Plant-based meats are the newest sensation on the market. Cruelty-free meat which is produced in the lab is starting to gain traction. More and more of these plant-based products are gaining popularity due to their ability to mimic the taste, smell and feel of real meat.
When it comes to plant-based meats, there have to be some real benefits of choosing it over real meat. We’ll dive into the details to understand the various benefits of plant-based meat and answer the question of whether it is healthy for you.
It is a known fact, that meat consumption around the world is at an all-time high. This has brought about many questions about the impact of the meat industry on the world. The climate is shifting and we are led to believe it is due to the high amounts of atmospheric carbon. The meat industry is responsible for a good portion of the atmospheric carbon content. Plant-based meats which are derived from plants allow for the reverse action on atmospheric carbon content. The meat is made from plants, which during growth stages will work to remove carbon from the air.
There could be major environmental benefits of choosing plant-based meat for the future. However, that being the case, plant-based meats only account for 1% of the total meat sales in the United States. It is new and people haven’t gotten around to get accustomed to plant-based meats.
Though the percentage of sales of plant-based meats is rather low, it is important to understand the exponential growth the plant-based industry has seen. Over the last year, plant-based meats grew by 23% compared to the year before, leading us to believe that over time, plant-based meat would take up a large chunk of the meat industry.
Various factors are taken into account by consumers who choose plant-based meats over real meat. Price is one such factor that plays heavily on the consumer’s mind. With current costs of plant-based meat higher than real meat, it is understandable that only a fraction of consumers opts for plant-based alternatives.
Taste is similarly important to many consumers who are looking for a similar taste to real meat. More and more companies are coming out with products that brilliantly mimic the taste of real meat. With an increase in competition in the plant-based meat market, the prices of products should decrease over time. If the products become cheaper or just as affordable as real meat and are able to mimic the taste and smell, chances are, more and more people will opt for plant-based alternatives over the real thing.
That being the case, what are the real benefits of choosing plant-based meats? Are they considered healthy?
If you’ve been contemplating plant-based meats, these questions may have come about in your mind at one point or another. After all, that is why you are here. Hence, without further adieu, let’s dive into the good stuff and understand a little better, the various benefits of choosing plant-based meats.
1. Can Prevent Obesity and Help Better Manage Weight
Animal products are responsible for the greatest fat consumption in the human diet. Though high-protein diets such as Atkins and keto work to highlight the importance of fat and protein in weight loss, within a normal diet, many people who consume meat tend to gain weight based on consumption.
Research has established that the consumption of meat was associated with weight gain in both men and women. Certain types of meat contain more saturated fat which leads to greater fat storage, leading to obesity.
The benefit of plant-based meats is that they contain lower levels of saturated fat. The nutrients in plant-based meats are derived from plants and are usually high in fibre. They also contain a host of other nutrients such as vitamins and minerals that you don’t find in real meat.
Plant-based meats are also lower in calories, which makes them ideal for those who are looking to lose a few pounds. It for certain will work to prevent weight gain and obesity and will enable you to better manage your weight.
Though physical activity has much to do with obesity and weight gain, diet too plays an integral role. Choosing plant-based meats gives you the definite advantage of choosing nutrient-rich food that is high in fibre and low in saturated fat.
The fibre content in plant-based meats will work to slowly digest in the body, allowing for the slow absorption of glucose into the bloodstream. This allows you to better control hunger and can help to keep snacking to a minimum.
Apart from the fact that plant-based meats are lower in calories, they also work to prevent overconsumption. The fibre makes it easier to become full on fewer calories and keeps you feeling full for a longer period of time.
All in all, plant-based meats can certainly help you lose a few pounds. It will work to keep obesity at bay and help prevent unnecessary weight gain in comparison to real meats who are usually the culprit when it comes to weight gain.
2. Lowers the Risk of Heart Disease
A plant-based diet is known to be healthy for the heart. In fact, a plant-based diet can lower the risk of heart disease by 52 percent. Hence, making the switch to plant-based meats can certainly be good for your heart.
The plant protein in plant-based meats is more healthy for the heart as advised by the American Heart Association (AHA). That being the case, some plant-based meats are high in saturated fat and may contain almost the same levels of saturated fat as real meat. It is important to choose low saturated fat content plant-based meats to ensure that you are taking care of your heart.
People who follow a plant-based diet have the lowest risk of heart disease and are often more active and leaner.
3. Decreases the Chances of Stroke
Obesity and high cholesterol are linked to an increased number of strokes in people under the age of 55. It is known that every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke. This makes strokes a very common health condition with many people dying from strokes each year around the world.
