Can vegans eat fake meat?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Can vegans eat fake meat?” and will discuss the reasons why vegans consume fake meat.

Can vegans eat fake meat?

Yes, vegans can eat fake meat. Vegans think that killing and using animals when they are not required is immoral. The reason they refused to eat animal products was not that they disliked the flavor; it was because they opposed taking part in the senseless slaughter of animals when we know that animal products are nutritionally useless for a healthy lifestyle.

On the contrary, avoiding them is beneficial to our well-being. It’s also the most effective way for a single individual to help the environment.

The number of people following plant-based diets is increasing tremendously, according to different vegan societies and consulting companies. In America, vegans increased by 500%, from nearly four million in 2014 to 19.6 million in 2017 (1).

What is meant by fake meat?

Fake meat is a term used to describe anything that is not real. Plant-based meat and cell-based meat are two types of artificial meat. It’s only logical that this post would concentrate on the vegan option. To put it another way, plant-based meat has no animal products.

For the meat’s protein, soy and potatoes are common ingredients, while coconut oils are a common fat source. Vegans and those who are transitioning to a vegan diet are often confronted with the question of why vegans would choose to consume an item that resembles meat in appearance and flavor.

Recent meat analogue research and development focuses on the production of sustainable products that recreate conventional meat, not only nutritionally, but also in all of its physical sensations including texture, appearance, smell and taste. Currently, technologies such as extrusion, shearing, spinning, and freeze alignment are employed or proposed for texturizing vegetable proteins from oilseeds, pulses and grains, forming a variety of structures (2).

Reasons why vegans eat fake meat?

  • They like it because of the flavor.

That not all vegans are the same goes without saying. The textures and flavors of meat products are appreciated by some vegans who aren’t vegans, but they think it’s wrong to kill an animal simply to get what they want in the first place.

First and foremost, our taste buds are not formed of stone. They evolve as a result of a complex interaction between genetics, culture, emotions, environment, and upbringing. The mere fact that someone grew up eating certain meats and acquired a liking for them does not mean that people “need” them or that they are good for you. It’s like saying that just because someone grows up eating a lot of sugary processed foods, it doesn’t mean that sugar is necessary for humans or that it’s good. Meat has been in our diet since the beginning of time and has a strong cultural and gastronomic significance. Not surprisingly, many people consider meat to be an important part of the meal both culturally and as an indispensable source of nutrients (3).

Second, from the viewpoint of nutrition, meat does not include any specific vitamins or minerals that are required by the human body but cannot be found in plants. I’ll go into more depth about this in a subsequent blog article. For the time being, however, it’s important to remember that these synthetic meat products are still preferable to real meat in terms of health benefits. Consumer preference studies in Western countries have shown that meat-eaters are more willing to switch to plant-based meat analogues when the products mimic meat in texture and sensorial properties and can be incorporated in a meal context that fits with the consumer’s expectations (2).

·         It’s a much better option for you and the environment.

Commonly reported reasons to follow a plant-based diet include concerns for health, environment, animal welfare, rejection of meat, and religious beliefs. Different reports present the higher environmental impact of meat from ruminants compared to grains, fruit and vegetables (3). 

Start with the most apparent dangers of eating the meat items that these imitation meats mimic, such as red meat or poultry. Premature mortality and type 2 diabetes are linked to increased intake of red meat, particularly processed red meat. The plant-based diet has shown several advantages such as the reduction in obesity, presence of a high amount of nutritional ingredients such vitamins, micro- and macroelements, control of blood pressure and cholesterol (4).

This is especially true for those who have a history of these diseases. Aside from being classified as a Class 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organization (WHO), processed meats and red meat, in general, are both classified as Class 2 carcinogens. These meat products also carry numerous health risks due to the high levels of cholesterol and animal saturated fat they contain.

·         It’s a huge help in making the switch to a vegan diet.

If our taste buds have been used to certain meat products’ textures and flavors, eliminating them from our diet may be difficult and lead to difficult-to-control cravings.

Aspiring vegans often run across this issue. “I’d want to go vegan, but I can’t live without. That being said, if you’re able to address this issue for individuals, you’ll see an increase in the number of vegans. This is why it’s no surprise that it’s become popular. It has tripled from 20134 to 20179, and sales of these synthetic meats have increased by 451% in Europe (5) in the four years leading up to February 2018 for vegans here in the UK. The plant-based meat alternatives global market is projected to increase from USD 1.6 billion in 2019 to USD 3.5 billion by 2026. The top selling meat alternative products in 2019 were burgers (USD 283 million), sausages and hot dogs (USD 159 million), and patties (USD 120 million). Other data show that meat sales have decreased by 5% from 2015 to 2019 in the US (3).

·         It’s a better option since it’s more environmentally friendly.

One of the primary reasons so many people have made the transition to a vegan diet is because of the positive environmental impact that a vegan diet has.

So, rather than delving deep into the environmental advantages of a vegan diet, we’ll focus on the advantages of faux meats over real meat alternatives.

Environmental life-cycle assessment (LCA) studies have shown that low meat, vegetarian (no red meat, poultry, fish, or seafood), and vegan (vegetarian with no eggs or dairy) diets have significant environmental benefits in comparison to more carnivorous dietary trends in wealthy countries (6).

To begin, consider the results of two recent studies on the Beyond Burger and the Impossible Burger, respectively. Researchers at the University of Michigan discovered that compared to a 14 pound of American beef, the Beyond Burger produces 90% less greenhouse gas emissions, uses 46% less energy, has >99% less effect on water shortages, and uses 93% less land (6).

According to the official LCA (Environmental life-cycle assessment) conducted by Impossible Foods, the Impossible Burger reduces environmental impacts across every impact category studied in this report: 87% less water, 96% less land, 89% fewer GHG emissions, and 92% less aquatic pollutants than conventional ground beef (6).

. The Impossible Burger uses 879% less water, 96% less land, and 92% fewer contaminants in the water than traditional beef, according to a new study by Quantis 

Other FAQs about Vegans that you may be interested in.

Can you eat fish on a vegan diet?

d’vegan menu

Do vegans actually make a difference?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Can vegans eat fake meat?” and discussed the reasons why vegans consume fake meat.

References

  1. Alcorta, Alexandra, et al. Foods for plant-based diets: Challenges and innovations. Foods, 2021, 10, 293.
  2. Kyriakopoulou, Konstantina, Julia K. Keppler, and Atze Jan van der Goot. Functionality of ingredients and additives in plant-based meat analogues. Foods, 2021, 10, 600.
  3. Alcorta, Alexandra, et al. Foods for plant-based diets: Challenges and innovations. Foods, 2021, 10, 293.
  4. Singh, Meenakshi, et al. Plant-based meat analogue (PBMA) as a sustainable food: A concise review. Euro Food Res Technol, 2021, 247, 2499-2526.  
  5. The mainstreaming of meat alternatives. 2018. Ingredientsnetwork.com.
  6. Kustar, Anna, and Dalia Patino-Echeverri. A Review of Environmental Life Cycle Assessments of Diets: Plant-Based Solutions Are Truly Sustainable, even in the Form of Fast Foods. Sustainab, 2021, 13, 9926.