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Home / singapore / Health: What 's the beef ?: Alt-meats can have more sodium, less nutrients than real meat – Lifestyle – BC Democrat Online – Las Animas, CO

Health: What 's the beef ?: Alt-meats can have more sodium, less nutrients than real meat – Lifestyle – BC Democrat Online – Las Animas, CO

This article appears in Sept. 25 Week Health page.

By almost any measure, meat alternatives are rapidly gaining popularity.

The explosion of innovation in plant-based meat products is evident alongside grocery store aisles and on restaurant menus – and the products are only for vegetarians and vegans. Nielsen data from August show 98% of people who buy meat alternatives also buy meat.

But whether people are choosing so-called alt-meats for ethical or health reasons, they should be careful to compensate for the loss of nutrients, experts say. That goes double for people moving away from animal products entirely.

"You have to be more intentional about it," said Jo Ann Carson, a retired professor of clinical nutrition at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. “People can easily find protein elsewhere, but if they're not having any animal products – if they're not having any dairy, meat or eggs – they might have a hard time getting enough protein in the foods they're eating. . "

For example, regular tofu contains about 8 grams of protein per 100 grams, according to the USDA. The same amount of ground beef contains about 19 grams of protein, and ground chicken contains about 17 grams. Federal dietary guidelines recommend 10% to 35% of daily calories come from protein. Equivalent to 46 grams of protein a day for adult women and 56 grams for adult men.

But consuming more meat than just protein.

"Iron from beef is very well absorbed, but the iron plant is not so good," said Mary Ellen Camire, a professor of food science and human nutrition at the University of Maine. “The big thing is vitamin B12 because you can only get it from animal products or supplements. So for some people, that is a risk factor. They may be at risk for developing anemia. ”

More processing used
According to Baum + Whiteman restaurant consulting group, 31% of Americans practice meat-free days, and 83% say adding plant-based foods to their diets to improve health and nutrition. But in the case of many alternative meats, perception may not be a mirror of reality.

"By using vegetable-based meat substitutes, you are typically eating food that is more processed," Carson said. "I don't think we know all of the ramifications of that."

People should be aware of the tradeoffs if they choose meat alternatives for health reasons, Camire said.

"A lot of them are designed to be comparable to some of the more structured proteins, but they have a blessing and a curve," Camire said. “It may have as much protein as real meat, but it probably has a lot more sodium, and it may even have more saturated fat.

"Some of the fake burgers are actually putting little globes of coconut fat in there to make it juicy when you bite into it."
According to news reports, many new meat substitutes smell, feel and even "bleed" like meat because they are genetically engineered or highly processed.

"It's a little bit ironic today, when everyone wants clean labels, that some of these meat alternatives actually have a lot of additives in them," Camire said.

Strive for balance
Beans and legumes such as chickpeas, lentils and soybeans can be a healthy alternative to meat, she said. In addition to protein, they are good sources of other nutrients such as fiber and iron.

In general, as with most dietary choices, the key is to strive for a balance between animal products, fruits, vegetables and other dietary choices that satisfy nutritional requirements, Camire said.

But challenging, she added, because "moderation and variety are not sexy topics."

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