Are plant-based ground beef alternatives healthier than ground beef?

A growing number of Americans are giving plant-based ground beef alternative products a try, with the aim of eating healthier and protecting the environment.

Photo by Alena Shekhovtcova on Pexels.com

To find out if plant-based products are in fact healthier, School of Public Health (SPH) researchers studied the nutritional quality of plant-based ground beef alternative products compared to that of ground beef. Their findings were recently published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

To make the comparison, researchers used the SPH Nutrition Coordinating Center Food and Nutrient Database, which includes 37 plant-based ground beef alternative products produced by nine food companies. 

The study found:

  • Plant-based ground beef alternative products available in the U.S. marketplace tend to be a good or excellent source of a number of nutrients such as fiber, folate and iron.
  • Most of the plant-based ground beef alternative products contained substantially lower amounts of saturated fat than ground beef. 
  • Among the plant-based ground beef alternative products examined, most contained substantially less protein, zinc and vitamin B12 than ground beef. 
  • Many plant-based products contained moderate to high amounts of sodium.

“Switching from ground beef to a plant-based ground beef alternative product can be a healthy choice in some ways,” says study lead Lisa Harnack, a professor in SPH. “We recommend that people read the Nutrition Fact panel to choose a product that best aligns with their health and nutrition goals.”

Harnack added that it’s important to examine the nutritional quality of other plant-based meat alternative products, such as those intended to replace chicken, pork and seafood.

6 Comments

Filed under fake meat, ground beef alternatives

6 responses to “Are plant-based ground beef alternatives healthier than ground beef?

  1. I’ll leave that examination to others. No thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s a useful post, Tony. Next time we are at the food store I’m going to read the labels much more carefully.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Some fake meats are better than others. Here is a comparison of a pretty good one, Trader Joe’s “beefless ground beef” with 93% lean beef.
    93% lean beef, 4 Oz = 112 g. 170 cal, 70 from fat (41%), 32 from sat fat (18%), 23 g protein, 75 mg sodium. Note when they say 93% lean it’s by volume, not calorie.
    Trader Joes beefless, matched for calories, 156g = 170 cal. 25.5 cal fat = 15%, 0 sat fat, 25.5 g protein, 765 mg sodium.
    The beefless is the winner except in sodium, it has 10 times as much

    Liked by 1 person

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