by L.D. Ramirez (info sourced from a Vox article by Kelsey Piper)
From left to right - the Impossible Burger, the Impossible Pizza, the Beyond Sausage, and the Beyond Beef Meatball.
2019 may very well be the year of meatless meat.
Meatless meat - or alternative meat - is meat meant for human consumption, but made from plants or cultured from animal cells. In plain English, it looks, smells, and tastes like meat - but it's not.
Although they've been around for a while (local examples include burger patties made from mushrooms and Pinoy dishes made from soy-based cuts), it's only recently that they've evolved to the point that you can't tell the difference anymore.
They offer many advantages over the real thing:
- no animals are harmed when it's made,
- you get the same amount of protein, and no cholesterol,
- mass-production is more environment-friendly,
- increased market competition is driving innovation up and prices down.
And yet, there's a couple of very important details we need to consider - is it actually safe to eat? And is it healthier than the real thing?
(01) Plant-based meat is absolutely safe.
All alternative meat firms undergo rigorous safety assessments before being allowed to market their products.
Also, Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods - currently the two biggest alternative meat companies in the world - mainly use pea and soy proteins, respectively.
(02) Plant-based meat is NOT a health food.
Just as unprocessed meats are healthier than processed meats, unprocessed vegetables are still healthier than processed vegetables.
So, if you're thinking eating an Impossible Burger or a Beyond Sausage is as good for you as wolfing down a salad, the answer is unfortunately a big fat NO.
(03) Plant-based meat and real meat are more or less nutritionally equivalent.
Most modern mock meats are designed to imitate meat as closely as possible, including in macronutrient profile and calorie content.
So, while it's not necessarily healthier, at least it's not worse.
The verdict is in: just like real meat, alternative meat should be eaten in moderation. Learn to love fruits and vegetables, people! (^_^)