Get to know the alternative meat

Alternative meat is any “meat” that isn’t really meat. In other words, it’s “meat” made from plants. How do companies make it though? Leaps in technology have allowed us to produce the meat-like, meat-flavored foods that have about the same ingredients as meat but we extract them from plants or create in the laboratory. So let’s get to know the alternative meat.

Often, alternative meat is made from pea or soy protein to make these products as rich in protein as traditional meat. For example, a burger made of alternative meat has 19 grams of protein, equal to the same portion of beef.

Some of the top meat alternatives today are burgers and sausages. Two companies that are the largest in this market space are Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. But in order for the manufacturers of these products to make soy or peas have a similar texture and taste to real meat, they have to add many different ingredients such as e.g. the fats of actual meat.

Get to know the alternative meat

Environment and health

Proponents of alternative meat products say that these products improve not only the environment but also human health. Some people may be sensitive to the growth hormones or antibiotics that cows are fed. Which we can then find in our burgers and steaks. This problem doesn’t exist with vegetable meats.

The target consumers

While the alternative meat looks real – some burgers even look like they bleed like real beef – most vegans and vegetarians aren’t impressed. In fact, alternative meat is made mostly for the meat-eating public. Indeed, 90% of US consumers who buy it are meat eaters who believe that these products are healthier and better for the environment.

Is it really healthier than regular meat?

Although meat alternatives have a healthy public image, they are highly processed foods with a high salt content and may contain other highly processed ingredients. On the other hand, they have a higher fiber content. They also contain less saturated fat and no cholesterol. They also don’t contain additional hormones or antibiotics.

Are plant-based meats really healthier? It depends on how you eat them, says Dr. Frank Hu, president of the nutrition department at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Replacing a hamburger with a vegetable burger doesn’t improve the quality of your diet if you accompany it with french fries and sugary soft drinks, according to Hu.

Companies such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat say they use natural ingredients instead of artificial or genetically modified ingredients. Compared to beef, their burgers have similar amounts of protein and calories, with less saturated fat and no cholesterol. They also contain fiber which isn’t present in real meat. However, compared to real beef, their vegetable burgers are significantly higher in salt. While uncooked beef may have 75 mg of sodium, the same portion of vegetable burger may have 370 mg.


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