The Pros And Cons Of Vegan Meat
Beyond Burgers is making a big splash. They supposedly taste just like a burger made from real meat but are entirely plant-based. If you're curious about them, then you may be wondering if there are any benefits to cutting back on your meat intake by adding these products to your diet. Here are a few of the pros and cons of vegan meat (and veggie burgers) to help you decide if they're worth exploring.
What Is Vegan Or Fake Meat?
A delicious veggie burger looks like a meat patty from a distance. However, it is actually made from fake meat! Technically, it's called “plant-based meat.” This type of burger is made using textured wheat gluten or corn starch. To mimic the look and feel of real meat, these fake meat products have a protein-based “beef” texture, a chew similar to that of animal flesh, and a taste similar to ground beef.
They look and feel just like ground beef but contain no animal products. However, that doesn't mean you can eat them guilt-free! According to the FDA, fake meat products are a “prohibited new animal drug” that's “similar to meat products.” This means that they could be unsafe for consumption by anyone, whether they are vegetarian or not. The term “fake meat” describes food not based on meat and dairy proteins but is usually made out of plants.
The main distinction is that these products have been able to make their way onto supermarket shelves and into restaurants, though some still rely on animal proteins. Some types of fake meat include Boca Burgers, Tofurky, Quorn Foods, Tempeh, and Impossible Foods.
According to Vegetarian Journeys, even if you're not willing to add any of these meat replacements to your diet, you can still reap many of the same benefits as eating meat. For example, the key nutrients that vegetarians receive from plant-based sources such as vegetables and beans can also help you feel less bloated.
Beyond Meat claims its burgers and sausages are “plant protein with the texture, juiciness and flavour of beef.” They're basically a meat substitute made from plants, or what some call “plant meat.” Their burger patties, for example, are made from peas, lentils and potatoes. They are produced by retorting the pea protein to soy protein to create something that looks and tastes just like meat.
Beyond Burgers are made from grains such as peas, brown rice and wheat flour. Soy-based products are what allow Beyond Meat to mimic the taste and texture of meat. Many plant-based foods such as tofu and tempeh are soy-based. In simple terms, fake meat is made from plants and mushrooms that imitate meat's texture, flavour, and look. The most common vegan fake meat substitute is soy protein, cheaper and more widely available than the real thing.
It's also the main ingredient in Beyond Burger. When cooked, it looks and acts like a traditional beef burger. On the other hand, soy meat is much tougher than animal-based beef. Most vegans who try it cut it up and cook it like strips of meat, which is called seitan. Many vegans (and even some omnivores) feel that it's imperative to avoid animal products because we all share the earth, a critical component of our ecosystem.
How Is Vegan Or Fake Meat Made?
The main ingredient in any fake meat product is carbohydrates called “heart” or “skin” proteins. To create the white strips that make up the outside of the Beyond Burger or the soy patty in its cousin, Impossible Burger, these proteins are heated, stripped of their texture, and chemically altered so they won't spoil after they're made. Then, to make the meaty center of the food, they are processed into a chunky form that gets fried and then seared to give it that meaty taste.
This process produces Impossible Burger patties that look and taste almost identical to the real thing. But it also costs more than real meat and is harder to produce on a large scale. One of the most defining characteristics of fake meat is that it isn't real meat. Rather, it's made from a combination of animal and plant-based ingredients.
Most fake meat products are made with a mixture of wheat, soy, and potato protein. In addition, they contain no cholesterol and contain a relatively small amount of fat. The meatiness of the fake meat is simulated by adding various fats, such as vegetable oil, soya, or lard. Why would anyone want to replace meat with a fake product?
It all boils down to what people see as health benefits. For instance, vegetarians claim that a vegetarian diet is better for the environment because it requires less land, less water, and less fossil fuel to produce the meat that goes into the fake meat. Unlike real meat, fake meat is made by combining plants to form the food product you're trying to replicate.
To make a tofu-based fake meat patty, you mix wheat gluten, tapioca flour, and water to form a dough. Fake meat is found at almost every grocery store, sold in many different shapes and sizes. For example, Trader Joe's sells faux tofu burgers and veggie dogs, The Foods Market sells fake beef patties, and even KFC sells fake chicken nuggets.
You Can Be Sure You’re Not Eating Some Pretty Dubious Meat-Based Products
Beefless Burgers are one thing, but the fakest meat on the market, whether it's imitation meat strips or the gelatinous texture of Boca Burger-esque products, are largely nutritionally inert. What makes them from veggie burgers so beloved is that there’s really no such thing as a true beefless burger, so the vast majority of veggie burgers end up tasting pretty much exactly like the real thing.
