Is “fake meat” dangerous for health?

— barmalini /

Lately, fake meats have become increasingly popular. Indeed, these meat substitutes – which do not really contain meat – are gradually gaining ground on the market, in particular because they are more environmentally friendly. But nutritionally speaking, is fake meat good for your health?

Fake meat, what is it?

The fake meat is a food product made from vegetarian or vegan ingredients, such as peas, soy, mushrooms and wheat protein. As its name suggests, fake meat is eaten as a substitute for meat. These products are thus supposed to provide enough dietary protein for people who do not consume meat and other animal products.

Furthermore, new technologies and new production techniques have made it possible to develop meat substitutes whose mouthfeel, flavor, appearance and even chemical characteristics are very similar to meat. This without forgetting that these products disregard the environmental damage generally associated with animal husbandry for the production of real meat. The question now is whether these fake meats are as beneficial for the environment as they are for health.

Most people would tend to believe this is the case, since they are essentially plant-based products. But while meat alternatives are indeed lower in calories, lower in fat, and higher in carbohydrates and fiber than meat products, they do contain a lot of additives. Indeed, the manufacture and production of meat substitutes generally require the use of many additives to have something that really comes close to real meat.

fake meat
— Brent Hofacker /

Advantages that remain very relative

Thus, one will often find coconut oil, palm oil, dyes, hemoprotein and genetically modified yeasts in the different varieties of fake meats. Moreover, the majority of fake meats are considered to be ultra-processed foods, and we are aware that foods classified in this category are generally unhealthy. Either way, the amount of additives can vary wildly from fake meat to fake meat, and so can their nutritional profile.

In other words, it is currently impossible to say whether fake meat is really better for your health, since many parameters must be taken into account to make such a claim. Moreover, this is a subject that has not yet been studied enough to understand its true extent. Thus, caution should for the time being be required with regard to the consumption of meat substitutes. They can normally be eaten occasionally as part of a healthy diet.

fake meat
— Steve Heap /

It’s also important to know that the environmental benefits of fake meats are just as uncertain as their health benefits. Although these benefits may seem obvious, the lack of studies on the subject also makes it something very controversial.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.