Where’s the beef? Plant-based proteins take off

Whether it’s diet consciousness or concerns for sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives to meat, there’s no question that plant-based meat alternatives like Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger are getting consumers’ – and investors’ – attention. Even Big Meat producers like Tyson Foods is entering the alternative protein market with plant-based “chicken” nuggets.

If you’re considering becoming vegan or vegetarian or you simply want to reduce the amount of animal meat you eat, here are five plant-based proteins to consider:

Soy: Soy-based products, like tofu, tempeh and edamame, don’t actually reduce male testosterone levels as once thought. That’s good news for one of the richest sources of plant-based proteins, which contain about 10 to 15g of protein per serving. Tofu, also called soybean curds, is a great addition to soups, stews and sandwiches where it takes on the flavor of the dish’s other ingredients. And because soy contains good levels of calcium and iron, it’s a great substitute for dairy products. 

Quinoa: A South American grain that’s gained popularity on recent years, cooked quinoa contains about 8g of protein per cup. It’s also rich in iron, magnesium and fiber and a versatile substitute for rice or pasta in soups and salads.

Hemp seeds: Considered a superfood, hemp seeds come from the Cannabis sativa plant but do not produce any mild-altering effects. They are, however, packed with protein – almost as much as soybeans – high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids and believed to help regulate the immune system. You can add the seeds to your cereal, yogurt, smoothies and salads or drink hemp milk as you would cow milk.

Mycoprotein: A fungus-based protein often used in “chicken” nuggets or cutlets, mycoprotein is rich in protein at about 13 g per half-cup serving. It’s low in fat and cholesterol, high in fiber and good for sodium-restricted diets. People with a history of mushroom or other food allergies are advised to consider other protein alternatives or consult their physicians or dieticians. 

Other plant-based proteins to consider include almonds, spirulina and chia seeds. Are you on a plant-based protein diet or considering decreasing your meat intake? Let us know why and how it’s going! Share your experiences in the Shop Talk blog community forum.

Did you know? The Governator says hasta la vista

Arnold Schwarzenegger has jumped on the plant-based bandwagon. The former bodybuilder and California governor says he’s now convinced “you really don’t have to get your protein from meat – or from animals.” (Source)

88 thoughts on “Where’s the beef? Plant-based proteins take off

  1. I have seen advertisements for the burgers. Can not say I would not try these products but want to know what is is them.

  2. Plant based proteins have been on the market for dozens of years. They taste different because they are made of plants. These foods made from plant based proteins are tasty and fun to eat. They come in all shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, they are super expensive so I tend to eat things like .. the actual plant that the protein source comes from. We don’t need as much animal protein as people like to eat. But eating is one of the few pleasures we, as a species and as a society, still has; except for those of us who are poor and depend on low priced food for sustenance.

    There is a really big problem with these new burger products. These new burger products are supposed to rival the taste of meat — the amount of salts, sugars, harmful fats, cholesterol items, and artificial flaviods are just so bad for us. Plus the prices are outrageous! I see this happening in the future:

    Step 1: Meat product sold side-by-side with artificial burger products at high prices because of the cost of creation. Low priced burgers are still cheaper than healthy food at grocery stores, increasing morbidity and mortality in the low-income sectors.

    Step 2: Names of burger products change and more plant-based proteins are used as filler for meat burgers due to higher cost of meat as environmental resources dwindle .. but no advertising this so no one notices. Plant-based protein burger production becomes standardized so prices may drop a little to rival the (mostly) meat burgers. The burgers are still sold side by side at different and high prices. Those in the burger eating community develop higher rates of diabetes, high cholesterol, and artery and heart issues. No study is done and no connection is made public. These burgers increase morbidity and mortality in the general population; those in the low-income bracket are in real health risk area now.

    Step 3. Burgers are now all plant based and all sold at super high prices, but still sold side by side with false advertising. Everyone in the burger eating community are dying younger and at a faster rate than the non burger eating community. Public Health starts making a connection between the ingredients in these burgers and the new morbidity and mortality rates. Carcinogen reports are released but no one cares as these are the only burgers available.

  3. I am a vegetarian and I tried the impossible burger and I truly enjoyed it, it was delicious. Thank you, Yvonne

  4. The problem with plant based meats are there have not been enough studies done on their possible effects on the human body. It sounds great in theory, but not enough is known on their long term effects that could cause problems. We continue to look for a magic bullet to cure every ailment, but it is not that easy.

  5. It’s good to know that there are plant based sources of protein available and that they are becoming more easily accessible. However, it should be noted that since humans have canine teeth and molars, it is a strong indication that the human body is designed to process both animal and plant based foods. At times, something will go wrong with the way that one’s body processes food that would require a change in diet. A doctor would be able to diagnose this condition and advise the patient of the best steps to take to deal with the situation. If my doctor told me that I needed to stop eating animal based foods as a source of protein, then I would be glad to use these plant based sources. This wouldn’t necessarily mean that everyone else should follow the same diet. It’s similar to the gluten-free craze. Most people can process gluten, and gluten does have health benefits for many people. For those whose bodies cannot process gluten, avoiding foods with gluten is essential, But that does not mean that everyone should avoid foods with gluten. Plant based proteins and gluten-free foods are wonderful for those whose diets require them, but they should not be marketed as the norm or healthier foods for all people.

  6. I’m sick reading about these alternatives. Just give me a juicy hamburger or steak!
    If you don’t like meat don’t have it. Do I come up with alternative salads: maybe I’ll add some faux celery.

  7. I’m all for plant-based proteins as long as the ingredients used are GMO-free. Genetically modified soy is full of glyphosate, which is, of course, not healthy.

  8. I haven’t tried the “burger” at Burger King but I have tried the one at Karl’s Jr. That one was amazing! I loved the flavor and the texture. If I didn’t know it was plant based I never would have known! I will definitely be buying it again. I have also tried the ” beyond tacos” at Del Taco. I normally love Del Tacos food but this product I will NOT purchase again. The texture was bad and the flavor was bad. It was almost like no flavor! I had the one with the avacado on it. The avacado was the best part! Like I said, I won’t be buying this again.

  9. I’ve been a vegetarian for many years and I fear most of the ‘plant’ based burger alternative may not
    be healthy. It’s reported, there’s a lot of crap involved in the manufacture.
    I think we should get to the bottom of this controversy and reveal the ones actually healthy for us.
    However, this world, the entire planet is so in love with animal meat, they will not give it up. If you want
    to start a war, try taking meat away from people.

  10. It’s a good alternative for a lot of people but I’m waiting for more companies to start doing more for people with food allergy. I can’t have soy, corn or wheat. That makes it very hard to find food to eat when you go to restaurant’s

  11. I got to the point where I just couldn’t eat any kind of beef, pork or chicken. In my mind, any living thing had the same right to be here that humans do. The more information I got about the meat and poultry industry the more I got disgusted with the idea of the suffering that so many animals endure just to feed me. There are so many meat and protein alternatives that the transition was really easy.

  12. I am appreciative of this article about alternative meat products. I have had the pleasure of being a consumer of Beyond Meat and that burger was the best that I have ever eaten. I did not realized how healthy this plant based product is; hence, I am so happy that I read this informative blog. I will be an avid consumers of Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger; joining the meat banned movement towards plant based meat alternatives, which is a healthier way of living.

  13. My daughter just recently chose a vegetarian lifestyle and is now anemic. I am looking for diet based ways to increase her iron intake that taste great. We are slowly finding some great recipes and would appreciate more.

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