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Can Plant-Based Meat Alternatives Be Part of a Healthy and Sustainable Diet?

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Abstract

Diets high in red meat, especially processed meat, have been associated with a wide range of health consequences including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers. Based on a comprehensive review of epidemiologic evidence, the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization classified processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon, and sausages as carcinogenic to humans for colorectal cancer, and unprocessed red meats, such as beef and pork, as “probably carcinogenic.”¹ In addition, there is growing concern that industrial meat production can contaminate natural resources, including rivers, streams, and drinking water, with nutrients from animal waste lagoons and runoff. There is also concern that the raising of livestock can lead to the loss of forests and other lands that provide valuable carbon sinks as well as the large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to the ongoing environmental and climate-related issues.

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... Meat cultivated in a lab setting from muscle cells of conventional meat animals, (often called cultivated, cultured, or lab-grown meat) [61,62]; 3. ...
... Plant-based meat Variety of products (e.g., burgers, sausages, chicken, and seafood mimetics) with increasing market share [61,62] Ultra-processed [61], high in sodium [61,62], and wide ranges in nutrient profiles among products [62] Cultured meat Identical taste, texture, and nutrient profile to conventional meat [64] Energy-intensive, expensive production costs, and yet to be scaled to meet mass demand [64] Insect meat Nutritious and low environmental impact [63] Potential food allergen [65], disgusting/unappetizing to some [66] Meat alternatives have been gaining traction with consumers and becoming household names and have even permeated the restaurant market. For example, the international fastfood chain Burger King ® , in collaboration with several manufacturers of plant-based meat, has introduced meatless versions of its Whopper ® burger in numerous countries since 2019, with plans to expand even further [67]; in response, McDonald's ® , in partnership with Beyond Meat ® , rolled out consumer tests of its new "McPlant™" in 2021 in select US and European markets [68]. ...
... Plant-based meat Variety of products (e.g., burgers, sausages, chicken, and seafood mimetics) with increasing market share [61,62] Ultra-processed [61], high in sodium [61,62], and wide ranges in nutrient profiles among products [62] Cultured meat Identical taste, texture, and nutrient profile to conventional meat [64] Energy-intensive, expensive production costs, and yet to be scaled to meet mass demand [64] Insect meat Nutritious and low environmental impact [63] Potential food allergen [65], disgusting/unappetizing to some [66] Meat alternatives have been gaining traction with consumers and becoming household names and have even permeated the restaurant market. For example, the international fastfood chain Burger King ® , in collaboration with several manufacturers of plant-based meat, has introduced meatless versions of its Whopper ® burger in numerous countries since 2019, with plans to expand even further [67]; in response, McDonald's ® , in partnership with Beyond Meat ® , rolled out consumer tests of its new "McPlant™" in 2021 in select US and European markets [68]. ...
Article
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The adoption of more sustainable diets (SD) has the capacity to meet the needs of individuals without compromising future generations' abilities to do the same. Nutrition educators are ideal candidates for delivering SD education to consumers, yet evidence-based recommendations for the profession have not been crafted. The results of a thorough, narrative review of the literature performed in 2021 suggest there are five well-supported recommendations nutrition educators should consider incorporating in their work. They are (1) shift towards a plant-based diet, (2) mitigate food waste, (3) limit consumption of ultra-processed foods (UPF), (4) engage in local food systems, and (5) choose sustainable seafood. Each recommendation is discussed below in detail, to provide nutrition educators with a nuanced scope of the issue, after which suggestions for the inclusion of these recommendations, using an example of the authors' experiences from the US Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), are provided.
... Human nutrition and planetary health are deeply intertwined with food systems. Myriad studies demonstrate the significant potential of diets to both advance human health and environmental sustainability (Tilman and Clark, 2014;Aleksandrowicz et al., 2016;Alsaffar, 2016;Springmann et al., 2018;Clark et al., 2019;Eshel et al., 2019;Fresán and Sabaté, 2019;Hu et al., 2019;Willett et al., 2019;Jarmul et al., 2020;van Vliet et al., 2020). As more research on the stress that the current food system-particularly animal-based food production-places on the global environment comes into focus, food industry leaders, climate activists, and policymakers are driving change to promote diets rich in plant-sourced foods (Tziva et al., 2020). ...
... A recent review suggests that PBMAs can potentially reduce global meat consumption, deliver adequate nutritional value, and confer environmental benefit as compared with its animal-meat counterpart (van Vliet et al., 2020). While improvements to flavor and appearance of PBMAs have bolstered demand for these products in recent years (Narayanan Nair, 2021), ambiguity surrounding the nutritional benefit of PBMAs, ultra-processed in particular, persists (Hu et al., 2019;He et al., 2020). Consumer acceptance of these products among the general population is mixed. ...
... Availability of PBMAs is another consideration, as access to these products may be limited in lower-and middle-income communities due to marketing strategies of placement and distribution, costs, and customers' perception. This challenge underscores the need for a fundamental change in the food system that requires policies and actions to create a culture in which healthy and sustainable food choices are accessible and affordable to everyone (Hu et al., 2019;Jiang et al., 2020). ...
Article
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Evidence consistently suggests that plant-based diets promote human and planetary health. Reducing large-scale animal-based food production generates environmental benefits, as the entire livestock agriculture chain plays an outsized role in greenhouse gas emissions, land change and degradation, and scarcity-weighted water use. However, substituting animal products with their plant-based counterparts must come with consideration of the nutritional quality and resource usage of plant-based food production and processing operations. Several policy reforms have been implemented at the national, state, and municipal levels in the United States to support a transition toward more plant-based diets. Federal programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans generally promote the consumption of unprocessed plant-based foods but include little to no information on sustainability and the harmful environmental impact of animal-based foods. National policies are complemented by state efforts aimed at incentivizing produce purchased from local suppliers and encouraging resource-conserving agriculture. At the local level, public schools are implementing programs to promote plant-based protein on their menus, and urban gardens are sprouting across the country to increase access to organic farming. This mini-review examines these policy reforms and behavioral intervention strategies, based on the social-ecological model, and discuss their capacity and limitations to promote a shift toward sustainably produced plant-based diets in the United States. We conclude that transforming the food systems toward plant-based diets in the animal-centered United States requires multi-sector collaboration and context-specific policy solutions to address diet-related climate concerns without neglecting health, social, and financial constraints.
... A consumer trend to reduce meat intake has spurred the development and availability of alternative products. A new generation of highly refined, plant-based meat analogs (PBMAs) is designed to mimic the taste, texture, and presentation of meat (1), providing a way to moderate meat consumption with only minimal change in dietary habits. What were once niche foods aimed at vegetarians are increasingly marketed to omnivores and flexitarians (2). ...
... Estimated nutrient composition of participants' dietary intake the day before the clinic visit when a particular meal was consumed, based on 24-h dietary recall1 ...
... Amino acid composition of the cooked meals (mg per 100 mg, 470 g per meal)1 ...
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Background Red meat is a nutrient-dense food and a dietary staple. A new generation of plant-based meat analogs (PBMA) have been designed to mimic the experience of eating meat, but there is limited evidence about their digestive efficacy and nutritional quality. Objectives We compared the postprandial digestive response of a single meal containing meat commercially raised in New Zealand including lamb, on-farm pasture-raised beef (Pasture), or grain-finished beef (Grain) with a PBMA (Beyond Burger) sold through consumer retail. The primary outcome was the appearance of amino acids in plasma. Secondary outcomes included glucose and insulin, appetite assessment, and anthropometry. Design Thirty healthy men (20–34 years) participated in a double-blinded randomized crossover trial. Each consumed one of the four test meals on four occasions separated by a washout period of at least one week, following an overnight fast. The meal was a burrito-style wrap containing meat or PBMA, vegetables, salsa, and seasonings in a flour tortilla. The amount of Pasture, Grain, Lamb, or BB was 220 g raw (∼160 g cooked). Venous blood samples were collected over 4 hrs. Appetite and hunger status was scored with visual analog scales. Results Pre-meal amino acid concentrations in plasma did not differ by group (P > 0.9) although several non-essential amino acids differed strongly according to participant BMI. Postprandial amino acids peaked at 2–3 hours in all groups. The BB meal produced significantly lower plasma concentrations of total-, essential-, branched-chain- and non-proteogenic amino acids, than the Lamb, Pasture, or Grain meals, based on area under the time-course curves (AUC). There were no significant differences between meal groups in scores for hunger, fullness, or cravings. Conclusions Red meat meals exhibited greater bioavailability of amino acids compared to the PBMA (BB). Pasture versus Grain origins of the beef had little influence on participants’ responses. This trial was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov as NCT04545398.
... The meat alternative sector oftentimes conducts a life cycle assessment (LCA), which is a methodology for assessing environmental impacts associated with all stages of the life cycle (from raw material extraction all the way to final material disposal) of a commercial product, process, or service Scientific Applications International Corporation, 2006). A LCA performed in the Center of Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan found that plant-based Beyond Burger generates 90% less GHG emissions, requires 46% less energy, has >99% less impact on water scarcity, and 93% less impact on land use compared with ¼ pound of US beef (Heller & Keoleian, 2018;Hu et al., 2019). By comparison, Quantis, a sustainability consulting group, released a LCA report finding that plant-based Impossible Burger used 96% less land, 87% less water, 89% less GHG emissions, and 92% fewer aquatic pollutants than conventional beef (Khan et al., 2019). ...
