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How healthy are ready-to-eat meat substitutes?

  1. Eating vegetarian or vegan meat substitutes is good for your health. However? Unfortunately, this is not always the case. There are some catches. So before you get to the vegan minced meat, the vegetarian nuggets, stir-fry strips and the vegetable burgers, read first what you can pay attention to to be really healthy.

It looks like meat, but it's not meat

  1. The choice in the meat substitute board is constantly increasing. It is full of marvels of food technology, designed to replace meat in the meal. Whether you go for vegan smoked sausages, vegetarian balls or vegetarian cutlets, almost all ready-to-eat meat substitutes look like meat, they are close to meat in taste and you prepare them in the same way as meat. But it is not meat.

  2. The choice in the meat substitute board is constantly increasing. It is full of food technology marvels designed to replace meat in the meal. Whether you go for vegan smoked sausages, vegetarian balls or vegetarian cutlets, almost all ready-to-eat meat substitutes look like meat, they are close to meat in taste and you prepare them in the same way as meat. But it is not meat.

What is it then?

  1. If you study the packaging of meat substitutes, you can see that many different basic products are used to get something that looks like meat on your plate. Think of legumes, soybeans, grains, vegetables and / or nuts. Sounds logical. But it is less known that you can also make vegan meat variations from ingredients such as insects, fungi, algae and seitan (gluten). Usually it involves a combination of ingredients. A lot of energy from the manufacturers goes into getting the taste right. They do not shy away from the use of additives such as binders, flavors, colors and fragrances. Most meat substitutes are therefore not very pure. And if you want to eat completely plant-based, it is also important to be careful: some meat substitutes contain egg or dairy. Table: a small selection from the range Product and Brand Base Additions? Vegeterian bacon Quorn Mycoprotein (fungal protein) flavors, smoky flavors, coloring: iron oxide, rapeseed oil, preservative: potassium sorbate Respeck vegetarian cubes Vegetarian butcher Soy, wheat and egg natural flavor, salt, spice extract, smoke flavor, thickeners (E407a, E461), starch, potassium chloride, maltodextrin, acidity regulator: E330, color: E172, yeast Vegetable steak Vivera Soy, wheat thickener, natural flavors, colors (beet red, safflower), vegetable fibers (sugar cane, citrus), sea salt, wheat starch, maltodextrin, potato protein, herbs and spices, mushroom powder, aroma, iron, barley malt extract Vegetarian schnitzel Valess Milk, cheese, wheat, egg wheat flour, textured wheat protein, thickener (calcium alginate, methylcellulose), free range chicken egg protein, modified wheat starch, oat fiber, stabilizer (polyphosphate), food acid (potassium lactate), flavor (milk) Tofu stir fry strips AH Soy spices * (including 0.4% chili pepper), salt, vegetarian rennet (calcium sulphate), natural flavoring, corn starch *, parsley *, food acid (citric acid) Vegetarian smoked sausage Garden Gourmet Wheat flavors, potato starch, garlic, yeast extract, stabilizers (guar gum, xanthan gum), spices, hydrolysed vegetable protein (soy, corn), garlic powder, color (E172), food acid (citric acid)

