Plant-based meat alternatives, also known as alternative meats, have taken the world by storm over the past decade. Across the globe, they are now available on supermarket shelves and at fast food outlets. They are even used in the kitchens of Michelin-starred restaurants.
Alternative meats are more ethical since they do not involve industrial farming or animals suffering a brutal existence. Additionally, it has been found in most studies, but not all, that producing vegan meat replacements is more environmentally friendly than farming animals.
But how healthy are these alternative meats?
More research is needed, as studies show conflicting conclusions. However, a recent study by Dr Chris Bryant at the University of Bath in the UK that examined 43 studies of plant-based foods and consumer attitudes reported that they have numerous environmental and health benefits. In terms of saturated fat, cholesterol, fibre, and a range of other nutrients, they are preferable to meat.
Dr Bryant says that plant-based meats may be viewed by some as unhealthy because they are unnatural or over-processed — perceptions that may be exacerbated by “interests in the conventional animal product industry who seek to cast public doubt on” these competing products.