Plant-based diets are all the rage these days. And while I love vegetables, I’m not a fan of vegetarianism or veganism.
But today, let’s focus on veganism.
New vegan products are coming at us at a fast and furious pace. If you’re considering joining in on this trend, I strongly advise caution—if you aren’t careful, your diet will start lacking key nutrients.
Because the fact is, vegan diets can be dangerous.
And when it comes to THIS vegan-approved “fake” food in particular, new research highlights the very real nutritional differences that pose a serious health risk…
Missing nutrients in plant-based meat
According to researchers at Duke University, plant-based meat substitutes are not nutritionally equivalent to real meat.
Scientists compared 18 samples of popular plant-based meat alternatives to 18 grass-fed ground beef samples. Then, they measured the metabolites between the two.
(A metabolite is a substance made or used when the body breaks down food to generate energy and maintain health.)
Ultimately, they found that 171 out of the 190 metabolites measured varied between the beef and plant-based meat substitute.
More specifically, the beef contained 22 metabolites that the plant substitute did not, while the plant substitute contained 21 metabolites that the beef did not.
There were steep variations in amino acids, dipeptides, vitamins, phenols, and different types of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids.
Plus, the metabolites known to be most important to human health—they support our brain, muscles, and other vital organs—were found either exclusively or in greater quantities in the grass-fed ground beef samples, including:
- DHA (an important omega-3 fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid)
Of course, researchers also found that the plant-based meat contained some beneficial metabolites that the beef didn’t, such as phytosterols and phenols. But in my view, that’s a way to soften the blow that veganism just isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Other downfalls of veganism
This isn’t the first study to show veganism has very real downfalls.
In fact, previous research has found that giving up meat could negatively impact your mood, too.
A National Institutes of Health (NIH) study found that males who reported themselves as vegetarian or vegan placed significantly higher on depression scales than meat-eaters.
This certainly makes sense from a nutritional point of view. Deficiencies in key nutrients is a significant driver of depression. And you risk a lack of iron, zinc, CLA, B12, folate, essential fatty acids (omega-3s in particular), and MORE with strict vegetarianism or veganism.
Not to mention, it takes a ton of food manipulation to create plant-based products, using less-than-fresh ingredients that likely hijack your mood, too. (Don’t get me started on why we even need something that tastes and feels like the food item someone’s choosing not to eat.)
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that vegans can’t live healthy lives.
But the bottom line is—and always will be—that plants and animals are not interchangeable food sources. They’re meant to complement each other in our diets.
That’s why I recommend a balanced diet, full of plant- and animal-based foods in their whole forms. Like grass-fed and -finished beef, organic, free-range poultry, wild-caught fish and seafood, organic produce, and nuts. (Especially because we really have no idea whether there are short- or long-term effects of the presence or absence of the metabolites in plant-based meat alternatives.)
P.S. I address all of the current “fad diets”—and how you can honor your evolutionary roots for optimum health instead—in the July 2021 issue of my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter (“Unleash the power of your body’s natural rhythms and watch your health soar”). Not yet a subscriber? All it takes is one click!
“Metabolomics lab’s analysis finds near-meat and meat not nutritionally equivalent.” DukeTODAY, 07/06/2021. (today.duke.edu/2021/07/metabolomics-lab%E2%80%99s-analysis-finds-near-meat-and-meat-not-nutritionally-equivalent)