Plant-based Meat Alternatives: Are They Healthy?
Most of these PBMAs products are created from a refined mixture of plant-based ingredients, such as soy isolates, wheat protein, coconut oil, concentrates and other chemical compounds, reducing their nutritional properties.
How these are marketed can give the false impression that what is sold is healthier due to its “plant-based” label.
However, the products are often very high in sodium, fats, and calorie-dense to make them tasty. At present, there is also not enough research done, looking at the effect of these ingredients being used regularly and over a long period. We know that a diet high in processed and refined foods, which are high in calories but low in nutrients lead to poor health and increased risks of chronic diseases. This could lead to the problem that these are merely replacing their meat product equivalent but not people improving dietary habits. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy these products from time to time and they can be useful to help people reduce their overall meat consumption without giving up their favourite food items. However, due to the alarmingly fast pace at which these alternatives are being produced, not only for meat-like products but also for confectionery and “junk foods”, I would warrant to be cautious about their actual health contribution in the context of aiming for an optimum healthy diet."