24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
(361)575-0611
Fax: (361)578-5500
Regular Hours: M-Fri 8am - 5pm
Every 3rd Thurs of the Month - Extended Hours Until 7 pm

Nutrition
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
Salmonella Outbreak in 37 States Linked to Imported OnionsChina, U.S. Lead World in Saltiest Processed Meats, FishAmericans Are Eating More Ultra-Processed FoodsFDA Reduces Recommended Salt Levels in Americans' FoodDiet Drinks May Thwart Efforts to Lose WeightSecond Report on Toxins in Baby Foods Finds Continuing ProblemsMIND Diet May Guard Against Alzheimer'sFruits, Veggies a Recipe for Mental Well-Being in KidsCould a Japanese Plant Turn Cold Cuts Into Healthy Fare?Could Your Genes Be to Blame for Your Kid's Aversion to Broccoli?Dairy Foods May Be Good for You After AllAHA News: Food Insecurity's Long-Term Health ConsequencesPandemic Changed Families' Eating Habits, for Good and Bad: PollDiets That Lower Brain Iron Could Keep You SharpAHA News: Just How Healthy Are Pomegranates?Cutting Sugar in Packaged Foods Would Keep Millions of Americans From Illness: ReportDaily Coffee May Protect the HeartChange in the Kitchen Could Help Men in the BedroomFratelli Beretta Antipasto Trays Are the Source of Salmonella Outbreak: CDCA Little Wine & Certain Foods Could Help Keep Blood Pressure HealthyWhy Water Is Key to Your Heart's HealthSalmonella Illness in 17 States Tied to Salami, ProsciuttoWant That Healthy Skin Glow? These Foods Can Get You ThereVitamin D Might Help Prevent Early-Onset Colon CancerBreaded, Raw Chicken Recalled in Multi-State Salmonella OutbreakU.S. Kids Are Eating More 'Ultraprocessed' FoodsDiet Key to Better Health in People With DiabetesAHA News: Are Figs Good for You? Get the Whole Sweet StoryEating Less Meat Means a Healthier HeartChanging Diets Mean More Americans Are Anemic NowWant to Avoid Dementia? Add Some Color to Your PlateMcCormick Recalls Seasonings Over Salmonella RiskSimple Step Gets More School Kids Eating Their VeggiesEating Meat Raises Risk of Heart Disease: StudyCoffee Won't Upset Your Heartbeat. It Might Even Calm ItFermented Foods Could Boost Your MicrobiomeMany College Students Are Trying Out the New 'Fake Meats'Whole Grains Every Day: Key to Your Health and WaistlineAverage Soda Fountain Serving Exceeds Daily Recommended Added SugarsAHA News: How to Eat Right and Save Money at the Same TimePlant-Based Diet Best for Your HeartListeria Outbreak Linked to Precooked Chicken: CDCCan You Eat Your Way to Fewer Migraines?AHA News: Watermelon Is a Summertime Staple. But What's Hidden Behind the Sweetness?Most Americans Don't Follow Diets That Could Prevent CancerDelicious & Deadly: Southern U.S. Diet Tied to Higher Odds for Sudden DeathPotato Chips, Fatty Lunches Greatly Raise Your Heart RisksCoffee Could Perk Up Your LiverHow Healthy Are the New Plant-Based 'Fake Meats'?Fast-Food Companies Spending More on Ads Aimed at Youth
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

Wellness and Personal Development

How Healthy Are the New Plant-Based 'Fake Meats'?

HealthDay News
by By Steven Reinberg HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Jun 17th 2021

new article illustration

THURSDAY, June 17, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- More and more Americans are seeking out healthier, greener and more ethical alternatives to meat, but are plant-based alternatives like the Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat truly nutritious substitutes?

The answer is yes, according to new research funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. It found the imitation meats to be a good source of fiber, folate and iron while containing less saturated fat than ground beef. But the researchers said they also have less protein, zinc and vitamin B12 — and lots of salt.

"Switching from ground beef to a plant-based ground beef alternative product can be a healthy choice in some ways," said lead researcher Lisa Harnack, of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, in Minneapolis.

Her advice: Read the Nutrition Facts label and choose a product that best matches your health and nutrition goals.

For example, if you're limiting sodium to control high blood pressure, steer clear of products that are high in salt, Harnack said.

"If you're watching saturated fat intake for heart health, read the label to make sure you're choosing a product that is low in saturated fat," she said. "A few products contain as much or nearly as much saturated fat as ground beef."

For the study, Harnack's team used a University of Minnesota food and nutrient database that includes 37 plant-based ground beef alternative products made by nine food companies.

The products analyzed are from Amy's Kitchen, Inc.; Beyond Meat; Conagra, Inc.; Impossible Foods Inc.; Kellogg NA Co.; Kraft Foods, Inc.; Marlow Foods Ltd.; Tofurky; and Worthington.

Although these plant-based products can be healthy alternatives to beef, Harnack hopes their manufacturers will make them even healthier by keeping salt to a minimum.

"Food companies should work to optimize the nutritional quality of their products, especially with respect to the amount of salt and other sodium-containing ingredients used in formulating veggie burgers and other plant-based ground beef alternative products," Harnack said.

Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at NYU Langone Health in New York City, reviewed the findings.

She noted that the World Health Organization has classified processed meats (deli meats, bacon and sausage) as potentially cancer-causing, and red meat (veal, lamb, beef and pork) as probable cancer-causing substances, due to the processing, compounds in the meat and cooking methods.

"Limiting consumption of red and processed meats significantly lowers one's intake of saturated fat," Heller said.

The sodium in some plant-based imitation meats may be moderate to high, but if most of the foods people eat are less-processed ones, it should not be a problem, she added.

"All in all, eating more plants and fewer animals is good for your health and the health of the planet," Heller said.

But "meat alternative" is not an ideal term, she added, because it sets up expectations of taste.

"While some plant-based 'meats' come close to the taste and texture of real meat, the idea is that these foods offer a different choice for protein, not a one-on-one swap out for meat or other animal foods," Heller explained.

Many options exist for those seeking a more plant-based diet, she said.

"Whole foods are best, but there is plenty of wiggle room to include plant-based meat, dairy, poultry and egg alternatives," Heller advised. "On a daily basis if we eat a balanced, more plant-rich diet, we should be able to meet our nutrient needs."

The findings were published June 15 in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

More information

For more on plant-based diets, head to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

SOURCES: Lisa Harnack, DrPH, RD, MPH, professor, division of epidemiology and community health, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Minneapolis; Samantha Heller MS, RD, CDN, senior clinical nutritionist, NYU Langone Health, New York City; Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, June 15, 2021