Is Plant-Based Meat Healthy? Pros & Cons
What is Plant-Based Meat?
What’s on your plate? If it’s not plant-based meat, you might be missing out on health, environmental and animal welfare benefits from a product that’s more accessible than you might think. Adding plant-based foods to your diet can be as easy as using plant-based meat substitutes in your traditional recipes or switching up the meat in your meal with plant-based meat.
Within the past decade, plant-based meat has become a hot topic in the food industry. While many carnivores are still hesitant to give up meat, plant-based meat is quickly growing in popularity.
Plant-based meat also referred to as clean meat, is made from any number of non-animal materials, most typically from soy, peas, or other beans. According to the Good Food Institute, “clean meat is real meat created using cell culture technology,” and the end product looks and tastes like conventional meat. Proponents of the Clean Meat movement claim that it has several benefits including a lower carbon footprint, being sustainable and being more ethical because it is cruelty-free.
The term “plant-based meat” can be used to describe several products. One is vegetarian burgers and sausages made from vegetables such as vegetables, nuts and grains. Typically, they’re marketed as healthier alternatives to their meat-based counterparts.
Benefits of Eating Plant-Based Meat
Most people aren’t aware of how eating plant-based meat can actually benefit health and wellness. In addition to the various health benefits, plant-based meats can help with the following:
- Hunger Control – Studies show that gut microbiota plays a role in hunger control. Producers of plant-based meats say their products are filling, satisfying and will curb your appetite for longer periods. Research also shows that the microorganisms in their products will contribute to the increased production of regulatory T cells.
- Low in Fat – Plant-based meats have little to no saturated fat. Choose levels of fat associated with lower cholesterol.
- Provide Essential Nutrients – Many plant-based types of meat include essential nutrients like iron, zinc, B vitamins and calcium. Some brands include fruits and vegetables that can add fibre and vitamin C to your meal plan.
- Protein – Protein is vital for the growth and repair of body tissue. Plant-based food contains protein from seeds, nuts and legumes in their complete form, meaning they provide all nine of the essential amino acids our bodies need. Animal protein on the other hand is only a partial protein and does not contain all nine essential amino acids.
Benefits of Eating Plant-Based Meat for Weight Loss
When you think of plant-based meat alternatives, you may think of something akin to cardboard. With advances in the field, however, healthy and sustainable plant-based meat substitutes are becoming more available than ever before.
The World Health Organization just confirmed something many of us have been saying for years, that processed meats are carcinogenic, meaning they can cause cancer. While we’re used to hearing that red meat is bad for you, this warning also applies to processed types of red meat.
While we all like to eat some traditional red meat once in a while, it’s not quite possible to give them up completely. Thankfully, plant-based meats are also good for you. In fact, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can actually help improve your overall health. It’s a great way to cut weight.
Studies show that substituting plant protein for animal protein can help people lose weight by lowering the overall number of calories consumed per day. A similar study found that eating more beans and pulses can help reduce body fat and lower blood pressure levels in women.
Plant-based meats have a lot of benefits for health. Not only do they improve heart health, but they can also help you lose weight. Our body is made up of proteins, carbs and fats. In plant-based products, these fats, especially saturated fats are not there, which is helpful in your weight loss journey.
Plant-based meats also provide an excellent source of vitamins and nutrients such as iron, zinc and B vitamins—vitamins that are often low in people who eat diets high in animal protein.
Cons of Plant-Based Meat
Meat has a bad rep because it contains saturated fats and cholesterol. It can also be a source of hormones and antibiotics, which can cause all kinds of health problems. The one upside to meat is the protein, but that’s where plant-based meats come in.
Soy can be genetically modified (GMO), which is something you may or may not want to ingest. Soy is also a common allergen that upsets the stomach and can prevent absorption of other nutrients.
Plant-based meat is ideally a great substitute for those who want to reduce the amount of meat they are consuming daily. It has been noted that consumers are thinking more and more about how the food they eat is produced and this is one of the key factors behind the rise in popularity of plant-based meat. However, with increased popularity comes increased risks. Consumers should educate themselves on the faux meats they are buying to be sure they are genuinely reducing their meat intake.
The rest of these brands use an abundance of additives for their plant-based meats to make them look like their real meat counterparts. If you don’t believe us, you can check the nutritional information on packages.
There are plenty of reasons to go plant-based. Whether you're concerned about the environmental impact of meat, want to lose weight, or just want to make a change for the better, switching to a vegan diet can certainly help you achieve your goals.