A plant-based diet including plant-based meat works well to prevent strokes. There is no cholesterol in plant-based meat, even in those that have a high saturated fat content. As mentioned, plant-based meats also work to prevent obesity. The combination of both these factors work to prevent strokes in consumers.
Meat consumers run the risk of developing strokes which is substantially negated by choosing plant-based meats. The nutrient content of plant-based meat is rich and will work to prevent the action of bad cholesterol in the body, which could lead to serious health complications such as strokes.
4. Better Regulate Cholesterol Levels
There is no cholesterol in plant-based foods, while fatty aminal products contain cholesterol. Eating a plant-based diet can work to lower cholesterol levels and keep the body in better health. This includes plant-based meats which becomes the better option in comparison to real meat.
Real animal products such as meat, fish, poultry, dairy and eggs all contain cholesterol. High cholesterol levels are linked to various other complications such as high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. By choosing plant-based meats, you solve the problem at the root. Since plant-based meats contain no cholesterol, they work to prevent a host of other issues that arise with high cholesterol in the body.
Opting to choose plant-based meats over real meat will give you a better grip on your cholesterol levels. If you already have high cholesterol or run the risk of developing high cholesterol (family and genetics), switching to plant-based meats is a no-brainer.
5. Better Control Blood Pressure
Consuming animal products have been linked to high blood pressure. Studies have found that vegetarians have lower blood pressure in comparison to meat-eaters. Hence, when it comes to regulating and controlling blood pressure, plant-based meats becomes the better option.
In fact, a predominantly plant-based diet that includes small amounts of meat and dairy can still work to lower blood pressure. This is why plant-based meats are so useful. You don’t have to completely switch over to a plant-based diet. Simply choosing plant-based meats over real meats will equip your body with the advantage of better controlling blood pressure.
High blood pressure is linked to various health complications such as heart disease and stroke. The lower your blood pressure, the less of a risk you have when it comes to these conditions.
After switching to plant-based meats, you should be able to observe lower blood pressure in just about 2 weeks.
6. Better Manage Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes is caused by high blood sugar levels in the body. This leads to insulin spikes to work to lower blood sugar levels and can lead to insulin sensitivity over time. A plant-based diet is known to be beneficial for the fight against diabetes.
When it comes to meat, you may be thinking that meat doesn’t really contain sugar, so how can it cause diabetes. Though meat doesn’t directly contain sugar, studies have reported that the long-term consumption of meat can increase the risk of diabetes by 74%.
When you consider plant-based meats, they are often high in fibre. The high fibre content of plant-based meats works to slowly digest in the body and lead to the slow absorption of glucose into the bloodstream. This works to prevent high doses of sugar in the body which is what high blood sugar is. The slow absorption of sugar allows for the effective conversion of glucose to glycogen by the works of insulin. It doesn’t lead to insulin spikes thereby enabling you to better control diabetes.
People who eat a plant-based diet reduce the risk of diabetes by 23%. Hence, if you are already suffering from diabetes or run the risk of developing diabetes, choosing plant-based meats could be a great way to control the condition and not allow it to develop into a full-blown disease.
Plant-based diets including plant-based meats that are low in saturated fat can work to even reverse type 2 diabetes. Choosing plant-based meats over real meat could not only help you better manage type 2 diabetes, but it can even restore your body’s insulin function to prevent you from needing medication. (Declaimer: This is not an invitation to stop the diabetic medication. Please consult a healthcare professional before deciding to stop medication.)
7. Prevents Cancer
Processed meat such as ham, bacon, salami and frankfurts have been classified by The World Health Organisation (WHO) to be a Group 1 carcinogen. They are known to cause cancer and there is strong evidence to prove that eating a lot of processed meat can drastically increase the risk of developing cancer.
Eating meat can increase your risk of bowel and stomach cancer. Processed meat in particular has been known to be the culprit. Red meat has been linked to an increased risk of colon and rectum cancer and even other types of cancer such as prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer. This means, beef, pork and lamb are all foods that contain carcinogenic compounds that could cause cancer.
Plant-based meats do not contain these carcinogenic compounds and thus can work to prevent many cancers from causing havoc on your life. There is no evidence to suggest that plant-based meats cause cancer.
There are various plant-based alternatives for processed meats. Hence, opting to choose plant-based meats over real processed meats brings with it substantially lower risk of cancer.
