Plant-based meat products may be higher in sugar and lack key nutrients than real meat, according to a new study from The George Institute for Global Health.The study was published in Nutrition.
Increased consumption of plant-based meat products
Try “Vegetarian January”? Then, you’ve probably been adding plant-based meat products (also known as “meat analogs”) to your meals as a convenient alternative to real meat.The market for such products is growing exponentially and the estimated value ~$7.5 billion in 2021 – A figure ready to climb $15.8 billion by 2028.
There are a variety of different plant-based meat alternatives on the food market right now. Most are made using vegetable proteins (such as wheat, soy, pea, or rice protein) or fungal proteins. While these products may be viewed as “generally healthier” than meat, research exploring their overall health effects is limited. “Plant-based and processed meats are mostly in the ultra-processed category, so this raises concerns about their role in a healthy diet,” Say Maria ShahidData Analyst, Food Policy Division, The George Institute for Global Health.
Want more breaking news?
subscription technology network‘ The daily newsletter, delivering breaking science news straight to your inbox each day.
Shahid is a new research The nutritional content and nutritional quality of Australian plant-based meat alternatives and their meat equivalents were assessed and compared.
Analyzing the Nutritional Profile of Plant-Based and Processed Meats
Using the institute’s “FoodSwitch” database, Shahid and colleagues analyzed 790 products across eight food categories (132 plant-based foods and 658 meats). “Nutritional quality was assessed using the health star rating, energy (kJ), protein (g), saturated fat (g), sodium (mg), total sugars (g) and fiber content (g) per 100 g, and the NOVA classification food processing,” author WriteThe food categories analyzed in the study included burgers, ground meat, sausages, coated poultry, bacon plain poultry, meatballs, and pastry meats.
The protein profiles of plant-based meat alternatives and actual meat are similar. But only 12 percent of the 132 plant-based meat analogs analyzed were found to be fortified with key micronutrients found in meat that are essential to health, including iron, vitamin B12 and zinc. “While we found that plant-based meat products were generally healthier than processed meat products, healthier alternatives remained unprocessed lean meats and legumes, legumes and falafel,” Say Shahid.
How to Make Sure You’re Getting the Nutrients You Need in a Balanced Diet
In Australia, consumers are advised to limit their consumption of processed meat due to a potential link to an increased risk of cancer. “But it’s not as simple as a direct swap—if you don’t increase your intake of these essential nutrients from other sources, relying solely on meat substitutes as direct substitutes for meat over time could lead to iron, Zinc and B12 deficiencies, or take supplements” Explanation Dr Daisy Coylean accredited practicing dietitian (APD), a fellow at The George Institute and a co-author of the paper.
For those who want to consume plant-based meat alternatives but want to ensure they are getting the essential nutrients they need in a balanced diet, Coyle suggestion The following: “Make sure you eat other animal proteins such as eggs, cheese, milk, yogurt and/or iron-rich plant sources, including dark leafy vegetables like spinach and broccoli, as well as tofu, nuts and seeds, and Beans and legumes.”
Most importantly, moderation is key. “Until we learn more about the health effects of plant-based alternatives and make recommendations on how to include them as part of a healthy, balanced diet, they are best eaten in moderation with other plant-based proteins such as bean patties, falafel and tofu. Or, if you’re not vegetarian or vegan, raw lean meats and seafood,” she Summarize.
This article is a rework Press release Published by The George Institute for Global Health. Material has been edited for length and content.
refer to: Melville H, Shahid M, Gaines A, et al. Nutritional content of plant-based meat alternatives sold in Australia. Nutrition and Dietetics. 2023; not applicable (not applicable). two: 10.1111/1747-0080.12793.