Although for many people who become vegetarian or vegan, the rationale relates to not wanting to be complicit in the cruelty to animals, there is now alarming evidence that the corporations that provide alternatives to meat products are not also providing them as healthier options. They are merely allowing the consumer to believe that they are. Now though, this misrepresentation has been exposed.

Manufacturers of plant-based meat analogues (PBMAs) will have to make improvements to justify the commonly perceived ‘health halo’ surrounding their products, a new study has concluded.

In a clinical trial over eight weeks, researchers found that a diet containing PBMAs, including vegan sausages, burgers and minced ‘meat’, did not provide any greater benefits to a person’s cardiometabolic health compared to an omnivorous diet.

The findings have been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

“Traditional plant-based diets are rich in fruit and vegetables, which contain dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals, and other important natural plant-based components,” said Dr. Sumanto Haldar, Lecturer in Nutrition Science at Bournemouth University, who was part of the study team with co-researchers at the Singapore Institute of Food and Biotechnology Innovation, where the study took place. 

“But in recent years, PBMAs have grown in popularity as more people want something that tastes like their burgers or chicken nuggets but does not contain any meat, for reasons of animal welfare, sustainability, and perceived health benefits. At present, producing these PBMAs often involves a substantial amount of processing, and the end products can be high in salt, saturated fat, and additives in order to match the taste and texture of real meat products. We therefore wanted to find out whether the ‘plant-based’ health halo around these products is justified,” he added.

Over the course of the dietary intervention, 89 participants were randomly divided into one of two groups. One group substituted their usual protein foods with six popular PBMAs, which can be found on supermarket shelves around the world. The other group  substituted their usual protein foods with animal-based products, corresponding to the PBMAs and with comparable protein content. 

At the beginning and end of the trial, the researchers carried out several measurements to assess the participants’ cardiometabolic health, including their blood lipid profile (for example, LDL cholesterol levels), markers of blood glucose homeostasis (the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels – and blood pressure. 

The results did not show any clear differences in eating the plant-based meat analogue diet as compared with a similar meat-based diet. 

“It is clear that there are still a lot of opportunities for improvements in plant-based meat analogues in the market in order to justify perceptions of the superior health benefits of these products,” Dr. Haldar said.

“As it stands, the PBMAs currently available do not offer the same health advantages as a traditional plant-based diet, generally consisting of whole foods such as whole grains, legumes and a plethora of fruits and vegetables. This gives an impetus for the food industry to re-evaluate the development of the next generation of meat alternative products, so that they not only taste good, but also have improved nutritional attributes and are more affordable for the entire population,” he concluded. 

If you like our content, join us in helping to bring reality and decency back by SUBSCRIBING to our Youtube channel: AND SUPPORTING US where you can: Award Winning Independent Citizen Media Needs Your Help. PLEASE SUPPORT US FOR JUST £2 A MONTH

To report this post you need to login first.
Previous articleWitnesses sought following arrest of man in Swanage
Next articleThis is how one strips a lying MP to the bone. Well done Victoria Derbyshire
Dorset Eye
Dorset Eye is an independent not for profit news website built to empower all people to have a voice. To be sustainable Dorset Eye needs your support. Please help us to deliver independent citizen news... by clicking the link below and contributing. Your support means everything for the future of Dorset Eye. Thank you.