Should I buy meatless products?
The selection of meatless products is increasing quickly in our grocery stores. Large food companies are developing more plant-based products, thus we can expect to find more and more new options on the shelves. Should we integrate these products in our diet and which are the best?
1) Animal products or plant-based products?
Research shows that reducing animal products can be better for your health. A well-planned plant-based diet can help prevent problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension & cancer.
Reducing animal products is also better for our planet. By eating less meat, we are helping reduce air pollution, water contamination & water overconsumption, deforestation and soil depletion.
Many individuals also decide to reduce or stop eating animal products for animal ethics. Their point of view is that if we can eat properly without animal products, there is no justification for taking their lives.
2) Level of transformation
Whether you decide to choose a meatless ingredient for health, environmental or animal related reasons, the challenge is selecting the best meatless option.
Since there are so many products coming out and the selection is different depending on where you live, I will give the rule of thumb instead of specific product names.
First, there are more benefits when you eat a product that is the closest to its original version. When a food is transformed, its natural benefits are usually stripped, and artificial components are added to enhance the taste. Generally speaking, the more a food is transformed, the less nutritious it is. When trying to choose between two meatless options, select the one that is the closest to its original form.
For example, when deciding what meatless option to put in our spaghetti sauce, let’s analyse our options:
- Less transformed protein: red lentils or cashews
- Transformed protein: tofu
- Ultra transformed protein: Fake meat
In this case, I would personally opt for either integrating red lentils in my spaghetti sauce or cashews (soaked and blended).
If you are trying to choose the better option between two specific meatless food items, look at the ingredient list.
For example, you’re trying to decide what meatless burger you want to buy Choose the product with the shortest ingredient list, and that has the most ingredients you recognize
So should you buy meatless products? Yes, but pay attention to the transformation level.
Ménager La chèvre Et Manger Le Chou: découvrez Comment L’alimentation végétale Peut Transformer Votre santé, by Baribeau Hé́lène and Marjolaine Mercier, Éditions La Semaine, 2018.