Can plant-based meat be considered a healthier alternative to real meat?

The plant-based meat movement is gaining significant momentum due to growing environmental, animal welfare and health concerns, and the desire for more food variety. It is frequently incorporated into a typical meal rotation.

those who do not follow strict vegetarianism, Vegan diet turns to plant-based meat for health reasons. Decades of research have consistently shown that diets high in meat can increase the risk of various diseases.

For example, a 2021 study published in BMC Medicine analyzed data from 475,000 people over eight years. They found a significant association between diets high in processed, unprocessed and poultry meats and an increased risk of digestive disorders such as diverticula, gallbladder disease and diabetes.

Aside from digestive disorders and diabetes, a diet high in meat is also associated with an increased risk of heart disease. was found to increase the risk of coronary heart disease by 18%. On the other hand, adding 50 grams of unprocessed red meat increases risk by 9%.

Plant-based meats are similar in nutritional value

A diet high in saturated fat increases the risk of heart disease.  (Photo via Pexels/cottonbro studio/)
A diet high in saturated fat increases the risk of heart disease. (Photo via Pexels/cottonbro studio/)

According to RDN owner Kim Kulp, gut health In the San Francisco Bay Area, plant-based meats are better for animal welfare and the environment.

However, it is not necessarily healthier than traditional meat options. vegetable meat Compared to lean ground meat, it may contain higher levels of saturated fat and sodium, which can raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease.

A diet high in saturated fat and sodium increases the risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that saturated fat intake should not exceed 5% of his daily calories. This equates to about 13 grams on a 2,000 calorie diet. high sodium Ingestion leads to high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and heart failure. To reduce these risks, the AHA suggests limiting her sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams per day.

To address this problem, some plant-based meat manufacturers are developing alternatives for individuals who want to reduce their saturated fat and sodium intake.

For example, Impossible Foods recently launched Beef Lite, which has 75% less saturated fat than the original product and is comparable to 90/10 lean meat. A 4-ounce serving of beef lite has just 1 gram of saturated fat and 6 grams of fiber, which many Americans don’t get enough of.

Nonetheless, it contains 260 milligrams of sodium, which is more than is found in regular beef.

AHA Advises Individuals to Reduce Meat Consumption (Photo via Pexels/Leonardo Luz)
AHA Advises Individuals to Reduce Meat Consumption (Photo via Pexels/Leonardo Luz)

The American Heart Association (AHA) advises individuals to reduce meat consumption to improve cardiovascular health and avoid digestive disorders associated with meat-rich diets.

However, switching to vegan meat may not be the ultimate solution, as it has similar nutritional value to conventional meat. Yes, and often contain more sodium and added oils. Nevertheless, some companies are creating healthier options for those who want to limit their intake of these ingredients. However, scrutinizing food labels is essential when choosing plant-based meats to consume.

Molly Snyder (RDN), owner of Full-Filled Nutrition, believes that choosing between plant-based and traditional meats is a personal goal, whether it’s a nutritional goal or reducing your carbon footprint. suggests that it is based on

“It comes down to individualized nutrition that takes into account all food frequencies, health conditions, and goals,” she says.

Plant-based meats are a good option for those who don’t eat meat at all, as they provide a convenient source of protein. However, it is recommended to consume vegetable meat in moderation. Instead, include a variety of whole food protein sources in your diet.

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