Whether you’re trying to go veggie and want to reduce your meat cravings or if you just are curious about what the heck fake meat tastes like anyway, we’re here to tell you that faux meat is not the way to go. Although popular, vegetarian “hamburgers” made by companies like Impossible™ Foods and Beyond Beef™ are highly processed, and not a healthy alternative to meat.
What is Fake Meat Made of, Anyway?
Well, here’s the bad news—fake meat contains a lot of additives, like GMO corn, gluten, legumes, and soy products. If you don’t think that those sound too bad, consider this–additives like cultured dextrose and modified potato starches contribute to not-so-nice things like hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and Candida (a type of yeast) overgrowth. GMO corn—which is what 90% of the corn is that’s grown in the United States—can cause immune disorders and leaky gut syndrome.
Sounds fun, right?
Gluten, which a large proportion of people have an allergen or intolerance to, has binding agents in it that can also damage the gut. Add legumes to the mix, and the lectins can cause a reaction that leads to inflammation in the body, especially if you already have an autoimmune disease. Soy is another overused, mostly GMO product that many people are allergic or intolerant to, and the estrogens in it can disrupt hormonal balances and cause thyroid problems. In fact, the reason that some fake meats have a juicy, flavorful, meaty taste is because of genetically modified soy. These patties also usually pack a high-sodium punch on top of the other reasons not to eat them, which contributes to cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.
The Tail End
The bottom line is that fake meat is not the way to go if you want to cut animal proteins out of your diet. Most experts recommend locally grown, fresh, organic, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and other plant-based foods—which are becoming more and more available—if you want to avoid meat. The perks are that vegans and vegetarians generally have lower rates of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes, among other things, and a plant-based diet also reduces greenhouse gas emissions overall. Just consider a veggie stir-fry instead of a veggie burger, for a healthy, eco-friendly supper tonight.