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  #1   ^
Old Wed, Jan-19-22, 13:36
Demi's Avatar
Demi Demi is offline
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Default Why vegan meat substitutes are the worst junk food of all

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Why vegan meat substitutes are the worst junk food of all

It’s possible to eat a healthy vegan diet, but many of the meat substitutes aren’t healthy at all


It’s the cynical greed that gets me. Turn on prime time television or allow the ads to slide on to YouTube, and every food processor and retailer seems to be cashing in on the Veganuary movement, pushing their products as healthy and virtuous.

Timing, of course, is everything. This Monday, the third one in January, has been nicknamed Blue Monday as it’s meant to be when we are at our lowest ebb, cold, broke and mired in broken resolutions. Just as we are feeling at our most vulnerable, the food industry is making its move to turn our guilt into profit. “Join the Goodness Movement” cajoles one, advocating a swap from grilled chicken for something called “plant chicken goujons BBQ” made with rehydrated soy and wheat.

I’ve nothing against veganism or Veganuary. Giving up animal products altogether isn’t for me, but few would disagree that that as a nation we should be eating less meat and more vegetables. While there are persuasive arguments that pasture-raised free range meat can have positive effects on the planet, especially in the UK where it can go hand in hand with the less drastic versions of rewilding, avoiding intensively farmed meat makes good sense for the damage it does to the environment as well as the animal welfare issues involved. Experimenting with eating meals without meat is not a bad plan.

The problem is, while it’s possible to eat a healthy vegan diet (with care and vitamin B12 supplements) many of these vegan meat substitutes or meat analogues, as they are known in the industry, aren’t healthy at all. They fall into the category of ultra processed food, first identified by Brazilian academics as part of the NOVA classification. UPFs are now widely accepted by food experts to be unhealthy and probably addictive, blamed for the increasing incidence of obesity and poor health worldwide.

NOVA divides all food into four categories. ‘Unprocessed food or minimally processed’ is for raw ingredients like fruit, vegetables and meat. The second category, culinary ingredients, covers the likes of flour and oil, while the third, processed food, includes cheese, for example, tofu, or bread if it’s made with just flour, yeast, salt and water.

The final category is ultra processed food, the products that generally comes in a packet and include ingredients and processes you wouldn’t use at home, according to NOVA, “in particular flavours, colours sweeteners, emulsifiers, and other additives used to imitate sensorial qualities of unprocessed or minimally processed foods and their culinary preparations or to disguise undesirable qualities of the final product”. In other words, products - I hesitate to call them food - that are manipulated to fool us, to make ingredients seem more appetising, or longer lasting, or somehow better than they actually are.

While a grilled chicken breast would count as minimally processed, or possibly “processed" if you include a bit of salt and oil, those “plant chicken goujons BBQ” are indubitably ultra processed, containing over 30 ingredients, including methylcellulose, maltodextrin and dried glucose syrup. Not that appetising, but it’s not simply a matter of taste. UPFs don’t just trick our palates, they confuse our bodies too, triggering hormones which encourage us to overeat.

Yet, somehow, the food industry is determined to sell us the message that vegan products are intrinsically healthy and wholesome. Even the word vegan has been sidelined, presumably because it has connotations of abstinence and dinners that taste like hair shirts. These days it’s all about ‘plant’. Tesco has named its vegan range Plant Chef, M&S opted for Plant Kitchen, Morrisons has Plant Revolution, Waitrose’s is called PlantLife. Asda has chosen Plant Based. The other day I came across some chutney proudly labelled ‘plant based’. Yes, chutney, as if chutney is ever not made exclusively from plants. What next? Plant-based jam? A plant-based apple?

That lovely word ‘plant’ has a whiff of nature, countryside, health, fresh air, natural leafiness. Sainsbury’s Plant Pioneers range even sports a cheeky green leaf peeking out from the logo, although there’s nothing green about the beige Cumberland shroomdogs or oddly orange Smokey vacon rashers, both of which have over a dozen ingredients. Yes, some of the ingredients are derived from plants but, other than the herbs in the shroomdogs, you’d be going a long way back to find many green leaves. Plant as in manufacturing plant feels like a closer association.

The vegan movement is ramping up its TV campaigns. A new ad by Viva, which according to Plant Based News is scheduled to be shown on Channel 4 just before Valentine’s Day, shows a cute couple stroking their pet dog before ordering takeaway delivery of pulled pork. The delivery man from ‘Just Meat’ (geddit??) turns up with a live piglet and a cleaver, while the dog whines. Shocking, certainly, and you could argue that a reminder of where our meat comes from is long overdue (even if that cute piglet looked well below slaughter weight to me). But the lengths to which we delude ourselves about the food in the supermarket chiller cabinet and how it gets there isn’t limited to meat. A film showing the industrialised process that goes into making the textured vegetable protein in vegan sausages or the vats growing citric acid (the acidity regulator in many processed foods) would be equally stomach churning.