... Regular or large consumption of meat could cause cardiovascular diseases and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases (Richi et al., 2015). Based on epidemiologic evidence, the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization classified processed meats, such as hot dogs, bacon, and sausages, as carcinogenic to humans for colorectal cancer, and unprocessed red meats, such as beef and pork, as "probably carcinogenic" (Boada et al., 2016;Diallo et al., 2018;Hu et al., 2019;Richi et al., 2015). ...
... Despite the social, sensory, and nutritional benefits of meat consumption (Boler & Woerner, 2017), it is quite clear that raising livestock for meat production is inefficient and damaging to the environment (Steinfeld et al., 2006). Raising livestock can lead to loss of forests and other lands and contaminate rivers, streams, and drinking water with nutrients from animal waste lagoons and runoff (Hu et al., 2019). For both public health and planetary health, a consumer shift toward more plantbased foods and less animal-based foods is needed (Osen et al., 2014;Ritchie et al., 2018;Sahay, 2000). ...
Article
The market for plant-based meat alternatives experienced unprecedented growth in the past 3 years bolstered by consumer passion for health and wellness, environmental sustainability, animal welfare, and flexitarian lifestyle. Textured wheat and pea proteins with appearance and fibrous structure that mimic those of real meat were developed using low-moisture extrusion technology and formulated in meat alternative products with great success. Both textured proteins are available in several forms differing in size, shape, color and hydration properties. Shapes can vary from crumbles (granules) to chips (flakes) or shreds of different sizes. They contain 59-79% protein and possess hydration times that decrease with increasing temperature of soaking water with hydration capacities ranging from 1.2-4.7 g water absorbed per g of textured protein. Blending of textured wheat protein and textured pea protein improved the in vitro PDCAAS value (0.69-0.74) compared to that of textured wheat protein alone (0.31). Plant-based nuggets, patties, sausages, pot stickers, crab cakes, Mexican dishes and other food products can be successfully formulated that contain either singular or binary mixture of textured protein products to provide texture and nutritional improvements. This review also covers the chronology of events leading to the development of plant-based meat alternatives, the rationale behind consumer adoption of plant-based diet, and the different methods of texturizing plant proteins to assume the appearance and texture of real meat. It is projected that meat alternative products will continue to grow driven by increasing consumer demand, the availability of traditional and new plant protein sources, and the application of emerging technologies to transform the protein into a meat-like structure.
... Lastly, meat-based diets have a negative effect on the health of humans. Red meats are associated with obesity, type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers (Hu, Otis, McCarthy, 2019). Processed meats have been labeled as "carcinogenic" by the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization, and red meats have been labeled as "probably carcinogenic." ...
... Processed meats have been labeled as "carcinogenic" by the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization, and red meats have been labeled as "probably carcinogenic." (Hu, Otis, McCarthy, 2019). ...
Article
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An analysis on the impact and sustainability of meat-based diets on the environment; and whether a transition to planet-based diets would have a positive impact.
... Gradually, however, technological developments have resulted in products intended to mimic meat in taste and texture (23) . This new generation of plant-based meat analogues (PBMA) is based not only on soy, but also on protein isolates from peas, wheat, chickpeas, beans and fungi (17,24) . The increasing selection of non-dairy milk substitute products seems to appeal to cow's milk consumers as well as to vegetarians and vegans or to people with intolerances or allergies (25) . ...
... Although plant-based substitutes may provide a higher intake of recommended food groups compared with their animal counterparts, the nutrient composition of these products can vary widely (24,26,27) . Meat substitutes are suggested to contain more fibre and less total and saturated fat compared with their meat counterparts (26) . ...
Article
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Objective: To assess and compare the macronutrient and salt content in meat and dairy substitutes available on the Norwegian market. Design : Comparison between substitute products and two groups of meat and dairy products where one group represented the healthiest option (Keyhole) and one the most used option (Regular). Kruskal–Wallis test with pairwise comparison was conducted on categories with more than two groups, and Mann–Whitney U test was conducted on categories with two groups. Setting : Online stores in Norway. Hundred and two meat substitute products and 173 milk and dairy substitute products on sale spring and autumn 2020 were assessed; additionally, ninety-eight equivalent meat products and 105 milk and dairy products. Results : While Keyhole and Regular meat did not contain fibre, meat substitutes contained 3⋅5–5⋅0 g fibre per 100 g. The saturated fat content in meat substitutes was on average 1⋅9 times lower than in Keyhole products and 5⋅8 times lower than in Regular products. Milk and dairy substitutes contained 3⋅2 and 3⋅4 times less protein than Keyhole and Regular products, respectively. Conclusions : The study results indicate that meat and dairy substitutes on the Norwegian market vary in nutritional composition. Compared to Keyhole and Regular, substitutes contained lower levels of saturated fat, meat substitutes contained higher levels of fibre and milk and dairy substitutes less protein. Future studies should include content of micronutrients for a more comprehensive assessment.
... Moreover, PBAPs represent an important source of vegetable protein [26]. Yet, these new food matrices are created from raw materials by adding other ingredients through food technology processes, so PBAPs often contain high levels of salt, sugar, and saturated fat, as well as flavorings and other additives [27][28][29]. Consumers have limited access to reliable scientific publications or the ability to evaluate robust scientific data. Their knowledge of sustainability-related properties of PBAPs depends on claims made by manufacturers and internet searches that generally do not provide clear, validated evidence for specific features. ...
... Although numerous studies describe health concerns as one of the most important reasons for switching to a plant-based diet [92,102,[107][108][109][110], it is possible that consumers may not rate PBAPs as healthy themselves. As the health assessment database for PBAPs grows, concerns are generally raised about the level of processing of plant-based substitutes [27,111] and about their partial nutrient deficiencies compared to their animal counterparts [112]. It stands to reason that while consumers may see a health benefit in a plant-based diet, they are cautious in transferring such an assessment to substitute products. ...
Article
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Consumer acceptance and product development of sustainable, healthy, and tasty plant-based alternative products (PBAPs) are closely interlinked. However, information on consumer perceptions of the sensory profile of plant-based meat, cheese, and milk remains scarce. The study aimed to investigate German consumers’ (1) sensory evaluation of PBAPs and (2) consumers´ motivations and knowledge underlying the purchase of such products. This was analyzed in relation to different dietary styles of consumers (omnivore, flexitarian, vegetarian, vegan). A sample of 159 adults completed two tasks: first, a sensory test in which participants tasted and rated three different PBAPs in two consecutive sessions, and second, a questionnaire on consumption behavior, motivation, and knowledge. Results show few differences between nutrition styles in sensory evaluation of individual product attributes. However, overall liking was rated significantly higher by vegans than by omnivores. All dietary styles reported animal welfare and environmental aspects as the main motivations for consuming PBAPs. Most participants acknowledged that meat and cheese alternatives are highly processed foods and not a fad but are not automatically healthier or more environmentally friendly than their animal-based counterparts. Future research should focus on emerging product segments such as plant-based cheeses to better understand how consumers evaluate PBAPs.
... Finally, it is not clear whether PBMA is healthier than meat. PBMA products are highly processed, and though they may have lower fat content they can have more sodium than comparable meats (Hu et al., 2019). One remaining concern with PBMA consumption is that it may lead to diets with insufficient protein intake. ...
... Early empirical studies found that the taste and texture of PMBA did not appeal to consumers compared with meat (Hoek et al., 2011). More recent surveys find consumers resistant to substituting away from meat (Michel et al., 2021) due to factors including taste, the strong cultural norms surrounding meat consumption (Slade, 2018), and the fact that PBMA products are ultra-processed (Hu et al., 2019). Recent experimental findings from Caputo et al. (2022) indicate that PBMA products are less preferred than meats due to the lower sensory attractiveness. ...
Article
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This paper uses Nielsen Homescan data from 2014 to 2019 to investigate consumer spending on plant‐based meat alternative (PBMA) products. First, we measure determinants of different PBMA spending levels and summarize spending on PBMA and other food products. We then examine spending over time on PBMA and other food items when a household first purchases a PBMA product. A household spends USD 8 on PBMA products in the first month it purchases PBMA. PBMA spending, however, drops by over 75% in the months following this initial purchase. Spending on meat does not decrease in the first month these households purchase PBMA, though spending on dairy, deli, and dry grocery products does drop.
... Plant-based meat alternatives (PBMA) are highly processed products which try to mimic the 'meaty' characteristics of animal meat products, for example the 'bleeding' of a burger patty [9]. According to Slade [10] (p. ...
... In fact, it seems to depend on the individual product and which ingredients are used [111]. PBMA may have some role in improving human and planetary health; however, according to Hu et al. [9], there is no evidence yet to suggest that they can substitute for healthy diets focused on minimally processed plant-based alternatives. ...
Article
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Meat consumption is increasingly being seen as unsustainable. However, plant-based meat alternatives (PBMA) are not widely accepted yet. PBMA aim to imitate the experience of eating meat by mimicking animal meat in its sensory characteristics such as taste, texture, or aesthetic appearance. This narrative review explores the motivational barriers to adopting PBMA while focusing on food neophobia, social norms and rituals, as well as conflicting eating goals that prevent consumers from switching to a plant-based diet. Based on the key characteristics of these motivational barriers, which are informed by research findings in consumer psychology and marketing, solutions are discussed that can help counter the barriers.
