Fake meat

| Post published on December 7, 2021
minute reading time
Vegan burger

Healthier than you think!

Fake meats are often maligned as being low-quality, unhealthy, ultra-processed foods. However, a randomised controlled trial looking at what happens to the gut microbiome of people who eat plant-based meat alternatives (PBMAs), compared to that of regular meat-eaters found positive results. Half the participants replaced at least four meals per week with plant-based mince, burgers, sausages and meatballs from the Meatless Farm (a brand commercially available in the UK). The control group carried on eating red meat, poultry, fish, eggs and cheese. After four weeks, results indicated positive changes among those eating PBMAs in their gut bacteria. These types of changes may offer significant and wide-ranging health benefits. This shows that the industrial processing of plant-based ingredients does not make PBMAs ultra-processed by default. Meat alternatives are here to stay and it is reassuring to find that they can play a role as part of a healthy balanced diet if the ingredients are of good quality.

Toribio-Mateas M, Bester A and Klimenko N. 2021. Impact of plant-based meat alternatives on the gut microbiota of consumers: a real-world study. Foods. 10 (9) 2040.

About the author
Dr. Justine Butler
I joined Viva! as a health campaigner in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. My scientific training helped me research and write numerous reports, guides and fact sheets for Viva! including Meat the Truth, Fish-Free for Life, One in Nine (breast cancer and diet) and the substantial report on the detrimental health effects of consuming dairy; White Lies. This accompanied Viva!’s report The Dark Side of Dairy which spelt out the inherent cruelty of dairy farming. We were the first UK group to take on the dairy industry in this way, and many of our supporters go vegan after reading these reports.

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