Five Facts About Meat 2.0
Since 2016, Meat 2.0 has become the trending food topic. Beyond Meat and Impossible Food are the two major plant-based meat companies now serving consumers at restaurants from A&W to White Castle, as well as in grocery stores.
The rise in popularity is based on consumer’s desire to cut down on meat consumption. According to a survey conducted by Johns Hopkins University, nearly 60% of U.S. consumers have expressed interested in eating less meat, driving the market for alternative protein sources that taste like beef. Why? Studies have shown a link between frequent consumption of red meat and heart disease and cancer. Before you buy your faux franks or mock meatloaf, let’s look at some facts about Meat 2.0.
Here’s what’s in it. A 4 oz. serving of the Impossible Burger contains:
- 19g of protein—the same as ground beef
- 14g total fat—primarily from canola, sunflower, and coconut oil
- 25% the recommended daily value of iron
- Soy and potato protein—to give it a meaty bite
- Heme—to give it a desirable taste
- Coconut and sunflower oil—to make it sizzle on the grill
- Methylcellulose and food starch hold it together so you can make it into patties
What is heme? Heme is an iron-containing molecule that occurs naturally in every single plant and animal. It’s an essential molecular building block of life. Heme gives your blood its ability to carry oxygen. Plant-based meat contains soy leghemoglobin, a protein that carries heme.
What is methylcellulose? Methylcellulose is an effective agent in preventing the formation of ice crystals in foods which need frequent refrigeration, keeping food fresher. It is also a bulk-forming laxative that increases the amount of water in your stools to help make them softer. Methylcellulose is sometimes used to treat constipation. If you have any gastrointestinal issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, talk to your doctor about consuming plant-based protein.
Meat 2.0 has over 20 ingredients. Eating a plant-based diet is better for you and better for the planet. To offer perspective on the number of ingredients in Meat 2.0, a box of cereal has around 24 ingredients. The point is, if you are trying to eat a diet composed mostly of whole foods, Meat 2.0 should be enjoyed in moderation. There is plenty of plant-based protein in beans, nuts, tofu, and grains such as quinoa.
There’s not enough scientific data to support the manufacturer’s claims about health benefits. Replacing red meat with other sources of protein, especially plant-based protein food, can reduce your risk of chronic disease and premature death, but there is insufficient evidence showing that a processed food, such as the plant-based meat, is a healthier choice.