PLANT-BASED MEAT ALTERNATIVES, ARE THEY HEALTHY?
Plant-based meat alternatives have been becoming increasingly popular and available not only in your local grocery store or cafe, but at fast-food restaurants as well. Brands like Beyond Meat, Impossible, and Cena Vegan are some of the more popular alternatives that offer a variety of products and meal options.
Beyond Meat prides itself as being “the future of protein,” offering “beef” crumbles, hamburgers, and sausage. You can now find Beyond Meat being offered at TGI Friday’s, Burger King, Carl’s Jr., McDonald’s,and Del Taco to name a few.
Beyond Meat is non-GMO, gluten-free, and soy-free. Their website claims that by removing the animal from the protein production, they are able to address four major problems pertaining to livestock. These include improving human health, positively impacting climate change, addressing global resource constraints, and improving animal welfare.
Impossible is another popular brand that you can find locally or at restaurant chains. While the impossible meat contains soy, the impossible brand is on a mission to “save the Earth,” claiming that just oneImpossible burger will save the equivalent of 96% less land, 87% less water, and 89% fewer GHG emissions.Cena Vegan, another alternative, offers authentic Latin America flavorful “meats” that are said to be high in protein with no trans fat or cholesterol. They claim that their meats reduce the intake of trans fat and calories, while reducing carbon footprint, and avoiding factory farming.Sounds great, but are meat alternatives healthy?
Options!When we think of plant-based, we think healthy, but that isn’t always the case when you consider that there are many processed plant-based products. Being conscious of questionable ingredients and the amounts of sodium and saturated fats are things that should be considered when looking to purchase plant-based meat alternatives.A plant-based burger can be just as unhealthy as a regular beef burger. Some ingredients to be aware of and to avoid when shopping are; magnesium carbonate which is known to retain the color in foods, but also known to be used inflooring. Erythrosine, artificial food coloring, and linked to cancer back in the 90’s; Propylene, a liquid used in e-cigarettes and antifreeze; and Tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), a synthetic preservative that prevents discoloration in processed foods.Being aware of what we eat is something we should do whether we eat the standard American diet, or plant-based diet. Reading labels and educating yourself on the ingredients are crucial to your overall health, and your health should be a priority.