... However, knowledge about the nutritional quality of plant-based substitutes and associated health effects are limited [29]. Previous studies have suggested wide variations in nutritional quality between and within different categories of meat and dairy substitutes [30][31][32][33][34]. Although raw ingredients in plantbased substitutes, such as soy, oats and various legumes, may be associated with positive health effects, this may not necessarily apply to the nal products [35]. ...
... Although raw ingredients in plantbased substitutes, such as soy, oats and various legumes, may be associated with positive health effects, this may not necessarily apply to the nal products [35]. During food processing, nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and trace elements may be lost [31], and less healthy ingredients such as salt, sugar, and saturated fats may be added, altering the nutrient value of the nal product [36]. In addition, the limited knowledge of nutritional impact due to nonnutrient additives ( avoring agents, emulsi ers, antioxidants etc.) have been questioned [37]. ...
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Background An increasing number of people adhere to plant-based diets and the marked for plant-based meat and dairy substitute products is rapidly expanding. However, few studies have examined the nutritional impact of replacing meat and dairy products with plant-based substitutes. Thus, the present study aimed to assess the consumption of plant-based meat and dairy substitutes in vegans, lacto-ovo vegetarians and pescatarians in Norway and examine the total intake of macronutrients and salt from substitute products. Method The study had a cross-sectional design, using single twenty-four-hour dietary recall to assess intake of macronutrients and salt in 158 participants (18–60 years); vegans (n = 88), lacto-ovo vegetarians (n = 43) and pescatarians (n = 28) living in the eastern part of Norway. Results In total 90%, 68% and 64% of the vegans, vegetarians and pescatarians, respectively, consumed meat or dairy substitutes. The main raw ingredient in the substitute products were soy, followed by oat and peas. Overall, substitute products contributed to 12% of the total energy and 16% of the total salt intake in the diet. The substitute products contributed to a higher intake of saturated fatty acids (SFA) in vegans (27% of total SFA intake,) than both lacto-ovo vegetarians (10%) and pescatarians (8%). Moreover, substitute products contributed to a higher intake of proteins in vegans (19%,) compared to pescatarians (7%,). The total macronutrient intake was within NNR recommendations, presenting a favorable distribution of fatty acids in addition to high levels of dietary fiber. Conclusion The high consumption of meat and dairy substitutes indicate that these products are regularly included in Norwegian plant-based diets. Substitute products may contribute to the total intake of fat, SFA and protein in vegans.
... 59 Beyond Meat ® utilizes pea protein isolate, and Impossible Foods ® uses soy protein isolate instead of whole foods. 58,59 Ultra-processed foods can be of concern since they are calorically dense and contain minimal fiber and nutrients. 59 Despite these plant-based options featuring similar amounts of calories (kcal) and protein as their animalbased counterparts while being cholesterol free, they also contain large amounts of sodium, total fat, saturated fat, and iron (Table 3). ...
... Additionally, it has been observed in an otherwise healthy population that the consumption of ultra-processed foods not only increases energy intake but also increases carbohydrate intake and leads to weight gain. 58,59 In the dialysis patient population, the outcome from eating ultra-processed foods might not be appropriate, especially for those already facing issues with weight or carbohydrate control. ...
Article
Emerging research suggests that a more liberalized diet, specifically a more plant‐based diet resulting in liberalization of potassium intake, for people receiving hemodialysis is necessary and the benefits outweigh previously thought risks. If the prescribed hemodialysis diet is to be liberalized, the need to illuminate and prevent potential pitfalls of a liberalized potassium diet is warranted. This paper explores such topics as partial to full adherence to a liberalized diet and its consequences if any, the advantages of a high‐fiber intake, the theoretical risk of anemia when consuming a more plant‐dominant diet, the potential benefits against renal acid load and effect on metabolic acidosis with increased fruit and vegetable intake, the putative change in serum potassium levels, carbohydrate quality, and the healthfulness of meat substitutes. The benefits of a more plant‐based diet for the hemodialysis population are multifold; however, the possible pitfalls of this type of diet must be reviewed and addressed upon meal planning in order to be avoided.
... meat, dairy and eggs). While increased consumption of minimally processed legumes and pulses has been associated with improved health in Western diet patterns (Richter et al. 2015), some authors have cautioned against extending this finding to novel plant-based (meat) imitation products (Hu et al. 2019). Several plant-based imitation products can be categorised as processedreconstituted foods with little direct relation to whole foods, being made from refined or extracted ingredients thereof, in addition to synthesised chemicals (Scrinis 2013). ...
Article
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Reductionist approaches to food focus on isolated nutritional criteria, ignoring the broader physiological and societal benefits and trade-offs involved. They can lead to the inadvertent or, potentially, intentional labelling of foods as good or bad. Both can be considered worrisome. Among our present-day array of issues is the disproportionate stigmatisation of animal-source foods as harmful for human and planetary health. The case for a protein transition reinforces this trend, overemphasising one particular nutritional constituent (even if an important one). In its strongest formulation, animal-source foods (reduced to the notion of 'animal protein') are represented as an intrinsically harmful food category that needs to be minimised, thereby falsely assuming that 'proteins' are nutritionally interchangeable. We caution against using the word 'protein' in food policy-making to describe a heterogenous set of foods. Rather, we suggest referring to said foods as 'protein-rich foods', while acknowledging the expanded pool of non-protein nutrients that they provide and their unique capabilities to support a much broader range of bodily functions. Several essential or otherwise beneficial nutrients are generally more bioavailable in animal-source foods than in plant-source foods. A similar complementarity exists in reverse. Nutritional and environmental metrics should be carefully interpreted, as considerable contextuality is involved. This needs to be undertaken, for instance, with respect to the biochemistry of food and in light of individual and genetically inherited human physiology. Also, the assessments of the environmental impact need a fine-grained approach, especially when examining a product at the system scale. Harms and benefits are multiple, multi-dimensional, and difficult to measure on the basis of the narrow sets of descriptive metrics that are often used (e.g. CO 2-eq/kg). A more appropriate way forward would consist of combining and integrating the best of animal and plant solutions to reconnect with wholesome and nourishing diets that are rooted in undervalued benefits such as conviviality and shared traditions, thus steering away from a nutrient-centric dogma. Humans do not consume isolated nutrients, they consume foods, and they do so as part of culturally complex dietary patterns that, despite their complexity, need to be carefully considered in food policy making.
... The development of colorectal cancer has been linked with excessive consumption of red and processed meats (Hu et al., 2019). Also, there's a concern about other cancers like prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, and breast cancer (Thavamani et al., 2020). ...
Article
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The discussion about the development and consumption of plant-based meat alternatives has been raised since numerous decades and has become the topic of prime concern these days. Recently, the market of plant-based meat alternatives has enormously expanded. With the aim of investigating the present scenario of research on meat analogs and defining the future research areas, reasons for shifting the trends towards consumption of meat analogs due to several health and environmental issues, potential sources and technologies needed for the development of meat analogs, physicochemical properties of meat analogs, functionality of ingredients used for manufacturing plant-based meat analogs, gastrointestinal fate of meat analogs and resulting consumer acceptability are summarized in this review. Studies have revealed that various health and environmental concerns are associated with the meat production which is the key driving force for the development of meat analogs. Recently, modern structuring techniques of plant-based meat alternatives have improved their functionality, however, a need exists to focus on improving the functionality, sensory characteristics, safety, and selection of suitable ingredients for the production of meat analogs. Additionally, the consumers’ acceptability towards meat analogs is quite unsatisfactory which needs to be improved through proper research and creating awareness. Moreover, the gastrointestinal fate of the plant-based meat analogs needs further investigation in order to have a better understanding regarding the nutrient bioavailability of these products. The present review will be helpful in highlighting the current situation regarding the fate of meat analogs and opening new horizons of research in this domain.
... The conflicting viewpoints on processed foods, and specifically plant-based meats and plant-based milks, present a confusing picture to consumers, especially health and environmentally conscious individuals who are concerned about animal welfare. This Perspective argues that maligning plant-based meats and plant-based milks because of the processing they undergo is nutritionally unjustified and counterproductive to achieving the health and environmental goals of the WHO, as well as those of other health authorities and organizations (15)(16)(17)(18). Note that several authors have provided detailed overall critiques of the NOVA food-classification system (19)(20)(21)(22)(23)(24). ...
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In many non-Asian countries, soy is consumed via soy-based meat and dairy alternatives, in addition to the traditional Asian soyfoods, such as tofu and miso. Meat alternatives are typically made using concentrated sources of soy protein, such as soy protein isolate (SPI) and soy protein concentrate (SPC). Therefore, these products are classified as ultra-processed foods (UPFs, Group 4) according to NOVA (not an acronym), an increasingly widely used food classification system that classifies all foods into one of four groups according to the processing they undergo. Furthermore, most soymilks, even those made from whole soybeans, are also classified as UPFs because of the addition of sugars and emulsifiers. Increasingly, recommendations are being made to restrict the consumption of UPFs because their intake is associated with a variety of adverse health outcomes. Critics of UPFs argue these foods are unhealthful for a wide assortment of reasons. Explanations for the proposed adverse effects of UPFs include their high energy density, high glycemic index (GI), hyper-palatability, and low satiety potential. Claims have also been made that UPFs are not sustainably produced. However, this perspective argues that none of the criticisms of UPFs apply to soy-based meat and dairy alternatives when compared to their animal-based counterparts, beef and cow's milk, which are classified as unprocessed or minimally processed foods (group 1). Classifying soy-based meat and dairy alternatives as UPFs may hinder their public acceptance, which could detrimentally affect personal and planetary health. In conclusion, the NOVA classification system is simplistic and does not adequately evaluate the nutritional attributes of meat and dairy alternatives based on soy.
