The debate between plant-based and animal-based diets has been discussed for years. While plant-based diets are often marketed as a healthier alternative, the reality is that not all plant-based foods are created equal. In particular, plant-based meats from companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have come under fire for their synthetic ingredients and questionable health effects. The question of “Are Vegan Meats Healthy” has come under fire due to their synthetic ingredients and questionable health effects. However, it’s important to note that the nutritional value and healthiness of vegan meats may vary depending on the specific product and its ingredients.
One of the most significant problems with plant-based meats is that they are highly processed foods. While homemade black bean burgers may be a healthy alternative to meat-based burgers, packaged vegan burgers, chicken fingers, sausages, and other similar products often contain a wide range of ingredients to mimic the meat’s natural flavors. Unfortunately, many of these ingredients are artificial, synthetic, and unsuitable for a healthy diet.
Vegan Doesn’t = Healthy
It is important to note that just because a food product is vegan does not necessarily mean it is healthy. Health is not solely rooted in animal products’ absence; some argue that the fat-soluble nutrients and high bioavailability of animal products are crucial to a healthy diet. Regardless of where you stand on the plant vs. animal-based diet debate, it is essential to understand that not all vegan food is healthy.
Plant-based meats often contain a variety of problematic ingredients. Tertiary Butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), for example, is a synthetic preservative linked to cancer and has immunotoxic effects. Erythrosine (Red #3) is an artificial food coloring that was banned in cosmetics in 1990 because of its link to cancer. Ferric Orthophosphate, used to fortify foods, can irritate the skin and eyes and upset the stomach. Additionally, Propylene Glycol, derived from petroleum products, adds moisture to packaged foods and is a synthetic toxin that can stress the kidneys and liver. Vegetable oils, such as canola, sunflower, safflower, and cottonseed oils, are cheap oils that promote inflammation in the body and can go rancid. Soy, commonly used as a source of protein in plant-based meats, is an estrogen-mimicking food that impacts hormones.
Choosing Healthier Options
While the problem with plant-based meats may be concerning, it is essential to note that not all plant-based foods are problematic. Some plant-based options, such as organic tofu or jackfruit, are considered healthier alternatives and do not contain synthetic ingredients. However, it is important to read the labels of plant-based foods carefully to ensure that they do not contain harmful additives.
Are Vegan Meats Really Healthy: Summary
In conclusion, the debate between plant-based and animal-based diets will likely continue for years. However, it is important to recognize that not all vegan foods are created equal, and some, such as plant-based meats, may be detrimental to our health. While plant-based meats may be a suitable alternative for some, it is important to read the labels carefully to ensure they do not contain harmful additives.
As consumers, we can make informed choices about the foods we consume. Moreover, by prioritizing whole, unprocessed foods and avoiding synthetic additives, we can create a healthier and more sustainable diet for ourselves and the planet. While plant-based diets may offer several benefits, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting animal welfare, balancing these benefits with our health needs is important. By striving for a balanced and mindful diet, we can promote both our own health and the health of the planet.
The Dirty Vegan Processed Foods:
- Impossible Burger
- Impossible Sausage
- Impossible Chicken Nuggets
- Beyond Burger
- Beyond Steak
- Beyond Sausage
- Beyond Chicken Tenders
- Upton Naturals Ground Seitan
- Rield Roast Smoked Apple & Sage Sausages
- Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders
- Sophie’s Kitchen Breaded Shrimp
- Good Catch Tuna
- Good Catch Plant-Based Breaded Fish Fillets
- Lightlife Smart Dogs
- Lightlife Meatless Smart Jerkey
- El Burrito Soyrizo
- MorningStar Farms Veggie Bacon Strips
- Daring Foods Chicken
- Quorn Meatless Patties
- Quorn Chiqin Nuggets
- Quom Vegan Meatless Buffalo Dippers
- Quom Meatless Roast
- Field Roast Vegetarian Grain Meat Sausages
- Dr. Praeger’s Black Bean Quinoa Veggie Burgers
- Daring Original Plant-Based Chicken Pieces
The Better List:
Regarding plant-based meat replacements, the “better list” is as good as possible. Unfortunately, there are no good plant-based meat substitutes on the market. Even though these are better options, they often contain something that isn’t great (typically vegetable oils). In contrast to meat, these substitutes don’t try to mimic its flavors. You can’t outsmart nature, and who wants to risk their health by doing so? Meat is meat, and you can’t outsmart it!
- Hilary’s, Organic The World’s Best Veggie Burger
- Nasoya Organic Super Firm Tofu
- Upton’s Naturals Jackfruit Bar-B-Que
- “Burger: Plant-Based Burger Patties: Beyond Meat.” Vegan Burger Meat, Crumbles, & Sausages, www.beyondmeat.com/en-CA/products/the-beyond-burger.
- Impossible Foods. faq.impossiblefoods.com/hc/en-us.
- Gharavi, Negar, and Ayman O. El-Kadi. “Butylhydroquinone Is a Novel Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Ligand.” Drug Metabolism and Disposition, vol. 33, no. 3, 2004, pp. 365–372., doi:10.1124/dmd.104.002253.
- Pfiffner, Samantha et al. “The Effects of Tert-butyl Hydroquinone (TBHQ) on Estrogen Receptor Alpha (ERα) and Tumor Suppressor Gene p53 in Breast Cancer Cells.” Journal of the Endocrine Society vol. 5,Suppl 1 A493–A494. 3 May. 2021, doi:10.1210/jendso/bvab048.1009
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- “Iron Phosphate.” National Pesticide Information Center, npic.orst.edu/factsheets/ironphosphategen.html.
- Neale, Bruce W et al. “Propylene glycol-induced lactic acidosis in a patient with normal renal function: a proposed mechanism and monitoring recommendations.” The Annals of pharmacotherapy vol. 39,10 (2005): 1732-6. doi:10.1345/aph.1G083
- Mboma, Jean et al. “Effects of Cyclic Fatty Acid Monomers from Heated Vegetable Oil on Markers of Inflammation and Oxidative Stress in Male Wistar Rats.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry vol. 66,27 (2018): 7172-7180. doi:10.1021/acs.jafc.8b01836
- Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, et al. “Soy: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite ‘Health’ Food.” The Weston A. Price Foundation, 19 June 2017, www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/soy-alert/soy-the-dark-side-of-americas-favorite-health-food/.
- Food Insight. “Beans and Biotech: Why Soybeans Are the Stars of Genetically Modified Foods.” Food Insight, 10 Feb. 2021, foodinsight.org/soybeans-are-the-stars-of-genetically-modified-foods/.
- Group, EWG – Environmental Working. “Natural Vs Artificial Flavors.” EWG, www.ewg.org/foodscores/content/natural-vs-artificial-flavors/.