Though plant-based meats are an ultra-processed food and bring with it the worry of carcinogenic compounds, the carcinogenic content of plant-based meats is much lower than real meats, making this the wiser choice.
8. Better Sleep
In addition to the fact that you would sleep better knowing that no innocent animals died to prepare your meal, the nutrients in plant-based meat actually work to provide a better quality of sleep.
A plant-based diet is known to increase the levels of the amino acid tryptophan, which leads to increased production of melatonin and serotonin. These compounds are responsible for enhancing sleep quality.
Better quality sleep brings with it many advantages including a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. High consumption of meat is associated with variances in sleep duration and can result in poor quality sleep. Hence, switching to plant-based meats could work to improve sleep, thereby improving your overall quality of life.
9. Reduce Animal Suffering
By switching to plant-based meats, you make the more ethical choice by ensuring that you reduce the amount of animal suffering in the world. You will no longer be responsible for the suffering of innocent animals.
What is great is that you would be helping to make the shift away from the meat industry and would be helping the global economy move further towards a cruelty-free model of consumption.
Countless animals are held within the meat industry and are often kept in less than optimal conditions in overcrowded lots. It goes without saying that if you are one of those people who have a soft spot for these animals, making the switch to plant-based meats would be a no-brainer.
Choosing plant-based meats means no animal lives are lost in preparing your meat!
10. Conserve the Environment
Atmospheric carbon content has been linked to global climate change and increases in global temperatures. The meat industry is responsible for a great segment of the atmospheric carbon content. Animals produce carbon dioxide, which leads to greater atmospheric carbon content and more global warming.
We are consuming more meat than ever before and with the growth of the world population, these numbers are expected to rise. Increased meat consumption in the future could cause real havoc on the environment leading to more catastrophic events worldwide.
Switching to plant-based meats allows you to work to reverse the effects of global warming. The plants that are grown to make plant-based meats work to lower atmospheric carbon content, thereby reversing the effects of global warming.
Further to this, a huge amount of clean water is used by the meat industry in the caring for animals. Opting for plant-based meats helps you converse water which is a necessary part of life, which many still live without. The more we shift from a meat-based diet to a plant-based diet, the better our environment will be conserved for the future generations of this planet.
Are Plant-Based Meats Healthy?
Plant-based meats contain many helpful nutrients and don’t contain many of the stuff that is considered bad for you. They contain no cholesterol, is high in fibre and has no evidence of cancer-causing compounds in them. The combination of all these factors makes plant-based meats a healthy option in comparison to real meat.
Real meat is known to cause various diseases and plant-based meats works to prevent all of these conditions. From heart disease to stroke to high blood pressure, plant-based meats will work to help you prevent the risk of all these conditions.
Meat isn’t considered the healthiest of options, which is why many experts now praise the plant-based diet for the various health benefits it brings to the table.
Plant-based meats have many benefits which will not only benefit the world by will also work to help heal your mind due to the ethical and moral implications of choosing plant-based meats.
That being the case, some plant-based meats are high in sodium, fillers and saturated fat. Hence, it is important that you read and understand the labels of these plant-based meats and opt for products that have a low saturated fat content, low sodium content and does not contain fillers.
Lastly, meat contains an essential vitamin known as vitamin B12 which is responsible for keeping the body’s blood and nerve cells healthy. This vitamin is hard to source on a plant-based diet and is usually found in animal-based products. However, there are some plant-based meats that have vitamin B12 added to them. Since vitamin B12 deficiency can cause anaemia, weakness and tiredness, it is best to choose plant-based meats that have vitamin B12 added to them.
For a better idea as to whether plant-based meats are good for you and to understand the hidden dangers of plant-based meats, we recommend that you read this article, linked herewith.
Plant-based meats could be the food of the future. With the increase in competition for plant-based meats in the market, the prices of the products are surely expected to become more affordable. The cheaper it gets, the more popular it will be.
Think about it, if you can choose something that brings with it so many health benefits and is considered better for you health and the world and tastes and smell like the real thing and is cheaper in price, would you not buy it?
Plant-based meats have only started gaining traction and will work to become more popular over the years. It is worth watching and understanding whether the meat industry will be taken over by the plant-based meat industry.
What is worth remembering is, if plant-based meats become cheaper over the years and become an accepted means of acquiring nutrition, it can be a great tool in the fight against world hunger. The world is still new to the plant-based meat market with only certain parts of the world having access to them. It is interesting to see where these products will go in the future and how they change food as we know it.
We hope you found this article useful and that reading this word to word has helped you better understand the benefits of plant-based meats and whether to opt for them.