... The faux meat market is dependant on "meat reducers, " a group of consumers interested in mostly weight and health maintenance. There are numerous health-related benefits of eating meat analogues as reduced consumption of meat may help in decreasing cholesterol levels and thereby prevents heart-related issues, daily consumption of original meat is also associated with colorectal cancers ( Hu et al., 2019 ). Plantbased meat is currently gaining huge interest amongst researchers due to high consumer demand because of health problems associated with daily consumption of meat or due to obligations of consuming a vegetarian diet in particular religious' sections. ...
Article
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Plant-dependant meat replacements are produced to meet consumer demands and to produce viable food supplies in the future. They have almost similar nutritional profiles as animal sourced meats. Meat alternatives helps to mitigate the negative impacts of livestock on the environment and human health. Recent product development efforts and marketing have increased plant-based meat alternatives production. However, it is still at its initial stage and faces numerous technological challenges. Processing technology innovation and creative product formulations are currently focused on improving meat-like quality characteristics. The inclusions of a variety of additives to produce meat-like texture, juiciness, mouthfeel, and flavour, raise concerns about nutrition, food safety, clean label, cost, and consumer confidence. This review assessed materials and processes associated with meat analogues, current development, challenges at the market and amongst consumers and opportunities for future growth.
... This is especially the case for PBMA. Most of the recent research on PBMA is devoted to their acceptance (see for example, Apostolidis & McLeay, 2016;Slade, 2018;Bryant et al., 2019a;Bryant et al., 2019b;Bryant & Sanctorum, 2021;Michel et al., 2021Rondoni et al., 2021Sogari et al., 2021;Caputo et al., 2022;Sogari et al., 2022), and reviews the opportunities and limitations of the development of these products as sustainable substitutes for food of animal origin (Hu et al, 2019;He et al., 2020;Onwezen et al., 2021;Tso et al., 2021). ...
Article
Plant-based meat alternatives have grown tremendously in recent years, with an unprecedented increase in vegan and meat-sounding labelled products appearing on European Union shelves. However, a regulation clarifying what the "vegan" label means and if "meat-sounding" names should be allowed when referring to plant-based foods is still lacking. Led by opposite reasons, both vegetarian and meat producers' associations are demanding to fill this legal void. Our paper contributes to this debate by providing the results of two online experiments that measures how consumers perceive plant-based meat substitutes based on vegan vs. meat-sounding labelling. The results of the first study showed that meat-sounding labels applied to plant-based food altered perceived healthiness, but not other characteristics of the product. The second study indicated that vegan labelling exerted a negative effect on the consumers' perception of tastiness and healthiness, and willingness to buy of plant-based foods. Importantly, these effects were moderated by the consumers' attitudes towards meat-eating and veganism. In line with these results, we propose that the explicit use of the "vegan" label might be counterproductive to increase the sales of plant-based foods, and that the biasing impact of meat-sounding labels on plant-based food's perception is weak.
... The ultra-processed nature of 2 nd generation meat substitutes, made with refined ingredients, generates a lot of debate whether they can be considered as a healthy choice or not (Santo et al., 2020). Some health professionals have been concerned whether these products can fully replace meat and at what cost for people´s health (Hu et al., 2019), once they are allegedly rich in saturated fat and sodium (Bohrer, 2019). At the same time, there is a healthy halo around plant-based products, with consumers associating plant-based to healthy eating, independent of the nutritional composition (Besson et al., 2020). ...
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Plant-based meat substitutes are products used to replace meat in the human diet. These products have developed from traditional whole-grain meat substitutes to products based on an advanced technology called 2nd generation meat substitutes. Increased market visibility of 2nd generation products raised questions about the products´ healthiness once they are classified by NOVA as ultra-processed, are allegedly high in salt and saturated fat, and might not be nutritionally equivalent to meat. To answer those queries, we evaluated the nutritional profile of the 3 generations of products available in the Brazilian market. Products were classified into one of three stages of technology as traditional meat substitutes, 1st generation meat substitutes, or 2nd generation meat substitutes. Their nutritional values, ingredient composition, and nutrient profile were analyzed and compared. Most of the products analyzed (169 in total) were classified as 1st generation meat substitutes (55.6%), while 2nd generation ones represented 16% of products. The 2nd generation of meat substitutes presented a higher amount of protein, sodium, saturated fat, and a greater number of additives than previous generation products. The future generation of meat substitutes should focus on reducing saturated fat content and the use of fewer additives.
... Furthermore, FX households were four times more likely to consume vegetarian or V meat alternatives than omnivorous households. Plant-based alternatives, such as vegetarian/V burger patties, are suggested to be an equivalent (or better) nutritional substitute to the animal-based, conventional products in advertising [5,13,[17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24]. ...
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Interest in plant-based nutrition has steadily increased in the western world in the recent years. The number of people following a meat-reduced, flexitarian diet is growing continuously. However, little is known about the diet quality of flexitarians compared to vegans or omnivores. Therefore, in this cross-sectional study, the food intake of 94 participants aged between 25–45 years was recorded via a validated food frequency questionnaire and 28 self-designed questions about the consumption of plant-based alternatives. An adapted Healthy Eating Index, HEI-flex, was developed to evaluate the diet quality of flexitarians, vegans and omnivores. Higher score points (SP) of the HEI-flex are associated with higher compliance with the official diet recommendations (Vmax = 100 SP). Finally, flexitarians scored significantly more highly when compared to omnivores (54 ± 8 vs. 47 ± 9 SP; p = 0.008) but lower than vegans (54 ± 8 vs. 61 ± 10 SP; p = 0.010). The results showed that the HEI-flex is a useful tool for assessing and comparing the diet quality of flexitarians, vegans and omnivores. Despite the consumption of highly processed plant-based alternatives, reduction in meat and meat products seems to be accompanied by increased overall diet quality.
... In recent years, with advances in food processing Wuyang Hu and Yuqing Zheng contributed equally to this study. technology, a new generation of plant-based meat alternatives (PBMA) have entered the market with meat-like texture, appearance, nutritional facts, aroma, and especially taste (He et al., 2020;Hu et al., 2019). In this paper, we assess the market demand for the new generation PBMA in relation to animal-based meats 1 in the United States. ...
Article
With the unique mimicry of the sensory experiences of meats, the plant‐based meat alternatives (PBMA) appeal to consumers outside the traditional vegetarian demographics. This study analyzes market expenditure data from 2017 to 2020 to evaluate the demand for PBMA in relation to meats. Results show that PBMA is a complement for beef and pork while a substitute for chicken, turkey, and fish. Although the current market demand for PBMA is still incomparable with meats, the growth of PBMA sales is significant. This study sheds light on marketing strategies and policies toward the future of PBMA and the fresh meat sector.
... Concomitantly, a variety of plant-based innovations have entered the market; alternative protein products that replace those traditionally made from animals. Dairy alternatives (e.g., nut based cheese) as well as meat alternatives in the form of burger patties, sausages, and other meat-like products, that are specifically designed to mimic the taste and experience of eating meat products while being marketed as a healthier and more environmentally friendly alternative (12). ...
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A low-processive plant-based diet is considered valuable for a sustainable diet profile—it is supposed to meet health as well as environmental concerns. However, there is a growing trend toward plant-based meat alternatives, most of which are to be classified as ultra-processed food (UPF). The paper aimed to understand the consumption of different ultra-processed foods to describe their relation to dietary patterns and sustainability. The objective was (1) to depict the status-quo of consumption of plant-based meat alternatives along with other UPF groups (i.e., convenience products, fast foods, snacks, ultra-processed beverages) in a German sample (n = 814) and (2) to investigate the extent to which all examined UPFs are represented in different dietary patterns (vegetarian, flexitarian, regular meat-eaters, high meat-eaters). UPF intake and dietary groups were determined using a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). Potential factors influencing UPF consumption, such as attitudes toward sustainability and healthy eating practices, were assessed using validated and fitted psychometric scales. Overall, the frequency of UPF consumption varies significantly along the product groups studied. Plant-based meat alternatives were the least consumed food (12.3%), followed by convenience products (57.4%), fast foods (55.9%), ultra-processed beverages (80.1%), and sweet and salty snacks (97.3%). Plant-based meat alternative consumption predominated within a vegetarian diet, while other UPFs, like convenience products, fast foods, sweet and salty snacks, and ultra-processed beverages, were mainly consumed by meat-eaters. Remarkably, flexitarian diets depict low consumption of all types of ultra-processed foods. In order to meet societal sustainability goals, diets and corresponding societal and political actions should emphasize not only plant orientation but also the increase of non- and low-processed foods.
