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A Look At The Nutritional And Ethical Arguments For Switching To Plant-Based Meats

Plant-based meat alternatives, such as Beyond Beef and the Impossible Burger, are sprouting up everywhere. But are these products good for you? The answer to that is complex; there are two main reasons for going meatless: nutrition and ethics. 

The Nutritional Reason For Plant-Based Meat Products

Plant-based meat products typically have a similar caloric content to real meat, but have less cholesterol and more fiber (good)—but also more sodium (bad). What’s more, some of these meat substitutes are over-processed and, as a result, are laden with chemicals. 

There are health benefits to going meatless—if you make sure you get enough protein and other vital nutrients found in meat. And whether you eat meat or not, it’s essential to eat healthy. Make sure to eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; replace saturated and trans fats with good fats; and always remember that consuming too many calories—regardless of the source—is not healthy. 

In fact, some experts tout the advantages of going “flexitarian”; that is, someone who eats a mostly vegetarian diet, but sometimes eats meat, poultry, and fish. So, if you want to enjoy the health benefits of a meatless diet, you’re generally better off avoiding plant-based meat alternatives. 

The Ethical Reasons For Plant-Based Meat Products 

While the science is still being debated, some experts are saying that reducing meat consumption is better for the planet—while others lately contend a diet including some meat produces a lower carbon footprint. In fact, it’s not so easy to calculate. Even when considering greenhouse gas emissions, pollution, and land and water use, it’s a complex issue, with many factors influencing your personal dietary footprint. 

What’s more, the restrictiveness of a vegetarian or vegan diet may make a flexitarian eating style more within reach for most people. 

If You Want To Switch To Plant-Based Meat Substitutes 

Of course, if you want to eat a vegetarian or vegan diet, the only reason to include plant-based meats is to simulate the taste and feel of meat in various dishes—so it’s completely unnecessary if you’ve already made the switch and are happy with your options. 

And if you’re looking to reduce or eliminate meat, remember to keep enough protein in your diet (multiply your weight in pounds by .36 to get your recommended protein intake in grams per day). Here are a few good non-meat protein sources:

  • Beans and legumes
  • Nuts
  • Corn
  • Potatoes (but watch the calories)
  • Broccoli 
  • Cauliflower 
  • Oats

But no matter what diet you choose, a healthy one will always include lean proteins, fruits, vegetables and healthy grains

Want to enjoy a healthy meatless option tonight? Try our Smoky “Beef” and Black Bean Chili recipe.

The Pickled Beet provides personalized, chef-crafted meals—with or without meat. If you live in the Miami area and want meals to support your specific health needs, look no further than The Pickled Beet. We provide flavorful, healthy meals so you can eat the way you know you should—without spending hours in the kitchen. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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