It's why people like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods’ plant-based burgers so much — they're the closest you can get to a meat-like tasting burger without eating beef. Still, it’s not worth it to give up steak for the health or environmental reasons many people are pushing for. The nutrients are usually very similar to the real meat, but some of them may be lacking.
The biggest benefit of fake meat is that it's totally meat-free, so you can be sure that you're not eating some pretty dubious meat-based products. Avoid any products that may include dairy or eggs, which can be problematic, especially when the kids are around. Just because it's a vegetable burger, it doesn't mean it has to taste like one.
Most products you can buy from Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods already look and taste similar to meat, so you don't have to worry about having to suffer through a really bland burger or a “fishy” faux-seafood dish. If you have a real food allergy, there's a vegetarian alternative that can totally replace meat on your diet. There are also all-natural burgers, like Gardein or Impossible, which give you the same meat taste.
With fake meat, you can be sure that you're not eating some pretty dubious meat-based products. Since most fake burgers are a protein product that's genetically modified and pumped full of chemical-laden animal fats, you can be confident that you're not actually getting any meaty flavours. You also won't be getting saturated fats, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, or high levels of artificial preservatives.
In addition to that, you're able to limit your risk of catching certain food-borne illnesses. Like many processed foods, there are legitimate health concerns associated with fake meat, so be sure to read the labels and avoid products that have an ingredients list filled with obscure ingredients, unpronounceable names, and a host of harmful chemicals.
Free Yourself From Guilt
When you switch to eating more plant-based foods, it can be a challenge to avoid guilt and weight gain. This is especially true when you find yourself missing the comfort of fast food. However, when you switch to fake meat, there is no guilt associated with what you're eating, and there's an enormous advantage in all the foods you can eat without the guilt.
That's why you'll want to stop using words like fake meat and start thinking of them as real food. Consumption of meat can lead to health issues and even contribute to obesity. If you cut back on your meat consumption and substitute it with a plant-based alternative, you won't be adding to the fat and calorie count.
You may wonder why you should feel guilty for eating something that is really, truly vegan and whole foods. The answer is that you don't. But, you can feel good knowing that you are making the best choice you can regarding your health and the planet.
Most of us already have a hard time dealing with our meat consumption. While we all know it's not good for our health or the environment, sometimes we need a little help shedding that guilt. Veggie burgers and other vegan products are a good way to get that help since there are many ways to enjoy them without actually killing a chicken.
Not only do they look and feel like real meat, but they come packed with fiber and other nutrients that meat-eaters would miss out on, from iron to vitamin B12. If you're craving a burger and you know you can eat one without the guilt, then you may want to give Beyond Burgers a shot. Instead of having to worry about being hungry, you can focus on your meal and what you're eating rather than being hungry.
Additionally, if you're someone who doesn't typically eat meat or doesn't even eat much meat at all, you may find yourself craving a burger as a vegan meal. As long as you eat a balanced diet and don't starve yourself, you won't experience any issues. The body of a plant-based animal is similar to that of a human. So, in theory, the diet you follow as a vegan should be similar to that of a plant-based diet as a vegetarian.
Vegan Meats Guide Your Transition To Vegetarianism
This is a big one. No animal slaughtering means no animal suffering. And animal suffering is never worth it. So eating fake meats isn't just choosing to get rid of animal suffering but also giving up the pleasure of eating real meat. You can feel good about your decision to try faux meat. Cheap food Fake meat, like the stuff you get in a salad, is very convenient.
But those who aren't fans of lunch meat can try the whole wheat veggie burger, for example, which is just as easy to eat as its more-traditional counterparts. Another plus? In some cases, fake meat might be more flavorful than its vegetarian counterpart. A heart-healthy diet is a great way to improve your health, and it can also help you lose weight.
The good news is that vegan and vegetarian products are not only popular right now but are increasingly available in stores around the country. With more options available, including veggie burgers, veggie hot dogs, and plant-based chicken strips, it's easier than ever to kick your meat habit, so you can dive into a plant-based diet in peace and avoid worrying about missing out on all of the delicious meals that require actual meat.
Consumers can be wary of buying veggie burgers or other vegetarian-only products. If you want to cut out meat from your diet, you may need to take some precautions to avoid inadvertently eating an animal product. Fake meats are especially tricky because they are much like real meat in appearance and texture.
Fake Meat-Like Substances Are Mostly Made Of Soy Products
Veggie burgers, meatless sausage, and fake bacon, except one made out of coconut oil, are mostly made of soybeans, peas, and mushrooms. In fact, most fake meat is pretty much just soy. The consistency is similar to meat. However, you wouldn't taste the soy or the fake meat as it is by smell or taste. It's more readily available than it used to be.
