While many are turning to plant-based meats for their health – almost half of all consumers think they are more nutritious – that’s not always true. Plant-based meats can be high in sodium, ultra-processed, and not any healthier than the meat they imitate; McDonald’s Impossible Burger, for example, is an impressive meat-free mix of soy, potato proteins, coconut, and sunflower oils, its calories and saturated fat levels mirror a regular McDonald’s quarter-pounder, and it has six times more sodium.
According to one study, the nutritional benefit of plant-based foods is minimal, and diets that substituted animal products with the plant-based alternative were below the daily recommendations for vitamin B12, calcium, potassium, zinc and magnesium, and higher in sodium, sugar, and saturated fat.
“I do think it’s very confusing for the consumer,” says Stephan van Vliet, of the Duke Molecular Physiology Institute. “It’s probably not the chicken, but everything else that comes with the chicken nugget that is probably detrimental to our health.”
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