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Should I buy meatless products?

Repas santé - bouddha Bol

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.

proteine animale

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.

 

References

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.

Author
Alyssa Fontaine, Dt.P.

Nutrition supervisor at Nautilus Plus, member of the Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec and holder of a bachelor’s degree from McGill University, Alyssa joined the Nautilus Plus team in January 2014. She developed an interest in healthy nutrition at a very young age, inspired by her grandmother’s large vegetable garden and her iron health still going strong at over 90 years of age. Proper nutrition and an active lifestyle are the secrets to a long life. An avid outdoor enthusiast, Alyssa exercises regularly and shares her tips to living a balanced lifestyle acknowledging that she does have a sweet tooth. She is the proud spokesperson for the «Zero Diet» brand and she is being followed more and more on social networks.


Should I buy meatless products?is a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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