Is Fake Meat A Healthy Alternative?

Fake Meat Packet Ingredients

Are you looking to jump on the fake meat trend right now? You might want to think again. While the marketing says it’s better for your health and the environment, the reality is this fake meat is simply over-processed food-like products. It has more in common with cheap deli meat than with a high-quality steak.

What Exactly Is Fake Meat?

Basically, meat alternatives is a processed food-like product that is supposed to look, taste, and/or resemble real meat.

But, no matter how much it looks like meat, it is not a healthier alternative.

It can be made out of various types of material. For the longest time, soy was the primary protein used to make fake meats. But, in the past decade, others have come out, including other types of legumes, peas, and starches such as potatoes.

Health Benefits of Fake Meat

Sounds good. There are a few health benefits. First, many of these fake meats are lower in saturated fats. Many of them are lower in fat overall. During the processing, a lot of vitamins and minerals get added to the processed product for a higher nutritional value.

Many studies have shown that reducing the consumption of animal-based protein can help people be healthier.

Some people even claim this is environmentally beneficial, reducing the carbon imprint and reducing waste. However, we’ll get to the real truth of that later.

The Problems with Fake Meat

For all the supposed health benefits, there’s a lot of problems with fake meat. First of all, it is not a substitute for protein. Plant-based proteins are not adequate for supplying all of a human’s amino acid needs, and all of the products tested fall far short of their protein and amino acid content in independent tests. Many of them barely register as containing protein.

If you want a more natural, sustainable diet, remember that these fake meats are extremely over-processed food-like products. Whole vegetables are taken and ground up, heated, emulsified, chemically altered, packaged, and resterilized before even reaching your table to be cooked again.

Although they are lower in saturated fat, the fats used in these fake meats are often cheap, over-processed vegetable oils. Healthier omega-3 fatty acids and other beneficial fats go rancid in the type of environment required for packaging these fake meats, so they are only token additions, mere drops swimming in this vat of over-processed junk.

And vegetable mush does not taste like meat. Chemicals and other additives need to be added to the product to get it to taste, look, and even bleed like regular meat. All those tasty and feel-good experiences with fake meats are chemically induced, not natural.

And that’s not even saying what’s it doing to our digestive system. So far, there are no studies to show how consuming this fake meat affects a person’s digestive system, immune responses, or overall health.

And then there is the environmental concern. Manufacturers cite the lower carbon imprint of artificial meats, citing how farming and growing vegetables produces less pollution. However, processing the fake meat and the associated chemicals produces more emissions than raising the same amount of beef.

When you combine it with nearly double the amount of plastic waste required to wrap the product, ship the chemicals, and go into food handling utensils, you end up with a product that will produce more landfill waste, carbon emissions, and dangerous by-products.

Finally, there’s the FBS. If you’re sensitive, we recommend not reading this paragraph. To get the FBS, cows – before they’re even born – have their blood extracted and purified to create this product. So not only does this fake meat still require bovine production, it requires a factory setting and nearly inhumane conditions to produce it. If you’re looking at a gentler and environmentally friendly option, this is your worst choice.

What To Do To Eat Less Meat and Still Be Healthy

It’s not all bad news, however. Study after study shows naturally raised cows on smaller farms produce fewer emissions and produce higher quality meat. You can support these small, local farms by visiting local butcher shops and becoming part of co-ops. In the grocery store, choose organic.

Higher quality meat tastes better and satisfies you more than larger, lower quality meat. High-quality meat contains lower saturated fat and higher omega-3 fatty acids, plus a higher quality of protein. In the long run, you will spend less and be healthier.

Choosing a more natural and healthy diet means you’re going to eat more vegetables, which will naturally reduce the portion of meat you’re eating. You can also vary your diet, choosing unusual meat sources such as rabbit, squirrel, goat, and game meats. These are all becoming much more popular and available in different markets.

While it is trendy, fake meats are precisely that: Fake. Go natural and keep it simple. Choose organic, local, and higher-quality meat to satisfy your needs and you will naturally lower the amount you eat and be more environmentally friendly.