast, Gardenin Chick’n, Beyond Meat, Tofurky and there are many more.
And vegans are also no longer restricted to only buying suitable plant-based foods in their supermarkets or local grocery stores. Most restaurants today also accommodate vegans and have plant-based dishes on their menus so it is really so much easier to make the change to a vegan diet and live a regular life.
How much do we know about what is in vegan meat? Should we perhaps be asking more questions? After all, as we know, one of the main reasons people often switch to a vegan diet is because they want to improve their health. How do we know if it is really healthy?
But choosing to cut out meat altogether and start eating an alternative may, or may not, be such a good idea if you are doing it for health reasons.
So for all our vegan or would-be vegan readers who want to kick back and relax with a veggie-burger while enjoying their Juicy Stakes poker bonuses let’s see what these meat alternatives are all about.
What does vegan meat actually consist of?
Well, each meat alternative is made up of different ingredients, depending on the brand. Some of these meats do include a fair amount of nutrients and not a huge amount of processed foods. However, there are a lot of vegan meat options that are very popular, mainly because they do taste like the real thing, but are probably not very healthy to consume.
Vegan meats usually include, as well as other things, the following ingredients:
Soy, pulses and an assortment of vegetables, like peas for example and fruits, like figs.
All these ingredients are perfectly good and healthy. However, it is how they are processed that may alter just how healthy they ultimately become. Meat has a particular taste and those seeking alternatives want something that will taste good and similar to the real thing.
Food manufacturers will add all kinds of other ingredients including a lot of salt, artificial coloring and wheat gluten in order to achieve a better taste. So, the chances are that if it tastes amazingly like meat, it has probably been highly processed. But not all the plant-based meats are equally unhealthy but the ones that taste as good as real meat are probably just as unhealthy as authentic processed meat.
There are other benefits to eating plant-based meat. It is better for the environment and it protects animal life. But if it is a healthier way of life you are seeking, then you should be sure to do some homework and be selective about the ‘meat’ you choose.
What should you be concerned about?
As previously mentioned, in order to make the ‘meat’ taste like real meat it has undergone a lot of processing. This will involve the addition of many synthetic or non-natural products such as “soya protein isolate, soya protein concentrate, and textured vegetable protein”.
Using these ingredients, the meat then becomes a highly processed food and is not particularly healthy as highly processed foods increase our risk of diseases like obesity, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and dementia.
Lack of nutrients
Real meat, like beef and pork and also chicken contain all 9 amino acids that our bodies require. Therefore, when you consume real meat, you give your body a complete protein. Many plant-based meats are made up of things that are themselves not complete proteins, like pulses and vegetables and therefore you will need to find out exactly what nutrients are missing in order to make sure you get them from somewhere else.
There are plant-based complete proteins such as tofu and tempeh which can be marinated with natural ingredients in order to give a very interesting and pleasing taste.
Low in protein
Real meat contains more protein than most vegan meats on the market. The Majority of adults need around 0.8 grams of protein for each kilo they weigh. Therefore, if you are consuming vegan meats instead of real meat you will likely need to supplement your diet with other high-protein foods, like nuts.
High levels of sodium and saturated fats
A major problem with vegan meat is that it is generally very high in sodium. In the same way as regular processed meat, vegan meat also contains a lot of salt. Most processed foods contain a lot of salt and it is here that most of us get sodium in our diets. The best rule is to read the label of any product that you assume is healthy and check the sodium level.
Another thing to check is the type of fat that the product contains. Many vegan meats may use saturated fats, for example coconut oil. These should be avoided especially if you have high cholesterol or are at risk for heart disease.
Wanting to give up meat and switching to vegan meats may not be a healthy choice. We have seen that generally they are highly processed which is not a good thing. However, there are some good meat alternatives on the market and it is important to read the labels before you buy to make sure you are buying a healthy product. It is possible to find plant-based meat alternatives that have been made with healthier ingredients.
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