... Many questions still remain with respect to PBMAs. One primary issue are the questions surrounding the healthiness of the new novel PBMAs for long term human health, despite having similar macronutrient values to the beef options they are simulating [44][45][46] . It is also unclear as to the effects of the novel PBMAs on the environment. ...
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The promise of novel plant-based meat alternatives (PBMAs) to lessen the health and environmental impacts of meat consumption ultimately depend on market acceptance and the extent to which they displace meat in consumers' diets. We use household scanner data to provide an in-depth analysis of consumers' PBMA buying behaviors. PBMAs buyers tend to be young, single, female, college educated, employed, higher income, and non-white. About 20% of consumers purchased a PBMA at least once, and 12% purchased a PBMA on multiple occasions. About 2.79% of households only purchased PBMAs. About 86% of PBMA buyers also bought ground meat; however, PBMA buyers spent about 13% less on ground meat. Interestingly, after a household's first PBMA purchase, ground meat consumption did not fall. The number of households buying a PBMA for the first time fell over the two year period studied, despite the increase in market share in the ground meat market.
... Research into the health concerns of meat alternatives have focused more on the health risks of traditional meat as opposed to the health concerns of meat alternatives. This is probably because researchers have equated meat alternatives to other plant-based food and have associated the health benefits of a plant-based diet to plant-based meat, but nutritional experts have cautioned against this and calls have been made for long term studies on the overall health impacts of plantbased meat ( [47] ). Furthermore, the health impacts of some of the ingredients in plant-based meat-like methylcellulose ( [82] ) and various gums (( [10] ) Biswas et al., 2011) warrants attention as there is possible gastrointestinal health concerns with these ingredients (( [106] ) Bohrer, 2019). ...
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Increasing population and disposable income has caused a change in the sub-Saharan African diet to more animal sources of protein, especially in the urban areas. Planetary health concerns are bound to be more prominent with this increased consumption. Meat alternatives has emerged as a potential alternative. However, its research in the continent is lacking despite the projected increase in meat consumption in the coming years This review aims to address this gap by examining the available literature regarding plant-based meat alternatives production and consumption. This review found that meat alternatives are similar in nutrient composition to meat, although differences in essential nutrients warrants caution. Furthermore, even though meat alternatives are less environmentally demanding, the potential health concerns demand further study. The review also found that meat is eaten for more than just physiological needs and it has socio-cultural connotations, especially in SSA. Consequently, to encourage consumers to substitute their traditional meat, these barriers need to be adequately researched. Regardless, there are various opportunities for plant-based meat adoption; circumstantially evidenced by the increasing demand of vegan and vegetarian products in some parts of SSA. Yet, large-scale adoption of meat alternatives is stymied by limited consumer research in SSA.
... While the popularity of these products is increasing, little is known about their nutritional composition in comparison to equivalent meat products (2) . Therefore, objective of this study was to measure how the nutritional content of PBMAs currently available in UK and Irish supermarkets compares with equivalent meat products. ...
... Moving toward consuming plant-based meat while shifting away from conventional meat may benefit the environment, animal welfare, and human health (1). For many decades, conventional plant-based proteins such as seitan, tempeh, and tofu, as well as other vegetarian meat-like foods, have been commercially accessible (2). ...
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As the demand for plant-based pet foods is increasing exponentially, pet-food companies have considerable financial investments in this area. While most plant source proteins contain all essential amino acids, few contain all essential amino acids in sufficient amounts to fulfill the nutritional requirements. Therefore, the optimum balance of protein/amino acids in plant-based pet foods requires different combinations of plant-based ingredients. Active searching for stable and reasonable plant-based ingredients is one of the major tasks in pet-food companies, which is time-consuming and expensive. As a result, breeding for developing pet food-specific plant cultivars that can reduce the dependency of pet-food companies on different plant-based ingredients would be highly paramount in the near future. Recently, efforts have been made to facilitate cultivar development using advanced high throughput methods combined with sophisticated big data analysis methods. In this opinion paper, we tried to compare the meat-based pet diet with the plant-based pet diet in today’s life, answering some important questions about the rationale behind using plant-based pet foods, developing a breeding pipeline for breeding specific cultivars that not only have benefits for human but also for pet companies, and highlighted the necessity of using optimization methods in the cultivar development process to detect the optimum condition for maximizing several traits of interests, simultaneously. This opinion paper may shed light on future plant breeding programs and studies to investigate more on developing pet food plant cultivars in different plant species while attracting different grant agencies to shift their preference in this multi-billion-dollar investment area.
... Alternative plant-based proteins (or plant-based meats) are vegan or vegetarian products designed to resemble the taste and appearance of traditional burgers, sausages or other meats (1) . Based on a growing interest among consumers, several companies have created and marketed plant-based meat products to accelerate the shift away from traditional animal meats (2) . In the United States, the sales of plant-based meat products were over $900 million in 2019, and more than doubled in 2020 (3) . ...
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Alternative plant-based meats have grown in popularity with consumers recently and researchers are examining the potential health effects, or risks, from consuming these products. Because there have been no studies to date that have specifically assessed the health effects of plant-based meats on biomarkers of inflammation, the purpose of this work was to conduct a secondary analysis of the Study With Appetizing Plantfood – Meat Eating Alternatives Trial (SWAP-MEAT). SWAP-MEAT was a randomised crossover trial that involved generally healthy adults eating 2 or more servings of plant-based meats per day for 8 weeks (i.e. Plant phase) followed by 2 or more servings of animal meats per day for 8 weeks (i.e. Animal phase). Results of linear mixed-effects models indicated only 4 out of 92 biomarkers reached statistical significance. The results were contrary to our hypothesis, since we expected relative improvements in biomarkers of inflammation from the plant-based meats.
... There has also been an increase in the direction of marketing towards meat-eating consumers, rather than just vegans and vegetarians (22). ...
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Dietary patterns high in meat compromise both planetary and human health. Meat-alternatives may help facilitate meat reduction, however the nutritional implications of displacing meat with meat-alternatives does not appear to have been evaluated. Here, data from the 9th cycle of the National Diet and Nutrition Survey was used as the basis of models to assess the effect of meat substitution on nutritional intake. We implemented three models; model 1 progressively replaced 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100% of the current meat intake with a weighted mean of meat-alternatives available in the UK market. Model 2 compared different ingredient categories of meat-alternative; vegetable, mycoprotein, a combination of bean and pea, tofu, nut and soy. Model 3 compared fortified versus unfortified meat-alternatives. The models elicited significant shifts in nutrients. Overall, there were increases in carbohydrate, fibre, sugars and sodium, whereas reductions were found for protein, total and saturated fat, iron and B12. The greatest effects were seen for; vegetable-based (+24.63g/day carbohydrates), mycoprotein-based (−6.12g/day total fat), nut-based (−19.79g/day protein, +10.23g/day fibre; −4.80g/day saturated fat, +7.44g/day sugars), soy-based (+495.98mg/day sodium), and tofu-based (+7.63mg/day iron, −2.02μg/day B12). Our results suggest meat-alternatives can be a healthful replacement for meat if chosen correctly. Consumers should seek out meat-alternatives which are low in sodium and sugar, high in fibre, protein and with high micronutrient density, to avoid compromising nutritional intake if reducing their meat intake. Manufacturers and policy makers should consider fortification of meat-alternatives with nutrients such as iron and B12 and focus on reducing sodium and sugar content.
Article
Meat production has long suffered from practical problems, such as high resource consumption, pollution, animal antibiotic residues and zoonotic diseases. The meat-based diet has also been criticized for not only inefficient production processes and a high carbon footprint, but also potential nutritional unbalance. In addition to challenges from population growth, animal disease epidemics and trade wars, the safety and sustainability of traditional meat production is encountering unprecedented challenges. Considerable progress has been made towards the development and production of meat alternatives, including cultured meat, plant-based meat alternatives, microbial protein, edible fungi, microalgae, and insect protein. In this review, we summarize the development status of various meat alternatives, discuss the associated technological challenges, and highlight important areas for future research. The current status of legislation, standard setting, and regulatory acceptance of meat alternatives are also discussed.
Article
Over the past decade, a plethora of alternative protein (AP) products has entered the US food system as plant-based food and beverage products. These AP products, which include plant-based meat and dairy alternatives and cell-cultured meat and seafood products, are being developed for the marketplace to simulate the appearance, texture, taste, and flavor and nutritional profiles of animal products. The new generation of AP plant-based and cell-cultured food and beverage products are part of a market-driven narrative that has embraced technology to address future human health, environmental, ethical, and planetary health challenges. This perspective article synthesizes evidence about the benefits of adopting minimally processed plant-based diets that support sustainable food systems and human and planetary health. Thereafter, it examines 4 wicked challenges related to AP products in the US context that include 1) a confusing marketing landscape for the public; 2) diverse views and varying acceptance among consumers about the health and environmental benefits of these products; 3) inadequate education and labeling provided by federal agencies to enable consumers to understand how these may support healthy sustainable diets; and 4) slow federal policy and regulatory actions to address the range of AP products and provide industry guidance. The article concludes with suggested policies and actions for government agencies and food system actors to address these challenges. Future research and actions are needed to balance the human health, equity, animal welfare, and economic viability goals and to clarify how AP products may support safe, healthy, sustainable diets and food systems.
