Plant-based meat sounds like an oxymoron or an internet joke to laymen, but in fact, it is a real thing. Over the years, the trend of veganism has soared across the globe with more and more people turning vegan. The demand for plant-based products including food, drinks, clothing, etc. has increased dramatically worldwide. Although vegan products such as tofu and soy milk are quite popular among common people, plant-based meat remains one major anomaly. So what exactly is plant-based meat?
It is, of course, not real meat although it mimics meat products. Plant-based meat is a term used to describe foods that imitate meat products, except they are made from plants. These products provide a healthy vegetarian alternative to various meat-based products such as chicken, burgers, sausages, salmon, tuna, ground meat, and many more. So next question is, what exactly goes into plant-based meat? Manufacturers use different types of plant-based products including soy, tofu, potato starch, pea protein, vegetables, nuts, coconut oil, beans, and lentils. There is a massive variety of plant-based meat available in supermarkets for customers to choose from.
Plant-based meat has been endorsed as a perfect alternative to common meat products. However, one of the most important things that need to be considered is the health benefits of plant-based meat products. Since these meat alternatives are sourced from plants, they are full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are beneficial for health. As a matter of fact, many studies have suggested that plant-based meat can be useful for individuals with diabetes, obesity, and microbiome. Since the calorie intake of these substitute meat products is significantly less than conventional meat, it can also help prevent various health issues such as cardiovascular disease and hypertension. One of the major adverse effects of eating convention meat is the potential risk associated with cancer. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), red and processed meats contain carcinogens that may increase the risk of cancer. As a result of this, plant-based meat can provide an excellent alternative with a similar taste and appearance.
That being said, there are certain factors that need to be considered while eating plant-based meat. Generally, these meat products could be higher in sodium as compared to their counterparts. The high content of sodium can give rise to high blood pressure or even stroke. Furthermore, some plant-based meat products are high in saturated fats and less zinc that can significantly affect the body. However, if the content of these materials is adequately controlled then, plant-based meat can be a unique alternative for conventional meat with lots of healthy benefits. Therefore, clinicians and dietitians suggest moderate use of plant-based meat with its consumption being no more than twice a week. It is important to note that these meat alternatives cannot be the only source of protein.
Plant-based meat products have become massively popular across the globe with many fine-dining restaurants offering vegan alternatives. With growing adoption of a vegan diet, the demand for plant-based meat products is likely to surge in the coming years. However, they need to be consumed in a limited manner as suggested by clinicians.