Tag Archives: meat alternatives

A detailed look at meat consumption – Tufts

A collection of controversial research reviews on consumption of red meat and processed meat published recently in the Annals of Internal Medicine seemingly overturns years of public health guidelines and recommendations from a range of experts and organizations. It was met with resounding criticism from many nutrition experts. A close look at the findings can help you make informed choices for your own health.

The Controversy: The reviews, conducted by an independent group of scientists, concluded that adults should continue unprocessed red meat and processed meat consumption at current levels. The research (composed of three separate meta-analyses and two narrative reviews of existing studies on red meat and processed meat consumption) quickly led to media headlines with statements like, “meat is back!”

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This conclusion is highly controversial because prior meta-analyses of long-term observational studies have consistently found that intake of processed meats (like bacon, sausage, hot dogs, ham, jerky, and deli meats) is linked to higher risk of colorectal cancer, stroke, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. In these earlier studies, unprocessed red meats (beef, pork, and lamb) were not linked to any evidence for benefits, but were generally linked to less robust or consistent evidence of harms than processed meats, except for higher risk of type 2 diabetes at higher levels of intake. In 2015 the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that processed meat is carcinogenic to humans and that consumption of red meat is “probably” carcinogenic to humans. Similarly, the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research systematically reviewed the evidence and recommend limiting red meat consumption to moderate amounts and consuming very little processed meat.

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About those plant-based meats – Tufts

Who hasn’t heard of these new plant-based meats? Many of us have tried one, too. I am not among their number. As you can see from the Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter write up, below they are gaining popularity.

Sales of meat alternatives grew 30 percent in 2018, and this rapid growth is expected to continue. In 2019, plant-based meat alternatives hit the mainstream, with the nationwide introduction of meatless “meat” at multiple fast-food outlets (including Burger King, White Castle, DelTaco, and some McDonald’s locations.)

Making “Meat” from Plants: Until recently, the growing meat-alternative market was made up of patties, crumbles, nuggets, and other products made from textured vegetable protein or formed from beans, grains, mushrooms, and/or other vegetables. Now, a new kind of meat alternative has entered this growing market: plant-based “meat” that looks and tastes very much like, well… meat. “These products, like the Impossible Burger from Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat’s burgers and sausages, are designed to replicate the taste, texture, and chemical composition of meat,” says Nicole Negowetti, JD, a clinical instructor at the Harvard Animal Law and Policy Clinic.

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