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A global transformation towards sustainable food systems is crucial for delivering on climate change mitigation targets worldwide. In high- and middle-income settings, plant-based meat and dairy alternatives present potential substitutes for animal sourced foods, and a pathway to transition to more sustainable diets. We examined plant-based alternative foods (PBAF) consumption trends in the UK by analysing repeated cross-sectional food consumption data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey 2008–2019. Dietary data for 15,655 individuals aged 1.5 years and over were analysed to assess aggregate change in intake of PBAF and six other food groups that play a role in transformative dietary change. Characteristics associated with consumption of PBAF were explored using logistic regression, and consumption patterns in high and low meat consumers were explored by examining intake of potential animal product substitute food groups. The proportion of individuals reporting consumption of any PBAFs increased from 6.7% in 2008–2011, to 13.1% in 2017–2019 (p < 0.01). Compared to 2008–2011 PBAF consumption rose by 115% in 2017–2019 (p < 0.01). Females were 46% more likely than males to report consumption of PBAF (p < 0.01). Millennials (age 24–39 years) were the most likely generation to report PBAF consumption (p < 0.01 compared to generation Z (age 11–23 years) and traditionalists (age 75+ years)), as were individuals of the highest income tertile (p < 0.01). Among “low meat consumers”, PBAF consumption was on average higher than “high meat consumers” (18.6 g versus 4.8 g PBAF per day, p < 0.01). Our results support the hypothesis of a pivotal role of PBAF in the transition towards sustainable food systems in the UK, by demonstrating they are becoming increasingly popular among UK consumers. This highlights the urgent need to assess in detail the environmental and health impacts of large scale and population-wide consumption of PBAF in comparison to their animal-based equivalents.
Article
Feeding is a basic need for all individuals relevant for their health and well-being. The adoption of vegetarian diets is justified not only in health and well-being arguments, namely considering some harmful effects of omnivorous diets on health, but also in arguments related to the environment and life ideology. The main objectives of this narrative review work focus on three interconnected and very actual topics: (1) to focus on the potential of plant-based diets in the prevention of chronic diseases and human well-being; (2) to frame plant-based diets as diets with recognized involvement in social, economic and environmental sustainability; and (3) to highlight the main alternative food products to foods of animal origin and the challenges facing the food industry. From the consulted literature, 68 scientific articles were analyzed, allowing to conclude that adopting a plant-based diet has played an important role in the prevention of chronic disease, well-being, and environmental sustainability.
Article
There is a very quickly growing literature regarding the appropriate role of protein foods in sustainable food systems transition. From this literature there has emerged several points of contention and debate. There is, for instance, contestation over the appropriate balance of plant- and animal- sourced protein foods in feeding the world’s growing population; competing interpretations of the contributions made by plant and animal protein foods to healthy diets and the alleviation of malnutrition; disputes over the welfare of animals and human workers in protein production, as well as over the ethics of genetic manipulation in the production of novel protein food products; environmental debates about the relationships between protein food production methods and climate change and biodiversity decline; and finally (though not exhaustively), disagreements about how various populations, economic sectors, and cultural practices could be impacted by disruptive alternative protein food technologies or new protein-oriented policies introduced in the name of fomenting a sustainable agri-food transition. Protein foods are thus deeply implicated in a range of debates about sustainable agri-food systems. This article provides a review of the literature on the future of sustainable protein across five core dimensions of sustainable food systems: i) food security; ii) nutrition and health; iii) ethics and welfare; iv) climate change and biodiversity; and v) social, economic, and cultural prosperity. Using a similar method of interpretive narrative analysis as that developed by Béné et al. (2019) in World Development, we identify and define three main “meta-narrative coalitions” on protein sustainability and examine their respective proposed solutions along these five dimensions. We label and define the three meta-narrative coalitions as i) “Modernizing Protein” (an approach which centers technological innovation as the primary mechanism for achieving sustainability in the global food system); ii) “Reconstituting Protein” (which prioritizes the reduction of animal protein consumption and the introduction of novel protein food products in order to achieve sustainable food system transition); and iii) “Regenerating Protein” (which seeks to restore human-nature relationships within protein production and consumption practices as a means of achieving sustainable development within the global agri-food sector). In addition to defining these meta-narrative coalitions and highlighting their core differences, internal disputes, and areas of common ground, we note how all three narrative coalitions are actively seeking to reshape food systems in material ways. In conclusion, we argue that the pluralist character of contemporary efforts in sustainable protein transition – wherein the world appears to be simultaneously moving in different directions at once – holds resilience potential, yet it also faces challenges which could hinder sustainable transformation. Our review contributes to ongoing debates in the literature by highlighting the need for proponents of different sustainable protein meta-narratives to work towards shared objectives, and constructively engage criticisms from opposing perspectives.
Chapter
The term “alternative proteins” describes alternatives and substitutes to animal-based foods. This area is gaining popularity fast as humanity tackles the challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, land- and sea-use changes and food security. Some alternative protein sources have existed for millennia, including tofu, tempeh and seitan, but others, such as cultured meat and 3D food, are new. The chapter follows a historical line in these developments analysing the pros and cons of alternative proteins and offering reflections about their future, potential consumers and challenges.
Article
Are plant-based meat alternative products healthier than the animal meats they mimic? There is no simple answer to this question because these products have both nutritional strengths and shortcomings. On the plus side, most are a good source of dietary fiber and contain less saturated fat and cholesterol in comparison to the animal meats they mimic. In addition, most contain iron in amounts comparable to the animal products they are designed to replace. As for shortcomings, plant-based meat alternative products generally contain less protein, zinc, and vitamin B12 than animal meats. Most also contain sodium in high amounts. Products can vary greatly in their nutrient content, which means consumers should read nutrition facts labels to choose a product that best aligns with their health and nutrition goals.
Thesis
Afin de rendre les régimes alimentaires occidentaux plus durables, un changement d’alimentation s’impose. Notamment, la réduction de la consommation de produits animaux permettrait de réduire les impacts environnementaux de l’alimentation et d’améliorer la santé des populations, à condition de favoriser des aliments végétaux favorables pour la santé. Dans ce contexte, on observe un développement rapide de produits de substitution à la viande et aux produits laitiers, qui pourraient faciliter la consommation de protéines végétales. Cependant, l’impact de leur consommation sur la qualité de l’alimentation et la santé a été peu caractérisé. L’objectif de cette thèse était d’étudier la place des aliments sources de protéines végétales, et plus particulièrement des substituts végétaux aux produits animaux, dans le cadre d’une transition alimentaire favorisant les protéines végétales.Par des études d’observation, nous avons constaté que les sources de protéines végétales étaient actuellement peu diversifiées car principalement apportées par les produits céréaliers. Puis par des modèles de simulation de changement de régimes alimentaires, nous avons montré que les modifications de consommation de produits animaux étaient associées aux profils d’adéquation nutritionnelle de telle sorte qu’un mélange diversifié d’aliments protéiques végétaux était à privilégier en substitution. De même, les substituts végétaux sont très hétérogènes, et ceux à base de légumineuses sont apparus comme les plus appropriés pour remplacer les produits animaux. Enfin, par des modèles d’optimisation, nous avons montré qu’il était possible de composer des produits végétaux de très forte valeur nutritionnelle pour se substituer à la viande et que lors de la modélisation de régimes alimentaires plus sains, l’introduction de substituts végétaux pouvait favoriser la réduction de la consommation de viande, d’autant plus s’ils sont enrichis en fer et zinc.
Chapter
Traditional Med diets consumed around the Mediterranean basin reflect the local environment and so may vary quite widely in food content. This chapter discusses the importance of minimising consumption of foods typical of a Western diet. The Western diet includes substantial amounts of meat and other animal products, refined grains and HFSS foods. Most of the packaged foods that typify the Western diet are highly calorific and of low nutritional value. The higher fibre content and lower level of free sugars in the Med diet compared to the Western diet result in different effects on the microbiome. The food industry is responding to the demand for pre prepared vegan/vegetarian foods with a massive expansion of new lines. Current evidence suggests that to ensure nutritional adequacy, it is easier for consumers to transition to flexitarian diets such as the Med diet than to vegetarian/vegan diets.
Chapter
Recently, we have seen a growing demand for plant-based meat alternatives as more and more people want to replace the meat on their plate with a protein alternative of plant origin. Food manufacturers are able to make plant-based protein foods that simulate the taste and texture of meat. Fast food giants have introduced such meat alternatives for the growing population of flexitarians and others concerned for their own personal health and the health of the planet. But how healthy are these new products? What is their nutritional quality? Do they have adequate protein and iron? What about their sodium and saturated fat levels? Are they fortified and are they considered ultraprocessed foods? How do the different product formats compare with regular meat products both nutritionally and from a sustainability viewpoint? There is vast array of products available to meet various needs and satisfy every palate.
Article
Rapid economic growth and urbanization are driving a growing and changing demand for food in China. However, food production has contributed significantly to greenhouse gas (GHG) and human-induced nitrogen emissions. Specifically, beef and pork are two major contributors to China's direct GHG footprint from livestock. The shift from conventional meat to meat protein alternatives is reportedly one of the promising strategies to reduce resource use and emissions. The paper narratively reviews the literature on whether novel meat alternatives can contribute to the attainment of sustainable development goal 2 (SDG 2), whether meat alternatives have a lower ecological footprint, and whether its supply is sustainable – a step toward achieving SDG 12. We observed that most studies portrayed the environmental footprint of meat alternatives in favourable terms, with few dissenting opinions. In addition, meat alternatives have been shown to expand the supply of protein, possess attributes that are important for food stability and can increase the availability of protein-rich foods to meet the nutritional needs of people. However, there are safety concerns and negative perceptions among the public. The insights from this study will be useful in assessing the prospects and informing decisions in moving towards responsible production, consumption and food security in China.
