Fake meat is everywhere these days. It’s popping up on fast-food menus, showing up in sit-down restaurants, and invading family barbecues.
They even slip fake meat into the actual meat section in the supermarket, hiding it among the real deal burgers. You think you’re buying some 100-percent beef patties for the grill, but instead, you’ve brought home some weird lab-assembled clone.
Clever marketers have coined the phrase “plant-based” to make these products seem like health foods. And it’s working.
It doesn’t look, smell, or taste like beef, no matter how much they claim it does. But with the halo effect in its corner, fake meat is growing in popularity.
However, if you’re climbing on the “plant-based” train, there’s something you should know. A new report finds you’re not getting what you think you are.
It turns out this impossible-to-believe fake meat doesn’t match the nutritional value of the real deal.
What’s REALLY in your fake meat
The new report from Duke University warns that the labels on fake meat products aren’t telling the whole story.
The packaging on these products may make them seem like they’re giving you the same protein levels and other key nutrients as the real meats. But the Duke lab analysis finds the fake meat doesn’t even come close.
The researchers found major differences in key categories, including:
- amino acids
- fats and fatty acids
The team says that doesn’t necessarily make one better or worse, only different. But I disagree.
The fake meat labels make it LOOK like you’re getting all the protein you need. But they’re from plant sources, like soy and peas, which aren’t complete proteins.
The study confirms that only REAL meat, for example, has the creatine that’s so critical for strong muscles. And the fake meat doesn’t have the glucosamine needed for healthy joints, tendons, and cartilage either.
Without these two essentials, you can get weaker faster and suffer from more pain. And if you happen to be a senior who doesn’t always get enough of these vital nutrients, to begin with, always substituting fake meat for the real deal could have a measurable impact on your daily function.
Plus, the Duke scientists found the real meat contained DHA, a fatty acid essential to brain function, vision, and more. While the fake meat, of course, had none.
Ultra-processed franken-foods are problematic
But that’s not the only potential problem with these franken-foods.
In 2019 the CEO and founder of the company that produces the popular Impossible Burger admitted their product contains genetically modified soy.
Since 94 percent of the soy grown in the United States has been genetically modified to be resistant to herbicides that means there’s a chance you could be exposed to the cancer-linked herbicide glyphosate used on GMOs.
And nutritionally evaluations of the Impossible Burger have found it contains less protein and far more sodium than beef.
Oh, and you know how those fake meat burgers are designed to “bleed” to make them seem more burger-like? In some cases, that “blood” is produced by combining the DNA from soy root with genetically engineered yeast.
And that’s not just an uncomfortable thought. This genetic tinkering hasn’t been through any additional safety testing.
Now to be fair, the new study does find that the plant patties have a few veggie nutrients of their own that you won’t find in meat. But honestly, why wouldn’t you just eat some real veggies to get those instead?
Organic vegetables add color to your plate, fiber to your meals, and round out your nutrients WITHOUT exposing you to the chemicals and other junk you might find in ultra-processed fake meat.
If you enjoy the taste of the fake meat or want to eat them for environmental reasons, look for certified organic, soy-free, and non-GMO products. Otherwise, steer clear.
Don’t be hoodwinked by this “plant-based” swindle. Fake meat isn’t any healthier than delicious, organic, grass-fed meats, so there’s no reason to make the swap.