Janice Stanger, PhD

Janice Stanger, PhD

Posted February 15, 2014

Published in Health

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Are Veggie Meats Healthy?

Read More: sodium, veggie meats, whole foods plant-based diets

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Three Simple Tips to Find the Best Ones

Veggies "meats" are plant-based versions of chicken, fish, burgers, and other animal foods. These foods are soaring in popularity, as more and more people are cutting way back on how much meat they eat, but are looking for convenient substitutes for their usual menu items.

The healthfulness of veggie meats depends on two things. The first is your point of view. Are you comparing these foods to whole plant foods, such as beans and whole grains, or are you comparing them to actual meat? The second is what the veggie meats are made from. There is a wide swing in your choices. While some veggie meats are manufactured from highly processed ingredients, others are prepared from mostly whole foods.

Are Veggie Meats Healthy Compared to What?

Animal meats harm you in many ways. Hundred of pages could be crammed with facts on the toxic effects of animal foods. Yet this would only skim the surface of the solid scientific evidence that meat is unhealthy.

Here is a tiny sample of research findings. All meat, even chicken and fish, has significant amounts of artery-clogging cholesterol. Animal protein raises your body's level of a hormone called IGF-1, which speeds the growth and spread of cancer cells. The iron in meat is absorbed all-too-readily, frequently veggie burger 2 smaller.jpgleading to excess stores of this mineral in your body. In turn, this iron is easily oxidized, harming your cells through the production of free radicals. Animal foods are the source of 89% to 99% of the toxic persistent organic pollutants in your body. These poisonous compounds can damage your DNA and cause cancer.

Scientists consistently find that processed meats are even more harmful than regular meat. For example, one large study found that just two strips a day of bacon or else 1.6 ounces of other processed meat raises your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 32%! In this same study, eating 3 ounces a day of unprocessed red meat increased diabetes risk by "only" 12%.

These facts are important when you consider that veggie meats are often used in sandwiches and wraps to substitute for processed meat slices. Other veggie meats are used in a main course to take the place of chicken or beef in a recipe. From this point of view, substituting for animal meats, the plant meats are definitely healthier.

Read on to learn more about the healthfulness of veggie meats and 3 tips to choose the best ones