The plant-based diet movement has gained momentum over the years as more and more people turn to vegetarian and vegan lifestyles. Some cite health as a reason, while others simply eat vegetarian in hopes of doing their bit for the planet. More people are willing to give up their burgers and steaks as public awareness of the livestock industry’s impact on the environment, and animal cruelty, rises.
David Yeung, co-founder of vegetarian venture Green Monday and plant-based meat brand Omnifoods, has seen this shift in consumer behavior since launching Omnipork in 2018. “We are seeing more customers driven primarily by sustainability, health, the environment and animal rights. , flexitarian, going vegetarian or vegan.”
Some meat-eaters are eager to embrace their role-playing instincts for the environment; Others include them for health reasons. A 2022 study from the Unilever Foods Innovation Center concluded that people who want to boost their health should look for a plant-focused diet. The report said, “Health officials recommend a more plant-based diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, pulses, whole grains and nuts, low in red meat and moderate in dairy, eggs, poultry and fish, both for would be beneficial to health and the environment.”
While eating more fruits and vegetables in their natural forms does the trick, are meat substitutes like the Beyond Burger or Impossible Chicken Nuggets essential nutrients for a plant-based diet? And should meat eaters swap their steaks for soy-based beef?
#Nutrition benefits of plant based meats
#a delicious trend
Nutritional benefits of plant based meats
Plant-based meat substitutes are nothing new; Think Tofurky and the veggie burger in the early 2000s. Consumers have become more open to the idea thanks to a new generation of meat replacements popping up on supermarket shelves.
These include offerings from Beyond Meats, Vegetarian Butcher and Hong Kong-based Omnifoods. One look at the back of a box of plant-based burgers and you’ll find a whole host of ingredients and additives. Pea and soy protein, vegetable oil, wheat gluten and pigment are among the most common ingredients that mimic the taste, color and texture of meat.
Although using 100 percent natural ingredients like Omnifoods, these meat substitutes are more processed than animal proteins. For the average omnivore, does it make sense to switch to plant-based meat?
Accredited sports nutritionist Alex Thomas says he focuses on any restrictive diets that cut out entire food groups. While he believes it is possible to get all the nutrients you need on a plant-based diet, he believes it requires a lot of planning and knowledge.
“For vegetarians, protein intake from complete protein sources is required, [vegans need to] Identify which vegetarian foods are rich in protein and how to combine them so that all proteins are complete. There may be iron, and B12 supplementation will also be necessary,” he says.
Yeung says products like Omnipork and Omnituna are excellent supplements for vegans and vegetarians for this reason. “Omnipork has better nutritional profiles than most meat products, and without antibiotics and hormones.”
Plant-based meats use non-GMO soy and ingredients to complement the vegetarian diet with protein.
It is also free from trans-fats and cholesterol. It contains no hormones, artificial colors, MSG, additional antibiotics or preservatives, which Yeung says are often laden with animal proteins and processed meats.
Despite advances in flavor and nutritional composition, some, including nutritionist, naturopath and founder of The Wellness Group Madeline Calfas, believe animal protein is still preferable and a better option for those who are vegetarian or vegan. don’t practice.
“Humans as a species are omnivores, and we are physically and biologically designed to eat meat and animal products,” she says. “Animal sources are where we get B12, heme iron, creatine, carnosine, vitamin D3, DHA (omega 3 fatty acids) and taurine. Animal proteins are generally much more easily absorbed than non-animal proteins. There is form to be.”
While he is one of the biggest concerns with plant-based meat with additives such as sugar, artificial colors and high levels of saturated fat, he believes that reducing meat consumption may be beneficial for some. could.
“Should we reduce the amount of meat we eat on a weekly basis? For some people, yes. Too much red meat can increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes and colorectal cancer.”
She advocates putting in the effort to read food labels, as you would any other processed food, and consuming them in moderation.
Despite our omnivorous nature, more people are adopting flexitarianism because of the environmental impacts of eating meat.
“When people choose plant-based products, the savings in water consumption, land-use, and greenhouse gas emissions are more than 90 percent,” Yeung says.
He says that plant-based meats are ten times more eco-efficient than their animal-based counterparts. “If people really become aware of the degrading environmental damage caused by industrial animal farming and excessive fishing, they will understand why alternative proteins actually play a vital role in saving the planet.”
Calfas sees that there is pressure on its clients to follow the social and environmental narrative of a plant-based diet. For some people, it works to their advantage. “The percentage of the population that thrives on a plant-based diet; Most of us don’t work anywhere near.”
Vegetarian Butcher is a plant-based meat producer founded in the Netherlands in 2010, on the principle that despite their desire to do their part for the planet, most people don’t want to give up meat entirely. Its founder Jaap Kortweg created its products to ensure that people who want to embrace the ecological benefits of a plant-based diet don’t have to feel like they are sacrificing taste and, in some cases, tradition. .
Despite their health claims, there’s no question the environmental impact on the growing popularity of plant-based meats.
a delicious trend
If Omnifoods’ partnership with F&B outlets is any indication, the plant-based meat trend is here to stay. “Restaurants and cooks are eager to get their hands on plant-based meats and come up with their signature plant-based cuisine, which allows them to reinvent and recreate their dishes,” says Young.
Along with vegetarian and vegan restaurants, several mainstream outlets such as Starbucks, McDonald’s Hong Kong, Four Seasons Hotel, Grand Hyatt Hotel and Ikea are expanding their offerings with plant-based meat options.
Beyond nutrition, food provides a great sense of comfort through its texture and taste, something that modern plant-based foods have finally grasped. As Calfas says, “They generally have a lot of flavor and a lot less like cardboard when they first popped into our fridges. If something tastes good, more people are going to want to eat it.” “
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