Chapter
The attitudes of consumers toward the consumption of meat are rapidly changing in many parts of the world. In addition to questions of sustainability and the role of meat production in climate change, the qualities that meat consumers perceive to be important in choosing what meat to consume have also evolved. Traditionally, the set of properties used to identify what we value in meat when we purchase it and subsequently eat it were those appreciated by our senses (such as color, flavor, texture). In recent years, extrinsic properties such as animal welfare, the nutritional values of meat in the human diet, and the ecological sustainability of production systems have become increasingly important aspects of choice in some markets.
Article
Dietary patterns (DP) rich in plant foods are associated with improved health and reduced non-communicable disease risk. In October 2021, the Nutrition Society hosted a member-led conference, held online over 2 half days, exploring the latest research findings examining plant-rich DP and health. The aim of the present paper is to summarise the content of the conference and synopses of the individual speaker presentations are included. Topics included epidemiological analysis of plant-rich DP and health outcomes, the effects of dietary interventions which have increased fruit and vegetable (FV) intake on a range of health outcomes, how adherence to plant-rich DP is assessed, the use of biomarkers to assess FV intake and a consideration of how modifying behaviour towards increased FV intake could impact environmental outcomes, planetary health and food systems. In conclusion, although there are still considerable uncertainties which require further research, which were considered as part of the conference and are summarised in this review, adopting a plant-rich DP at a population level could have a considerable impact on diet and health outcomes, as well as planetary health.
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The growing consumer awareness of climate change and the resulting food sustainability issues have led to an increasing adoption of several emerging food trends. Some of these trends have been strengthened by the emergence of the fourth industrial revolution (or Industry 4.0), and its innovations and technologies that have fundamentally reshaped and transformed current strategies and prospects for food production and consumption patterns. In this review a general overview of the industrial revolutions through a food perspective will be provided. Then, the current knowledge base regarding consumer acceptance of eight traditional animal-proteins alternatives (e.g., plant-based foods and insects) and more recent trends (e.g., cell-cultured meat and 3D-printed foods) will be updated. A special focus will be given to the impact of digital technologies and other food Industry 4.0 innovations on the shift toward greener, healthier, and more sustainable diets. Emerging food trends have promising potential to promote nutritious and sustainable alternatives to animal-based products. This literature narrative review showed that plant-based foods are the largest portion of alternative proteins but intensive research is being done with other sources (notably the insects and cell-cultured animal products). Recent technological advances are likely to have significant roles in enhancing sensory and nutritional properties, improving consumer perception of these emerging foods. Thus, consumer acceptance and consumption of new foods are predicted to continue growing, although more effort should be made to make these food products more convenient, nutritious, and affordable, and to market them to consumers positively emphasizing their safety and benefits.
Chapter
Many consumers are moving towards a more plant-based diet for ethical, environmental, or health reasons. These consumers are adopting vegan (no animal products), vegetarian (no meat, but some dairy and eggs), pescatarian (no meat, but some fish), or flexitarian (reduced meat) diets. As a result, the food industry is developing food products to meet the increasing demand for plant-based foods. Because many consumers are already familiar with animal-based foods, like meat, seafood, egg, and dairy products, the food industry is making plant-based analogs of these foods. These products are designed to accurately mimic the desirable physicochemical, sensory, and nutritional attributes of the original animal-based versions. This chapter highlights the main reasons that consumers are deciding to adopt more plant-based diets, including ethical, environmental, and health issues. It also highlights the importance of accurately simulating the desirable quality attributes of animal-based products and the opportunities for the food industry in this space. Finally, it highlights other sources of alternative proteins, such as cellular agriculture, algae, cultured meat, and insects.KeywordsPlant-based foodsGreenhouse gassesGlobal warmingObesityDiabetesAnimal welfareHealthNutrition
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Meat represents an important protein source, even in developing countries, but its production is scarcely sustainable, and its excessive consumption poses health issues. An increasing number of Western consumers would replace, at least partially, meat with alternative protein sources. This review aims at: (i) depicting nutritional, functional, sensory traits, and critical issues of single-cell proteins (SCP), filamentous fungi, microalgae, vegetables (alone or mixed with milk), and insects and (ii) displaying how fermentation could improve their quality, to facilitate their use as food items/ingredients/supplements. Production of SCP (yeasts, filamentous fungi, microalgae) does not need arable land and potable water and can run continuously, also using wastes and byproducts. Some filamentous fungi are also consumed as edible mushrooms, and others are involved in the fermentation of traditional vegetable-based foods. Cereals, pseudocereals, and legumes may be combined to offer an almost complete amino acid profile. Fermentation of such vegetables, even in combination with milk-based products (e.g., tarhana), could increase nutrient concentrations, including essential amino acids, and improve sensory traits. Different insects could be used, as such or, to increase their acceptability, as ingredient of foods (e.g., pasta). However, insects as a protein source face with safety concerns, cultural constraints, and a lack of international regulatory framework.
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Food protein is an essential macronutrient. Even though daily per capita supply of protein has increased globally from 61 g in 1961 to 81 g in 2013, and most people in the developed world have sufficient protein intake from their diets, however, protein deficiencies continue to be pervasive globally. Protein deficiency is the single major factor responsible for impaired growth and suboptimal health worldwide. Animal proteins are high quality and contain adequate and balanced amino acids, animal protein production however is inefficient and resource intensive. Alternative proteins are expected to provide the solution to meet the growing protein demand within the environmental limits. Alternative proteins include proteins from plants (i.e., grains, legumes, pulse, and nuts), fungus (i.e., mushrooms), algae, insects and cultured (lab-grown) meat that can be used to replace conventional animal proteins. Major concerns for human consumption of alternative proteins are inferior organoleptic properties, consumer acceptability, affordability, and sustainability. There is a need to develop culturally diversified alternative proteins to mitigate global protein malnutrition. Food proteins are also found applications in biomaterials and as a source of bioactive peptides.
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Concerns about sustainability and nutrition security have encouraged the food sector to replace animal proteins in food formulations with underutilized plant protein sources and their co-products. In this scenario, canola protein-rich materials produced after oil extraction, including canola cold-pressed cakes and meals, offer an excellent opportunity, considering their nutritional advantages such as a well-balanced amino acid composition and their potential bioactivity. However, radical differences among major proteins (i.e., cruciferin and napin) in terms of the physicochemical properties, and the presence of a wide array of antinutritional factors in canola, impede the production of a highly pure protein extract with a reasonable extraction yield. In this manuscript, principles regarding the extraction methods applicable for the production of canola protein concentrates and isolates are explored in detail. Alkaline and salt extraction methods are presented as the primary isolation methods, which result in cruciferin-rich and napin-rich isolates with different nutritional and functional properties. Since a harsh alkaline condition would result in an inferior functionality in protein isolates, strategies are recommended to reduce the required solvent alkalinity, including using a combination of salt and alkaline and employing membrane technologies, application of proteases and carbohydrases to facilitate the protein solubilization from biomass, and novel green physical methods, such as ultrasound and microwave treatments. In terms of the commercialization progress, several canola protein products have received a GRAS notification so far, which facilitates their incorporation in food formulations, such as bakery, beverages, salad dressings, meat products and meat analogues, and dairies.
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This paper reviews current information on meat analogues in the context of the Canadian Meat Industry and consumer. In Canada, plant-based meat analogues are widely available and their consumption is targeted to surge, while the potential for cultured meat remains questionable as many technical, economic, food safety and consumer acceptance issues are unresolved. Current funding support for meat protein alternatives suggests optimism for success provided a sufficient time horizon. Conceivably, a market shift towards meat analogues could result in greater meat exports, stagnation or curtailment of livestock and meat production. However, from a global perspective, growing demand for protein, and continued preference and premiums paid for meat as countries develop could sustain healthy meat and livestock industries in Canada to coexist with alternative protein industries. Competition could also encourage exploitation of untapped potential for diversification and value addition, but this will only occur if research and development are supported.
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Plant-based meat alternatives (PBMA) are a rapidly growing and much publicized segment of the processed food industry due to affluent consumer’s desire for sustainable nonmeat choices to help reduce the carbon emissions, animal welfare concerns, and land usage required by traditional meat and poultry production. Formulations of PBMA are complex and require the use of many ingredients, further processing, and occasionally, genetically engineered components. The end goal is to emulate animal meat in organoleptic properties and nutritional content at a similar price point. Challenges for development include antinutrients, off-flavors, sensory attributes, novel allergens, bioavailability of nutrients, and identifying necessary microbial and chemical testing. Long-term effects of a diet based on PBMA will need to be evaluated. PBMA have the potential to disrupt traditional protein sources by supplying products which are more environmentally friendly, cause no harm to animals, and are cost-effective.
