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Meatless burgers and milk without cows. Are these healthier options for us in the long term?

December 17, 2020

 

Plant-based meats such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat are gaining popularity worldwide for their convincing meaty taste as well as eco-sustainability. Many restaurants, including fast-food chains McDonalds and MOS Burger, have started offering these on their menu. 

 

Are these good options for health in the long term?

Meat substitutes

Meat substitutes

There is much scientific evidence that a plant-based diet – reducing intake of meat and increasing intake of vegetables, beans, and nuts – can reduce the risk of chronic conditions such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and heart disease. Plant-based meats can be a good starting point to reduce red meat consumption.

 

On the other hand, meat substitutes are still considered processed food. They are made from processed pea and soy protein, and are high in sodium and other additives which can raise blood pressure.

Plant-based or not, burgers are also typically served with french fries, soft drinks, and ice cream – which negate any benefits of a plant-based meat alternative. It is still more important to consider the components of the entire meal, rather than one single aspect.

Food grown from stem cells

Food Grown from Stem Cells

TurtleTree Labs was in the news recently for its method of making milk without cows. Milk made from their cell-based method has the same composition and taste as traditional milk. Another Singapore biotech startup company, Shiok Meats, grows prawn, crab, and lobster meat from stem cells.
These cell-based foods are potential solutions to the heavy use of antibiotics, hormones, and pesticides in traditional intensive farming methods. There are also high levels of toxins built up in seafood due to increasing levels of pollution in oceans and seas. 
Apart from the health benefits of clean cell-based foods, they are a sustainable supply of food – they do not require huge areas of land to grow crops for animal feed and spare the rapidly declining populations of seafood.
These new food products made possible by technological advancements are promising for our health as well as for the Earth. As they become more widely available, there will be more evidence regarding their effects on human health.
In the meantime, we can easily improve the quality of our diet by eating less processed food and red meat, and more wholegrains, vegetables, nuts, and beans. For more lifestyle articles, you can also read them on our blog.

 

 

plant based meats

 

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