For all my misgivings, these vegan products do have a place, just not as healthy food. If chicken nuggets or seafood sticks or cheap sausages are your favourite thing, (no judgement here: I have a weakness for Caramac bars, the essence of ersatz confectionery) then it is definitely worth reaching for the fakin’ bacon and the got-no-beef beef. Many of them are impressively accurate copies of meat junk food, which means there’s no earthly reason for an animal to be raised in cramped conditions to make Turkey twizzler when an indistinguishable product can be made out of soy protein.

But please, don’t kid yourself that this is healthy food. It’s junk. While health experts exhort us to eat more vegetables, this isn’t what they mean. They mean actual vegetables, you know, cabbage and carrots and cauliflowers. The plant-based kind.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/health-...orst-junk-food/
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  #2   ^
Old Wed, Jan-19-22, 14:48
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GRB5111 GRB5111 is offline
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I was pleased as I started to read this article thinking that fake meat products have finally been outed as unhealthy fake meat products, but no. Even before I got to the meat of the article (yeah, yeah), I stumbled over this paragraph:

Quote:
"I’ve nothing against veganism or Veganuary. Giving up animal products altogether isn’t for me, but few would disagree that that as a nation we should be eating less meat and more vegetables. While there are persuasive arguments that pasture-raised free range meat can have positive effects on the planet, especially in the UK where it can go hand in hand with the less drastic versions of rewilding, avoiding intensively farmed meat makes good sense for the damage it does to the environment as well as the animal welfare issues involved. Experimenting with eating meals without meat is not a bad plan."

Okay, let me be one of the "few" who disagree. These observations and claims are false, particularly when compared to the natural damage done by industrial plant farming. I know it's supposed to be a friendly, homey article citing what the author believes is true and obvious, but these statements are just unfounded nonsense.

Now that I've got that out of the way, the remainder of the article should be required reading by anyone who believes the many fake meat products being produced today are a superior choice. It's just more processed food from plants and manufactured stuff continuing down the path that has lead the world's population to an epidemic of metabolic syndrome and its many diseases. It's not close to being a substitute for a healthy whole food (meat) high in protein and nutrients with which some have a moral issue. And the moral issue is only one of two reasons these fake products are being sold. The other is the massive financial gains from a hyper-palatable processed food masquerading as healthy protein.
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  #3   ^
Old Wed, Jan-19-22, 15:26
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cotonpal cotonpal is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GRB5111
I was pleased as I started to read this article thinking that fake meat products have finally been outed as unhealthy fake meat products, but no. Even before I got to the meat of the article (yeah, yeah), I stumbled over this paragraph:


Okay, let me be one of the "few" who disagree. These observations and claims are false, particularly when compared to the natural damage done by industrial plant farming. I know it's supposed to be a friendly, homey article citing what the author believes is true and obvious, but these statements are just unfounded nonsense.



I stumbled over the same quote. I too disagree about the assertion that limiting meat and increasing vegetables is just commonsense agreed to by virtually everyone. Simply put the problem is industrial production, be it plants or animals. We need to align healthy eating with healthy means of production not some pie in the sky idealism that asserts that eating meat is bad and eating plants is good. It's much more complicated and nuanced than that.
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  #4   ^
Old Thu, Jan-20-22, 08:38
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Calianna Calianna is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cotonpal
I stumbled over the same quote. I too disagree about the assertion that limiting meat and increasing vegetables is just commonsense agreed to by virtually everyone. Simply put the problem is industrial production, be it plants or animals. We need to align healthy eating with healthy means of production not some pie in the sky idealism that asserts that eating meat is bad and eating plants is good. It's much more complicated and nuanced than that.



I raised an eyebrow at the same quote. Obviously the author does not truly understand that if your "healthy diet" requires that you take supplements to provide that which your diet totally lacks, then it's not a healthy diet.




On the other hand, I found these 2 paragraphs really stood out to me:



Quote:
Yet, somehow, the food industry is determined to sell us the message that vegan products are intrinsically healthy and wholesome. Even the word vegan has been sidelined, presumably because it has connotations of abstinence and dinners that taste like hair shirts. These days it’s all about ‘plant’. Tesco has named its vegan range Plant Chef, M&S opted for Plant Kitchen, Morrisons has Plant Revolution, Waitrose’s is called PlantLife. Asda has chosen Plant Based. The other day I came across some chutney proudly labelled ‘plant based’. Yes, chutney, as if chutney is ever not made exclusively from plants. What next? Plant-based jam? A plant-based apple?

The plant based chutney, jam, and apples really gave me a giggle.