  2. If you study the packaging of meat substitutes, you see that many different basic products are used to get something that looks like meat on your plate. Think of legumes, soybeans, grains, vegetables and / or nuts. Sounds logical. But that you can also make vegan meat variations from ingredients such as insects, fungi, algae and seitan (gluten). Usually it involves a combination of ingredients. A lot of energy from the manufacturers goes into getting the taste right. They do not shy away from the use of additives such as binding agents, flavors, colors and fragrances. Most meat substitutes are therefore not very pure. And if you want to eat completely plant-based food, it is also important to be careful: some meat substitutes contain egg or dairy. Table: a small selection from the range Product and Brand Base Additions? Vegeterian bacon Quorn Mycoprotein (fungal protein) flavors, smoky flavors, coloring: iron oxide, rapeseed oil, preservative: potassium sorbate Respeck vegetarian cubes Vegetarian butcher Soy, wheat and egg natural flavor, salt, spice extract, smoke flavor, thickeners (E407a, E461), starch, potassium chloride, maltodextrin, acidity regulator: E330, color: E172, yeast Vegetable steak Vivera Soy, wheat thickener, natural flavors, colors (beet red, safflower), vegetable fibers (sugar cane, citrus), sea salt, wheat starch, maltodextrin, potato protein, herbs and spices, mushroom powder, aroma, iron, barley malt extract Vegetarian schnitzel Valess Milk, cheese, wheat, egg wheat flour, textured wheat protein, thickener (calcium alginate, methylcellulose), free range chicken egg protein, modified wheat starch, oat fiber, stabilizer (polyphosphate), food acid (potassium lactate), flavor (milk) Tofu stir fry strips AH Soy spices * (including 0.4% chili pepper), salt, vegetarian rennet (calcium sulphate), natural flavoring, corn starch *, parsley *, food acid (citric acid) Vegetarian smoked sausage Garden Gourmet Wheat flavors, potato starch, garlic, yeast extract, stabilizers (guar gum, xanthan gum), spices, hydrolysed vegetable protein (soy, corn), garlic powder, color (E172), food acid (citric acid)

Are meat substitutes complete?

  1. Meat normally provides you with protein, iron, vitamin B1 and vitamin B12. So much so that when you omit meat, you have to make sure that you get those nutrients in a different way. It would be useful if meat substitutes actually replace meat in that regard. The proteins are usually okay, B1 is also not such a problem, if only because you also get it easily. And many meat substitutes are fortified with iron and vitamin B12. So that's a bonus. But the iron comes from a vegetable source. And vegetable iron is less easily absorbed in your body. So you actually need more of it. The B12 content in meat substitutes is usually much lower than that of meat. It is also worth checking the label for the saturated fat and salt content. Many meat substitutes contain quite a bit of saturated fat and salt. That is of course less healthy. The Consumers' Association also came to this conclusion in a test.

Is it bad that they are not always complete?

  1. If you omit meat now and then, you don't have to worry so much about the composition of the meat substitutes. What you don't get in one day by omitting the meat, you get in the next day if you eat a chicken fillet or meatball. It's a different story when you ban meat from your diet for good. Then it is wise to ensure that you get the nutrients from meat such as protein, iron, vitamin B1 and vitamin B12 in a different way. Protein and vitamin B1 are the least serious problem. Because it is in so many other foods that you will not quickly get a shortage of them. But vitamin B12 and iron is a different story. Only by varying and combining the right products can you still ensure complete nutrition. So make sure that your meat substitutes not only contain protein, but also iron and vitamin B12. A useful aid here is the list that the Nutrition Center has made of what should be in a good meat substitute. Protein: at least 10-15 grams of protein per 100 grams Iron: preferably more than 0.8 milligrams per 100 grams Vitamin B1: more than 0.06 milligrams per 100 grams Vitamin B12: at least 0.24 micrograms per 100 grams Not too much salt: maximum 1.1 grams of salt per 100 grams Not too much saturated fat: maximum 2.5 grams per 100 grams

What do you eat instead of meat substitutes?

  1. Do you want to eat less meat, but do not want to use this kind of 'tinkered' meat substitutes? Fortunately, there are a lot of vegetarian dishes that you don't need these products. You can replace 100 grams of meat or fish in a healthy way in a natural way by using one of the following pure substitutes in your meal: For example, 2 eggs in an omelette, a quiche or simply boiled 75 grams of legumes (cooked), for example in a soup, salad or make a bean burger yourself 70-75 grams of cheese can be grated over the pasta, in cubes in a salad or stew 100 grams of tempeh or tofu (tofu), marinated in strips and fried 40 grams of nuts or seeds in a stew, over a salad, in a sauce Legumes, nuts, seeds and soy products such as tofu and tempeh contain sufficient protein, iron and vitamin B1, but no vitamin B12. Vegetarians can get B12 from eggs, dairy and nutritional supplements.

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