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Many consumers believe that eating a plant-based diet will improve their health but this depends on the nature of the foods consumed. A plant-based diet mainly consisting of plant-based burgers, sausages, and nuggets consumed with refined grains, fried potatoes, snacks, sweets, and sugary beverages is unlikely to be healthy. In contrast, a plant-based diet mainly comprised of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts is likely to be much healthier. Consequently, it is important that a plant-based diet contains foods that are considered to be healthy, which usually means that they contain an appropriate macronutrient balance (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats), contain sufficient quantities of bioavailable micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, and nutraceuticals), contain high levels of dietary fibers, and are not digested too rapidly in the human gut. In addition, the impact of plant-based foods on satiety and satiation (the feelings of fullness during or after a meal), as well as metabolism (e.g., insulin response), is also important, as this may affect the total quantity of foods consumed, thereby impacting chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes. Finally, the influence of plant-based foods on the gut microbiome is important, as the nature of the microorganisms in the colon is known to have a major impact on human health and wellbeing. The nutritional profile and health effects of plant-based foods should therefore be taken into account when creating plant-based analogs of meat, fish, egg, or dairy products. Indeed, the transition to more plant-based diets provides the food industry with an excellent opportunity to address many of the adverse health effects currently associated with the modern Western diet. In this chapter, we focus on some of the factors that need to be considered when designing the next generation of plant-based products.
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Plant-Based Meat Alternatives (PBMA) are increasing in pop- ularity and may provide essential nutrients for some populations. Therefore, different formulations of popular PBMAs, such as Beyond Meat Burger (BMB1 and BMB2), Impossible Foods Burger (IFB1 and IFB2), and Morning Star’s Black Bean Burger (BBB), were assessed in comparison to traditional Animal-Based Meats (ABM), such as 80/20 Ground Pork (GP) for nutrient composition. Sodium content was considerably greater (P<0.05) in all PBMAs than GP, along with total saturated fat content being numerically greater when compared to GP. Vitamin E content of all PBMAs was numerically greater than ABMs. Total Essential Amino Acid (EAA) content was numerically greater in BMB2 than in ABMs, although anabolically important EAA, such as methionine and lysine were substantially greater (P<0.05) in GP. While PBMAs were comparable to ABMs in many nutrients, bioavailability should be further investigated.
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Objective To evaluate the association of changes in red meat consumption with total and cause specific mortality in women and men. Design Two prospective cohort studies with repeated measures of diet and lifestyle factors. Setting Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, United States. Participants 53 553 women and 27 916 men without cardiovascular disease or cancer at baseline. Main outcome measure Death confirmed by state vital statistics records, the national death index, or reported by families and the postal system. Results 14 019 deaths occurred during 1.2 million person years of follow-up. Increases in red meat consumption over eight years were associated with a higher mortality risk in the subsequent eight years among women and men (both P for trend<0.05, P for heterogeneity=0.97). An increase in total red meat consumption of at least half a serving per day was associated with a 10% higher mortality risk (pooled hazard ratio 1.10, 95% confidence interval 1.04 to 1.17). For processed and unprocessed red meat consumption, an increase of at least half a serving per day was associated with a 13% higher mortality risk (1.13, 1.04 to 1.23) and a 9% higher mortality risk (1.09, 1.02 to 1.17), respectively. A decrease in consumption of processed or unprocessed red meat of at least half a serving per day was not associated with mortality risk. The association between increased red meat consumption and mortality risk was consistent across subgroups defined by age, physical activity, dietary quality, smoking status, or alcohol consumption. Conclusion Increases in red meat consumption, especially processed meat, were associated with higher overall mortality rates.
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We investigated whether ultra-processed foods affect energy intake in 20 weight-stable adults, aged (mean ± SE) 31.2 ± 1.6 years and BMI = 27 ± 1.5 kg/m2. Subjects were admitted to the NIH Clinical Center and randomized to receive either ultra-processed or unprocessed diets for 2 weeks immediately followed by the alternate diet for 2 weeks. Meals were designed to be matched for presented calories, energy density, macronutrients, sugar, sodium, and fiber. Subjects were instructed to consume as much or as little as desired. Energy intake was greater during the ultra-processed diet (508 ± 106 kcal/day; p = 0.0001), with increased consumption of carbohydrate (280 ± 54 kcal/day; p < 0.0001) and fat (230 ± 53 kcal/day; p = 0.0004), but not protein (-2 ± 12 kcal/day; p = 0.85). Weight changes were highly correlated with energy intake (r = 0.8, p < 0.0001), with participants gaining 0.9 ± 0.3 kg (p = 0.009) during the ultra-processed diet and losing 0.9 ± 0.3 kg (p = 0.007) during the unprocessed diet. Limiting consumption of ultra-processed foods may be an effective strategy for obesity prevention and treatment.
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The future of meat Meat consumption is rising annually as human populations grow and affluence increases. Godfray et al. review this trend, which has major negative consequences for land and water use and environmental change. Although meat is a concentrated source of nutrients for low-income families, it also enhances the risks of chronic ill health, such as from colorectal cancer and cardiovascular disease. Changing meat consumption habits is a challenge that requires identifying the complex social factors associated with meat eating and developing policies for effective interventions. Science , this issue p. eaam5324
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Background Excess iron has been shown to induce diabetes in animal models. However, the results from human epidemiologic studies linking body iron stores and iron intake to the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) are conflicting. In this study, we aimed to systematically evaluate the available evidence for associations between iron intake, body iron stores, and the risk of T2DM. Methods A systematic search of the PubMed/MEDLINE and EMBASE databases to the end of 22 April 2012 was performed, and reference lists of retrieved articles were screened. Two reviewers independently evaluated the eligibility of inclusion and extracted the data. Pooled relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using random-effects models. Results We reviewed 449 potentially relevant articles, and 11 prospective studies were included in the analysis. A meta-analysis of five studies gave a pooled RR for T2DM of 1.33 (95% CI 1.19 to 1.48; P<0.001) in individuals with the highest level of heme iron intake, compared with those with the lowest level. The pooled RR for T2DM for a daily increment of 1 mg of heme iron intake was 1.16 (1.09 to 1.23, P<0.001). Body iron stores, as measured by ferritin, soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR) and the sTfR:ferritin ratio, were significantly associated with the risk of T2DM. The pooled RRs for T2DM in individuals with the highest versus the lowest intake of ferritin levels was 1.70 (1.27-2.27, P<0.001) before adjustment for inflammatory markers and 1.63 (1.03-2.56, P = 0.036) after adjustment. We did not find any significant association of dietary intakes of total iron, non-heme, or supplemental iron intake with T2DM risk. Conclusion Higher heme iron intake and increased body iron stores were significantly associated with a greater risk of T2DM. Dietary total iron, non-heme iron, or supplemental iron intakes were not significantly associated with T2DM risk.
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Background: Findings among randomized controlled trials evaluating the effect of red meat on cardiovascular disease risk factors are inconsistent. We provide an updated meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials on red meat and cardiovascular risk factors and determine whether the relationship depends on the composition of the comparison diet, hypothesizing that plant sources would be relatively beneficial. Methods: We conducted a systematic PubMed search of randomized controlled trials published up until July 2017 comparing diets with red meat with diets that replaced red meat with a variety of foods. We stratified comparison diets into high-quality plant protein sources (legumes, soy, nuts); chicken/poultry/fish; fish only; poultry only; mixed animal protein sources (including dairy); carbohydrates (low-quality refined grains and simple sugars, such as white bread, pasta, rice, cookies/biscuits); or usual diet. We performed random-effects meta-analyses comparing differences in changes of blood lipids, apolipoproteins, and blood pressure for all studies combined and stratified by specific comparison diets. Results: Thirty-six studies totaling 1803 participants were included. There were no significant differences between red meat and all comparison diets combined for changes in blood concentrations of total, low-density lipoprotein, or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, apolipoproteins A1 and B, or blood pressure. Relative to the comparison diets combined, red meat resulted in lesser decreases in triglycerides (weighted mean difference [WMD], 0.065 mmol/L; 95% CI, 0.000-0.129; P for heterogeneity <0.01). When analyzed by specific comparison diets, relative to high-quality plant protein sources, red meat yielded lesser decreases in total cholesterol (WMD, 0.264 mmol/L; 95% CI, 0.144-0.383; P<0.001) and low-density lipoprotein (WMD, 0.198 mmol/L; 95% CI, 0.065-0.330; P=0.003). In comparison with fish, red meat yielded greater decreases in low-density lipoprotein (WMD, -0.173 mmol/L; 95% CI, -0.260 to -0.086; P<0.001) and high-density lipoprotein (WMD, -0.065 mmol/L; 95% CI, -0.109 to -0.020; P=0.004). In comparison with carbohydrates, red meat yielded greater decreases in triglycerides (WMD, -0.181 mmol/L; 95% CI, -0.349 to -0.013). Conclusions: Inconsistencies regarding the effects of red meat on cardiovascular disease risk factors are attributable, in part, to the composition of the comparison diet. Substituting red meat with high-quality plant protein sources, but not with fish or low-quality carbohydrates, leads to more favorable changes in blood lipids and lipoproteins.
Beyond Meat's Beyond Burger Life Cycle Assessment: a detailed comparison between a plant-based and an animal-based protein source
  • M C Heller
  • G A Keoleian
Beyond Meat's Beyond Burger Life Cycle Assessment: a detailed comparison between a plant-based and an animal-based protein source
  • Keoleianga Hellermc