We don't have a Trader Joe's nearby, but our daughter has one where she lives, and enjoys finding various seasoning mixes for us to try. One time she gave us "Vegan chickenless seasoned salt". I pointed out to her that seasoned salt is and has always been vegan and chicken-less. What a marketing ploy for the gullible anti-meat brigade!



Quote:
That lovely word ‘plant’ has a whiff of nature, countryside, health, fresh air, natural leafiness. Sainsbury’s Plant Pioneers range even sports a cheeky green leaf peeking out from the logo, although there’s nothing green about the beige Cumberland shroomdogs or oddly orange Smokey vacon rashers, both of which have over a dozen ingredients. Yes, some of the ingredients are derived from plants but, other than the herbs in the shroomdogs, you’d be going a long way back to find many green leaves. Plant as in manufacturing plant feels like a closer association.





The bolded parts in this paragraph - Oh so true! These products may be made from plants, but the product is more manufacturing plant based than in any way resembling any kind of plant found on any farm or in any garden.
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  #5   ^
Old Fri, Jan-21-22, 07:08
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Demi Demi is offline
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Quote:
Fake chicken is the future – and it’s absolutely delicious

My husband's goujons are proof of concept. It's now possible to create plant-based products that precisely match the deliciousness of meat


A couple of months ago my husband was sent a bag of fake chicken goujons. He works in food, so people send him things to try. This product was more intriguing than most. Made by a US firm at the leading edge of the “alternative protein” industry, it is so new that you can’t yet buy it in this country.

I didn’t have high hopes. Both my sons are devout carnivores, and even their vegetarian sister refuses to eat most “meat alternatives”, on the sensible grounds that they are gross. But these goujons – I have to tell you, these goujons are going to change the world.

My husband served them fried, with mash and peas. The children took tiny, cautious nibbles at first, but then their faces relaxed into the kind of blissed-out junk-food smiles that would normally set my parental alarm bells ringing. “These are amazing!” they shouted. “They taste exactly like chicken!” (They do.) “More please! More!”

Chicken goujons are easier to fake than, say, a rump steak. The “meat” centre is relatively small, and the breadcrumb coating provides structure and a moreish crunch. Even so, these goujons are proof of concept. It is now possible to create plant-based products that precisely match – and in this case, slightly exceed – the deliciousness of meat.

This is great news for the planet. Our global appetite for meat is unsustainable: 77 per cent of the world’s farmland is used to feed livestock. Meat production accounts for almost 60 per cent of all food industry emissions – not just because of methane burps, but also deforestation and run-off. Although it is possible to rear animals in a low-density, environmentally friendly way, such enlightened husbandry will never produce enough meat to satisfy the market.

The same is true of fish. This week an Israeli firm unveiled the world’s first 3D-printed salmon fillet, made entirely from plants. If it’s as tasty as the goujons, this may be the salvation of our oceans.

What is good for the planet, however, may not be so good for our bodies. As the smiles on my children’s faces attest, plant food can also be junk food: fatty, salty, ultra-processed nuggets of strange-sounding ingredients, scientifically configured for optimal addictiveness. In fact, my guess is that vegetarians – who until now have been largely obliged to cook from scratch, because the processed options were so unappealing – will become as fat and greedy as the rest of us, once these temptations are laid before them.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/20...tely-delicious/
I do love the fact the majority of comments below this article are of the 'no thanks, we'll pass on this ultra processed vegan fake muck' persuasion!
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  #6   ^
Old Fri, Jan-21-22, 07:49
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WereBear WereBear is offline
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Quote:
It’s possible to eat a healthy vegan diet...


All hope lost right there. Because it's NOT possible with vegans, it really isn't. These people who claim otherwise are either sick or they are cheating.

Mind you, it doesn't take much animal matter to keep you from dying of pernicious anemia. Just the difference in insect content between India and Britain that is allowed in food is enough of a margin for Jains who emigrated to get into serious trouble. Once again, these were the people who followed the rules of their religion. I suspect, much like other religions, there are adherents who are not that strict in the privacy of their own home

But the point is that even if someone is not actively dying -- and many vegan influencers and chefs have been told this by their doctors -- they are certainly not operating at optimum. Especially those like us, who responds to a low carb diet with so much better health. Especially those who try everything but, with no success. There's lots of us, actually! I think at least of third of the population are like us.

If we get pushed into plant protein, I know I get a really low return on such sources. As a young adult, I tried vegetarian, and even eating eggs and cheese wasn't enough for me to stay healthy. I suspect I'd be one of the first to fall by the wayside in this future vegan world they want us to sign up for.

Fortunately, it's still a consumer choice. And I don't care what it tastes like: that can be faked up so easily. The digestive upset from all the pea protein and soy derivatives means I can't eat it even if it did nourish me.

Which it doesn't.
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