Plant-based diets are highly common all around the world and only in the US, nearly 6% to 8% population has turned vegan or vegetarian. They have found the alternative of all their favorite foods including plant-based meat substitutes, which taste exactly the same. With thousands of people switching to the plant diet, health experts are concerned if these people are getting all nutrients from their diet or living with any deficiency.
The reasons to go vegan or vegetarian are very compelling such as a person is health-conscious, an animal lover, or concerned with environmental protection. These plant-based foods are very convenient and to everyone’s surprise, there are so many options in food and drinks which make it even more exciting.
While there are substitutes for almost everything, for example, cheese, ice cream, and yogurt, there is a plant-based meat substitute too which not only tastes but also looks like real meat. There are over 30 vendors that are producing these plant-based healthier foods right now and the number of their customers is growing every month.
The introduction of all plant-based foods especially plant-based meat substitute may surprise some people or subject them to question if these are healthy or not. While there are so many meat-like products there is clearly a division between what to eat for a healthier plant-based diet.
Some of the plant-based meat substitutes are actually highly processed which denies the whole purpose of ‘eating healthy’. These foods are made with certain plants i.e. soybeans, wheat, peas, etc but the process to give them a final look involves so many unhealthy procedures. Many times, these plant-based ingredients are added into preservatives, additives, artificial colors, taste enhancers, and seasonings. Interestingly, a survey from 2019, based on “20 top-selling pre-formed plant-based burger patties’ at local American stores by New Hope Network revealed that there are at least 17 different ingredients inside burgers and some of the products contain up to 27 ingredients inside. So are these plant-based meat substitutes really healthy?
Even though plant-based meat substitutes are a result of lots of unhealthy ingredients and procedures, they are still better than many other products. They are safer for the environment as well as animals, besides, there is no difference in taste.
According to a Poll Study, nearly 68% of respondents showed interest in switching to plant-based meat substitutes if there is no change in the taste. On the other side, nearly 47% of people from the same poll reported that they hesitate to eat it because they are doubtful about its taste.
A study published in the journal named The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that people who switched to plant-based meat for the next eight weeks reported relatively low TMAO levels as compared to other people eating meat. TMAO is one of the major risk factors for many cardiovascular diseases, some of which are fatal. Although this evidence is enough to predict the health benefits of plant-based foods but more and bigger studies are required to confirm these benefits in the long run.