There is a shortage of soybeans in the US because of China's ongoing trade dispute with the US. This has resulted in the US Soybean Board having to buy 60 million bushels more soybeans to meet consumer demand than it did last year. Soy products are a huge part of the global economy, so if soybeans aren't available to American farmers, then the entire food system in the US could be at risk.
Fake meat-like substances are mostly made of soy products, such as soybean flour or soybean oil, along with spices, dyes, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). It's then mixed into a batter and cooked in an oven, such as a bun or an authentic hamburger patty. They're often advertised as having the consistency of meat, but it's not the same. Most fake meat products are processed in large factories and made in big batches.
Eating Fake Meat Is Not Really Healthy
Advertisement Speaking of health, you could argue that these products aren't really healthy. They're made from plants that take the form of little chunks of meat, and they get their meaty flavour from extracts like “lactic acid” and “sausage casings.” Some vegan products like Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger are made from plant fibres, but whether those synthetic fibres are really healthier than plant fibres.
Still, they're trying to bring down the amount of animal protein in our diets, and that's a good thing in my book. So, assuming you don't have any dietary restrictions, I think it's ok to try eating them. But, if you're looking for healthy, wholesome ingredients, these products might not be the answer you're looking for.
According to one study, veggie burgers and other non-meat products are actually higher in calories than regular burgers. Still, since they contain less fat than meat, it doesn't make them unhealthy. However, you're still reducing your intake of some key nutrients by eating fake meat. For example, the same study reported that you could reduce your intake of healthy fatty acids by consuming only 35 percent of your daily required intake of protein from meat.
If you're worried about your health or the health of your pets, fake meat is not necessarily healthy. But, some may say that the results of the meat-free diet are worth the risk if it helps relieve stress and eliminate or reduce certain types of ailments.
The Processing Of Mock Meats Damages The Environment
Processed meats do not have an equal impact on the environment compared to real meat. This is a big reason why several large meat producers have dropped their use of antibiotics. One big reason why: In processing meat and other foods, a lot of energy and resources are used. For example, when a grocery store sells a package of ground beef, they have to grind it up to 30 pounds of meat to kill bacteria and remove blood.
After that, they have to pasteurize the meat to ensure its safety. When all is said and done, it requires a lot of energy to process those ingredients. In addition to energy consumption, processes that reduce a product's carbon footprint, like plant-based fake meats, may not be as profitable as using resources like meat.
One of the biggest issues with fake meat is that it takes many resources to manufacture them. Especially for veggie burgers, it takes a lot of oil, water, and palm oil to make the actual food and packaging. Even just going down the assembly line is a huge impact on the environment as they need to be grown, harvested, and distributed to stores.
You probably know that plants use a lot less energy to generate something comparable to what animals do. As a result, an animal might require 90 times more energy and produce 95 times more greenhouse gasses than a plant. But with the growing popularity of fake meats, their processing can have a big impact on the environment.
The emissions from cow production account for 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The emissions from cows used for fake meat are estimated to be 5 to 20 times higher. That's because these meat products are heated to different temperatures to mimic the human body. A fake chicken patty cooked at a high temperature is the equivalent of frying a chicken at 500°F.
The Negative Impacts of Fake Meat
A veggie burger is obviously a plant-based product. If you buy a non-veggie burger, it's typically coming from a flesh-eating species like beef, chicken, or pork, so you're technically eating the animal. The negative impacts of animal consumption include environmental damage, deforestation, and even animal cruelty (what about veal calves?). But even if you don't buy or eat animal products, it's still important to consider that plant-based foods aren't exactly as healthy as the real thing.
You don't need to get down on vegetarian food because there are tons of things to eat that are good for you. But it's also not a bad idea to get enough protein, because that is an important aspect of your diet. Just because something is fake doesn't mean it's good for you. Many of the products on the market that are trying to mimic meat contain a lot of saturated fat and sodium.
These items can harm your heart health and overall health. An average burger, for example, is 3,500 mg of sodium. One patty of real meat is around 360 mg of sodium. If you're planning on eating an entire burger or a large portion of these fake meat products, then you're going to be taking in about 3,600 mg of sodium. That is the equivalent of eating 3,600 cans of soda.
You might feel starving and want to eat a lot. When you eat an average burger or a large portion of these fake meat products, you'll be eating over 600 calories, which is a lot of calories!
For most people, a plant-based diet has a lot to offer. But if you want to eat meat in your diet, you should know that you have a few options. From the pros and cons that we have found, it looks like the Beyond Burger, plant-based meatballs, and eggless burgers will definitely be worth trying.
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